Latest fruits of litigation lien decision: SA

Scammell & Co v Workcover Corporation [2006] SASC 258, a decision of the Full Court of the Supreme Court of South Australia dealing with how the lien survives in cases under the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1986 (SA). Is this a record for the smallest amount ever in dispute in a state Court of Appeal ($350)? Austlii’s headnote says:

“Case stated to the Full Court – Law Society of SA intervening – Whether a solicitor’s lien for costs can arise in respect of work undertaken in the Workers Compensation Tribunal – Whether conciliation process ‘legal proceedings’ – Whether the Worker’s Rehabilitation and Compensation Act excludes any entitlement of a solicitor to claim a lien for payment from the Compensation Fund -Whether the lien extended to the costs in respect of a related Industrial Court matter – Held: The conciliation proceedings constituted legal proceedings in respect of which the plaintiff could claim a particular lien – There is a difference between the equitable right to secure a lien and the right to enforce a lien – The Act purports to modify a solicitor’s right of entitlement and recovery from the Compensation Fund for a particular lien from an amount of weekly compensation otherwise payable to the Worker, and limits the right to an award for costs to that under s 95(4) – The plaintiff had a right to a particular lien for the sum of “$350 and reasonable disbursements to be agreed or taxed” from the Compensation Fund in accordance with para 3 of the Tribunal orders, – but, that right did not include any costs in relation to the Industrial Court Action.”

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