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7.1.10 Interpretation - 'from ignorance, from a mistake, or from any other reasonable cause'


The distinction between 'ignorance' and 'mistake' is not very important when considering late claims under the SRCA or the 1971 Act. It was however very significant under the 1930 Act as that Act made no mention of 'ignorance', ignorance of the law and of the workers compensation system was not included in 'mistake' and it did not provide an excuse for a late claim.

There are few guidelines as to what constitutes 'any other reasonable cause' for the purposes of S53(3)(c). Case law is not able to provide an unambiguous ruling on such a wide-ranging matter. It is the responsibility of the Delegate to form an appropriate judgment on the individual facts of the matter. Where the deeming provision is applied for 'any other reasonable cause', the Delegate should briefly document the basis upon which the discretion was exercised.

In Banks v Comcare (1996), the Federal Court discussed 'other reasonable cause':

The expression 'reasonable cause' has been held to refer to some act or omission which operated to prevent the giving of notice and one which, in the circumstances prevailing, is consistent with a reasonable standard of conduct, of such a nature that it might be expected to delay the giving of the necessary notice or claim: see Black v City of South Melbourne 1963 VR 34, 38; Quinlivan v Portland Harbour Trust 1963 VR 25, 28.