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Dennis v The Trustee for the Rocktacular Trust t/as Midas Service Centre[2016] QCATA 69

Dennis v The Trustee for the Rocktacular Trust t/as Midas Service Centre[2016] QCATA 69

CITATION:

Dennis v The Trustee for the Rocktacular Trust t/as Midas Service Centre  [2016] QCATA 69

PARTIES:

George Patrick Dennis

(Applicant/Appellant)

v

The Trustee for the Rocktacular Trust t/as Midas Service Centre 

(Respondent)

APPLICATION NUMBER:

APL049 -16

MATTER TYPE:

Appeals

HEARING DATE:

On the papers

HEARD AT:

Brisbane 

DECISION OF:

Senior Member Stilgoe OAM

DELIVERED ON:

16 May 2016

DELIVERED AT:

Brisbane

ORDERS MADE:

  1. Leave to appeal refused

CATCHWORDS:

APPEAL – LEAVE TO APPEAL – MINOR CIVIL DISPUTE – CONSUMER CLAIM – where claim for refund of cost to fit brake pads and rotors – where tribunal dismissed claim – where tribunal failed to provide adequate reasons – whether substantial injustice in tribunal error – whether grounds for leave to appeal

Dearman v Dearman (1908) 7 CLR 549

Fox v Percy (2003) 214 CLR 118

Pickering v McArthur [2005] QCA 294

Clarke v Japan Machines (Australia) Pty Ltd [1984] 1 Qd R 404

Chambers v Jobling (1986) 7 NSWLR 1

APPEARANCES and REPRESENTATION (if any):

This matter was heard and determined on the papers pursuant to s 32 of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) (QCAT Act).

REASONS FOR DECISION

  1. [1]
    George Dennis owns a 1999 Ford Econovan. On 27 September 2012, the Trustee for the Rocktacular Trust t/as Midas Service Centre invoiced him for, in part, supplying and fitting front rotors and front pads. On 10 December 2013, Select Auto Service invoiced Mr Dennis for the same thing, again as part of a larger invoice.
  2. [2]
    In 2015, Mr Dennis received another quote from Midas, recommending the replacement of the rotors and pads. He became suspicious, so he had the van inspected. Reports from Maroochy Mechanical Centre and the RACQ indicated that the rotors and pads did not need replacing. On the strength of those reports, Mr Dennis claimed a refund of part of the 2012 invoice. The tribunal dismissed his claim.
  3. [3]
    Mr Dennis wants to appeal that decision. Because this is an appeal from a decision of the tribunal in its minor civil disputes jurisdiction, leave is necessary.[1] Leave to appeal will usually be granted where there is a reasonable argument that the decision is attended by error, and an appeal is necessary to correct a substantial injustice to the applicant caused by that error.[2]
  4. [4]
    Mr Dennis says the tribunal erred in taking account of the intervening action by Select Auto Service. He says he has proof that Midas charged for work it did not do in 2012.
  1. [5]
    Mr Dennis filed fresh evidence with his application for leave to appeal. The evidence relates to a proceeding in the tribunal he filed against Beaurepaires. The appeals tribunal will only accept fresh evidence if it was not reasonably available at the time the proceeding was heard and determined. Ordinarily, an applicant for leave to adduce such evidence must satisfy three tests. Could the parties have obtained the evidence with reasonable diligence for use at the trial? If allowed, would the evidence probably have an important impact on the result of the case? Is the evidence credible?[3]
  1. [6]
    An application for leave to appeal is not, and should not be, an attempt to shore up the deficiencies of a party’s case at the initial hearing. Mr Dennis has not explained why this material was not available earlier. I do not understand its relevance of the new evidence and I cannot see how it will have an important impact on the results of the case. That evidence should not be admitted and the application for leave to appeal must proceed on the basis of the evidence before the tribunal.
  1. [7]
    Mr Dennis’ understanding of the tribunal proceeding, and the result, is not helped by the tribunal’s reasons for decision. As Dr J R S Forbes has observed, a failure to give reasons ‘... adds insult to the injury of an adverse decision. Without reasons, how can a party be confident that the case was understood and properly considered?’
  1. [8]
    It is simply not enough to tell a party “I think my colleague and I are agreed that you haven’t made your case today, but, in fact, the respondent has made out his case, so we are going to dismiss your case today.” The tribunal’s reasons should have considered the evidence and explained why it preferred Midas over Mr Dennis. The failure to give proper reasons is a denial of natural justice, which is an error of law.
  1. [9]
    However, there is a second element to the test of whether to allow leave to appeal: did Mr Dennis suffer substantial injustice?
  1. [10]
    The appeal tribunal will not usually disturb findings of fact on appeal if the evidence is capable of supporting the conclusions.[4]  An appellate tribunal may interfere if the conclusion is ‘contrary to compelling inferences’ in the case.[5] 
  1. [11]
    Mr Dennis presented invoices to the tribunal but little else. He did not produce the invoice from Midas that aroused his suspicions. He had no witnesses and no expert reports. Mr Janes, who appeared for Midas, explained to the tribunal why he was confident Midas did replace the rotors and brake pads. He provided an explanation for the excessive wear on the rotors and brake pads which, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, appeared credible. Mr Dennis could not prove that Midas never did the work for which it invoiced.
  1. [12]
    Even though the tribunal erred in providing insufficient reasons, the evidence can support the tribunal’s finding that Mr Dennis did not prove his case. Therefore, Mr Dennis did not suffer a substantial injustice through the tribunal’s failure to provide proper reasons.
  1. [13]
    Leave to appeal should be refused.

Footnotes

[1]   QCAT Act, s 142(3)(a)(i).

[2]Pickering v McArthur [2005] QCA 294 at [3].

[3] Clarke v Japan Machines (Australia) Pty Ltd [1984] 1 Qd R 404 at 408.

[4] Dearman v Dearman (1908) 7 CLR 549 at 561; Fox v Percy (2003) 214 CLR 118 at 125-126.

[5]Chambers v Jobling (1986) 7 NSWLR 1 at 10.

Close

Editorial Notes

  • Published Case Name:

    Dennis v The Trustee for the Rocktacular Trust t/as Midas Service Centre

  • Shortened Case Name:

    Dennis v The Trustee for the Rocktacular Trust t/as Midas Service Centre

  • MNC:

    [2016] QCATA 69

  • Court:

    QCATA

  • Judge(s):

    Senior Member Stilgoe OAM

  • Date:

    16 May 2016

Appeal Status

Please note, appeal data is presently unavailable for this judgment. This judgment may have been the subject of an appeal.

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