Excessive delay causing subtle prejudice insufficient to stop claim progressing to compulsory conference.

January 15, 2018

 

A brief case note on Mears v State of Queensland [2017] QDC 322.

 

His Honour Horneman-Wren SC DCJ faced an application to set down a compulsory conference date and time, as against a respondent seeking to oppose based on extraordinary delay resulting in prejudice, under the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (“PIPA”).  This act covers public liability claims in Qld.

 

An earlier application to protect the legal action from expiry had been made under s.59 of PIPA, by consent, but which this Court felt as a discretion applied the Registrar may not have had jurisdiction to make the orders.  Be that as it may the orders did not provide a time by when the compulsory conference had to take place – just extended time beyond the conference, whenever it is held.

 

Interestingly the respondent also submitted orders extending time made under s.59 carried an expiration date of 6 months (on basis that was reasonable period to comply with the orders.)  The Court had little trouble showing the orders did not expire (they did not say they did!) and were not uncertain.

 

The respondent could have brought an application itself to force the pace but failed to do so despite saying it would.

 

In the end the prejudice to the claimant of losing any right to damages outweighed the subtle prejudice a long delay caused to the respondent.

Costs were effectively left to the trial judge but likely to simply be each party will bear their own costs in the long run.

 

The full case is available from the Supreme Court Library at https://archive.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2017/QDC17-322.pdf.

 

 

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