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Importance of proactively progressing claim

Bisnovaty v Matchland Pty Ltd [2019] QCA 241 Court of Appeal

Fraser and Philippides JJA and Lyons SJA

5 November 2019

Background

The plaintiff was injured on 23 May 2011 while undertaking a task during the course of his employment.

The plaintiff issued court proceedings in February 2013.

The claim was listed for hearing in the Brisbane District Court on two occasions, in 2015 and 2016 but the hearings were adjourned as the plaintiff was requested to provide further documents and information.

In March 2017, the District Court ordered that the plaintiff provide documents and information and attend for medical examinations. The plaintiff never complied with the order.

In December 2018, the plaintiff's claim was dismissed for failing to comply with the court orders and for failing to proactively progress his claim.

The plaintiff appealed this decision. He claimed that he had been denied procedural fairness and natural justice.

By the time of the appeal, the plaintiff was self-represented.

Liability

Liability was not in dispute but the nature of the injuries sustained and the amount of damages claimed was in dispute.

Judgement / Findings

In a judgment delivered on 5 November 2019, the Court of Appeal dismissed the plaintiff's appeal.

The Court of Appeal found that there was no evidence to support that the plaintiff had been denied procedural fairness.

While the admission of liability is ordinarily a significant consideration, the Court of Appeal found that its significance was lessened where the amount of damages was in dispute. It also found the plaintiff had deliberately failed to comply with the court orders from March 2017 and he was personally responsible for the serious delays in progressing his claim.

Discussion / Implications

This decision highlights the importance of the obligation in the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 to proactively progress proceedings as well as the importance of complying with orders of the Court.