Australian Competition & Consumer Commission v Blackon White [ 2002] FCA 1605 (20 December 2002)

COSTS – discretion conferred upon Court by subs 43(2) Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) is absolute and unfettered but must be exercised judicially, not arbitrarily or capriciously or upon grounds unconnected with litigation – Court must consider particular facts of the case before it – ordinary rule is that costs follow the event and a successful party will receive his/her costs in the absence of special circumstances justifying some other order – offer to settle – in assessing utility of offer, Court must consider whether offer is constructed in such a way as to constitute a reasonable basis for compromising or settling a proceeding and whether offer is genuine

PRACTICE & PROCEDURE – Court can consider evidence of settlement negotiations where relevant to determining liability for costs – reference to parties in O 23 r 2 Federal Court Rules is a reference to the parties to the litigation, not to the persons on whose behalf the proceedings were instituted

TRADE PRACTICES -proceedings initiated by Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for compensation for loss and damage to named third parties successful

Evidence Act 1995 (Cth), s 131(2)(h)