octubre 17, 2021

Setting Aside Settlement Agreements

«There is no direct evidence that the issue of restriction was taken into account in calculating the final billing figure. None of the lawyers involved indicated that the limitation period was mentioned even after the first mediation meeting. What appeared critical at the first mediation meeting was Dr. Howell`s knowledge of Lynch`s activities. If a successful request to cancel a transaction contract, survivors of child sexual abuse would have the right to reapply for compensation against responsible institutions. This is the result of a recent decision by the NSW Court of Appeal, which confirmed that amendments made by the Limitation Amendment (Child Abuse) Act 2016 (NSW) removing the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse claims did not allow courts to recover previous claims. The decision also confirmed the key elements and the high threshold to find that a contract under the Contracts Review Act of 1980 (NSW) is unfair or unacceptable in equity (Magann against the administrators of the Roman Catholic Church for the Diocese of Parramatta [2020] NSWCA 167). The Court of Appeal stressed the binding nature of an act characterized «once and for all» and the restrictions related to existing transaction agreement mechanisms that should be verified in NSW. In particular, the Court of Appeal upheld the high reference for the identification of vitiating factors such as misrepresentation, error, coercion, inappropriate influence and/or unacceptable behaviour. In 2003, Mr. Magann filed a lawsuit in the district court against the Catholic Church of the Diocese of Parramatta and two priests.

He claimed that he was a victim of sexual abuse committed by the two priests when he was a child between 1981 and 1991. Under the provisions of the Limitation Act 1969 (NSW), Mr. Magann`s application was prescribed. In the district trial, the Church attempted to invoke a defence of the statute of limitations and, while Mr. Magann was successful in his application to extend the statute of limitations in the District Court, the Church successfully appealed the granting of leave, which led to a rejection of the district court proceedings. Despite the rejection of the judicial proceedings on 16 October 2007, Mr. Magann received an act of release with the Church in connection with the alleged historical sexual abuse following a conciliation meeting.

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