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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22162
Experience:  37 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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Sorry a bit desperate now. Could you recommend me a

Customer Question

Hi, Chris. Sorry for being a bit desperate now. Could you recommend me a genuinely helpful, efficient, honorable and quality CIVIL legal aid lawyer, please? I am living in Auckland.
I have been self-representing in High Court last year. I sued the body corporate management company, body corporate Chairperson and body corporate. Disappointingly, I didn't get access to the justice. The defendants had lawyers and filed the summary judgement application. Judge disregarded my evidence and gave them the summary judgement.
Recently I have filed the notice of appeal with Court of Appeal. I have contacted quite a few legal aid lawyers here and only made a progress with one lawyer. He asked me to pre-pay $2850 for him to assess my case. I emptied my credit card and paid him. After that, I had a one-hour meeting with him. At the end of the meeting, he said the money was not enough for him to review my documents.
He asked me to do the following things by myself:
(a) Write down the p
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
a few documents for your review.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.
I have read the judgment and the notice of appeal. This is a difficult case because the problems with your claim are in my view very unlikely to succeed on appeal, and this would make obtaining legal aid almost impossible. Legal Services will only fund a case where there is an arguable case for an appeal, and you have in this case repeated your arguments from the High Court and said the judge was wrong.Legal aid is only available where you have limited income derived from somewhere like a WINZ benefit plus you must demonstrate the arguable case. In this situation I don't know about your income but I can say you have little prospect of success and you have the very real prospect of getting another award of costs against you by the Court of Appeal.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.
The lawyer who you briefed to review the documents for the appeal should have identified the difficulties quite easily, without the need for an elaborate opinion. The judgment is very clear and easily understood, although I realise you do not accept the arguments and the decision. So when he took the fee he should have been able to decide as quickly as I did, that you are very unlikely to succeed on appeal.The real problem is that you should likely have proceeded by way of judicial review of the body corporate rather than suing in negligence. You should have claimed that you had legitimate expectations that the body corporate would comply with the Unit Titles Act and Regulations, and that it did not do so. But even that argument would have been difficult on the facts as discussed by Justice Thomas.I realise you will be disappointed in the result and in my opinion. But it is only fair to be blunt and open in my view that you need to now negotiate with the Body Corporate about payment of the outstanding levies and the costs, because their likely next step is to bankrupt you, which they can now apply to do. That would prevent any appeal and I expect they will move to do so. You can apply for a stay pending the appeal but in this case you are unlikely to get a stay of the judgment.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thanks Chris. How to apply for the judicial review? Should I apply for it with Court of Appeal?I did pointed out the Judge's error in the attached document. (question of law and question of fact).
Please review.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I also obtained the new evidence recently that proves 2013 and 2014
"adjourned" general meetings has never happened (fraud of first and second defendant)
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Here is my current laywer's only response so far.
Ms TaoI have read these documents.It seems to me that the only possibly tenable ground of appeal is the Judge's refusal to appoint an administrator.The procedural points are not enough to justify the appeal.Whether the other facts and matters you raise are enough to overturn the High Court's judgment will consume some time - the analysis must be comprehensive.I think there is no prospect that legal aid will fund this without first receiving an opinion from a lawyer that you have sufficiently strong grounds of appeal and sufficient interest to justify public funds being spent in this litigation. If you want such an opinion you will have to raise funds to pay for it - my estimate is $2,500 + GST. If you want this assistance you will need to arrange a solicitor to instruct me - do you have such a solicitor?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.
Judicial review would have been available at the time you filed the claim, as a method of attacking the body corporate decisions. But it is a remedy which must be pursued promptly. You cannot raise this as grounds for appeal. Your opposition for costs does not really cover the issues about whether you should be liable for costs, but seeks to relitigate the case. That will not be helpful.Once the judge has ruled that you have lost, then costs follow the result and you are liable. I expect this law firm and their counsel will be fairly aggressive in their approach, and you should expect that they will try to bankrupt you, which will mean you cannot bring the appeal.The point about appointing an administrator for the body corporate is something which would need a strong basis in the evidence. From reading the decision of the judge, I am not sure that would succeed.The subsequent behaviour of the people at that body corporate meeting has nothing to do with the merits of the appeal, but must be dealt with separately. I assume you have made police complaints if there were assaults. But this happened after the court case and cannot be used in the case or the appeal
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thanks Chris. I still don't know how I can proceed the "judicial review"? any directions?What kind of arguments can I use to defend that I am not liable for the costs?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
By the way, my appeal was already accept for filing last month. Now I am having difficulties with the security for cost.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.
In my earlier reply I explained it is too late to use judicial review. I said this was the cause of action you should have used for the court case originally but you cannot do so now. If you cannot lodge security for costs the appeal will be struck out. The rules are you either pay the security for costs or ask for it to be waived, but you need to file an application in the Court of Appeal to do that. But it would be very unlikely to be waived as your case is not strong.I don't want to appear to be too negative, but you do need to be aware your claim was lost because it never was a strong claim, and you are putting yourself at some risk by pushing on for an appeal, as this will give the body corporate an opportunity to claim more costs
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
What kind of arguments can I use to defend that I am not liable for the costs?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.

