Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

Bad timing ends father's legal battle

Justice Kos dismissed the appeal. Photo / File
Justice Kos dismissed the appeal. Photo / File

A legal blunder has put an end to a father's battle to be compensated after his daughter developed cerebral palsy due to complications when she was born 11 years ago.

The man, whose name is suppressed, developed a mental illness following the birth of his daughter.

He took his fight to the High Court at Wellington today after losing a bid to appeal a Human Rights Tribunal decision about the matter.

His own illness prompted him to apply to the Accident Compensation Corporation, but because his injury was not physical, he was declined.

He then took his argument to the Human Rights Tribunal, arguing he was an "aggrieved party", but it also declined compensation.

An appeal option was open to the father, but his lawyer at the time failed to serve the tribunal the appeal papers within the set timeframe.

The man then attempted to file a second claim with the tribunal, so an eventual appeal could be filed on time, however, his attempt was labelled as "vexatious".

At the High Court, he told Justice Stephen Kos his appeal was being brought on good faith and was an attempt for the correct procedures to be followed.

However, Justice Kos today said there was no way for an appeal to go ahead because of the man's previous lawyer's timing blunder.

"You're in a stick here and I can't see a way out," Justice Kos said.

"I'm very sympathetic indeed to the situation. It's unfortunate the system has let you down."

Justice Kos said the man had a good argument, but he had been completely "thwarted" by the "extraordinary situation" where his lawyer didn't serve the tribunal.

"I'm very sorry to say to you that your visit today has been in vain."

Justice Kos dismissed the appeal.

- APNZ

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