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Accident Compensation Cases

Rupe v Accident Compensation Corporation (HC, 08/08/08)

Judgment Text

Asher J
There are before the Court two matters. First, the applicant, Mr Rupe, seeks an order granting him leave to appeal against a decision of Rodney Hansen J of 27 May 2008. Secondly, he has filed an ex parte application for a stay of proceedings in both the High Court and the District Court, pending the disposal of this application and any further application for special leave that he may bring to the Court of Appeal against the decision of Rodney Hansen J. 
The application for leave to appeal 
On 15 February 2008 Judge TR Ingram rescinded an order made by another Judge, which had extended the time for filing a statement of defence until the appeal process exhausted. Judge Ingram ordered Mr Rupe to file and serve a statement of defence within 21 days. It was that decision that Mr Rupe appealed against. 
Mr Rupe argued that the District Court proceedings should effectively continue to be stayed until the Waitangi Tribunal, which is considering a matter of relevance to Mr Rupe's interests, delivered a decision. Rodney Hansen J dismissed the appeal. He did not believe that there were any substantial grounds raised. He considered that Mr Rupe's sweeping contentions that the District Court did not have jurisdiction against Mr Rupe as a Mäori had no prospect of succeeding. He referred to the case of R v Knowles CA146/98 12 October 1998, affirming that the law of New Zealand applies to all persons within New Zealand. 
Section 67(1) of the Judicature Act 1908 provides: 
“67 Appeals against decisions of High Court on appeal 
The decision of the High Court on appeal from an inferior court is final, unless a party, on application, obtains leave to appeal against that decision— 
to the Court of Appeal; or 
directly to the Supreme Court (in exceptional circumstances as provided for in section 14 of the Supreme Court Act 2003). 
Leave is therefore required for this appeal. 
The test to be applied was stated in Cuff v Broadlands Finance Ltd [1987] 2 NZLR 343 (CA)Has partially negative history or cases citing, but has not been reversed or overruled[Yellow]  at 346-347. Leave may be given: 
“ … where the appeal would raise some question of law or fact capable of bona fide and serious argument in a case involving some interest, public or private, of sufficient importance to outweigh the cost and delay of the further appeal. ”
This approach has been reiterated in a number of cases including Waller v Hider [1998] 1 NZLR 412 (CA)Has Litigation History which is not known to be negative[Blue] . In that case Blanchard J stated at 413: 
“Upon a second appeal this Court is not engaged in the general correction of error. Its primary function is then to clarify the law and to determine whether it has been properly construed and applied by the Court below. It is not every alleged error of law that is of such importance, either generally or to the parties, as to justify further pursuit of litigation which has already been twice considered and ruled upon by a Court. ”
The decision of Rodney Hansen J does not raise any question of law or fact capable of bona fide and serious argument. The principles applied by Rodney Hansen J are well settled. Nor does his decision raise any matter of some interest public or private, of sufficient importance to outweigh the cost and delay of a further appeal. The Courts have dealt with the issues dealt with by Rodney Hansen J on many occasions. His decision is entirely in accord with established principle. 
Therefore, I am not persuaded that leave should be granted for the appeal. That application is dismissed. 
The application for stay or disposal of proceedings 
Mr Rupe effectively raises the same issues in this application, without the focus being on the decision of Rodney Hansen J. Mr Rupe says that the proceedings should be stayed until all his opportunities for leave to appeal the decision of Rodney Hansen J are exhausted, including application for special leave to the Court of Appeal. He argues that Rodney Hansen J has misinterpreted other relevant decisions and minutes. The way in which he puts his latest submission is that he seeks an extension of time within which he may particularise his application for leave to appeal. He claims that he is so busy preparing for other Court matters that he has no time to prepare properly for these proceedings. He refers to his own work commitments in this regard and says that he is not sitting on his hands. He claims to be unfairly over-burdened and over-stressed. 
The grounds put forward by Mr Rupe do not provide a proper basis for any stay of a proceedings or granting of extra time. The proceedings he defends are straightforward. They are a claim for a debt by the Accident Compensation Corporation. Mr Rupe has for quite some time now been trying to raise matters of broad principle to stop or delay the proceedings. The issues he raises so far have not had any merit, and there is no new matter raised before me that appears to have any merit. The proceedings have already been greatly delayed. It would be quite wrong to grant further extensions of time or a stay. 
The fact is that Mr Rupe must give priority to his obligations to meet timetable orders in these proceedings or he will suffer the consequences. I am not persuaded that there are any matter relating to his personal affairs would warrant a stay or an extension of time. 
The application for a stay is declined. 
Mr Rupe fails on both his applications. He is ordered to pay costs to the Accident Compensation Corporation on a 2B basis. 

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