Further to an earlier post, a further recent skirmish in the matter of Pollard v Endale Pty Ltd is of note. 

This latest instalment concerning this dispute between Ms Pollard and the operators of Mount Lawley’s Private Hospital, is a decision by Judge Davis on 28 August 2009 (Pollard v Endale Pty Ltd [2009] WADC 135).  

This decision related to an application by Ms Pollard for an adjournment of the trial in the matter, due to proceed on 7 September 2009. The application was dismissed and from my review of the Court list, it appears this has lead to a resolution of the matter, one way or another (I suspect, not on terms the Plaintiff would be happy with).

The interesting issue arising concerning this application is that this is one of the first occasions in which our District Court has considered the recent High Court decision in Aon Risk Services Australia Limited v Australian National University [2009] HCA 27.  

This recent decision by the High Court has been met with concern by lawyers handling claims in the medical negligence and other personal injury areas, because it appears (and this seems supported by Judge Davis’ interpretation) to toughen Courts’ stance to delays or requests for indulgence.  

Somewhat against the ‘accepted position’ following the High Court’s previous well known decision in JL Holdings, which emphasised the ultimate goal for Courts of ensuring justice between the parties, such decision emphasised potential prejudice to the quality of justice where there is unnecessary delay in Court proceedings.  It also emphasised as a “public interest” consideration of the efficient use of Courts, as factors against allowing a late adjournment of Trial.

Judge Davis’ decision reinforces the impression already arising following the High Court’s decision in Aon Risk Services, that it will now be harder for Plaintiffs (and for that matter Defendants) to obtain adjournments of Trial or other indulgences, if they are likely to delay or extend a Trial and the Court’s commitment of resources to it. 

It appears those seeking a ‘late’ adjournment, extension of time or amendment now (more than ever) better be well prepared and can expect close scrutiny of the reasons for such issues arising late in the piece.