Lady litigant seeks costs order against trial judge

Herewith an extract from von Reisner v Commonwealth of Australia (No 2) [2009] FCAFC 172:

‘1 Ms von Reisner was successful before us in an appeal against an order made on 31 March 2009 that she not be able to commence any proceedings in this Court without prior leave of the Court: see (2009) 177 FCR 531.

ORDER FOR COSTS AGAINST THE JUDGE

20 Finally, Ms von Reisner has sought an order that the primary judge be ordered to pay the costs.

21 It is a well-established principle that a judge is entitled to immunity in respect of any act done by him in the exercise of his jurisdiction: see Fingleton v The Queen (2005) 227 CLR 166 per Gleeson CJ at [36] in which his Honour quoted the observations of Lord Denning in Sirros v Moore [1975] QB 118 at 132; see also Bahonko v Sterjov [2007] FCA 1717 per Lander J at [63]-[67]. At [64] his Honour Lander J quoted the observations of Lord Denning in Sirros:

Ever since the year 1613, if not before, it has been accepted in our law that no action is maintainable against a judge for anything said or done by him in the exercise of a jurisdiction which belongs to him. The words which he speaks are protected by an absolute privilege. The orders which he gives, and the sentences which he imposes, cannot be made the subject of civil proceedings against him. No matter that the judge was under some gross error of ignorance, or was actuated by envy, hatred and malice, and all uncharitableness, he is not liable to an action.

22 Quite apart from the fact that judicial immunity would prevent any such order being made, there is absolutely no basis for any of the spurious and scandalous allegations made by Ms von Reisner against the primary judge in her written submissions on costs. This part of Ms von Reisner’s application for costs orders must also be rejected.’

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