- Manifold & Alderton  FamCAFC 61
- Amery & Kedrina  FamCAFC 79
- Fisher  FamCA 236
- Garrod & Davenort  FamCA 276
‘Gross and deplorable’ seven year delay in handing down judgment ‘contributed to the making of substantial errors’
In Manifold & Alderton  FamCAFC 61 (4 May 2021) the Full Court (Strickland, Kent & Austin JJ) heard a father’s appeal from parenting and property orders made in September 2020, where the trial concluded seven years earlier.
After a trial in 2013, further evidence was taken in March 2018, after which judgment was reserved again. A further hearing occurred in September 2019.
Strickland J, with whom Kent & Austin JJ agreed, said (from ):
‘[D]elay is not itself a ground of appeal, [but] the authorities are clear that where there is delay, the reasons for judgment must be subject to the strictest of scrutiny …
 Here … the focus is … the failure by the primary judge to take relevant matters into account, to engage with the father’s case and with the evidence, and to provide adequate reasons …
 … [H]er Honour concludes … that it is in the best interests of the children … to marginally increase [paternal] … time …
 The only basis for that decision … [is] a query ‘whether the father has the capacity to adequately support the children’ … and that the father has not ‘demonstrated’ how he would attend to the support needed …
 … [T]hese are all matters … addressed in the evidence, but which evidence was overlooked and clearly not taken into account …
 This is significant given the extraordinary delay here. … [H]er Honour was required to carry out a more detailed consideration of the evidence, and analysis of the respective cases … than would normally be required. The purpose of doing so would be to demonstrate … that the delay had not affected the decision. That did not occur here.
 … [T]here is no mention by her Honour of any difficulty experienced … as a result of the loss of the file and the exhibits. There being nothing said … to explain how she overcame the absence of these documents … provides another basis for finding that that decision is unsafe. …’
The case was remitted for rehearing and costs certificates were ordered.