MALAWI:   WORKER'S COMPENSATION ACT, 2000                                                    MALAWI SDNP
of the 
and other 
35.  For the administration of this Act, the Board shall, with the approval of      
       the Minister, appoint- 

       (a)  an officer to be designated as the Workers' Cornpensation 
             Commissioner (in this Act referred to as the "Commissioner"); 

       (b) such other staff subordinate to the Commissioner as may be 
             deemed necessary. 

Duties and  
of the Commis-  
36. The Commissioner shall, subject to this Act and to the general or special 
      directions of the Board- 
        (a) receive notice of injuries and claims for compensation; 

        (b) inquire into or cause inquiry to be made into causes of  injuries; 

        (c) adjudicate upon all claims and other matters coming before him for 

        (d) determine whether any person is a worker, or an employer for the 
              purposes of this Act; 

         (e) decide any question relating to- 
              (i) the right to compensation; 
             (ii)  the submission, consideration and determination of claims for 

             (iii) computation of earnings; 

             (iv) the degree of incapacity of any worker; 

              (v) the amount and method of payment of any compensation; 

              (vi) the withholding, revision, discontinuance or suspension of any 

         (f)  idetermine whether any person is a dependent within the meaning of 
               this Act and, if so the degree of dependency; 

         (g) determine any question relating to the rendering of statements of 

          (h) advise the Board on the determination of the liability for assessment, 
                and method of payment of assessment; 

           (i) determine any other question failing within his purview in 
                connexion with the application of this Act or in respect of any 
                employer or worker; 

           (j) upon the expiry of each financial year, report to the Board on the 
                administration of this Act during that year; 

           (k) collect, compile, analyse and maintain such statistics and 
                 information relating to the occurrence or cause of injuries and the 
                 grant of benefits to persons under this Act as he may deem 
                 necessary or as may be required by the Board; 

           (l) conduct research into causes and methods of prevention of 
               accidents, injuries and diseases in respect of which compensation 
               may become payable under this Act and make arrangements with 
               any person having appropriate facilities for the conduct of any 
               such research; 

         (m) investigate whether any disease should be included in or deleted 
               from the Second Schedule and make recommendations to the 
               Board in regard thereto; and 

          (n) perform such other functions and duties as may be assigned to him 
               by the Board, or as are necessary, for the administration of this Act. 

Powers of  
inspection and  
37.  (1) The Commissioner may, under the direction of the Board, in writing 
             authorize, either generally or specially any competent person to 
             investigate any matter falling within his purview and to report to him 
             upon any such matter, and any person so authorized shall have the 
             power to require and take affidavits or declarations as to any matter 
             to which the investigation or report relates, or to take any other 
             declarations required under this Act, and in all cases to administer 
             oaths and attest declarations. 

        (2) Upon the production of the written authority referred to in subsection 
             (1), the person thereby authorized may, without previous notice and 
              at all reasonable times, enter upon any land, works,  premises or 
              other place, and may question any employer or other person and 
              inspect any part of the land, works, premises or other place or any 
              books or documents which may contain information required for the 
              purposes of this Act and take copies of, or extracts from, such 
              books or documents. 

         (3) Any person who obstructs any person authorised under 
               subsection (1) in the lawful exercise of his functions under this 
               section or, in answer to any question or inquiry by such authorised 
               person, makes or subscribes to any statement, knowing it is false, 
               or refuses to answer any question or produce any document, 
               asked for or demanded by such authorised person shall be guilty 
               of an offence and be liable to a fine of K2,000. 

         (4) The Commissioner may, with the advice of the Board, himself 
               exercise any of the powers under this section, and whenever the 
               Commissioner is exercising any such power, all the provisions of 
                this section shall apply. 

Secrecy 38.  (1) If any person in the exercise of any powers conferred or in the 
            performance of any duties imposed by or under this Act acquires 
            information relating to the financial affairs of any other person,-firm 
            or business, or to any manufacturing or commercial secrets or 
            working processes, he shall not, save for the purposes of  legal 
            proceedings under this Act, disclose such information to any other 
            person, except- 

            (a) to a court of law or to any person who by law is invested 
                 with the power to compel the disclosure of such information; or 

            (b) to the Board or to any person acting in the execution of this Act in 
                  so far as such information may be necessary for the execution of 
                  this Act. 

       (2) Any person who wilfully contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) 
            shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to a fine of K3,000. 

