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188.8.131.52 Considering initial liability under MRCA for a disease contracted after 1 July 2004, where the applicable SoP factor occurred rendering defence service prior to 30 June 2004
May initial liability be accepted under MRCA for a disease with a diagnosed clinical onset after 1 July 2004, where the applicable SoP factor is “having trauma to the affected joint before the clinical onset of osteoarthritis in that joint”, and where the trauma occurred rendering defence service prior to 30 June 2004?
No. Liability may only be accepted under MRCA where the disease was contracted on or after 1 July 2004, and relates to MRCA defence service. Where a SoP factor is of a type that is not ongoing, (e.g. a discrete event, such as trauma that occurred at a specific point in time), and which occurred prior to any MRCA service, then the claimed disease cannot be found to relate to MRCA service.
To accept liability under the MRCA where clinical onset of a disease occurs during a person’s MRCA service, delegates may wish to consider whether another SoP factor applies that either occurred only during the claimant’s period of MRCA defence service, or occurred during their defence service before, and on or after, 1 July 2004.
Section 7 of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2004 establishes that:
(1) The MRCA applies to a person’s injury, disease or death if:
(a) the injury is sustained, the disease is contracted**, or the death occurs, on or after the commencement date; and
(b) the injury, disease or death either
(i) relates to defence service rendered by the person on or after that date; or
(ii) relates to defence service rendered by the person before, and on or after, that date.
Note: After the commencement date, benefits stop being provided under the VEA and the SRCA for such injuries, diseases and deaths (see sections 9A and 70A of the VEA and section 4AA of the SRCA).