The Victorian Treasurer has requested the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC) to conduct an inquiry into aspects of the Wrongs Act 1958 including:

  • limits placed by the Act on damages for personal injury or death;
  • impairment thresholds for personal injury imposed by the Act in relation to damages for non-economic loss;
  • discount rates applicable to lump sum damages for future economic loss;
  • limitations on damages for gratuitous attendant care; and
  • the existing strict liability regime for aircraft owners.

Interestingly, VCEC has been specifically instructed not to inquire into Part IVAA of the Act, which deals with proportionate liability.

The Inquiry appears to arise from concerns that tort reform has in some instances unjustifiably or unnecessarily restricted access to compensation and treats different plaintiffs inconsistently.

The Terms of Reference require VCEC to bear in mind, amongst other factors, any undue impact on the availability and affordability of insurance and the risks to defendants of unmeritorious claims.

VCEC is to report to the Government by the end of February 2014 but will release an issues paper shortly which will describe the scope of the inquiry and the information sought from stakeholders, and outline the process and timetable of the inquiry.

Click here for a link to the relevant VCEC webpage where you can access further information about the inquiry, including the Terms of Reference.