In the recent case of UBS AG v Tyne  HCA 45, a majority of the High Court found that litigation between Mr Tyne and UBS that had spanned eight years, three courts and both Singapore and Australia, was an abuse of process. Under s37M of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976, the overarching purpose of the court is the just resolution of disputes as quickly, inexpensively and efficiently as possible. Two years after unfavourable rulings in both the High Court of Singapore and the Supreme Court of NSW, Tyne commenced proceedings in the Federal Court in order to rely on trade practices legislation.
The High Court considered that the operative delay of up to three years between the NSW and Federal proceedings, and was substantial and unacceptable. The Court also considered what the public perception of the lengthy litigation would be, concluding that a right thinking person would believe that eight year long proceedings were inefficient and a careless use of public money. This case highlights the reluctance of the court to allow the Court’s time and money to be wasted on lengthy proceedings.