The District Court has recently struck out a defamation claim and ordered the claimant to pay over $50,000 in costs.

A friend of the claimant’s purchased a written-off aeroplane and asked the claimant to help him restore it. The claimant agreed to help, so long as he would be able to fly the plane afterwards.

The friend and the claimant worked to restore the plane together over many years, with help from the friend’s wife. When the plane was fixed, the claimant took it for a flight, but the purchaser and his wife said that he had no right to fly it.  

A few months later, the wife was heard telling people that the claimant had taken the plane out without permission.

The claimant believed that the wife’s comments were intended to paint him out to be dishonest, so he commenced legal proceedings against her under a claim of defamation.

Defamation is defined as an untrue or misleading comment about a person made publicly, that ruins the reputation of the person. The tort of defamation aims to protect people from unfair comments made about them, but only in cases where their reputation has suffered as a result of the comments.

Legal proceedings went on for four years before a strike-out application was made by the wife of the friend. The application was granted by the Court, where it was held that the claim was so trivial it was an abuse of court process.

The wife claimed for indemnity costs, which would cover all legal and related costs. The Court awarded her these costs, ordering the claimant to pay $50,470.63.

The Court held that the claim should never have been made, and the claimant’s real issue was a contractual dispute with his friend over the rights to the aeroplane.

It is important to know your legal rights, but it is also important to ensure that you get your legal position correct. If you are looking to take legal action, it pays to get advice from a professional with experience in the area.


Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.

Alan Knowsley and Hunter Flanagan-Connors