Supreme Court of NSW
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Vexatious proceedings



What are vexatious proceedings?
Anyone who frequently and persistently takes legal action without reasonable grounds or for improper purposes can be subjected to a vexatious proceedings order under the Vexatious Proceedings Act 2008 (the Act).

Section 6 of the Act defines vexatious proceedings:

(a) proceedings that are an abuse of the process of a court or tribunal, and

(b) proceedings instituted to harass or annoy, to cause delay or detriment, or for another wrongful purpose, and

(c) proceedings instituted or pursued without reasonable ground, and

(d) proceedings conducted in a way so as to harass or annoy, cause delay or detriment, or achieve another wrongful purpose.

Which courts can make vexatious proceedings orders?Act 1970 defines a vexatious litigant as someone who habitually and persistently institutes vexatious legal proceedings without any reasonable grounds.

In New South Wales, the Supreme Court, the Land and Environment Court and the Industrial Court are authorised to make vexatious proceedings orders. The Supreme Court may make orders that impact upon ongoing proceedings in any court or tribunal in New South Wales. However, the Land and Environment Court and the Industrial Court may only make orders concerning proceedings commenced in their own jurisdictions.

Who can apply for an order?

The court can make an order of its own motion or any of the following people can apply to have the order made:

(a) the Attorney General, either on their own or on the recommendation of a judicial officer, member or registrar of a court or tribunal,

(b) the Solicitor General,

(c) an appropriate registrar for the Supreme Court, Land and Environment Court or Industrial Court,

(d) a person against or in relation to whom another person has instituted or conducted vexatious proceedings,

(e) with leave of the court, a person who, in the opinion of the court, has a sufficient interest in the matter.

What orders can the court make?

The Supreme Court can make orders that stay all or part of any current New South Wales proceedings and orders that prohibit the person from starting any new proceedings in New South Wales without the Court’s leave. The Land and Environment court and the Industrial court can make similar orders but only in relation to proceedings in their courts.

The court can vary or set aside vexatious proceedings orders either on its own motion, on the application of the person subject to the order, or on the application of the person who applied for the order.

An authorised court can also reinstate a vexatious proceedings order if, within 5 years from the date the order was set aside, the person commences or conducts other vexatious proceedings in any Australian Court or Tribunal or acts in concert with another person who starts or conducts vexatious proceedings. The order for reinstatement can only be made by the authorised court responsible for making the original vexatious proceedings order.


Vexatious proceedings may be commenced against numerous different individuals or several proceedings may be commenced against a particular person, who becomes known as the “person aggrieved”.
When can a court make an order?

Vexatious proceedings orders can be made if an authorised court is satisfied that a person has frequently started or conducted vexatious proceedings or that a person is acting in concert with a person who is the subject or a vexatious proceedings order.

When deciding to make a vexatious order, the court can look at all proceedings commenced or conducted by that person in any Australian court or tribunal and any orders made in any Australian court or tribunal.

A court cannot make a vexatious proceeding order unless the person concerned has been heard or given the opportunity to be heard.

Notification of orders

All vexatious proceedings orders are published in the Government Gazette and recorded on the Supreme Court’s website in the table below

What happens if new proceedings are commenced contrary to orders?

If a person commences new court proceedings contrary to previous vexatious proceedings orders, the new proceedings will be stayed until they are dismissed. If not dismissed earlier, the court will automatically dismiss the new proceedings after 28 days.

How do I seek leave to commence proceedings if I am subject to a vexatious proceedings order?

To seek leave to commence proceedings you should file an affidavit that:

      a) lists all occasions you have applied for leave either under section 14 of the Act, section 84 of the Supreme Court Act 1970 or section 70 of the Land and Environment Court Act 1979 (the two pieces of legislation previously governing vexatious proceedings in New South Wales).

      (b) lists all other proceedings you have started in Australia, and

      (c) discloses all facts material to the application, whether supporting or adverse to the application, that are known to the applicant.


Unless you are ordered to do so, you should not serve the application on any other person.

The court can either grant your application or dismiss it. The court must dismiss your application if your affidavit does not substantially comply with these requirements, if the proceedings are vexatious, or if there are no undeniable (prima facie) grounds for the proceedings.

Before leave is granted, the court will order the applicant to serve all relevant persons and give such people an opportunity to be heard.

