The applicant filed an application with the Court, which amongst other things, sought a declaration of the existence of a ‘de facto’ relationship with the respondent between September 1992 and 18 February 2010.
The respondent denied that a defacto relationship existed, and if in fact it was found that it had existed, he argued that the relationship had ended in 2006, and the applicant was ‘out of time’ in filing her proceedings.
During disclosure between the parties, it became apparent that in documents lodged with the Australian Taxation Office and Centrelink, that the applicant stated that she was single. The dates of these documents occurred during the period in which she was claiming that a defacto relationship existed between herself and the respondent.
Accordingly, a significant focus in this case was whether the Court could apply the “Elias Principle”.
In the words of Judge Harman, “… the “Elias principle”, with respect to the admissibility of evidence, represents a rule of law rather than a rule or presumption relating to evidence or credit. However, as it is a rule of law, it is subject to exception, application to specific facts and circumstances and, over all, equity and the overall interests of justice”.
Essentially, the principle provides the Court with some discretion, depending on the circumstances, to exclude evidence before the Court, which is inconsistent with prior inconsistent statements made a party. In this case, the respondent requested that the Court apply the principle to exclude the applicant’s evidence that the de facto relationship existed as she herself had provided documents to the Government stating that she was single during that period, however the Court declined to apply the principle and the applicant’s evidence remained.
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