It is becoming increasingly common for plaintiff law firms to
suggest that a compulsory conference should be dispensed with and
their client allowed to commence proceedings immediately in cases
where the insurer has denied liability.
The attitude, even before conference, is often that a claim will
not settle where liability is in dispute.
Our attitude has always been that even though we may hold a
contrary view to our opponent it is always beneficial to hear the
arguments raised by each side and endeavour to reach a compromise,
where possible. After all, that is the main purpose of the
Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld) and Motor
Accident Insurance Act 1994 (Qld).
This recent District Court decision supports our view.
In this case, both parties sought orders relating to the
The legal representatives for each party had met some time prior
to the compulsory conference. The legal representatives for
Woolworths sought to inform the claimant of the company's
position in relation to the matter. They regarded her prospects of
success as very poor. This was conveyed to the claimant who became
very upset. The parties ultimately did not come together on the day
nor was any argument advanced on behalf of either party to the
other. There was no discussion in any form directed to settling the
The solicitors for Ms Brady sought an order dispensing with the
Martin SC DCJ thought the obligations under the Act were
His Honour commented, " ... the very purpose of a
compulsory conference is to try to settle the claim at that early
stage, notwithstanding strongly-held views, and that must involve
discussion between the parties and an exchange of arguments to see
if compromise may be achieved. The obligation under section 38(6)
pertains to all [our emphasis] claims under the
Act. The obligation is not confined to claims in respect of which
settlement may be readily achieved."
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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Contractors and principals should ensure they have appropriate insurance coverage instead of relying on indemnity clauses.
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