Costs: s.56 PIPA – nil damages & self represented party

Swindells v Hosking & Anor (No 2) [2012] QDC 17

I refer to my earlier posting concerning the trial decision. The matter returned on the question of costs and in particular the application of s.56 of the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act (“PIPA”), together with costs for self represented litigants (defendants).

Dorney QC, DCJ considered s.56 PIPA and that no “award” of damages had been made. His Honour applied Amos v Brisbane City Council [2005] QCA 433 and noted in such cases, s.56 did not apply and reverted to Uniform Civil Procedure Rules (“UCPR”), namely the discretion is usually exercised in favour of costs following the event: Oshlack v Richmond River Council (1998) 192 CLR 72 at 97 [67].

Apropos a self represented litigant his Honour noted there may be difficulty in such a person satisfying the requirement of professional legal costs: Henderson v Taylor, Information Commissioner for Queensland [2006] QCA 267 and CAR & Anor v Department of Child Safety [2010] QCA 49.

In the end Dorney QC, DCJ made an order that the plaintiff pay the defendants’ costs of the proceeding to be assessed on the standard basis.

Brisbane Barrister – David Cormack

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