“That reading, which was not intended by the ABC, is regretted.”
Christian Porter and his former lawyer face up to $500,000 in costs over conflict of interest legal challenge
Today, lawyers for Mr Porter and his former barrister Sue Chrysanthou were back in the Federal Court to dispute costs in the second case, where it was revealed the pair could be forced to fork out half-a-million dollars.
Costly legal challenge to Mr Porter’s lawyer
Ms Chrysanthou was restrained from acting for Mr Porter during his defamation case after a claim by Jo Dyer — a friend of the alleged sexual assault victim in the original case.
Ms Dyer told the Federal Court Ms Chrysanthou had a conflict of interest because she had given her advice about related issues, before taking on Mr Porter’s matter.
Justice Thomas Thawley agreed and Ms Chrysanthou was removed from the case.
She and Mr Porter have been ordered to pay costs to Ms Dyer.
But there has been a dispute over exactly how much, after Ms Dyer’s lawyers sought orders for a lump sum.
Anne Horvarth, acting for Ms Chrysanthou, told the court today she wanted to see time sheets, to determine if the amount being sought was fair.
“We do not know who did what, when,” she said.
Ms Dyer’s lawyers have agreed to supply the materials.
Justice Thawley also told the parties he was too busy for the rest of the year and referred the rest of the case to the court registrar.
Ms Dyer’s lawyer Michael Hodge agreed with the other lawyers about saving court time and costs.
“There’s no reason to further drag this out,” he told the court.
But he added that it had not been possible until this week, because it was unclear if Ms Chrysanthou wanted to appeal, or delay the costs determination.
Lawyer ‘refused to accept’ risk of misuse of information, judge says
Ms Chrysanthou had earlier argued she should not have to pay costs given she had taken a neutral stand.
But Justice Thawley found that was not the case.
“Ms Chrysanthou had at all times refused to accept either that … there was a relevant risk of misuse of confidential information or … [that] it was in the interests of the administration of justice that she cease acting for Mr Porter,” he told the court.
He noted she had been wrong on both counts, whereas Ms Dyer was wholly successful.
He said the ordinary rules that costs follow the event applied to her.
Mr Porter had sought to pay only 70 per cent of the costs, saying a late affidavit had extended the hearing from three to four days.
But Justice Thawley rejected that, finding it was not late and added important information to the case.
A registrar will now decide how much and in what form the costs should be paid.