You are here

Review of Independent Legal Assistance and Review Service

The Independent Review Officer, Simon Cohen, has announced a review of the Independent Legal Assistance and Review Service (ILARS) in 2022.

The review is timely, with ILARS now 10 years old (having been established in 2012) and the role to manage and administer the service becoming a legislative function of the Independent Review Officer in March 2021.

The review will examine how effectively current arrangements, and in particular the ILARS Funding Guidelines, enable the effective achievement of the statutory purpose, that is: 

  • to provide funding for legal and associated costs for workers under workers compensation legislation seeking advice regarding the decisions of insurers under this legislation
  • to provide assistance in finding early solutions for disputes between workers and insurers.

The review will also examine how effectively current arrangements promote relevant workers compensation system objectives including those focused on: 

  • the prompt and effective treatment and rehabilitation of workers following injuries (including the payment of reasonable treatment expenses)
  • providing income support for injured workers during periods of incapacity, and lump sum payments for permanent impairment and death
  • fairness, affordability and financial viability (including the fairness of fees paid to lawyers)
  • efficiency and effectiveness.

The review will be led by a Committee that includes experts in legal costs, public administration and the provision of legal services to injured workers:

Shane Butcher - Shane is a Principal at Law Partners and an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law. He is an Approved Lawyer under the ILARS scheme, with extensive experience in providing legal services to injured workers. He is a member of the Rules Committee of the Personal Injury Commission, the Law Society of NSW’s Injury Compensation Committee and the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

Elizabeth Harris – Elizabeth is an expert costs lawyer and Principal of Harris Costs Lawyers and Ovid Consulting. She is joint Editor of Quick on Costs, and serves as a member of the national Legal Services Council and Victorian Legal Services Board.

Michael Talbot – Michael is a past Deputy Secretary, Courts and Tribunal Services at the NSW Department of Justice and was also previously a senior executive at Australia Post.  He is currently a senior consultant and independent director on the Boards of the Australian Disputes Centre and Uniting.

A reference group is being established to provide input on the scope of the review and inform the review’s work, and workers compensation system stakeholders such as government agencies and representatives of lawyers, workers, insurers and employers have been invited to participate in the group.

The review will commence in February and report to the Independent Review Officer before the end of this year.

Any inquiries about the review can be emailed to