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Accident Compensation Cases

Lethbridge v Accident Compensation Corporation (DC, 30/07/02)

Judgment Text

Judge A A P Willy
This appeal, lodged on 30 March 1999, is from a decision of a Reviewer given on 3 March 1999, in which the Reviewer held he had no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal. 
In his notice of appeal Mr Lethbridge gave an address for service at Flat 16, 217 Pembroke Road, Northland, Wellington. 
In the intervening time the Registrar has corresponded with Mr Lethbridge at that address on a number of occasions, and he has replied either in writing or by phone. 
On 17 November 1999 Judge Middleton issued a minute to the parties concerning production of documents. That was sent to the appellant on 19 January 2000. In a covering letter Mr Lethbridge was advised that there would be a circuit sitting in Wellington on 13 — 17 March 2000 at which time the appeal could be heard. 
The appellant called to see the Registrar on 25 January 2000 and on 31 January wrote requesting a hearing on the papers. ACC were agreeable providing they received copies of the appellant's submissions. 
The Registrar wrote to the appellant on 9 February requesting the submissions. The letter was returned “not at this address”. He wrote again on 12 April to the same address. The appellant received the letter and rang the Registrar. 
On 19 April 2000 the appellant wrote to the respondent and the Registrar. He in turn wrote on 16 and 31 May 2000. Mr Lethbridge responded on 25 May. Since that time the Registrar has written seven letters to the appellant. He has responded to none of them. On 14 December 2001 the appellant was notified that if his submissions were not filed by 10 January 2002, the appeal would be dismissed. 
On 31 January 2002 the Registrar checked with Telecom directory service. They have no address for Mr Lethbridge or an extant phone number. 
It is an appellant's obligation to notify the Registrar and the respondent of any change of his address for service. 
Rule 562 of the District Courts Rules 1992 provides that: 
If the appellant does not prosecute the appeal with due diligence the Court may, on the application of any other party, or of the tribunal or person whose decision is appealed from, dismiss the appeal. ”
A failure to respond to correspondence extending over more than a year, and to give a current address for service, in my view is a failure to prosecute the appeal with due diligence. 
The Corporation having applied to dismiss the appeal, it is dismissed accordingly. 
Costs are reserved. 

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