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Accident Compensation Cases

Raimona v Accident Compensation Corporation (HC, 08/05/02)

Judgment Text

Costs Judgment of Nicholson J 
Nicholson J
On 28 February 2002 I declined Mr Raimona's application for leave to appeal by way of case stated in respect of a decision of Harrison J given on 19 December 2001. 
I concluded my judgment by saying: 
“At the end of his judgment Harrison J said: 
‘In conclusion, I record that during oral argument I repeatedly invited Mr Minchin to identify, with precision, the error or errors of law apparent on the face of the judgment which were material to the Judge's decision to dismiss Mr Raimona's appeal against ACC's decision to cease paying weekly compensation on the ground that he had a capacity for work. Mr Minchin was unable to oblige; his responses were discursive and circular. I had the impression that this application was advanced without a realistic assessment or appreciation of the merits or of what constitutes a question or error of law in the context of an application for special leave to appeal.’ 
That situation has been repeated in the hearing of this application for special leave. I am of the same view as Harrison J that this is a case in which it would be appropriate to award costs to the Accident Compensation Corporation on a solicitor/client basis. Harrison J invited counsel to file memoranda concerning costs. I have been advised that the Corporation did not wish to seek costs and accordingly costs were not pursued. If it wishes to seek costs in respect of this further failed application for leave to appeal, then I am prepared to receive memoranda from counsel to be filed no later than 5 pm, 22 March 2002 on the issue of costs if they cannot be agreed between themselves. ”
Counsel cannot agree on costs. The respondent seeks an award of $1000. Ms Silcock advises that that sum is not the actual solicitor/client costs of the Corporation and is modest in light of the history of the matter. 
In his memorandum Mr Minchin said that while it could not be said that the $1000 sought is not a reasonable contribution to costs in Mr Raimona's particular circumstances such an award would result in hardship for him and his family. He stated that Mr Raimona is currently on an invalid's benefit, has sought legal aid on this matter, however a decision on a grant of legal aid has not yet arrived. 
In light of the lack of merit in the appeal to the High Court heard by Harrison J from the appeal decision of Judge Barber and the compounding lack of merit in the application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal I would as indicated in my judgment have been prepared to consider an award of costs to the Corporation on a solicitor/client basis. Had the Corporation sought this and the solicitor and client costs been substantially more than the $1000 sought I would have given appropriate weight to Mr Raimona's financial position. However, as the costs sought are indeed modest, Mr Raimona's financial position is not a factor which I consider should reduce that amount. He should have been well aware of the possible financial consequences of pursuing further appeal after not succeeding on the appeal heard by Judge Barber and after Harrison J made it very clear that further appeal had no merit. 
In the circumstances I order that Mr Raimona pay costs of $1000 to the Corporation in respect of his unsuccessful application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal by way of case stated. 

From Accident Compensation Cases

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