NSW / ACT: Forum issues

Desmond v ACT Health t/as The Canberra Hospital [2017] NSWDC 263 saw the court called upon to consider an application by the defendant,  following the issue of proceedings in New South Wales in respect of treatment which was carried out in the Australian Capital Territory.

The court refused the defendant’s application for a stay of the New South Wales proceedings, concluding at [29] – [30]:

I am enjoined by s 56(1) of the Civil Procedure Act 2005 “to facilitate the just, quick and cheap resolution of the real issues in the proceedings”. I wholly accept that, if there be no similar statutory provision applicable in the ACT, that both the ACT Supreme Court and the ACT Magistrates Court are guided by such principles, the same principles which are common these days to every court in this land. However, it appears to me that it is in the interests of both the plaintiff and the defendant that these fairly straightforward proceedings be determined as quickly as possible, if not by the parties themselves reaching an agreement, then by the curial process. As I said earlier, that will occur by early 2018 if the proceedings remain in this Court but, if these proceedings are stayed, the plaintiff might not have a resolution of her matter until approximately a year later.

Such differences as there are between this Court and the Courts of the ACT are not very great at all and the distance between Sydney and Canberra is not particularly great either. If anything does arise which would require, for example, necessary evidence to be taken locally, then this Court could adjourn from sitting in Sydney to take evidence in Queanbeyan or Goulburn or even Yass, which was once a proclaimed place. I am not persuaded that the defendant has satisfied the onus which it bears of substantiating the justification of a stay pursuant to s 20. The application is accordingly dismissed.


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