New South Wales Attorney General Urgently Reviews High Court Decision on Catholic Church’s Tactics in Abuse Cases

Anyuak Media [Warsaw, Poland]

November 7, 2023

By Micheal Anthony

The recent high court decision concerning the Catholic church’s use of permanent stays in abuse cases has sparked significant concern and prompted the New South Wales attorney general, Michael Daley, to order an urgent briefing on the matter. The court’s judgment highlighted the problematic nature of using permanent stays to permanently halt survivors’ claims, stating that such measures should only be considered as a last resort. This practice has been routinely employed by the church and other powerful institutions, particularly in cases where perpetrators have passed away or when crucial evidence is unavailable.

Survivors of abuse and their legal representatives have widely praised the court’s decision, viewing it as a strong message to institutions that they should not exploit permanent stays to avoid accountability for child sexual abuse cases. However, they are also urging state governments, including NSW, where these stays have predominated, to implement further legislation to limit institutions’ ability to seek stays in historical abuse matters. Additionally, survivors and certain plaintiff lawyers are calling for the reopening of past cases where this tactic was utilized to either halt proceedings or undervalue survivors’ claims during settlement negotiations.

In response to the high court decision, the NSW government spokesperson confirmed that the attorney general had requested a comprehensive briefing on the matter and would carefully consider whether additional action is necessary. The high court’s ruling has shed light on a widespread issue that was initially exposed by The Guardian earlier this year. The news outlet’s investigation, which involved interviews with lawyers, court record analysis, and discussions with affected survivors, revealed that this practice was prevalent in almost every case where the accused perpetrator had died.

It is imperative that survivors of abuse have the opportunity to be heard and seek justice. The high court’s decision serves as a significant step towards ensuring that survivors are not unjustly denied their day in court. By holding institutions accountable for their actions and discouraging the use of permanent stays, we can strive to protect the rights and well-being of survivors as we collectively work towards a more just and compassionate society.


Q: What prompted the urgent briefing by the NSW attorney general?
A: The high court’s damning judgment regarding the Catholic church’s use of permanent stays in abuse cases prompted the attorney general to order an urgent briefing.

Q: What is the purpose of using permanent stays?
A: Permanent stays are used to permanently halt survivors’ claims in abuse cases, effectively using delay tactics to defeat their claims.

Q: What action are survivors and their lawyers calling for?
A: Survivors and their legal representatives are urging state governments, including NSW, to implement further legislation that restricts institutions’ ability to seek stays in historical abuse matters and to reopen past cases where the tactic was used.