Charles William Williams and Others v Auckland Council

JurisdictionNew Zealand
CourtSupreme Court
JudgeElias CJ,,William Young,O'Regan JJ
Judgment Date30 September 2016
Neutral Citation[2016] NZSC 130
Docket NumberSC 124/2015
Date30 September 2016

[2016] NZSC 130



Elias CJ, William Young and O'Regan JJ

SC 124/2015

Charles William Williams, Jean Elizabeth Morley, Inez Beverly Flavell, Lesley Anne Hensleigh, The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind, Donald Alexander Mackintosh, Lynda Anne Ryan, Janice Aileen Robertson, Gillian Madge Clark, Rosalie Hilda Mailand, Donald Michael Stewart, Patricia Dora Mary Spencer-Wood, Sophie Maria Hunt and David John Mccormick
First to Seventh Applicants
Auckland Council

C R Carruthers QC for Applicants

M E Casey QC and G W Hall for Respondent

Application to recall a leave judgment — the Supreme Court (SC) issued a judgment dismissing the applicants' application for leave to appeal — the applicants said the SC based its judgment on two statements that were incorrect, and this meant the Court relied on a factual basis to dismiss the application for leave which was not supported by the evidence — the applicants contested the correctness of a statement about the need for familial connection in public works offer back situations, but accepted that this was not a matter that could be litigated in a recall application —whether either statement could form a basis for recall on the grounds of a very special reason where justice required recall.

The issue was whether either statement could form a basis for recall on the grounds of a very special reason where justice required recall.

Held: As stated in Saxmere Company Ltd v Wool Board Disestablishment Company Ltd (No 2), there were three categories of cases that had been recognised by New Zealand Courts in which a judgment may be recalled if not already perfected (Horowhenua County v Nash (No 2)). These were:

  • (a) where, since the hearing there had been an amendment to a relevant statute or regulation or a new judicial decision of relevance and high authority;

  • (b) where counsel had failed to direct the Court's attention to a legislative provision or authoritative decision of plain relevance; or

  • (c) where for some other very special reason justice required that the judgment be recalled.

The judgment was not based on the first statement. That statement was an observation made in response to the point made by the applicants that they should not be penalised for delay in pursuing their claim. There was no doubt that the applicants delayed either for 20 years or 10 years in bringing their claim, depending on the date on which the offer back was said to have arisen. The observation made by the Court was simply recording that the respondent had throughout resisted the proposition that it was obliged to make an offer back, as, indeed, it still did. The extent of the legal advice received by the respondent and its predecessors or the quality of that advice was not of any relevance to that observation. Nor was there any error in the statement in the context in which it was made.

The second statement was made in the context of the conclusion that the evaluation in the lower Courts was essentially factual in nature and did not give rise to a point of general or public importance. It was not a finding that the lack of familial interest was a disqualifying fact as a matter of law. Nor was the statement factually incorrect when applied to the present applicants.

Application for recall of the leave judgment dismissed.

  • A The application to recall the judgment in Williams v Auckland Council [2016] NZSC 20 is dismissed.

  • B The applicants must pay costs of $1,000 to the respondent.


On 11 March 2016, this Court issued a judgment dismissing the applicants' application for leave to appeal. 1


On 30 June 2016, the applicants filed a notice of application to recall the judgment. Their counsel sought an oral hearing to argue the application and, if it succeeded, the substantive application for leave to appeal.


The Court sought submissions from the respondent on the application. After these were received, the applicants sought, and were granted, leave to file submissions in reply. Having considered the points made in the notice of application for recall, the submissions of the respondent and the reply submissions of the...

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1 cases
  • Aztek Ltd v The Attorney-General
    • New Zealand
    • Court of Appeal
    • 24 June 2020
    ...[8]–[9] (emphasis added) as in the subsequent decision of the Supreme Court declining a recall application: Williams v Auckland Council [2016] NZSC 130 at 69 Williams v Auckland Council, above n 68, at [11]. 70 Hood v Attorney-General, above n 63. 71 At [45]. 72 At [60]–[62]. 73 At [97]–[9......

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