Recent Cases

High Court of Australia

  • Catchwords: Criminal practice – Appeal – Crown appeal against sentence – Where appellant sentenced on pleas of guilty to six offences arising out of course of commercial dealing in cannabis plant material and MDMA – Where prosecution appealed against sentence on ground of manifest inadequacy – Where three-member Bench of Court of Criminal Appeal (“CCA”) heard appeal and announced intention to allow appeal but referred relevant question of statutory construction to five‑member Bench – Where eleven months after initial hearing, CCA delivered judgment of five-member Bench, then immediately re-constituted to deliver judgment of three-member Bench, allowing appeal and re-sentencing to increased term of imprisonment – Where appellant not given opportunity to place material before CCA as to progress in custody, nor make submissions on re-sentence or dismissal of appeal in exercise of “residual discretion” – Whether CCA failed to accord appellant procedural fairness in conduct of hearing of appeal against sentence – Whether CCA erred in determining to allow appeal against sentence when all circumstances relevant to exercise of “residual discretion” not yet known – Whether matter should be remitted to CCA for re-sentencing of appellant. Words and phrases – “aggregate sentence”, “Crown appeal against sentence”, “delay in the appeal process”, “discretionary factors against allowing the Crown appeal”, “imminence of the offender’s release”, “manifestly inadequate”, “procedural fairness”, “proper exercise of discretion”, “re‑sentencing exercise”, “residual discretion”.

  • Catchwords: Tort – Battery – Statutory authorisation – Where CS gas (form of tear gas) used by prison officer in youth detention centre – Where prison officer called to assist at youth detention centre – Where detainees exposed to CS gas claimed damages for battery – Where device used to deploy CS gas prohibited weapon under Weapons Control Act (NT) – Whether deployment of CS gas by prison officer in youth detention centre lawful – Whether prison officer acting in course of duties as prison officer such that exemption for prescribed persons in s 12(2) of Weapons Control Act applied – Whether authorised by delegation of powers of superintendent of youth detention centre under s 157(2) of Youth Justice Act (NT) – Whether authorised by prison officer having powers of police officer under s 9 of Prisons (Correctional Services) Act (NT). Words and phrases – “acting in the course of his or her duties”, “battery”, “bodily integrity”, “breach of the peace”, “bystander”, “collateral damage”, “detainees”, “emergency situation”, “ensure the safe custody and protection”, “maintain discipline”, “maintain order”, “necessary or convenient”, “police officer”, “positive authority”, “prescribed person”, “prison officer”, “prisoner”, “prohibited weapon”, “superintendent”, “tortious liability”, “use of force that is reasonably necessary”, “youth detention centre”.

  • Catchwords: Criminal practice – Appeal – Crown appeal against sentence – Where appellant sentenced on pleas of guilty to six offences arising out of course of commercial dealing in cannabis plant material and MDMA – Where prosecution appealed against sentence on ground of manifest inadequacy – Where three-member Bench of Court of Criminal Appeal (“CCA”) heard appeal and announced intention to allow appeal but referred relevant question of statutory construction to five‑member Bench – Where eleven months after initial hearing, CCA delivered judgment of five-member Bench, then immediately re-constituted to deliver judgment of three-member Bench, allowing appeal and re-sentencing to increased term of imprisonment – Where appellant not given opportunity to place material before CCA as to progress in custody, nor make submissions on re-sentence or dismissal of appeal in exercise of “residual discretion” – Whether CCA failed to accord appellant procedural fairness in conduct of hearing of appeal against sentence – Whether CCA erred in determining to allow appeal against sentence when all circumstances relevant to exercise of “residual discretion” not yet known – Whether matter should be remitted to CCA for re-sentencing of appellant. Words and phrases – “aggregate sentence”, “Crown appeal against sentence”, “delay in the appeal process”, “discretionary factors against allowing the Crown appeal”, “imminence of the offender’s release”, “manifestly inadequate”, “procedural fairness”, “proper exercise of discretion”, “re‑sentencing exercise”, “residual discretion”.

