Marghanita da Cruz
marghanita at ramin.com.au
Fri Jul 27 12:40:34 EST 2007
> 1. THE DISPUTE
> 1 The heart of the dispute in this case is the complaint by ‘Seven’ (as I call the Applicants) that in May 2002 it was forced to shut down the business of C7 Pty Ltd (‘C7’), a producer and distributor of sports channels for Australian pay television platforms. Seven says that the closure of C7’s business was forced on it because some of the Respondents, notably the News, PBL and Telstra parties and their associated corporations, engaged in anti-competitive conduct in contravention of ss 45 and 46 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) (‘Trade Practices Act’), during the period from 1999 to 2001.
> 2. MEGA-LITIGATION
> 2 The case is an example of what is best described as ‘mega-litigation’. By that expression, I mean civil litigation, usually involving multiple and separately represented parties, that consumes many months of court time and generates vast quantities of documentation in paper or electronic form. An invariable characteristic of mega-litigation is that it imposes a very large burden, not only on the parties, but on the court system and, through that system, the community.
> 3 Before briefly explaining the issues in the case and the outcome, I wish to record some of the features of this particular example of mega-litigation.
> 4 The trial lasted for 120 hearing days and took place in an electronic courtroom. Electronic trials have many advantages, but reducing the amount of documentation produced or relied on by the parties is not one of them. The outcome of the processes of discovery and production of documents in this case was an electronic database containing 85,653 documents, comprising 589,392 pages. Ultimately, 12,849 ‘documents’, comprising 115,586 pages, were admitted into evidence. The Exhibit List would have been very much longer had I not rejected the tender of substantial categories of documents that the parties, particularly Seven, wished to have in evidence.
> 5 Quite apart from the evidence, the volume of written submissions filed by the parties was truly astonishing. Seven produced 1,556 pages of written Closing Submissions in Chief and 812 pages of Reply Submissions (not counting confidential portions of certain chapters and one electronic attachment containing spreadsheets which apparently runs for 8,900 or so pages). The Respondents managed to generate some 2,594 pages of written Closing Submissions between them. The parties’ Closing Submissions were supplemented by yet further outlines, notes and summaries.
Marghanita da Cruz
Phone: 0414 869202
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