By Andrew Hack, Solicitor, and Stephen Mullette, Principal, of Matthews Folbigg Lawyers, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group.
This is part 3 of our series on what will constitute valid grounds for an adjournment of a pending hearing, due to COVID-19 and the global coronavirus pandemic.
In Talent v Official Trustee in Bankruptcy & Anor (No 5)  ACTSC 64 the Plaintiff sought an adjournment of the trial hearing, arguing that he was an ‘at risk’ person because he suffered from leukaemia. Doctors had recommended that he remain isolated.
Submissions were made about the Plaintiff’s legal team being at risk, as well as the Defendant’s senior counsel withdrawing because she was at risk and could not fly down for the hearing. However, those matters were expressly not considered.
The court did consider that a lot of the hearing could be conducted from a remote location. However, on balance the Court granted the adjournment application, based on the Plaintiff’s right to observe the hearing and the need to provide prompt instructions. The Court drew a distinction between final hearings and other court procedures: