Australian citizens often do not appreciate having access to a fair legal system. Being able to have a hearing is something that should be available to everyone. However, the costs associated with legal trials is often a deterrent to people who do not earn high incomes. Steep increases in litigation costs are one factor that is making it harder for “average” Australians to seek their own justice. And then there are the alternatives for dispute resolution, which seemingly work to encourage people to forgo litigation.
A problem arises because there is a risk that people who have enough money, including government bodies and large corporations, have access to litigation. If they cannot use mediation to get what they want, this is a viable option for these groups. On the other hand, people without the monetary means are left accepting alternative dispute resolution (ADR) decisions. Even when your average person wants to pursue a matter with litigation, they often just do not have the money to do so.
It does save a lot of time and money, when people are encouraged to seek mediation to solve their disputes. It can also save people the hassle of entering a courtroom, and dealing with a full-blown trial. Using the high costs as a way to drive people toward ADR could be creating a two-class system in regards to the law. Read more on Alternative dispute resolution
The average person might only file a handful of lawsuits in their lifetime. Many will never file a single one. Over a period of 10 years, an Australian man filed an astounding 50 lawsuits. The result is that he is now somewhat prohibited from filing any more. The man’s name is Mr Rahman, a science teacher who is a resident in Sydney. Justice Michael Adams made the ruling, stating that the man had been using using the legal system to “harass” and “annoy” people, among other things. He is only the 12th person to be put on the register for vexatious litigation.
While Mr Rahman is still allowed to start a litigation proceeding, he must get permission from the courts first. And since he has proven himself to be such a nuisance in their eyes, that is not expected to be forthcoming. Some of his offences include attempting to re-litigate matters where a decision had already been made. In addition to that, he also sued his very own legal representatives. The result of that lawsuit was that Mr Rahman was ordered to pay them more than he had already owed.
Rahman has spent more than $500,000 in the process of filing all of these lawsuits. He is also said to be in danger of losing two houses that he owns. However, even after being placed on Sydney’s vexatious litigant register, he is still not giving up his fight. He claims that the ruling is a “crime against humanity”, and that he will go to the International Criminal Court if necessary.