Shock court allegation as make-up mogul takes on web developer

The boss of a makeup company has accused a court member of “falling asleep” three times while overseeing a hearing, arguing she was not given “procedural fairness” during a legal fight against her website developer as a result.

Judith Stojonoff, who owns vegan makeup brand Lilipani, launched legal proceedings against website creator Mala Webber in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal in September, demanding a full refund of $9435.80 as she believed the services were not of “sufficient quality”.

Ms Webber was hired to develop a modern e-commerce website and to manage the company’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Ms Stojonoff argued Ms Webber should have consulted with her as she had expected and she was not allowed to give input into the design.

The tribunal ruled Ms Stojonoff was entitled to a refund of $2,417.80 of the full contract, as Ms Webber stopped running the social media pages after a month. However, ruled Ms Stojonoff was not entitled to the full refund as she had not proven Ms Webber’s work was insufficient.

This week, the tribunal heard how Ms Stojonoff was appealing the decision on the grounds she was not given “procedural fairness” in the matter as the member overseeing the case fell asleep multiple times while hearing the evidence in the case.

In her submissions, Ms Stojonoff accused tribunal member Anne Lynch of falling asleep on “several occasions” during the hearing on September 7.

“This incident most definitely had an impact on the outcome of this case as critical evidence was missed by Member Lynch,” she wrote.

“I was rather shocked and did not know how to respond to this incident at the time … I was unsure if it was appropriate to say something, what does one say in this instance?”

Ms Stojonoff’s boyfriend Alessandro Nobbs also wrote a letter to the court, making the same claims.

“As a concerned observer, I noted with great concern that the presiding Member Lynch fell asleep on three separate occasions during this proceeding,” he submitted to the court.

Ms Webber made her own submissions to the appeal, calling the claim a “lie”.

“Ms. Stojonoff has made a formal disturbing accusation in her Submissions for Appeal letter,” she said.

“I was there, she did not fall asleep. This is a lie.”

When contacted by news.com.au, Ms Webber reiterated Ms Stojonoff’s claims were “not true”.

Ms Lynch is a longstanding general member of NCAT with employment in tribunals since 2001. She was admitted as a solicitor in 1994 and worked extensively in dispute resolution.

The tribunal said they would not be commenting on Ms Stojonoff’s claims.

The court has ruled Ms Stojonoff must provide evidence of her claims by May 24 with the matter now set to go to a separate hearing.

“We note that it has only become necessary to take this course because Ms Stojonoff raised this issue for the first time on 1 March 2024 when she filed the Stojonoff appeal submissions and the Stojonoff appeal document,” the appeal bench said in their decision.

“Ms Stojonoff should have raised this issue in her notice of appeal.”

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