Cost provisions test case

We acted for the insurer in the first case to test the extent to which the costs provisions contained with Section 156 of the Road Transport (Third Party Insurance) Act  applied prior to the commencement of proceedings. We had resolved a matter at compulsory conference, and attempted to invoke the restrictive costs provisions as we asserted that these applied at all stages of the matter. The plaintiff asserted however that the cost provisions only applied when awarded by the court. We relied upon extrinsic material to show the intention of the Act was to restrict costs at all stages. The court considered that the section of the Act was clear and there was no need to read in any extrinsic material. Therefore, the restrictive costs regime only applies after a decision by the court. (Furler v Haureliuk [2011] ACTSC 6)


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