Limitation extension: Victoria

Holcombe v Hunt & Anor [2018] VCC 55 is a brief decision allowing an appeal from an earlier refusal to extend a limitation period under the Limitations of Actions Act 1958 (Vic).

The background to the proposed claim is of interest, in that the claimant alleges that he consented to a varicose vein treatment as a result of negligent advice and that the procedure should not have been performed by the general surgeon at that hospital or without the support of a multi-disciplinary team (given his underlying congenital conditioon Klippel-Trénaunay-Weber syndrome (‘KTW syndrome’).

The court allowed the appeal and extended the limitation period, noting (amongst other things)  that a fair trial could be held (at [43]) and focusing on the issue of ‘presumptive prejudice’. At [44] it was said that the respondent doctor was available to give evidence, the relevant records still existed and the nature of the proceeding is such that a key focus of the trial, whether reasonable medical practice was employed, is a question that is likely to be determined by expert evidence, and not be dependent on stale recollections.

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