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Federal Court describes 'Herculean effort' of C7 judgement

The Federal Court yesterday detailed the enormity of the task facing both the trial and appeal judges on the C7 "mega litigation".

user iconKate Gibbs 03 December 2009 The Bar
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THE Federal Court yesterday detailed the enormity of the task facing both the trial and appeal judges on the C7 "mega litigation".   

In dismissing the Seven Network's appeal in a $200 million trade practices suit, the Court yesterday ran through the volume of the material facing it, as well as the trail judge Sackville. 


The justices agreed with Justice Sackville's description of the case in 2007 as "mega litigation". 

Detailing the massive number of pages in the case, the judges said it was a "herculean effort" to go through them. 

Justice Sackville's description, they said, "is appropriate". 

"The pleadings occupied 1,028 pages. The trial occupied 120 sitting days. The transcript of the trial is 9,530 pages in length. The statements of the witnesses’ evidence in chief totalled 3,654 pages, of which 2,041 pages were those of the expert witnesses. 12,849 documents totalling 115,586 pages were tendered by way of evidence. The applicants’ written closing submissions in chief totalled 1,556 pages. The respondents between them generated 2,594 pages of written closing submissions. The applicants’ submissions in reply totalled 812 pages," the justices said. 

The three judges empathised with "the enormity of the task" that faced Justice Sackville. "His Honour’s reasons for judgment total some 1,173 pages including annexures and consist of 3,399 paragraphs.

"The reasons for judgment disclose the Herculean effort that the trial Judge made to distil the facts and arrive at the very substantial factual findings which he made. The task must have been a great burden but, if we may so, it was discharged admirably," the justices said.

But as Justice Sackville faced the mass litigation, so too did the Federal Court. it had before it all of the documents that were before the trail judge, together with his reasons, a notice of appeal of 21 ages and three separate notices of contention of eight, four and five pages. 

In addition, the Court was faced with the appellants' written submissions in chief, making up 205 pages, and in reply of 52 pages. It contended with the News respondents' submissions of 258 pages and in reply 11 pages, as well as PBL's written submissions of 92 pages and Telstra's written submissions of 80 pages. 

The appeal took 13 sittings in total. 

However, the justices noted yesterday, "whilst this Court has even more papers before it than the trial judge had, we have the considerable advantage of his reasons" 

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