Under section 14(6) of the Act, you may not appeal the court’s decision to dismiss your application for leave.

How did the concept of vexatious proceedings develop and where can I find the relevant?
The test for whether a proceeding is vexatious is set out by Roden J in
Attorney General v Wentworth (1988) 14 NSWLR 481 at 491:


    1. Proceedings are vexatious if they are instituted with the intention of
    annoying or embarrassing the person against whom they are brought.

    2. They are vexatious if they are brought for collateral purposes, and not
    for the purpose of having the court adjudicate on the issues to which they
    give rise.

    3. They are also properly to be regarded as vexatious if, irrespective of the
    motive of the litigant, they are so obviously untenable or manifestly
    groundless as to be utterly hopeless.

    4. In order to fall within the terms of s 84*:
    (a) proceedings in categories 1 and 2 must also be instituted without
    reasonable ground (proceedings in category 3 necessarily satisfy that
    requirement);
    (b) the proceedings must have been “habitually and persistently” instituted
    by the litigant.

*this is a reference to section 84 of the Supreme Court Act 1970. Section 84 was repealed when the Vexatious Proceedings Act commenced on 1 December 2008. You can access historical versions of the Supreme Court Act 1970 from the NSW Legislation website: www.legislation.nsw.gov.au


Is there a list of vexatious litigants for the Supreme Court which also lists the orders that apply to them?
The names of individuals that are currently considered vexatious at the Supreme Court of NSW follows. The names of these individuals link to information pertaining to the orders made against them.

Individuals considered vexatious under s84 of the Supreme Court Act 1970
Bar-Mordecai, Michael Jacob
Betts, Craig Andrew
Bhattacharya, Pranay Kumar
Caldar, Russell (also known as Russell Graham Gittoes)
Gittoes, Russell Graham (also known as Russell Caldar)
Jambrecina, Drago
Kanak, Dominic Wy
Spautz, Michael Edward
Tsekouras, Con
West, Raymond Stanley
Witt, Frank Raleigh

Individuals involved in vexatious proceedings under the Vexatious Proceedings Act 2008
Chan, Yau Hang
Croker, Clayton Robert
Fleet, Robert
Fokas, Maria
Gargan, Peter Alexander
Klewer, Lucy Patricia
Liprini, Allan Stephen
Satchithanantham, Thambiappah (Mr)
Satchithanantham, Hemelathasothy (Mrs)
Wilson, John

Name
Date of Order
Order Made By
Order Made
Bar-Mordecai, Michael Jacob25/02/2005Acting Justice PattenWithout leave from the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Michael Jacob Bar-Mordecai is restrained from:
  • instituting proceedings in any Court; and
  • continuing any legal proceedings instituted before 25/02/2005.
Michael Jacob Bar-Mordecai must give the Crown Solicitor at least three days’ notice in writing of any application for leave to institute or continue legal proceedings.
Betts, Craig Andrew 30/09/2004Justice HoebenPursuant to s84(1) of the Supreme Court Act 1970, Craig Andrew Betts is restrained from
  • instituting any legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, in any court in New South Wales;
  • continuing any legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, without the leave of this Court.
  • instituting (by himself, his servants or agents) any application in any existing civil or criminal legal proceedings in any court in New South Wales, and
  • instituting (by himself, his servants or agents) any appeal in respect of any legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, in any court in New South Wales.
Bhattacharya, Pranay Kumar10/12/2003Justice WhealyPursuant to s84(1) of the Supreme Court Act 1970, without the leave of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Pranay Kumar Bhattacharya is restrained from:
  • instituting any legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, in any court in New South Wales;
  • continuing any legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, instituted by Mr. Bhattacharya before 10/12/2003;
  • instituting (by himself , his servants or agents) any application in any existing civil or criminal legal proceedings in any court in New South Wales, and
  • instituting (by himself , his servants or agents) any appeal in respect of any legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, in any court in New South Wales.
Gittoes, Russell Graham aka Caldar, Russell 22/04/2005Justice White Without leave of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Russell Graham Gittoes aka Russell Caldar (Mr. Gittoes) is restrained from:
  • instituting any legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, against the Public Trustee in any court in New South Wales;
  • continuing any legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, instituted against the Public Trustee before 22/04/2005 in any court in New South Wales;
  • instituting by himself, his servants or agents, any proceedings, whether civil or criminal, against the Public Trustee in any court in New South Wales;
  • making any application by himself, his servants or agents in any legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal already instituted against the Public Trustee in any court of this New South Wales, and
  • instituting by himself, his servants or agents, any appeal or application or leave to appeal in respect of legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, already instituted against the Public Trustee by the leave of this court.
Jambrecina, Drago15/11/2002Justice LevineDrago Jambrecina is declared a vexatious litigant within the meaning of s84(2) of the Supreme Court Act 1970. Without the leave of the Supreme Court, Drago Jambrecina is restrained from:
  • instituting any legal proceedings against Pyramid Building Society Ltd or Farrow Mortgage Services Pty Ltd in any New South Wales court, and
  • continuing any legal proceedings instituted before 15/11/2002 in any New South Wales court against Pyramid Building Society Ltd and/or Farrow Mortgage Services Pty.
Kanak, Dominic Wy05/02/2004Justice O'Keefe Pursuant to s84(1) of the Supreme Court Act 1970, without the leave of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Dominic Wy Kanak is restrained from:
  • instituting any legal proceedings in any court, and
  • continuing any legal proceedings instituted before 05/02/2004 with the exception of the proceedings filed in the Court of Appeal on 27/02/2003.
Spautz, Michael Edward13/06/1990Justice McInerney Without the leave of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Michael Edward Spautz by himself, his servants or agents, is restrained from:
  • instituting any legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, in any Court in New South Wales;
  • instituting any application in any legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, already instituted in any Court in New South Wales, and
  • instituting any appeal in respect of any legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, in any Court in New South Wales.