Revision of  
by the  
39. (1) The Commissioner may, with the advice of the Board, after giving 
            notice in writing to the person concerned and giving him an opportunity 
            to be heard, at any time review any compensation granted on any 
            of the following grounds- 

           (a) that the worker has not submitted himself for medical examination 
                or has not submitted a medical report when required to do so 
                under the provisions of this Act; 

           (b) that the incapacity which gave rise to the award is continued or 
                aggravated by the unreasonable refusal or wilful neglect of  the 
                worker to submit himself to medical treatment;, 

            (c) that the worker has absented himself in such manner that no 
                  notice can reasonably be served on him; 

            (d) that the Commissioner is satisfied upon the opinion of a medical 
                  practitioner that the degree of incapacity has increased or 
                  diminished or that the worker is no longer suffering from perma- 
                  nent incapacity; 

             (e) that any compensation awarded is or has become either 
                  excessive or insufficient to meet the circumstances of the case; 

             (f) that the award was based on a mistake or misrepresentation 
                 of fact, or that a different award might have been made if 
                 evidence presently available, but which was not available when 
                 the Commissioner made the award, had been produced. 

          (2) The Commissioner, after making such inquiry or receiving 
                such evidence as he deems necessary, may confirm the award of 
                compensation or order the discontinuance, suspension, reduction 
                or increase of any such compensation with the approval of the 

Powers of the  
sioner in  
respect of  
witness, etc.
40. (1) With the general or specific advice of the Board, the Commissioner 
            may, and at the request of any interested party shall, summon any 
            person who may be able to give material information concerning the 
            subject of any investigation or formal inquiry held by him under this 
            Act or under his control, any book, document or thing which has any 
            bearing on the investigation or formal inquiry, to appear before him 
            at a time and place specified in such summons, to be interrogated or 
            to produce such book, document or thing, and the Commissioner 
            may retain for further examination any book,  document or thing so 

       (2) The Commissioner may call, and administer an oath to, any person 
             present at an investigation who was or might have been summoned 
             under the provisions of subsection (1), and the Commissioner and 
             any assessor may interrogate such person and require him to 
             produce any relevant book, document or thing in his possession or 
             custody or under his control. 

        (3) If any person, having been duly summoned under subsection 
             (1), fails without sufficient cause to attend at the time and place 
             specified in such summons, he shall be guilty of an offence and be 
             liable to a fine of K2,000. 

        (4) Any person who, having been duly summoned under subsection 
             (1) or been called under subsection (2), fails to remain in attendance 
             until excused by the Commissioner from further attendance or refuse 
             to be sworn as a witness or fails to answer fully and satisfactorily to 
             the best of his knowledge and belief all questions lawfully put to him, 
             or to produce any book, document or thing in his possession or 
             custody or under his control when lawfully required to do so, shall 
             be guilty of an offence and be liable to a fine of K2,000. 

       (5) In connexion with the interrogation of any person by, or the 
             production of any book, document or thing before the 
            Commissioner, the law relating to privilege, as it applies to a witness 
             summoned to give evidence or produce any book, document or 
             thing before a court, shall apply. 

      (6) Any witness who knowingly gives false testimony touching any matter 
            which is material to any question then pending in any investigation or 
            formal inquiry or intended to be raised in the investigation or inquiry 
            shall be guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for -a period 
            not exceeding one year; and it shall be immaterial whether such 
            testimony is given on oath or under any other sanction authorised by 

       (7) Proceedings before the Commissioner need not take the form of 
             proceedings in an open court and the Commissioner may exclude 
             any persons who are not interested parties. 

        (8) A person summoned to appearbdore the Commissioner may, 
              if the Commissioner, with the advice of the Board, is satisfied that 
              he has, by reason of such appearance, suffered any pecuniary loss 
              or been put to any expense, be paid out of the Fund such allowances 
              as may be prescribed or the amount of such loss and such expense, 
              whichever is less. 

         (9) Any person who wilfully hinders the Commissioner in the exercise 
              of any of the powers conferred upon him by this section shall be 
              guilty of an offence and be liable to a fine of K2,000. 

Objections by  
workers or  
of the  
 41. (1) Any worker or employer affected by a decision of the Commissioner, 
             may, within thirty days of such decision, or within such further period 
             as the Commissioner may, on good cause shown, lodge with the 
             Minister an objection against such decision. 
       (2) An objection under this section shall be in writing and may be in the 
             prescribed form, accompanied by particulars containing- 

             (a) a concise statement of the circumstances in which the objection is 
                  made and the relief or order which the objector claims, or the 
                  question which he desires to have determined; and 

             (b) the full name and address of the objector and of any legal 
                   practitioner or other representative who represents or is to 
                   represent such objector. 