  • Catchwords: Criminal law – Parties to offences – Where group of eight males assaulted victim – Where group included appellants and a youth aged 11 years (“PM”) – Where one member of group stabbed victim causing death – Where appellants charged with murder under Criminal Code (WA) – Where Crown alleged seven males who did not stab victim deemed to have taken part in committing offence under s 7(b), s 7(c) or s 8 of Criminal Code – Where ss 7(b), 7(c) and 8 of Criminal Code operated when “an offence is committed” – Where reasonably possible that PM inflicted fatal stab wound – Where PM could not be criminally responsible for acts unless he had capacity to know he ought not to do act under s 29 of Criminal Code – Where prosecution adduced no evidence to establish capacity – Where trial judge declined to direct jury that they could not convict appellants of murder unless satisfied beyond reasonable doubt PM did not cause death – Where appellants convicted of murder – Whether trial judge erred in declining to direct jury that they could not convict appellants of murder unless satisfied that PM did not cause death – Whether “offence” committed for purposes of ss 7(b), 7(c) and 8 where failure to prove criminal responsibility of person who may have done act constituting offence. Words and phrases – “accessorial criminal liability”, “an offence is committed”, “authorised or justified or excused by law”, “commission of an offence”, “common law antecedents”, “construction of the Code”, “criminally responsible”, “enabler or aider”, “excuse”, “justification”, “liable to punishment”, “offence”, “participants in the offence”, “parties to the offence”, “party to an unlawful common purpo

  • Catchwords: Administrative law (Cth) – Judicial review – Archives – Access to records – Where Governor‑General engaged in correspondence with Her Majesty the Queen – Where correspondence described as personal and confidential – Where Official Secretary to Governor‑General kept correspondence and made arrangement to deposit correspondence with predecessor organisation to National Archives of Australia (“Archives”) – Where correspondence deposited by Official Secretary on instructions of former Governor-General after his retirement – Where Archives Act 1983 (Cth) subsequently enacted – Where s 31 of Archives Act provides that Commonwealth records within care of Archives must be made available for public access when within “open access period” – Where s 3(1) defines “Commonwealth record” as including “record that is the property of the Commonwealth or of a Commonwealth institution” – Where “Commonwealth institution” defined as including “the official establishment of the Governor‑General” – Whether correspondence property of Commonwealth or of official establishment of Governor‑General – Whether “property” within context of Archives Act connoted relationship involving holding of rights corresponding to ownership or possession at common law or connoted existence of legally endorsed concentration of power to control custody of record. Words and phrases – “administration”, “archival resources of the Commonwealth”, “Archives”, “body politic”, “care and management”, “Commonwealth institution”, “Commonwealth record”, “comprehensive expression”, “convention”, “correspondence”, “created or received officially and kept institutionally”, “Crown in right o

Full Federal Court

  • Catchwords: MIGRATION – appeal from decision of Federal Court of Australia dismissing application for review of decision of Administrative Appeals Tribunal not to revoke cancellation of applicant’s visa – material submitted by partner of applicant outside time period prescribed by s 500(6J) of Migration Act 1958 (Cth) – whether decision of Tribunal not to adjourn review hearing denied applicant procedural fairness or was legally unreasonable – whether Tribunal misunderstood its task by failing to correctly construe procedural fairness provisions in Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (Cth) – consideration of whether alleged errors material to outcome of Tribunal’s review – appeal dismissed

  • Catchwords: EVIDENCE – privilege against self-incrimination – where disclosure order in connection with freezing orders required disclosure of worldwide assets – where respondent objected to disclosure of certain information on the basis that it may tend to incriminate and filed a privilege affidavit under s 128A(2) of the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) (Evidence Act) – where respondent applied for return of privilege affidavit – construction of s 128A of the Evidence Act – onus of proof under s 128A(6) of the Evidence Act – whether primary judge erred in finding that the interests of justice did not require disclosure of the information in the privilege affidavit – interests of justice did not require disclosure

  • Catchwords: MIGRATION – appeal from Federal Circuit Court – judicial review of an international treaty obligations assessment (ITOA) undertaken in respect of the appellant – whether the appellant was afforded procedural fairness in the ITOA process – where documents containing country information were not put to the appellant – no denial of procedural fairness – whether ITOA assessor applied the wrong standard – correct inference to determine the content of the instructions given to the ITOA assessor – ITOA assessor applied the correct standard – appeal dismissed.

