Get legal help
It’s strongly recommended that you seek legal advice before starting a claim. Staff at the Dust Diseases Tribunal can give you certain information, such as what forms to fill in, but they cannot give you legal advice. Read more about how court staff can help.
Parties involved in cases at the Tribunal are usually represented by a solicitor or a barrister. It’s not common for plaintiffs or defendants to appear in person before the Tribunal or to represent themselves at Claims Resolution Process mediation, due to the complex nature of dust diseases litigation.
More legal resources
Legal Assistance Referral Scheme
The Legal Assistance Referral Scheme (LARS) is run by the NSW Bar Association. It refers people on low incomes to barristers or mediators who may be able to give advice, appear for you or settle your matter.
LawAccess NSW is a free government telephone service you can access by phoning 1300 888 539. If you are going to court, have a legal problem or have a question about the law, LawAccess NSW can provide referral. In some instances, the staff can also provide information and advice over the phone and in writing. You can also view the LawAccess legal dictionary.
Legal Information Access Centre
The Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC) is a specialised legal research and information centre for the public. Law librarians at the centre can help you find legal information relevant to your case.
Legal services for Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people
There are a range of legal advice, information and Court support services for Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people.
Learn more about Court support for Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people.
Legal Aid is not available for claims through the Dust Diseases Tribunal.
Complying with legislation and rules
A person diagnosed with a dust-related disease should consider seeking legal advice at their earliest convenience and begin proceedings by filing a Statement of Claim form to preserve their rights.
In many dust-diseases cases there is a delay of several years between the time of dust exposure, the appearance of symptoms and the diagnosis of the disease. Often there is a shortened life expectancy.
A representing lawyer is expected to be familiar with the case and be able to inform the Tribunal about:
- the nature of the disease
- the condition and prognosis of the plaintiff’s health
- the current state of the pleadings
- the case’s readiness for hearing and whether
- experts' reports have been obtained and served;
- further medical examinations are required and, if so, when;
- technical or financial experts have been, or are to be, qualified to prepare reports
- whether admissions have or will be sought and made
- whether Orders for Discovery and Interrogatories have or will be sought
- whether particulars have been filed and served
- the nature of orders, if any, made earlier, and whether they have been complied with
- a completion date for the timetable
- a proposed date for hearing.