Expense of subpoenas reimbursed

9-May-2012 Family Law By Simone Green

In Lavell the wife issued a subpoena to produce documents to the husband’s accountancy firm. The wife paid $43 by way of conduct money. The husband’s accountant sought reimbursement of $4000 for “substantial loss and expense” incurred as a result of compliance with the subpoena pursuant to Regulation 15.23(3) of the Family Law Rules.

Under Regulation 15.23(3) of the Family Law Rules a “named person” may be reimbursed if they incur a substantial loss or expense that is greater than the amount of the conduct money payable. The court stated that a loss is “substantial” where it is “unusual in the sense of requiring normal activity to be stopped; or it must cause an unfair inconvenience having regard to the fact that the recipient has nothing to do with the litigation”.

The court held that the expenses of the accounting firm in this case were “substantial” and hence it was entitled to reimbursement.
Regulation 15.23(3) gives the “named person” an entitlement to be paid the “reasonable expenses” of complying with the subpoena. The court held that in calculating the reasonable expenses under this rule what the firm would have charged for the work involved is only relevant as a guide. The focus is on balancing the “interests of the administration of justice” and the inconvenience caused to the firm.The court held that $1000 was adequate recompense for the expense incurred by the accounting firm as a result of its compliance with the wife’s subpoena.
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