Lawyers May Bear Costs Of Fighting Immigration Bat Tles
Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday May 6, 2004
Judges will be given stronger powers to punish lawyers who launch vexatious immigration cases under a crackdown on asylum-seeker legislation that will make it easier for courts to impose personal costs orders against them.
The Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, is also due today to commit tens of millions of dollars towards boosting the numbers of federal magistrates as a part of the Government's plan to redirect migration appeals from the overburdened Federal Court and High Court.
The Government will discourage lawyers from bringing ``unmeritorious" claims, which, it says, tie up court resources. It will do this by passing new laws which make it easier for courts to make prohibitive costs orders, which the lawyers will have to pay personally.
Mr Ruddock indicated when he became Attorney-General in October that he would make it his priority to address the large numbers of asylum seeker appeals that are clogging the country's courts.
The numbers of asylum seeker cases making it to the Federal Court and High Court have soared in the past couple of years, with 99 per cent of the 2131 constitutional cases lodged in the High Court last year relating to migration matters.
According to Government figures, 82 per cent of all cases lodged in the High Court in the last financial year related to migration matters, while two-thirds of appeals launched in the Federal Court in that period were migration cases.
Under the Government's new plans the Federal Magistrates Court will now bear the burden of asylum seeker appeals.
The grounds on which a person can appeal against a migration decision will be changed to prevent people from bringing multiple claims in different courts.