The Vexatious Proceedings Act 2014 (the Act) commenced on 31 October 2014. The Act replaces existing provisions in the Supreme Court Act 1986 in relation to vexatious litigants and introduces a new system of litigation restraint orders.
The Act establishes a three tiered system of litigation restraint orders.
- Limited litigation restraint orders- preventing a litigant from making a further interlocutory application without leave
- Extended litigation restraint orders- preventing a litigant from commencing or continuing proceedings against a particular person or in relation to a particular matter without leave.
- General litigation restraints orders- which can prevent a litigant from continuing or commencing any proceedings in a Court or VCAT without leave.
Orders can be made either on application or on the court's own motion.
It also establishes three further types of order:
- acting in concert order- restraining actions by a person found to be acting in concert with a person against whom a litigation restraint order has been made
- appeal restriction order- preventing appeals of a decision to refuse leave to proceed
- variation or revocation application prevention order- preventing repeated applications for variation or revocation of a litigation restraint order.
If a person is subject to an order they may make application for leave to proceed to commence proceeding or make an interlocutory application. These applications are to be made to the court in which the proceeding is to be brought. Applications for leave to proceed are to be made initially without notice and may be determined on the basis of written submissions. The Court has made Rules providing for the form in which applications for leave to proceed must be brought.
The Prothonotary may refuse to accept an application for leave to proceed if not satisfied that the application is materially different from previous applications.