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  • Community 'advocate' declared vexatious litigant

    Woodville man James "Jay" Reid has become just the seventh person in New Zealand to be restricted from taking court action after two judges declared him a vexatious litigant.

    The attorney-general applied to stop the self-proclaimed "community advocate" from being able to lead civil lawsuits or represent others without the approval of the High Court. Since the Judicature Act was amended in 1965 to allow someone to be declared vexatious, only seven people have been subject to its restrictions.
    The attorney-general's application was heard at the High Court in Palmerston North in May and was granted this week by Justices Patrick Keane and Peter Woodhouse.

    Since 1984 Mr Reid has taken 77 cases to courts and various tribunals, a figure the judges said was "striking". "What is equally striking is Mr Reid's almost complete lack of success. Of those 77 cases, including appeal, five have been in some sense determined in his favour . . . but 54 have been determined against him," the judges said.

    "Equally significant is that 28 of these cases have been described by those who decided them as untenable, and have attracted such descriptions as ‘hopeless', an ‘exercise in self-delusion', ‘bound to fail', ‘misconceived', having ‘no merit at all', ‘should not have been pursued', raising ‘no case to answer', and having ‘no basis'."

    But Mr Reid said even when he had not succeeded, he had often achieved changes in policy or practice.He claimed the attorney-general took the action against him at the behest of Tararua District Council and Horizons Regional Council, whose policies and decisions Mr Reid had challenged.
    Since 2004, he has focused on the Tararua District Council, which has spent more than $400,000 on associated legal fees.

    Mr Reid also led employment litigation against the Fire Service and Family Court proceedings. While the judges who have declared him a vexatious litigant said Mr Reid cannot bring any new cases to the court or tribunals, he can still pursue appeals to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Cases already before the courts can also be continued.

    Mr Reid told the Manawatu Standard yesterday he had four cases currently before the Court of Appeal, four before the High Court and one with the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

    The decision to declare him vexatious was "inevitable", he said.
    "The judges fairly recorded both criticism and praise levelled at me by other judges in a range of courts and tribunals," he said. "The judgment glosses over the actions of liars and bullies which needed to be exposed in the interests of fairness and justice."

    Mr Reid said it was unlikely he would appeal the decision. Tararua District Council chief executive Blair King said it was incredible how quickly legal costs could mount, and the council had employed a top law firm to defend itself against Mr Reid's actions.

    The "well over" $400,000 spent on legal fees against Mr Reid was the equivalent of half the cost of the Woodville water treatment upgrade, or the entire cost of the Eketahuna water upgrade, Mr King said. Credit Stuff.co.nz
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Bill (of Rights)'s Avatar
      Bill (of Rights) -
      Congratulations Jay. This is something of a badge of distinguished honour, isn't it?

      Admin, give this man the medal he so richly deserves. (Cos if you do, I might get one as well, any day soon)

      Bill of Rights
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