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C02/2004 Right of reply for veterans in relation to Research Reports



Right of reply for veterans in relation to Research Reports


This instruction supplements Departmental Instruction No C12 of 2000 concerning the use of historical and factual research reports.

From now on, before a claim is refused due to material in an historical researcher's report, a copy of the report will be provided to the claimant and their representative.


Where a veteran has provided information about a particular incident or experience in support of their claim and the delegate wishes to confirm the details of the incident, they may request a research report. This occurs most often when a psychiatrist's report lists a number of 'severe stressors'. The research report will analyse the available military history and provide discussions with other relevant military personnel to show whether the evidence supports the veteran's contention. At the time the claims assessor requests the research report, a letter is also sent to the veteran informing them that the research report has been requested.


The use of research reports to confirm information provided by a veteran for a claim has been a contentious issue for the ex-service community. Many veterans feel they should be given the opportunity to comment on the report before an adverse primary decision is made. This would allow the veteran the opportunity to dispute the findings of the report. The veterans argue that when a claim is finalised without their input and results in a non-favourable decision, this leads to unnecessary review proceedings.


Effective immediately, when the completed research report is received by the delegate, and they are considering making an adverse decision based on the report, they will forward a copy to the veteran, together with a letter offering a period of 21 days within which to respond to the report.

A delegate may not finalise a case adversely upon receipt of a research report without first giving the veteran an opportunity to comment.

If the veteran does not respond to the report within 21 days the delegate may finalise the case.

If the veteran does respond, this will be considered along with all other information available. At the Delegate's discretion further comment from the historical researcher may be sought. If this results in a further report, a copy should be sent to the veteran together with a further opportunity to comment.

Sample letter

Dear Mr Smith,

I refer to my letter of xx date informing you that I was requesting an historical report from a researcher to provide further detail on your application for a disability pension.

This report has now been completed and I am attaching a copy for your information.

If you wish to comment on the information contained within this report, please respond within 21 days of the date of this letter. If you do not respond within this timeframe your claim will proceed to finalisation.

Yours sincerely,

Delegate of the Repatriation Commission

Mark Johnson

Branch Head

Disability Compensation

  5 January 2004