Mr. Spautz must give the Crown Solicitor at least three days’ notice of any application for leave.
Tsekouras, Con 05/03/2003








05/06/2007
Justice Palmer








Acting Justice Bryson
Pursuant to s84(2) of the Supreme Court Act 1970, without leave from the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Mr. Con Tsekouras is restrained from:
  • instituting any legal proceedings against Vivieca Evangelinidis in any court, and
  • continuing any legal proceedings instituted before 5/3/2003 against Vivieca Evangelinidis in any court.

Pursuant to s84(2) of the Supreme Court Act 1970, without leave from the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Con Tsekouras is restrained from:
  • instituting any legal proceedings against Peter Olsen in any court, and
  • continuing any legal proceedings instituted before 05/06/2007 against Peter Olsen in any court.
West, Raymond Stanley19/11/1992Justice NewmanRaymond Stanley West is declared a vexatious litigant within the terms of s84(1) of the Supreme Court Act 1970. Without the leave of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Raymond Stanley West by himself, his servants or agents, is restrained from:
  • instituting any legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, in any court in New South Wales;
  • continuing any legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, in any court in New South Wales, and
  • taking any step to institute or continue any legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, in any court in New South Wales.
Witt, Frank Raleigh21/12/2006Justice RothmanFrank Raleigh Witt is declared a vexatious litigant within the meaning of s84(2) of the Supreme Court Act 1970. Without the leave of the Supreme Court, Frank Raleigh Witt is restrained from:
  • instituting proceedings against Kenneth Alan Cox in any Court; and
  • continuing any legal proceedings against Kenneth Alan Cox instituted before 21/12/2006.


Name
Date of Order
Order Made By
Order Made
Chan, Yau Hang04/11/2011Justice Adamson
  • Pursuant to s 8(7)(b) of the Vexatious Proceedings Act 2008, the Defendant is prohibited from instituting proceedings in New South Wales without leave of the Court.
  • Pursuant to s 8(7)(a) of the Vexatious Proceedings Act 2008, all of the proceedings in New South Wales already instituted by the Defendant be stayed.
Croker, Clayton Robert22/07/2010Justice Fullerton
  • Pursuant to s.8(7) (b) of the Vexatious Proceedings Act 2008, Clayton Robert Croker is prohibited from instituting proceedings in New South Wales other than with leave of an appropriate court under that Act.
  • Any legal proceedings instituted by Clayton Robert Croker in any court or tribunal in New South Wales before the date of this order are hereby stayed.
Fleet, Robert26/02/2010Justice Pain (Land and Environment Court)Dr Robert Fleet is prohibited from instituting any proceeding in the Land and Environment Court against Blacktown City Council without the leave of a judge.
Fokas, Maria01/06/2010Justice Fullerton1. The plaintiff is prohibited from instituting fresh proceedings in any court against any of the defendants without first obtaining leave under s. 14 of the Vexatious Proceedings Act, 2008.

