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Thursday, 19 November 1959

Sir GARFIELD BARWICK (Parramatta) (Attorney-General) . - I move -

After clause 69, insert the following new clause in Part VI.:- " 69a. Where a decree nisi has been made but has not become absolute, the court by which the decree was made may, on the application of a party to the proceedings, if it is satisfied that there has been a miscarriage of justice by reason of fraud, perjury, suppression of evidence or any other circumstance, rescind the decree and, if it thinks fit, order that the proceedings be reheard.".

This amendment involves a substantial addition to the bill. As drawn, the bill did not make provision for a judge who had heard a suit to set aside his decree before it had become absolute because of perjury or fraud or other miscarriage of justice of a like kind. It was pointed out to me that without a provision for a judge to be able to set aside his decree in these circumstances, the parties would have to go to appeal and have the expense of printing and the like. On reflection I thought it was only right that there should be such a provision, in order to do justice and also save expense to the parties, that the judge should be able to set aside his decree if he was satisfied of these things before it had become absolute.

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