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Report No. 192

Queensland:

In Queensland, the relevant Act is the 'Vexatious Litigants Act 1981.'

Section 2(1) of the Act defines 'legal proceedings' as being 'any cause, matter, action, suit or proceeding of any kind within the jurisdiction of any court or tribunal and includes any proceedings taken in connection with any such legal proceedings pending before any Court or tribunal. Section 2 also defines 'person declared to be a vexatious litigant' as including a person in respect of whom there is in force an order of a description first specified in section 7.

Section 2(1) also defines 'register' as one kept at the registry of the Supreme Court at Brisbane under section 6.

Section 2(2) states that legal proceedings include an appeal, challenge, review or the calling into question in anyway, a decision made under section 9A (6).

The following applications are not to be taken as legal proceedings - (i) an application for variation mentioned in section 3(3), (iii) an application for revocation mentioned in section 4. (iv) an application for leave mentioned in ss 8, 9.

'Declaration of vexatious litigants upon application by public officials' is covered by section 3. Sec 3(1) provides that if the Supreme Court or a Judge in satisfied that a person is 'frequently and without reasonable ground' instituted vexatious legal proceedings or procured vexatious subpoena, summons to a witness, warrants or process to be issued or that any person acting in concert with such a person has, without reasonable ground, instituted vexatious legal proceedings or procured vexatious subpoena, summonses to a witness, warrants or process to be issued, the Supreme Court or such Judge may, after hearing such person and, if the case requires it, such other person, or giving him or her or them an opportunity of being heard, by its, his or her order, declare such person and such other persons to be a vexatious litigant.

Section 3(2) says that such an order under section 3(1) shall be made only upon the application of the Attorney General, the Solicitor-General, the Crown Solicitor or the Registrar of the Supreme Court, Brisbane etc.

Section 3(3) states that the Supreme Court or a Judge thereof may make an order under section 3(1) so as to contain such conditions or qualifications or to have such limited application as appear to it, him or her to be appropriate and may, upon application of an official specified in section 3 (2) or of the person declared to be a vexatious litigant vary the order so made, by varying or rescinding the conditions or qualifications or limits to which such an order is for the time being subject.

Section 4 deals with revocation of an order made under section 3 and section 5 provides for reinstatement of a declaration made under section 3, within a period of 5 years from the revocation order, legal proceedings are stayed, dismissed or struck out, or being the issue of a subpoena, summons to a witness, warrant or other process, are set aside as being vexatious, oppressive, frivolous or are abuse of procedures of the Court/tribunal.

Section 6 refers to notification of the orders by Gazette and section 7 says that Court orders shall be deemed as declaration under the Act.

Section 8 requires the person declared as a vexatious litigant to seek leave before instituting or taking any legal proceedings. Sec 8(1A) says that proceedings instituted or taken in contravention of section 8(1) shall be invalid and of no force or effect in law.

Section 8(2) prohibits, in such an event, the continuance of proceedings already instituted. Section 8(2A) states that the section does not apply to proceedings already started with leave. Otherwise, proceedings already commenced require leave under section 3.

Sections 8(4), (4A) deal with extension of period of limitation for action if any application for leave is filed within the time limited..

Section 9 lays down the procedure to be followed by vexatious litigants to obtain leave from the Supreme Court, or a Judge thereof or a District Judge or a Magistrate or a tribunal. Section 9A refers to the documents or steps to be taken before filing an application for leave in a Court or tribunal.

Section 10 permits the Judge or Magistrate or other person hearing an application for leave under section 8 or 9 to impose conditions as to security for costs, etc.

Section 11 says that leave shall not be granted under ss 8 or 9 unless it is established that there is prima facie ground, or sufficient reason and there is no abuse of process. Security for costs could also be ordered.

Section 13 refers to the mode of service of document by or on behalf of the vexatious litigant or person acting in concert. In the proceedings taken by or against a vexatious litigant, service has to be effected by a solicitor, or his employee or duly appointed bailiff etc.

Section 15 states that documents in contravention of the Act are not required to be accepted. Section 16 deals with issue of bench warrants and section 17 with setting aside proceedings ex parte. Other sections of the Act are not being referred to as they are not that important.



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