find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
High Court costs ruling could change litigation

High Court costs ruling could change litigation

A recent High Court ruling has thrown into doubt the appropriate application of costs orders.In December 2010, the High Court dismissed an application for a special costs order with regard to a…

A recent High Court ruling has thrown into doubt the appropriate application of costs orders.

In December 2010, the High Court dismissed an application for a special costs order with regard to a case the applicant had lost on appeal.

According to Steve McAuley, a solicitor director of the Sydney firm McAuley Hawach Lawyers, the High Court decision regarding a long-running defamation matter came "out of the blue", with far reaching implications.

"This decision potentially has the impact to affect not only High Court procedure and practice, but it could affect all the courts and tribunals in Australia," McAuley said.

"It has the potential to make people think they need to make their applications for special costs orders earlier than in the past."

The matter stretches back to 1997, when Westpac dishonoured 30 cheques drawn by Sydney real estate agency Homewise.

The sole shareholder of Homewise, Paul Atkas, originally instituted defamation proceedings against Westpac following the incident.

After the NSW Supreme Court ruled against Atkas, the High Court ruled in his favour on appeal in August last year, and awarded him $50,000 with costs.

Westpac then filed a summons seeking a reduction in the amount of total costs it should pay.

The bank submitted that Atkas should pay Westpac's costs from the period after 4 June 2007, as at that time it had offered to pay Aktas and his then co-plaintiff Homewise, $620,000 plus costs, on the condition of confidentiality. Aktas refused.

The High Court dismissed the amended summons from Westpac with costs.

The High Court found that although it had the power to recall the costs orders it made in August, it refused to do so on the grounds that Westpac had "ample opportunity" to foreshadow that it would make an application for special costs orders if the appeal succeeded, and that "the importance of the public interest in the finality of litigation" means that costs should be considered at the same time as the issue at hand.

Despite Atkas making known his preferred costs orders if the appeal was allowed in his notice of appeal, Westpac failed to make any submissions to the contrary until its summons after the judgment was delivered.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

High Court costs ruling could change litigation
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...