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Can I sue an ACT public servant for abuse of public office? “

By 24 March 2014 16

I have evidence of  an ACT government public servant acting on orders to commit an act which has caused me great detriment.The public servant was ” impliedly authorized to commit the act which caused me harm/loss.”*

Given  the advice given by Robinson* that” malfeasance in public office  is a personal tort, it is personal to the officer who commits the tort and liability will ordinarily be only personal liability”, is there anyone out there who has succeeded in such an action or who can advise me further?

The event occurred between March -April 2006. The public servant had left that Department  soon afterwards, transferring to another Department.

 

* http://www.robinson.com.au/monoartpapers/papers/Personal%20Senior%20Public%20Sector%20Liability%20in%20Australia.pdfa)

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16 Responses to Can I sue an ACT public servant for abuse of public office? “
#1
someone10:49 am, 24 Mar 14

why sue the individual? the ACT government carries insurance; your individual public servant does not.

if you simply want revenge on the individual – dear skydog, don’t sue.
if you’re after compensation – sue the entity that can pay.

also – check the statue of limitations.

#2
peitab11:53 am, 24 Mar 14

Oh good god, seriously? Are you providing some final, poorly-written, light entertainment for us justiz, or is it a serious query? Because I’m sure most people read your post and just rolled their eyes.

But on the off-chance your query is serious (and I pity the public servants who will have to deal with it), then seek some proper legal advice you tightarse.

Ahhh, that felt good. And with that, I’m outta here. Thanks fellow RiotACT-ers – it’s been fun!

#3
mr_pink12:20 pm, 24 Mar 14

I would call the the Law society and ask. They used to run short consultations to give people legal direction. Alternatively some of the bigger law firms have call center staff who can often can be helpful.

Good luck

#4
Kent Street12:49 pm, 24 Mar 14

Apart from the fact that most of the language quoted is meaningless to me, how come it took 8 years for the harm/loss to become apparent?

#5
K8cat12:56 pm, 24 Mar 14

It’s a sculpture of limitations:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq8gfaFqFpI

#6
K8cat12:57 pm, 24 Mar 14

someone said :

also – check the statue of limitations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq8gfaFqFpI

#7
Aaroncbr1:57 pm, 24 Mar 14

Justiz will be served.

#8
mr_pink3:42 pm, 24 Mar 14

I hope all those people who made non-constructive, cynical and disparaging remarks all feel that little better about their small-time little selves.

#9
Henry825:25 pm, 24 Mar 14

Pay and see a lawyer.

#10
Leon6:20 pm, 24 Mar 14

Given that (1) Robinson’s peper didn’t address liability in the ACT, (2) Racz vs Home Office relates to UK law and (3) you’ve provided little information about the event that caused you harm or loss, I don’t think we can give you any better advice than to talk to a solicitor.

It’s sometimes part of a public servant’s job to commit an act that cause people great detriment. If they act legally, within their authority, then it’s very difficult to win a case against them,

If you sue the public servant directly, then he or she could argue that he/she was simply following orders.

If the public servant was acting on orders to commit an act that caused you great detriment, AND if that act was contrary to the law, then why not sue the person who issued the order?

#11
liability6:53 pm, 24 Mar 14

Firstly, your link doesn’t work, might want to try that again.

After 8 years. Nil hope.

The tort reform laws that were introduced last decade placed time limitation on most claims. Your post doesn’t say what the loss that you have suffered is, so it makes it impossible for anyone here to post any meaningful replies.

#12
liability6:57 pm, 24 Mar 14

Okay, just realised that OP’s link is to a post made in 1996 on a website. OP needs to look at something a bit more recent I would think, given the changes in the tort laws in the last decade.

#13
banco9:13 pm, 24 Mar 14

Malfeasance in public office is quite hard to prove and you’ll almost certainly be going up against the ACT Government rather than the individual as Governments virtually always have legal assistance arrangements in place for staff/former staff who are named as defendants due to something they did in the course of their work.

You better have minimum $25000 in cash for your legal fees and if you lose you better have another $50,000 or so handy for costs.

#14
KB19719:47 am, 25 Mar 14

liability said :

Firstly, your link doesn’t work, might want to try that again.

After 8 years. Nil hope.

The tort reform laws that were introduced last decade placed time limitation on most claims. Your post doesn’t say what the loss that you have suffered is, so it makes it impossible for anyone here to post any meaningful replies.

Generally the time limit for trying to obtain any conviction for the breaking of administrative law is 12 months. By that I mean any action must be started within a 12 month period of the law breaking ocurring.

Even then, as Banco said, you would need a pretty solid case with actual evidence not hearsay to even get it past the DPP.

#15
housebound6:50 pm, 25 Mar 14

Sure, you can sue them. Would you be successful? Very unlikely. Just look at the record: the TaMS Whisleblower, the Obsetrics/Maternity unit bullying, and any number of other cases you can think of where the complaint has been genuine but the government has moved heaven and earth to cover up.

If you feel really strongly about it, make a complaint to the Ombudsman, phone them back after a month or two to ask what they’ve done, and then be prepared to show how your loss is ongoing and why you have waited so long, and then follow up again when you still haven’t heard from them only to discover they haven’t actually read your complaint yet.

You could also try the Public Service Commissioner (you know, the one with the ACTPLA-approved house), but the same applies.

#16
stillStanding8:07 am, 27 Mar 14

You can’t sue as the statute of limitations is 6 years. Further, it is hard to prove misfeasance as it relates to malice on the part of the public servant. Then you have to deal with vicarious liability as employers are deemed legally responsible for the acts of their employees. Than after that most legislation has clauses that exclude public servants from legal liability. However, if you wish your story to go public, publish it!

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