Application to change the venue from Rockhampton

Manasse v Shine Lawyers Pty Ltd [2019] QSC 123

Crow J

Facts

The respondent sought damages for professional negligence from the applicant, Shine Lawyers, for allegedly improperly advising her to settle a personal injury claim for $150,000.00 [1]-[5].

Issue

Shine Lawyers, the applicant sought to have the trial venue changed from Rockhampton to Brisbane [6].

Applicable Law

Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (UCPR) r 39 allows the Court to change the venue of a trial if it is satisfied that it would be more convenient or fairly held at another location [7].

National Mutual Holdings Pty Ltd & Ors v The Sentry Corporation & Anor (1988) 19 FCR 155 enunciates a test for the Court to consider;  ‘where can the case be conducted or continued most suitably bearing in mind the interests of all the parties, the ends of justice in the determination of the issues between them, and the most efficient administration of the Court.’

Clark v Ernest Henry Mining Pty Ltd [2018] QSC 253 at 162; the applicant must prove that the proceeding would be more conveniently or fairly held elsewhere. Factors to consider in determining this include; ‘the residence of the parties, the residence of witnesses, the expense to the parties, the place where the cause of action arose, and the convenience of the Court itself.’ [9].

Consideration of the applicable law regarding expert evidence being given by audio-visual link; UCPR r 427, Evidence Act 1977 (Qld) ss 39PB, 39Y. [13]-[19].

Decision

The applicant failed to demonstrate that the proceeding could be more conveniently held in Brisbane [21]-[27].

Factors considered by Crow J

  • Expert evidence can be given by audio visual means.
  • The barrister alleged to have acted improperly is a practitioner of 32 years standing in Brisbane. The probability of the barrister being known to a judge in Rockhampton is much lower [22].
  • The applicant would suffer inconvenience and unknown costs if the trial location was moved to Rockhampton, the respondent would suffer inconvenience and known costs of $6,500 to $7,000 if the trial location was changed to Brisbane [23].
  • Availability of trial dates in both locations, but earlier in Rockhampton and more definite trial dates [24]-[27].

Orders

Application dismissed with costs reserved [30].

David Cormack – Brisbane Barrister & Mediator

Matthew Stephen – research assistant

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