if you had won on some issues, then you could raise that point. That is usually the only point to oppose court costs

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Do you know any good legal aid laywer in Auckland could possible help me?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.

not many lawyers do civil legal aid cases but perhaps a link to the website will give you a list of names.

Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.

There are a lot of names there I realise, but I am still of the view your case is too weak to get legal aid

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thanks Chris. How can I argue my case raises the public interest? Will the attached document help me to address the public interest?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.

Those papers do show the problems which can arise with body corporates, but you must deal with the facts of your case. You need to look forward to getting votes at the next body corporate AGM, but if you do not have the numbers to support you this will be a lost cause

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi, Chris. Any precedents could provide the tests outlining when the parties should not be awarded any costs?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.
The High Court rules make it clear.
See these rules
14.2 Principles applying to determination of costs
The following general principles apply to the determination of costs:
the party who fails with respect to a proceeding or an interlocutory application should pay costs to the party who succeeds:
an award of costs should reflect the complexity and significance of the proceeding:
costs should be assessed by applying the appropriate daily recovery rate to the time considered reasonable for each step reasonably required in relation to the proceeding or interlocutory application:
an appropriate daily recovery rate should normally be two-thirds of the daily rate considered reasonable in relation to the proceeding or interlocutory application:
what is an appropriate daily recovery rate and what is a reasonable time should not depend on the skill or experience of the solicitor or counsel involved or on the time actually spent by the solicitor or counsel involved or on the costs actually incurred by the party claiming costs:
an award of costs should not exceed the costs incurred by the party claiming costs:
so far as possible the determination of costs should be predictable and expeditious.
Compare: 1908 No 89 Schedule 2 r 47
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thanks Chris. Now I am thinking to give up the appeal. Then I will start a new case to sue Body Corporate for negligence. Will it work for me? What remedies can I claim against body corprate?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.

That would be not a good idea because you have already tried to do that but not sucessfully. To file a freash case would be difficult and end up with a similar result. You are much better off getting the other owners to join with you and outvote at the next AGM to gain control of the Body Corporate

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Well, I didn't sue Body Corprate for negligence at all. That was why I lost my case.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
How can I protect my house if the costs will be awarded against me? I am living with my parents and we have only one family house. We own this house together. Can I now transfer my ownership to my parents ASAP? Just want to protect our family home if I really end up bankrupcy.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.

That may be too late because you cannot assign an asset within a few months of bankruptcy, as then the Official Assignee in bankruptcy can set aside the transaction.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
But transfer the ownership will be completed in 2 working days
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.

But your cause of action as described by the judge does accuse the body corporate of not doing its job, which is really saying negligence

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The costs have not yet been decided yet. It will be decided next month
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Judge blamed me not added the body corprate as the defendant.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
l lost my case due to the procedural errors
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.

The Official Assignee can overturn any transaction within two years of bankruptcy. Once costs are fixed, which i expect will be pretty soon, then it would take aboyt two months to reach the stage of bankruptcy applications, and so any transaction now will be looked at.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Then what will be the worst case? will we have to lose our only house and live on the streets?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.

While that is correct, about you should have sued the body corporate, it will only further create problems and be provocative. You stand, at present a good chance of losing your house.

Have you thought about mediation to resolve these problems rather than court cases?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
How can I proceed with the mediation??
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Any place I need to go? Tenancy Tribunal?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.

There are two aspects to any mediation. The first is the particular issues that you will have with the body corporate and other parties and any liability for costs and other issues. The second aspect is the wider dissatisfaction with the performance of the body corporate and management. Those two parts likely need to be separated, but could still be mediated. There are many commercial mediators around who would be able to help and I suggest you start with the list from this site

Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 4 months ago.

You can just click on that link

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