Recent Cases

High Court of Australia

  • Catchwords: Police – Search warrants – Validity of warrants – Validity of orders – Where officers of Australian Federal Police (“AFP”) searched premises in reliance on warrants – Where officers of AFP seized material they believed relevant to offences against s 92.3(1) and (2) of Criminal Code (Cth) – Where officers examined and copied data from electronic devices at searched premises – Where plaintiff compelled to provide passcodes to devices pursuant to orders under s 3LA of Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) – Where warrants purported to authorise search and seizure of material relevant to offences against s 92.3(1) and (2) of Criminal Code – Where plaintiff accepted warrants severable – Whether warrants identified the substance of offences against s 92.3(1) of Criminal Code with sufficient precision. Constitutional law (Cth) – Implied freedom of communication about government or political matters – Where warrants purported to authorise search and seizure of material relevant to offences against s 92.3(1) and (2) of Criminal Code – Where plaintiff accepted warrants severable – Where plaintiff accepted various sub-paragraphs of s 92.3(1)(b), (c) and (d) capable of severance under s 15A of Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) – Whether appropriate to proceed to determine constitutional validity of s 92.3(1) of Criminal Code or construction of “covert”. Words and phrases – “covert”, “foreign government principal”, “foreign influence”, “foreign interference”, “foreign principal”, “implied freedom of political communication”, “necessary to decide”, “premature interpretation of statutes”, “prudential considerations”, “read down”, “search warrants”, “severable”, “severance”, “substance of the offences”, “sufficient precision”, “unnecessary and inappropriate to answer”.

  • Catchwords: Tort – Unlawful means conspiracy – Loss or damage – Loss of chance – Loss of value of rights or chose in action – Damages – Where conspiracy by unlawful means undertaken to deprive first to fifth respondents (“Respondents”) of value of chose in action arising from judgment in their favour – Where conspiracy involved agreements by which valuable properties in Czech Republic were transferred to impede recovery by Respondents of anticipated judgment debt (“Donation Agreement”) – Where Respondents commenced proceedings in Czech Republic against two conspirators to set aside Donation Agreement (“Donation Agreement Proceedings”) – Where Respondents had 20% prospect of successfully recovering through Donation Agreement Proceedings – Whether loss or damage proved such that unlawful means conspiracy was actionable – Whether damages for unlawful means conspiracy should be discounted to reflect 20% prospect of separate recovery through Donation Agreement Proceedings. Words and phrases – “actionable”, “chance of recovery”, “chose in action”, “contingent”, “damages”, “diminution in value”, “judgment debt”, “loss of chance”, “loss of opportunity”, “loss or damage”, “prospect of recovery”, “quantification of damages”, “unlawful means conspiracy”, “value of a plaintiff’s rights”.

  • Catchwords: Immigration – Refugees – Application for protection visa – Where plaintiff claimed protection on basis of feared persecution in Pakistan on account of homosexuality – Where delegate of defendant refused protection visa – Where delegate found evidence, including “open source social media”, did not support view plaintiff was known homosexual in Pakistan – Where open source social media was “relevant information” within meaning of s 57(1) of Migration Act 1958 (Cth) – Where s 57(2) required defendant to give particulars of “relevant information” to plaintiff to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, plaintiff understood why it was relevant, and invite plaintiff to comment – Whether defendant failed to comply with s 57(2) by failing to disclose open source social media or provide particulars to enable plaintiff to understand why information was relevant to protection visa application. Words and phrases – “active group of friends and family”, “depends on the facts and circumstances of the case”, “disclosure of the substance of the relevant information”, “fabricated his claim to be a homosexual”, “give particulars”, “homosexuality”, “open source social media”, “opportunity to meaningfully respond”, “relevant information”, “sexual identity”, “sufficient clarity or specificity”.

  • Catchwords: Criminal law (Cth) – Conspiracy – Where s 11.5(1) of Criminal Code (Cth) established offence of conspiracy – Where appellant charged with conspiring to do acts in preparation for terrorist act contrary to ss 11.5(1) and 101.6(1) of Criminal Code – Whether s 11.5 applies to spouses who agree between themselves, and no other person, to commit offence against Commonwealth law – Whether interpretation of s 11.5 of Criminal Code affected by any common law rule that spouses alone cannot conspire – Whether references in s 11.5 of Criminal Code to “person” and “another person” include two spouses – Whether meaning of “conspires” and “conspiracy” in s 11.5 of Criminal Code incorporates any common law rule that spouses alone cannot conspire. Words and phrases – “another person”, “common law rule”, “conspiracy”, “conspires”, “doctrine of unity”, “person”, “single legal personality of spouses”.

