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Wednesday, 24 September 1902

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - No. I really think that it would be unwise at the present time to insert a limitation as to costs. A bogus action might be brought against an innocent person, and I think that in such a case the party against whom the petition was lodged should not be deprived of his right to recover costs.

Mr. CROUCH(Corio).-I move-

That the clause be amended by the insertion of the words "not exceeding £50" after the word "cost."

I think it is very proper that a limitation should be placed upon the power of the court to award costs. The establishment of a Court of Disputed Returns in England has caused a large number of electioneering barristers and solicitors to spring into existence. Enormous bills of costs are compiled by electioneering lawyers.Very large fees are marked on their briefs, and it is impossible for a poor man to proceed with a case.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable and learned member has assisted in setting up the court. Can he not trust it?

Mr CROUCH - Yes. But when a court dismisses a case it usually adds in a casual way - "With costs." It does not often know what those costs are likely to be. As to any man of straw being put up, I would point out that it is necessary to lodge only £50 in order to commence proceedings. Clause 200 provides that -

At the time of filing the petition, the petitioner shall deposit with the principal registrar or district registrar (as the case may be) of the High Court the sum of £50 as security for costs a

My proposal is certainly in the interests of the poor man, and I ask the committee to accept it.

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