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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4256 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The use of Calderbank offers is common in litigation. A Calderbank offer has the effect that a party with unrealistic expectations is forced to confront the reality of his or her case against the possibility of an unfavourable costs order. It is open to any party involved in litigation to make a Calderbank offer, and it cannot be regarded as a device designed to gain an unfair advantage. Even where such offers are not accepted, the response often opens the way to further negotiation, with compromises by both parties, and matters which were seemingly unable to be resolved in fact are settled amicably.

Calderbank offers-and, in other jurisdictions, formal offers of compromise, which have the same effect-are seen by courts as promoting expedition and cost saving in the disposition of cases. Some jurisdictions are giving consideration to making such offers a compulsory part of the litigation process.

It would not be appropriate for me to comment on confidential negotiation between parties in any matter which is currently before the courts. The government remains hopeful that a mediation session, scheduled before Christmas, will lead to a mutually acceptable resolution of the claims made by the members of the Bender family.

I might add, by way of postscript, Mr Speaker, that the government has been paying, and continues to pay, the medical and out-of-pocket expenses of the Bender family.

Health executives

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, yesterday I was asked a question by Mr Smyth, which I took on notice. Mr Smyth asked me about levels of positions in the department of health. He asked me about the level of Executive Coordinator-Strategic Development, Executive Coordinator-Territory-wide Services and the chief nurse. For both the executives, the levels are executive level 2.6, and the chief nurse is an executive level 1.2.

Personal explanation

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, I seek to make a personal explanation in accordance with standing order 46.

MR SPEAKER: Proceed, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Today in question time, the Attorney-General, in attempting to answer a question about why he had composed the Bill of Rights Consultative Committee in a particular way, said that I had wished to impugn the motives of Professor Charlesworth and the other members of the bill of rights panel.

I would like to put on the record that at no time have I impugned the credentials of Professor Charlesworth or any other member of the panel. I have observed Professor Charlesworth in her consultative capacity as chairman of the bill of rights panel and I think she is a lawyer of very high attainment and achievement. This is not the view that has been put forward by myself-and, might I add, other members of the opposition. It had to be asked why there is an apparent bias on the committee, but it is not an imputation of the composition of the committee.

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