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COURTS - PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - costs - whether exceptional, special or unusual circumstances justify a departure from the usual rule that costs follow the event

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs v "X" [2002] FCAFC 93 (8

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs v "X" [2002] FCAFC 93 (8 April 2002); [2002] FCA 386
Last Updated: 9 May 2002


Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs v "X" [2002] FCAFC 93
Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs v "X" [2002] FCA 386



NOTE: CHANGES TO THE MEDIUM NEUTRAL CITATION (MNC)
The Federal Court adopted a new medium neutral citation (FCAFC) for Full Court judgments effective from 1 January 2002. Single Judge judgments will not be affected and will retain the FCA medium neutral citation.

The transitional arrangements are as follows:

* All Full Court judgments delivered prior to 1 January 2002 will retain the FCA medium neutral citation.

* All Full Court judgments delivered between 1 January 2002 to 30 April 2002 have been assigned parallel medium neutral citations in both the FCA and FCAFC series.

* All Full Court judgments delivered from 1 May 2002 will contain the FCAFC medium neutral citation only.


FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA
Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs v "X" [2002] FCA 386


COURTS - PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - costs - whether exceptional, special or unusual circumstances justify a departure from the usual rule that costs follow the event

Oshlack v Richmond River Council (1998) 193 CLR 72 - cited

Re Wilcox: Ex parte Venture Industries Pty Ltd (1996) 141 ALR 727 - cited

De Silva v Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs [1998] FCA 311 - cited

Ruddock v Vadarlis [2001] FCA 1865 - cited

MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS v "X"

V 427 OF 2000 AND

MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS v "Y"

V 428 OF 2000

BLACK CJ, LEE AND MERKEL JJ

MELBOURNE

8 APRIL 2002

IN THE FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA


VICTORIA DISTRICT REGISTRY
V 427 of 2000 and

V 428 of 2000




ON APPEAL FROM A JUDGE OF THE FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

BETWEEN:
MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS

APPELLANT

AND:
"X"

RESPONDENT

BETWEEN:
MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS

APPELLANT

AND:
"Y"

RESPONDENT

JUDGES:
BLACK CJ, LEE, MERKEL JJ

DATE OF ORDER:
8 APRIL 2002

WHERE MADE:
MELBOURNE



THE COURT ORDERS THAT each party bear their own costs of the proceeding below and of the appeal.

Note: Settlement and entry of orders is dealt with in Order 36 of the Federal Court Rules.

IN THE FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA


VICTORIA DISTRICT REGISTRY
V 427 of 2000 and

V 428 of 2000




ON APPEAL FROM A JUDGE OF THE FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

BETWEEN:
MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS

APPELLANT

AND:
"
;X&
quot;

RESPONDENT

BETWEEN:
MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS

APPELLANT

AND:
"Y"

RESPONDENT

JUDGES:
BLACK CJ, LEE & MERKEL JJ

DATE:
8 APRIL 2002

PLACE:
MELBOURNE




REASONS FOR JUDGMENT
BLACK CJ:

1 I have read the reasons for judgment of Lee and Merkel JJ. While I agree that there are unusual features of this case, I do not consider them sufficiently exceptional to justify a departure from the usual rule. Accordingly I would order that the respondents pay the appellant's costs of the appeal.

I certify that the preceding one (1) numbered paragraphs is a true copy of the reasons for judgment herein of the Honourable Chief Justice Black.



Associate:

Dated: 3 April 2002

IN THE FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA


VICTORIA DISTRICT REGISTRY
V 427 of 2000 and

V 428 of 2000




ON APPEAL FROM A JUDGE OF THE FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

BETWEEN:
MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS

APPELLANT

AND:
"X"

RESPONDENT

BETWEEN:
MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS

APPELLANT

AND:
"Y"

RESPONDENT

JUDGES:
BLACK CJ, LEE, MERKEL JJ

DATE:
8 APRIL 2002

PLACE:
MELBOURNE




REASONS FOR JUDGMENT
LEE AND MERKEL JJ:

2 On 6 July 2001 the Full Court allowed the appeals by the appellant ("the Minister") in each of the above matters. When judgment was delivered the parties requested an opportunity to file submissions as to costs.

3 The Minister, having succeeded in his appeal, contended that costs ought to follow the event. The respondents opposed those orders claiming that they should get their costs of the proceeding or alternatively the parties should bear their own costs.

4 The event in the present case is the Minister's success in obtaining orders setting aside the orders made by the primary judge and also obtaining orders dismissing the respondents' applications for review of decisions of the Refugee Review Tribunal ("the Tribunal"), which had affirmed decisions of a delegate of the Minister refusing the respondents' applications for a protection visa.

5 The usual order is that costs follow the event. In some cases the Court will depart from the usual order in relation to costs when the justice of the case requires, because of exceptional, special or unusual circumstances: see Oshlack v Richmond River Council (1998) 193 CLR 72 at 126; Re Wilcox: Ex parte Venture Industries Pty Ltd (1996) 141 ALR 727 at 734 and De Silva v Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs [1998] FCA 311 at 3. See also Ruddock v Vadarlis [2001] FCA 1865 at [28]-[29].

6 There are some special features about the present case. First, when the respondents applied for protection visas on the ground that they were refugees, and to the Court for the review of the decisions of the Tribunal, they were minors. After the respondents commenced their proceedings in the Court the Minister applied to the Court for the dismissal of the proceedings on the ground that the applicants were minors and had not sued by a tutor. In the course of the hearing of the application for the dismissal of the proceedings the Minister undertook that, even if he were successful in contesting the proceedings, he would not seek costs against the tutor should the tutor agree to act for the two minors in their proceedings. The primary judge dismissed the motion (see (1999) 164 ALR 583) and both matters proceeded to trial with the respondents as applicants. When judgment was delivered in the respondents' favour the respondents were no longer minors. Although the Minister's undertaking not to seek costs did not apply in the event that a tutor was not appointed, it may be anomalous that he would not seek costs against a tutor who duly and properly conducted the proceedings but is seeking costs when the respondents duly and properly conducted the proceedings without a tutor, using the same solicitors and counsel that we would have expected a tutor to engage.

7 The second special feature is that the main ground upon which the respondents succeeded in their application to the primary judge was no longer available to them on the appeal as a result of the decision of the High Court in Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs v Yusuf (2001) 180 ALR 1 ("Yusuf"), which was handed down after the hearing of the appeal but prior to the delivery of judgment by the Full Court. As a consequence, the main issue argued by both parties on the appeal was not adjudicated upon by the Full Court. When regard is had to the state of the authorities in this Court prior to the decision in Yusuf, as a matter of practical reality, the respondents had no real choice but to contest the Minister's appeals.

8 The third special feature is that, notwithstanding the above matters, the Full Court found that the Tribunal erred in law but determined that the error of law did not contribute to the decisions, which the Full Court concluded would have been the same regardless of the error.

9 Although each of the features to which we have referred, standing alone, may not warrant a departure from the usual order as to costs, when considered cumulatively they warrant such a departure. In all the circumstances, we regard the interests of justice as appropriately served in the present case by the parties bearing their own costs of the proceedings below and of the appeal.

I certify that the preceding eight (8) numbered paragraphs are a true copy of the Reasons for Judgment herein of the Justices Lee and Merkel.



Associate:

Dated: 3 April 2002

Counsel for the Appellant:
Mr AL Cavanough QC




Solicitor for the Appellant:
Australian Government Solicitor




Counsel for the Respondent:
Mr RM Niall




Solicitor for the Respondent:
Erskine Rodan and Associates




Date of Hearing:
8 November 2000




Date of Judgment:
8 April 2002

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