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Oral hearing in Workers Compensation Commission

 George Weston Foods Ltd v Bogdanoski [2011] NSWWCCPD 62. Roche DP.

98. Contrary to the appellant’s submission, Practice Direction No 1 does not say that oral evidence “should be taken” where credit is in issue.

The Practice Direction relates to the circumstances in which a matter can be determined “on the papers”, in the absence of any conference or formal hearing.

In determining that question, the credit of a party or witness will be a relevant factor to take into account.

The Arbitrator did not determine the matter on the papers, but proceeded with an oral hearing. She inquired if either party wanted to call further evidence and both counsel said no.

99. In deciding whether an Arbitrator has accorded the parties procedural fairness, it must be kept firmly in mind that the Commission is not a court and is not expected to function as a court: Fletcher International Exports Pty Ltd v Barrow [2007] NSWCA 244 at [91].

Cross-examination is only allowed by leave and “much is left to the discretion of the Arbitrator”, who is “in a good position to decide on and to impose appropriate controls on the adduction of evidence, by cross-examination or otherwise”: Aluminium Louvres & Ceilings Pty Limited v Xue Qin Zheng [2006] NSWCA 34 at [25].


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