Judge Glen Cash of the Maroochydore District Court recently dismissed an appeal brought by woman who was Ordered by a Caloundra magistrate to she pay her partner’s legal costs related to the Domestic Violence Order Application she filed.
The Application was dismissed by the first judge, partly on the basis that the woman “embellished her evidence on several significant issues”. The magistrate concluded that the Order was “motivated by malice and a desire for revenge”. The woman was ordered to pay a total of $9,362.30 to reimburse her former partner after her Application for a Domestic Violence Order was dismissed.
The woman appealed the magistrate’s decision on a number of grounds; however, Judge Cash dismissed the appeal stating, “having considered the grounds of appeal that were pressed, I have concluded none are made out.”
Judge Cash summarised the magistrate’s findings saying “the magistrate concluded that the [Applicant] had embellished her claims and brought the application with malice and to vex [her ex-partner].
“The Magistrate was aware that an award of costs was discretionary and did not follow automatically upon her finding that the application was malicious and vexatious.
“In giving reasons for the decision to award costs the magistrate referred to her earlier findings… [that the Applicant] had no grounds for bringing the application and that she had misled the court in her evidence. These were significant findings.
“In my view, the findings of the Magistrate about the [Applicant’s] motivation were sufficient to justify an award of costs to [the ex-partner] so that he might be indemnified for the expense of defending a malicious and vexatious proceeding.”
Section 157 of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act states that each party is to bear their own costs, however, the Court may award costs against a party who makes an application that the Court hears and decides to dismiss on the grounds that the application is malicious, deliberately false, frivolous, or vexatious. In this case, the Court chose to make a costs order against the applicant on the basis that her application was malicious and vexatious.
Read the full judgement here.