Taylor-Marie Young and Melia Moorhouse acted for an elderly man in defence of a claim against him in battery and assault.

The claim dated back to 2014 and the litigation had stalled for more than five years. During that time, the elderly man’s cognitive health had seriously declined to the point that he could no longer give evidence.

The Supreme Court held the delay was inexcusable and a fair trial was no longer possible. The Court dismissed the claims for want of prosecution. This case contributes to the jurisprudence building in favour of dismissing claims more readily where plaintiffs have not acted with dispatch in advancing their claims.