Actuaries will model alternative compulsory third party insurance schemes before Canberra's first citizen jury even meets, in a move critics say raises questions about the "integrity" of the jury process.
Ernst and Young will be paid up to $770,000 to model different compulsory third party insurance scheme designs, as part of the deliberative democracy pilot.
However their contract with the ACT government stated the company had to cost up schemes based on other jurisdictions, including hybrid no-fault schemes, before the end of September. The jurors will first meet this month.
That costing would occur during the "policy discussion phase", the contract states, and would only need to provide relative cost and premium ranges for passenger vehicles only.
The company will also model one or more specific scenarios in the "policy decision phase" and provide indicative whole of scheme costs and estimated premiums.
ACT Law Society president Sarah Avery said: "The contract raises further concerns about the fairness of the citizens jury process and the integrity of the eventual outcome."
The Law Society, the ACT Bar Association, and the Australian Lawyers Alliance have joined under the banner of ACTCTP.org to head off any changes to the ACT's current at-fault, uncapped scheme.
Ms Avery previously said the information to be given to jurors "lacked transparency" and that Chief Minister Andrew Barr wanted to bring in a more "restrictive" CTP scheme.
However a spokesman for Mr Barr said the modelling was necessary to help the jury understand how their priorities might affect costs.
"[To do this], the government has requested that the actuary (Ernst and Young) provide a report comparing the ACT scheme to the most different alternative scheme design, with a focus on which elements can put more or less pressure on premiums. This will give the jury some information on which to base their initial deliberations," he said.
"The actuary has been contracted to then cost up to four models developed by the stakeholder reference group that respond to the priorities set by the jury. These costings will be taken back to the jury in March 2018 and will be one piece of information provided to help them decide which of the stakeholder reference group's models best meets the priorities that they, the jury, had set."
Only 76 people have registered for the jury, despite 6000 invitations being mailed out earlier this month.
Fifty people will be chosen for the jury, which will meet over two weekends to develop a list of priorities for a new insurance scheme for the ACT.
Those priorities will then be shaped into alternative models by a stakeholder group, with the help of Ernst and Young.
The models will then go back to the jury and be ranked in order of preference.
The contract also calls for Ernst and Young to do some "ad hoc" modelling at the request of the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate.
Mr Barr's spokesman said the deliberative democracy process was "responsive to the needs of the jury for information, therefore further ad-hoc modelling requests have been built into the contract".
He said the government may also need to call on technical advice from the consultant in the process of preparing legislation for introduction to the ACT parliament.