  • Catchwords: COMPETITION – final orders – release of undertaking – costs

  • Catchwords: INDUSTRIAL LAW – appeal from decision of primary judge dismissing application for declarations that respondents contravened s 346(b) and s 348 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – whether primary judge erred in approach to construction of s 346 – whether threat of adverse of action – consideration of when a threat to take action will be adverse action – whether primary judge erred in finding that presumption in s 361 does not apply to allegations that a person threatened to take action with intent to coerce – appeal dismissed INDUSTRIAL LAW – application by appellant for leave to advance new case on appeal – consideration of nature of conduct and intent required to establish coercion under s 348 – where appellant sought to depart from case run before primary judge – leave refused

NSW Court of appeal

  • Catchwords: CIVIL PROCEDURE – Court of Appeal – application –assignment to the Court of Appeal for the punishment of contempt of the Court – assignment to the Court of Appeal of such matters as are necessary or convenient for the discharge of functions of the Court – notice of motion remitted to the Common Law Division of the Supreme Court CONTEMPT – Criminal contempt – contempt in the face of the court – here appellant was assaulted by first respondent at the appellant’s home far away from the court

  • Catchwords: APPEALS – interlocutory orders – appeal pending to High Court from permanent stay of one representative proceeding – interlocutory orders made in competing representative proceeding – whether House v King error in making orders which would render High Court appeal nugatory CIVIL PROCEDURE – representative proceedings – Pt 10 Civil Procedure Act 2005 (NSW) – orders and notices advising group members of representative plaintiff’s and defendants’ joint intention to apply for orders excluding group members who fail to register from participating in any settlement – whether orders beyond power – whether orders distinguishable from Haselhurst v Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Ltd [2020] NSWCA 66

  • Catchwords: JUDGMENTS AND ORDERS – setting aside – consent judgment – general power to set aside judgment or order – challenge to validity of agreement – whether judgment based on agreement – Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW), r 36.15(1) JUDGMENTS AND ORDERS – amending, varying and setting aside – consent judgement – orders entered – finality of entered orders CONTRACTS – grounds for setting aside – misleading or deceptive conduct – non-disclosure of information – relevance of actual or constructive knowledge of silent party as to complainant’s beliefs – relevance of undisclosed beliefs of complainant CIVIL PROCEDURE – Court of Appeal – leave to appeal – dismissal – lack of issue of principle, question of general public important or an injustice to the applicant going beyond merely arguable

  • Catchwords: APPEAL – determination of separate question –whether operators of Facebook pages published material posted by third parties – scope of separate question – findings going beyond scope of question CIVIL PROCEDURE – appearance – amici curiae – intervention by non-parties – non-party media companies who operate Facebook pages in similar circumstances to the applicant news companies – whether intervention appropriate –non-parties raising issues beyond the proposed appeal DEFAMATION – publication – internet technologies – operators of Facebook pages – whether operators published comments by third parties on news items posted on the pages – whether operators were instrumental in or participated in the publication of defamatory comments made by third parties MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS – broadcasting –operation of Broadcasting Act 1992 (Cth), cl 91 –liability of internet content hosts under state defamation law – issue not raised by parties in answering separate question

  • Catchwords: CONTRACTS — Construction — Interpretation –– whether contract formed pursuant to the appellant’s offer or the respondent’s counter-offer – whether the proper construction of the contract required supply of building materials and services at a price per unit as required or at a fixed sum – where quantity of units required unknown at the time of contracting – where context and businesslike construction militate against fixed sum