Researchers of access to ACC given $150,000

A $150,000 grant from the New Zealand Law Foundation will help Dunedin researchers find practical ways for injured New Zealanders to have their human rights upheld in seeking justice over ACC cases.

The grant will enable a team of researchers, supported by the University of Otago's Legal Issues Centre, to continue its research into access to justice for injured people dealing with the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).

The grant will cover research staff costs and the researchers will also be supported by Otago University and ACC claimant support group Acclaim Otago Inc.

An earlier Dunedin research report, ''Understanding the Problem'', had effectively highlighted a ''collision'' between some cost-cutting measures involving ACC over the years, and New Zealand's wider international human rights obligations, lead researcher Warren Forster said.

A key element in the further research was pursuing a collaborative approach between researchers, ACC and the Government to ensure that injured people ''can actually use the system and get justice'', he said.

Otago University dean of law and acting director of the Legal Issues Centre Prof Mark Henaghan said it was ''great news'' that further research was being done that would help assess if ACC claimants were ''getting a fair deal in terms of their resources to provide evidence to support their claim''.

And it was ''vital that ACC's practices are subject to regular scrutiny by the courts'', Prof Henaghan said.

-john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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