Category Archives: Civil procedure

Cachia v Hanes [1994] HCA 14 | 13 April 1994

ON THIS DAY in 1994, the High Court of Australia delivered Cachia v Hanes [1994] HCA 14; (1994) 179 CLR 403; (1994) 120 ALR 385; (1994) 68 ALJR 374 (13 April 1994).

Costs recoverable from an unsuccessful party do not include time spent by a successful litigant who is not a lawyer.

Costs are recoverable under the indemnity principle: for money paid and liabilities incurred for professional legal services. No such costs are incurred when a non-lawyer represents themselves.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1994/14.html

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Luxton v Vines [1952] HCA 19 | 4 April 1952

ON THIS DAY in 1952, the High Court of Australia delivered Luxton v Vines [1952] HCA 19; (1952) 85 CLR 352 (4 April 1952).

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1952/19.html

“In questions of this sort, where direct proof is not available, it is enough if the circumstances appearing in evidence give rise to a reasonable and definite inference: they must do more than give rise to conflicting inferences of equal degrees of probability so that the choice between them is mere matter of conjecture: see per Lord Robson, Richard Evans & Co. Ltd. v. Astley (1911) AC 674, at p 687. But if circumstances are proved in which it is reasonable to find a balance of probabilities in favour of the conclusion sought then, though the conclusion may fall short of certainty, it is not to be regarded as a mere conjecture or surmise: cf. per Lord Loreburn (1911) AC, at p 678″. (at p358)”

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Jones v Dunkel [1959] HCA 8 | 3 March 1956

ON THIS DAY IN 1959, the High Court delivered Jones v Dunkel [1959] HCA 8; (1959) 101 CLR 298 (3 March 1959).

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1959/8.html

The unexplained failure of a party to use certain evidence may, in some circumstances, result in an inference that the evidence would not have assisted their case.

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British American Tobacco Australia Services Limited v Laurie [2011] HCA 2 | 9 February 2011

ON 9 FEBRUARY 2011, the High Court of Australia delivered British American Tobacco Australia Services Limited v Laurie [2011] HCA 2 (9 February 2011).

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2011/2.html

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The Pracitioner’s Guide to Civil Litigation

The Practitioner’s Guide to Civil Litigation (3rd Edition) is a handy resource for inexperienced users of the NSW court system.

For a free copy, visit http://www.lawsociety.com.au/cs/groups/public/documents/internetyounglawyers/026375.pdf

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Sydney, Australia

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Free Small Claims Guide – Fair Work Ombudsman

The Fair Work Ombudsman has published a guide for employees taking action to recover entitlements of up to $20,000.

The guide helps employees resolve disputes quickly and effectively. It contains useful information and tips on how to have a favourable outcome at minimal cost. The guide can be obtained free of charge by visiting http://www.fairwork.gov.au/smallclaims.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2014/11.html

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Civil Procedure Act 2005 (NSW) | 15 August 2005

ON 15 AUGUST 2005, the substantive provisions of the NSW Civil Procedure Act 2005 commenced.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/cpa2005167/

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Watts v Rake [1960] HCA 58 | 12 August 1960

ON 12 AUGUST 1960, the High Court of Australia delivered Watts v Rake [1960] HCA 58; (1960) 108 CLR 158 (12 August 1960).http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1960/58.html

In a personal injuries action, the defendant bears the evidentiary onus of proof to “exclude the accident as a contributory cause” of the plaintiff’s disabilities: per Dixon CJ at 160.

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Aon Risk Services Australia Limited v Australian National University [2009] HCA 27 | 5 August 2009

ON 5 AUGUST 2009, the High Court of Australia delivered Aon Risk Services Australia Limited v Australian National University [2009] HCA 27 (5 August 2009).

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2009/27.html

In Aon Risk Services Australia Limited v Australian National University, the Australian National University on day three of a four week hearing was granted an adjournment to make significant amendments to their statement of claim against their insurance broker. The ACT Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal of the decision except in relation to costs. The High Court of Australia allowed an appeal, setting aside the Court of Appeal’s decision and sending the matter back to the ACT Supreme Court for directions towards final determination.

The High Court considered its earlier decision of Queensland v J L Holdings Pty Ltd [1997] HCA 1; (1997) 189 CLR 146; (1997) 141 ALR 353; (1997) 71 ALJR 294 (14 January 1997) in the light of how it had been applied by the courts across Australia.

JL Holdings contains the often quoted passage regarding case management:

“Case management is not an end in itself. It is an important and useful aid for ensuring the prompt and efficient disposal of litigation. But it ought always to be borne in mind, even in changing times, that the ultimate aim of a court is the attainment of justice and no principle of case management can be allowed to supplant that aim.”

Queensland v JL Holdings had come to be an authority for the propositions that (1) doing justice between the parties is paramount to the court’s use of discretion when determining an application for leave to amend  (2)case management principles should not limit a court’s discretion when considering such applications and (3) an application for leave to amend should be approached on the basis that a party is entitled to raise an arguable claim subject to payment of costs by way of compensation.

The majority in Aon Risk Services Australia Limited v Australian National University (Gummow, Hayne, Crennan, Kiefel and Bell JJ) at [111-113] held that applications for leave to amend should not be approached on the basis that a party is entitled to raise an arguable claim subject to costs as compensation.

The majority also held that the statements made in Queensland v JL Holdings regarding the limiting of case management principles should not be applied in the future.

French CJ at [30] added that to ignore the concerns of case management would be to ignore the facts of undue delay, wasted costs, strain and uncertainty and erode public confidence in the legal system.

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Williams v Spautz [1992] HCA 34 | 27 July 1992

ON 27 JULY 1992, the High Court of Australia delivered Williams v Spautz [1992] HCA 34; (1992) 174 CLR 509 (27 July 1992).

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1992/34.html

The case concerns the use of the court’s power to grant a stay of proceedings when the proceedings have been used for an improper purpose.

After being dismissed from the University of Newcastle, Dr Spautz threatened, instituted and maintained private prosecutions of charges of conspiracy and criminal defamation against former colleagues including Professor Williams and others (“the appellants”).

The appellants obtained a stay of proceedings order from the Supreme Court of NSW. The trial judge found that the proceedings had been brought for the improper purpose of “exerting pressure upon the University of Newcastle to reinstate him and/or to agree to a favourable settlement of his wrongful dismissal case”.

The NSW Court of Appeal quashed the orders, holding that the appellants could receive a fair trial and that there was no evidence of any misconduct in the way the prosecution was conducted.

The High Court allowed an appeal, setting aside the Court of Appeal’s decision, declaring that the prosecutions were an abuse of process and ordering that the prosecutions be stayed permanently.

The decision provides:

  • Australian courts have the inherent jurisdiction to stay criminal and civil proceedings.
  • The court may grant stays in (1) proceedings in which a party may not receive a fair trial and (2) proceedings brought for an improper purpose.
  • Before granting a stay for improper purpose, the court is not required to satisfy itself that there will be an unfair trial if the prosecution is not stopped: at 519-520.
  • Proceedings may be stayed notwithstanding that the prosecution has a prima facie case: at 522.
  • The court must have the power to act effectively within its jurisdiction, even if it means refraining from exercising their jurisdiction as it is in the public interest to ensure public confidence that the processes are used fairly and not for oppression or injustice.

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