          (3) If, owing to being illiterate or blind or having any other physical 
               disability, an objector is unable to complete the prescribed form 
               or to supply the information required, the labour officer or District 
               Commissioner of the district in which the objector resides shall fill 
                in the objection and particulars in the prescribed form and shall 
                lodge the objection with the Minister. 

on behalf of  
in case of  
death of  
a worker
42. (1) If an objection under section 41 arises out of a claim for 
            compensation in respect of the death of a worker, the objection 
            made on behalf of the dependents shall be made by the representative 
            of deceased worker or, if there is no such representative, by a 
             person appointed by the Commissioner to make such objection and 
             in other respects to act as a representative of the deceased worker for 
             the purposes of this Act, and the Commissioner, with the advice of 
             the Board, shall have power to make such appointments; and, for the 
             purposes of this subsection, "dependents" includes persons who 
             claim or may be entitled to be dependents under the rules of the 
             Wills and Inheritance Act. 

        (2) The representative of a deceased worker under subsection (1) 
              shall comply with the provisions of section 41 as to the lodging of 
              an objection and the particulars to accompany such objection. 

nqiuiry by the 
43.   An objection lodged under the provisions of section 42 shall be 
        considered and determined by the Commissioner in a formal inquiry in 
        such manner as may be prescribed, and the Commissioner, with the 
        advice of the Board, may confirm or vary any decision in respect of 
        which the objection was lodged or give such other decision as in his 
       opinion is equitable. 
Appeal against 
decision of the  
made under  
s. 36  
44.  Any person affected by a decision of the Board, made decision under 
       section 43 may, within twenty-one days of such decision or within such 
       further period as the court may on good cause shown allow, appeal to 
       the court of a Chief Resident Magistrate. 
of obligation
45.  Except where the Commissioner otherwise orders, no obligation 
       to pay any assessment, compensation or other amount to the 
       Commissioner or the Fund, or in respect of a worker by reason of a 
       decision of the Commissioner shall be suspended or deferred by reason 
       of the fact that an objection has been lodged against such decision under 
       section 41 or that an appeal has been lodged under section 44: but if, as 
       a result of any such objection or review, the amount payable by reason 
       of the original decision is varied the person who made the payment shall 
       be entitled to a refund or be liable to pay the additional amount, as the 
       case may be. 
tier may state  
case for  
High Court
46.  (1) The Commissioner may, with the advice of the Board, 
             a and shall at the request of any party to any proceedings under this 
             Act, state a special case on any question of law in conexion with any 
             matter arising in such proceedings for the decision of the High Court. 

       (2) In any case so stated the Commissioner shall set forth- 

             (a) the facts which were established; and 

             (b) the view of the law which he has adopted in relation to those facts. 

decision to the 
High Court 
47. Whenever the Commissioner has any doubt as to the correctness of any 
      decision given by the Workers' Compensation Tribunal on any question 
      of law in connexion with this Act, he may submit that decision to the High 
      Court and cause the matter to be argued before it, in order that it may 
      determine the said question for ffuture guidance. 
Assessors 48.  (1) The Commissioner may with the approval of the Board appoint as an 
             assessor any person skilled in technical questions to it with the 
             Commissioner and to act in an advisory capacity in a formal inquiry 
             under the provisions of section 43. 

        (2) No person shall be appointed as an assessor under this section or, if 
              appointed, sit as an assessor if- , 

              (a) he is an employee of, or associated in any pecuniary manner with, 
                   the employer of the worker concerned; or 

               b) he has, in connexion with the injury or death out of which the 
                    formal inquiry arises, given professional assistance or advice 
                    in regard to the accident or injury or question in dispute to any 
                    party to the inquiry or to any person who may become liable to 
                    pay such worker compensation under this Act. 

          (3) There shall be paid out of the Fund to any person appointed as an 
                assessor under this section, other than any assessor being person 
                employed in the public service, such fees as may be prescribed. 

for the  
by interested  
49.  (1)   Any interested party or any duly authorized person acting on 
               behalf of a worker under this Act may apply to the Commissioner 
               for a determination or order if- 
               (a) any question or matter to be determined by the Commissioner 
                     under this Act has arisen and requires determination; 

        (2)   Applications to the Commissioner under subsection (1) shall 
                be in the prescribed form. 

Enforcement of 
determination of 
the Commissioner
50.   Determinations or orders of the Commissioner under this Act may be 
        enforced as if they were determinations or orders of a Chief Resident 
        Magistrate court in civil cases, irrespective of the value involved. 
Appeals to the 
High Court 
51.   Subject to the conditions set out hereunder an appeal shall lie to the 
        High Court from any order or determination of a court under section 44: 

        Provided that- 

         (a) unless some substantial question of law is involved, no appeal shall 
              lie except with the leave of the court conceped or of the High Court 
              if the amount in dispute in the case is less than K5,000; 

        (b) no appeal shall lie in any case in which the parties have agreed to 
              abide by the determination of the court, or in which the order of the 
              court gives effect to an agreement concluded between the parties; 

         (c) no appeal shall lie after the expiration of thirty days from the 
              order or determination of the court unless the High Court, 
              after consideration of all the circumstances of any particular case, 
              considers it just or proper to extend the time for appealing under 
              this provision.