Abuse: Stay of proceedings (WA – Appellate decision)

GMB v UnitingCare West [2022] WASCA 92 (on AUSTLII).

In 2019, the appellant commenced proceedings against UnitingCare in respect of child sexual abuse said to have occurred between 1958 and 1961. UnitingCare applied for an order that the proceedings against it be permanently stayed on the grounds that the continuation of the proceedings would be unfairly burdensome to it, as it was unable to deal meaningfully with the claims made by the appellant, and so could not receive a fair trial.

The alleged perpetrator Ms Moy died in 2012, before UnitingCare was notified of the appellant’s claims. Nor, UnitingCare submitted, did it have any documentation bearing directly on the appellant’s claims in relation to Ms Moy.

The stay of proceedings was granted at first instance and that order was the subject of the present appeal, which failed. At [91] the Court concluded:

The learned primary judge in the present case properly identified the relevant principles and carefully and accurately summarised the parties’ respective cases on the application, he did not allow extraneous or irrelevant matters to guide or affect him, he did not mistake the facts, and he did not fail to take into account any of the considerations drawn to his attention.

[BillMaddensWordpress #2011]