6 responses to “Recommended Reading for 22 October, 2010”

  1. Kali

    I know this is because I’m coming from a US law background, but I don’t understand the order to cap court costs and why a plaintiff would want one. Can someone tell me what this all means? (In the US, we talk about doing things like proceeding in forma pauperis (in the manner of the poor) where the court waives filing fees, and I’m not sure if this is at all similar. I work for a non-profit, so all of our cases proceed i.f.p.)


  2. abby jean

    kali – i’m not an expert on australian law by any stretch of the imagination, so take this with a grain of salt! but it appears to me that this caps the costs that haraksin would have to pay if she lost her claim. i’m not sure how fee waivers (IFPs) work in australian courts, but it appears that haraskin did not qualify for one. the organization working on the litigation seems to have recently established legal right to cap costs in cases where the plaintiff won’t benefit financially and the case is in the public interest. since haraskin is suing for an order telling the transportation company to follow the law, not for financial damages, she qualified to have costs capped under this new theory.

    it’s not surprising that she wouldn’t qualify for a fee waiver – the standards are pretty strict. here in CA, you have to either be on a welfare program for very low income folks or have weekly household income below $1,900 for 3 people. so it’s still possible to be poor but to not qualify for a waiver – especially in a case like this where the alleged discrimination isn’t related to financial status.

  3. lauredhel

    My understanding (and I am not a lawyer) is that the cap is of the other party’s legal costs that might be awardable if the plaintiff should lose her case. One way for big companies to discourage small litigants is for the big company’s legal costs to skyrocket, meaning that if the plaintiff loses and there’s a costs award, they have to pay the big company ridiculous amounts of money. Making sure your little opponent is staring down the barrel of hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs should they lose is a nice simple way to force them to quietly drop the case.

  4. Gleecrip

    That’s right lauredhel. And it makes the DDA here in Australia a pretty useless piece of legislation. The least able are put through the grinder and then may lose anyway going up against ppl and companies with lots of money for lawyers.

  5. Gleecrip

    we do get a fee waiver to lodge the complaint with the Federal Court if we are on the disability support pension but that does not include costs being awarded against you. I couldn’t even do a complaint if I did get costs lowered as $15,000 is too much for me.

  6. Kali

    Thanks guys! That makes sense, but wow is that a rough set-up. I’m trying to decide whether I think the system in the US where you typically only get an award against you as a plaintiff is if it’s a frivilous lawsuit. If there’s any real meat to the case, then each side is responsible for their own costs. I think when you’re looking at big corporate defendants it makes a lot of sense, but I’m hesitating because plenty of people who don’t fit that bill end up being defendants.