2. The plaintiff is prohibited from making any application in any legal proceedings involving any of the defendants without first obtaining leave under s. 14 of the Vexatious Proceedings Act, 2008.

3. The plaintiff pay the defendants costs as agreed or assessed of the defendants’ motions and of the plaintiff’s motion.

The defendants in question in this matter include the following:

Dr Jeffrey G Stack Defendant 1
Dr Roderick Christou Defendant 2
Dr Abdulla Saadi Defendant 3
Dr Joseph C Y Lee Defendant 4
Gargan, Peter Alexander01/11/2010Justice DaviesPursuant to s 8(7)(b) Vexatious Proceedings Act 2008 Peter Alexander Gargan is prohibited from instituting proceedings in New South Wales other than with leave of an appropriate court under that Act.

Any legal proceedings instituted by Peter Alexander Gargan in any court or tribunal in New South Wales before the date of this order are hereby stayed.

Order that Peter Alexander Gargan is not to be allowed to file and is hereby restrained from filing and also from serving any Notice of Motion in any proceedings currently before any court or tribunal in New South Wales, and is not to be allowed to make and is hereby restrained from making any oral application in such proceedings without the leave of a judge of an appropriate court under that Act.
Klewer, Lucy Patricia05/02/2010Justice HarrisonUntil further order:

1. the defendant shall not, without the leave of the Court, institute any legal proceedings in any Court.

2. any legal proceedings instituted by the defendant before the making of order (1) shall not be continued without the leave of the Court.

3. The defendant pay the plaintiff’s costs of the proceedings.
Liprini, Allan Stephen05/12/2011Justice Adamson
  • Pursuant to s 8(7)(b) of the Vexatious Proceedings Act 2008, Mr Liprini is prohibited from instituting proceedings in New South Wales without leave of the Court.
  • Pursuant to s 8(7)(a) of the Vexatious Proceedings Act 2008, all of the proceedings in New South Wales already instituted by Mr Liprini be stayed.
Satchithanantham, Thambiappah (Mr)11/9/2012Justice GarlingPursuant to s 8(1) of the Vexatious Proceedings Act 2008, Order that:

(1)Mr Thambiappah Satchithanantham be, and hereby is, prohibited from instituting proceedings whether by way of final relief, or by interlocutory motion, or application in New South Wales, whether in his own name, or in the name of any other individual, or corporation, or legal entity.

(2)Mrs Hemelathasothy Satchithanantham be, and hereby is, prohibited from instituting proceedings whether by way of final relief, or by interlocutory motion, or application in New South Wales, whether in her own name or in the name of any other individual, or corporation or legal entity.

(3)Order both Mr Satchithanantham and Mrs Satchithanantham pay the National Australia Bank's costs of the proceedings.
Satchithanantham, Hemelathasothy (Mrs)11/9/2012Justice GarlingPursuant to s 8(1) of the Vexatious Proceedings Act 2008, Order that:

(1)Mr Thambiappah Satchithanantham be, and hereby is, prohibited from instituting proceedings whether by way of final relief, or by interlocutory motion, or application in New South Wales, whether in his own name, or in the name of any other individual, or corporation, or legal entity.

(2)Mrs Hemelathasothy Satchithanantham be, and hereby is, prohibited from instituting proceedings whether by way of final relief, or by interlocutory motion, or application in New South Wales, whether in her own name or in the name of any other individual, or corporation or legal entity.

(3)Order both Mr Satchithanantham and Mrs Satchithanantham pay the National Australia Bank's costs of the proceedings.
Wilson, John23/09/2010Justice DaviesJohn Wilson is prohibited from instituting proceedings in New South Wales other than with leave of an appropriate court pursuant to s 8(7)(b) Vexatious Proceedings Act 2008.

Any legal proceedings instituted by John Wilson in any court or tribunal in New South Wales before the date of this order are hereby stayed.

He is not to be allowed to file and is hereby restrained from filing and also from serving any Notice of Motion in any proceedings currently before any court or tribunal in New South Wales, and is not to be allowed to make and is hereby restrained from making any oral application in such proceedings without the leave of a judge of an appropriate court under that Act.



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Last updated: 12 September 2012
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