21 September 2011
of the Legislative Council
PROCEEDINGS BILL 2011 (No. 14)
- Madam President, just a small contribution. I agree with the bill
because there is a right for people to have access to the judicial
system and there are some people, and fortunately they are few in
number, who abuse that right by bringing actions and claims that have
no substantive base apart from perhaps the claimant's somewhat
jaundiced view of what is justice.
investigating this bill I talked to a solicitor friend of mine who
had the experience of being the solicitor to an estate where two
sisters were executrices of their mother's estate and the
of that estate was held up for almost six years because of claims -
- That is unreasonable delay.
- Yes. It was claimed by one sister that there had been improper
dealings by a third sister in connection with assets of the mother
before the mother's death and then subsequent to her death.
Blood is not thicker than water.
- No, that is right, particularly when there is a will involved. The
executrix launched several claims in the lower court and also two in
the Supreme Court. The point is that she was not represented by a
legally qualified person. These actions not only involved the third
sister but also brought in the other executrix as the co-executrix so
it was very messy
and eventually the actions were all dismissed as having no basis in
law and in some of the matters no basis in fact so
there was a vexatious process that went over a period of six years.
Forrest - Was it
vexatious, though, or was it just seeking advice?
Mulder - Are you
suggesting that these people would have been called vexatious
FINCH - They may have
been; I am probably drawing a long bow there to suggest that.
However, while attempting to block spurious actions or claims by a
vexatious litigant through legislation, care needs to be exercised
that the legislation cannot be used to block legitimate actions by a
person or persons who will be pursuing a legitimate claim or claims
against a person or organisation, or in fact the State.
there is something that you might care to address for me, in your
summing up. There was a suggestion that there is no provision whereby
a union, a wilderness society or any other organisation can be
prevented from instituting proceedings in different States over the
same issue or the matter. You might just give me some clarification
on that. I support the bill.