  • Catchwords: Immigration – Refugees – Application for protection visa – Where appellants each applied for protection visas – Where each appellant interviewed by delegate of Minister – Where each appellant assisted by interpreter in interview – Where interviews affected by translation errors in questions asked and responses given – Where Immigration Assessment Authority (“Authority”) conducted review under Pt 7AA of Migration Act 1958 (Cth) – Where in case of DVO16, Authority not aware of translation errors – Where in case of BNB17, Authority aware of three translation errors – Where in each case Authority did not exercise powers to get new information under Pt 7AA – Where in each case Authority affirmed delegate’s decision to refuse visa – Whether Authority’s exercise of powers unreasonable – Whether Authority failed to comply with statutory duty to “review” decision under Pt 7AA. Words and phrases – “automatic merits review”, “claims to protection in fact made”, “de novo assessment of the merits”, “failing to consider substance of claim”, “fast track reviewable decision”, “Immigration Assessment Authority”, “interpretation”, “interpretation error”, “interpreter”, “jurisdictional error”, “mistranslation”, “new information”, “overriding duty”, “reasonableness condition”, “translation”, “translation error”.

Full Federal Court

  • Catchwords: TAXATION – income tax – deductibility – payments made upon entering into lease and license agreements of franchise restaurants – payments described as prepayments of rent – whether payments were capital in nature or on revenue account – characterisation of advantage sought – where the quantum of the prepayment was calculated without reference to the terms of the lease and license agreements

  • Catchwords: HUMAN RIGHTS – claim of sexual discrimination and disability discrimination by employer – where applicant claims loss and damage caused by exacerbation of anxiety and depression – where applicant refuses to undergo a psychiatric examination to allow the respondent to adduce expert evidence – where primary judge ordered a permanent stay of proceedings consequent upon the applicant’s refusal – whether the order for a permanent stay was a just determination of the proceedings HUMAN RIGHTS – appeal from orders for a permanent stay of proceedings – whether orders are interlocutory in nature – whether leave to appeal is required pursuant to s 24(1A) of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) – whether a permanent stay consequent upon a refusal to be medically examined is an interlocutory judgment that affects the liberty of an individual – consideration of the principles in Talacko v Talacko (2010) 183 FCR 297 EVIDENCE – admission into evidence of extracts of a psychiatric report contained in a pleading filed in separate proceedings brought by the applicant in a different court – where the respondent obtained the pleading by making an access request to the other court – where the respondent adduced extracts of the psychiatric report to demonstrate a proper basis for seeking its own medical examination of the applicant by its nominated expert – whether the primary judge misconstrued various provisions of the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) in allowing the extracts to be adduced for this limited purpose only

  • Catchwords: INDUSTRIAL LAW – appeal and cross-appeal – claims arising from non-payment of employment entitlements – cross-claim arising from damage caused by breaches of employment obligations – secondment of employee to related foreign corporation – whether claims for unpaid entitlements inure as against Australian employer or foreign second employer – whether non-payment of certain entitlements contravened Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) – whether primary judge erred in failing to make findings concerning alleged contraventions – whether primary judge erred by not imposing civil penalties for alleged contraventions – where limited power in proceedings in relation to a matter arising under the Fair Work Act to order that costs incurred by one party be paid by another, whether primary judge erred in awarding costs to respondents – whether cross-claim was a proceeding in relation to a matter arising under the Act – whether primary judge erred in calculating entitlement to long service leave – whether primary judge erred in finding that two payments made in settlement of third-party litigation were reasonably recoverable as damages for breach of employee’s duties – whether a third such payment ought also to have been recoverable – whether circumstances warranted a single, net judgment CONTRACT – termination of employment for misconduct – settlement of proceedings instituted by third parties in consequence of employee’s misconduct – whether settlement amount reasonably recoverable from employee as damages

  • Catchwords: PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Costs – Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), s 570(2) – whether occasion for the awarding of costs established – order for costs against solicitor

  • Catchwords: CORPORATIONS – voidable transactions – unfair preferences – interpretation of s 588FA of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) – whether there was a continuing business relationship in the form of a running account – whether the peak indebtedness rule applies in the context of s 588FA(3) of the Act – meaning of “all transactions” – rule not applied – good faith defence under s 588FG(2) of the Act not made out – where defendant creditor had notice of insolvency – unnecessary to decide threshold question under s 553C of the Act of whether set-off is available in unfair preference claims

NSW Court of appeal