The Suitors' Fund was established by the Suitors' Fund
a Writ of Summons is issued in the Supreme Court or the
District Court of WA; or
a civil case commences in the Magistrates' Court; or
a summons or court hearing notice is issued under the Criminal
Procedure Act 2004 a court of summary jurisdiction;
a court filing fee is paid, of which 10 - 20 cents is paid into
the Suitors' Fund.
In certain circumstances, a party may apply to the court for an
Indemnity Certificate. If the Suitors' Fund Board is satisfied
that the circumstances meet the criteria set out in the
Suitors' Fund Act 1964, it will issue a certificate which
entitles that party to be paid their costs from the Suitors'
The circumstances in which such an application can be made are
very prescriptive and are too detailed to deal with here. However,
the basic premise is that additional costs must have been incurred
through no fault of either party.
Where a Judge or Magistrate hearing a case dies before giving a
decision, thus requiring a new trial;
Where a Judge or Magistrate recuses himself or herself because
of some prior connection with the matter;
Where an appeal on a question of law succeeds (on the premise
that where there is a mistake of law, the respondent should not
have to bear the costs);
Where a conviction is quashed without a new trial.
It may be worth considering the Suitors' Fund if you find
yourself in a situation where you unexpectedly have to bear the
brunt of legal costs. It may also be useful where you successfully
appeal on the basis of a mistake of law, but are concerned that the
other party, although they have been ordered to pay costs, may not
have the funds to do so.
It can be complex and it is therefore probably worth asking your
lawyer about the possibility of a Suitors' Fund application if
you find yourself in one of the situations described above.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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This was an interlocutory decision about the appointment of a tutor for the child appellant, to carry on his proceedings.
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