Statutes of New Zealand
Accident Compensation Act 2001
Code of ACC Claimants' Rights, and claims
Commentary - Personal Injury in New Zealand
The Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Act 2001 has been amended, as from 3 March
2010. Please refer to the commentary at HA13.06 for a summary of the substantive changes. Please
note: the name of the principal Act has been repealed by s 5 of the Accident Compensation Amendment
Act 2010. The title of the Act has changed from the “Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation
Act” to the “Accident Compensation Act 2001”. Henceforth, and retrospectively, al references in any
enactment, agreement, deed, instrument, application, notice or other document must, unless the context
otherwise requires, be read as references to the Accident Compensation Act 2001.
Part 3 of the Accident Compensation Act 2001 makes provision for the development of a Code of ACC
Claimants’ Rights. The development of the Code puts into statutory form the complaints investigation
mechanism that has existed for the last five years. Under s 40, the purpose of the Code is stated to be “to
meet the reasonable expectations of claimants (including the highest practicable standard of service and
fairness) about how the Corporation shal deal with them”. The Code confers rights on claimants and
imposes obligations on the Corporation in relation to how the Corporation must deal with claimants. It also
provides how and to what extent the Corporation must address those situations where its conduct is not
consistent with or does not uphold the rights of claimants under the Code.
Under s 45, the Corporation must make the Code accessible to claimants and members of the public
generally, and promote awareness of the Code among claimants and members of the public general y.
The rights and obligations in the Code are in addition to any other rights and obligations in the Act or in
any other enactment, and do not affect entitlements provided under the Act (s 40(2)). This means that the
Code of ACC Claimants’ Rights under Part 3 does not affect the review provisions in Part 5.
Under s 42 the Corporation prepared the Code in consultation with persons nominated by the Minister.
Following agreement by the Minister, there has been public consultation, and final approval of the draft
code by the Minister under ss 43 and 44. The Code came into force on 1 February 2003. Accordingly,
Part 3 as it stands merely sets out the purpose of the Code and the process to obtain the Code. The
Code is contained in Chapter 3.
Crucial to the understanding of the purpose of the Code is that it relates to processes, rather than actual
decisions of the Corporation on cover and statutory entitlements that carry review rights. Section 40 refers
to how the Corporation shall “deal with” claimants.
The Code of ACC Claimants' Rights has established desirable practices but is essential y a “toothless
tiger” with no sanctions, enforcement mechanisms or the ability to amend a decision of the Corporation.
Comparable codes include the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers Rights set out in the
Health and Disability Commissioner (Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights)
Regulations 1996, and the Health Information Privacy Code.