District Court Jurisdiction – WorkCover Appeal Filed Out Of Time?

Co-authored by Sophie Nauwelaers, Lawyer (previously with Kott Gunning Lawyers)

District Court of WA – Bouwman v Westralian Finance Company Pty Ltd [2016] WADC 49, Her Honour Wager – heard 4 April 2016

Pursuant to Section 247 Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (WA) a party may appeal to the District Court within 28 days after the day on which the written reasons for an Arbitrator’s decision are provided.

In this matter, the Arbitrator’s reasons for the decision were delivered on 16 June 2015 and sent by post to Mr Bouwman’s lawyers on the same day. Mr Bouwman eventually filed a notice of appeal against the decision on 6 August 2015.

As a result, the matter was heard by Judge Wager on 4 April 2016 and was determined on the basis of a preliminary issue, namely whether the application was made in time. Mr Bouwman represented himself at the hearing. Her Honour stated at paragraph 4 of her judgment:

“I need to determine:

  • Were written reasons for decision given to the party making the application for leave to appeal?
  • If so, when were the reasons for decision given to the party?
  • If the application for leave to appeal was made later than 28 days after the day on which the reasons for decision were given to the party, did the Court have discretion to extend the appeal period?”

It was noted that Mr Bouwman had been legally represented and at no stage did he notify the Court of a change of address. Her Honour concluded that the reasons for decision had been appropriately “delivered” by post to his then lawyers. Her Honour then noted even though Mr Bouwman swore an affidavit stating he only received verbal notification of the reasons for decision on 27 July 2015 and as a result filed an appeal notice on 6 August 2015, his application was still made 46 days after the date upon the reasons for decision were delivered to his then lawyers. Importantly, after carefully considering the facts and the law Her Honour concluded the Court did not have the discretion to extend the time for making an application for leave to appeal and dismissed the application.


Parties considering an appeal should therefore ensure they lodge any application for leave to appeal within the time allowed under the Act.

For more information about this Update please contact Stephen Williams on (08) 9321 3755. 

The information published in this paper is of a general nature and should not be construed as legal advice. Whilst we aim to provide timely, relevant and accurate information, the law may change and circumstances may differ. You should not therefore act in reliance on it without first obtaining specific legal advice.