Recent Cases

High Court of Australia

  • Catchwords: Constitutional law (Cth) – Immigration – Tort – False imprisonment – Where respondent “unlawful non-citizen” detained by Executive under ss 189(1) and 196(1) of Migration Act 1958 (Cth) – Whether period of executive detention authorised and required by ss 189(1) and 196(1) ceases when removal of “unlawful non-citizen” from Australia should have occurred had Executive acted with all reasonable despatch in performance of s 198(6) duty to remove, or continues until actual event of removal or grant of visa – Whether Parliament’s power to authorise and require detention until actual event of removal or grant of visa limited by implications of Ch III of Constitution – Whether non-performance by Executive of statutory duties erases legitimate non-punitive statutory purposes which those duties support. Words and phrases – “aliens”, “deportation”, “duty to remove”, “exclusive vesting of the judicial power of the Commonwealth”, “executive detention”, “executive power”, “executive purpose”, “false imprisonment”, “habeas corpus”, “hedging duty”, “judicial power”, “lawful non-citizen”, “legitimate non-punitive purposes”, “Lim principle”, “mandamus”, “non-refoulement”, “Parliamentary supremacy”, “reading down”, “removal”, “remove as soon as reasonably practicable”, “separation of powers”, “statutory duty”, “statutory purposes”, “terminating events”, “unlawful non-citizen”, “visa”.

  • Catchwords: Limitation of actions – Exclusion by agreement – Where mortgages over land secured loan – Where mortgagors failed to repay loan – Where mortgagees brought proceedings to recover monies owing and possession of land secured by mortgages – Where mortgagors contended mortgagees statute-barred from enforcing rights under mortgages as a result of expiry of relevant time period under Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Qld) (“Act”) – Where mortgagors contended mortgagees’ title under mortgages extinguished by operation of s 24 of Act – Where mortgagees contended that mortgagors agreed not to plead any defence under Act by virtue of cl 24 of mortgages – Whether cl 24 effective to prevent mortgagors from pleading any defence under Act – Whether agreement not to plead any defence under Act unenforceable as contrary to public policy – Whether s 24 of Act operated automatically to extinguish mortgagees’ title at expiry of relevant time period – Whether mortgagees’ remedy confined to damages for mortgagors’ breach of cl 24 of mortgages. Words and phrases – “action”, “agreement”, “agreement not to plead”, “benefit”, “breach of contract”, “contracting out”, “defeated”, “defence”, “defence of limitation”, “expiry”, “extinguishment of title”, “finality of litigation”, “jurisdiction of the court”, “limitation period”, “limitations defence”, “plea”, “public interest”, “public policy”, “reasonable business person”, “remedy”, “shall not be brought”, “statute-barred”, “statute of limitations”, “statutory bar”, “statutory right”, “waiver”.

  • Catchwords: Constitutional law (Cth) – Implied freedom of communication about governmental or political matters (“implied freedom”) – Where Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act 2018 (Cth) (“Act”) included registration requirement for persons undertaking communications activity on behalf of foreign principal for purpose of political or governmental influence – Where foreign principal defined to include foreign political organisation – Where plaintiff undertook registrable activities on behalf of foreign political organisation in holding annual Conservative Political Action Conference events which constituted communications activity – Whether Act to extent it imposes registration obligations with respect to communications activity undertaken on behalf of foreign principal effectively burdens implied freedom ­– Whether provisions for legitimate purpose – Whether provisions suitable, necessary and adequate in balance. Words and phrases – “adequate in its balance”, “burden”, “communications activity”, “compelling justification”, “disclosure”, “foreign influence”, “foreign interference”, “foreign political organisation”, “foreign principal”, “legitimate purpose”, “narrowly tailored”, “necessary”, “political or governmental influence”, “prior restraint”, “register”, “registration”, “scheme information”, “structured proportionality”, “suitable”, “transparency”, “undisclosed influence”.

  • Catchwords: Immigration – Visas – Application for special category visa – Where respondent’s special category visa purportedly cancelled and respondent required to depart Australia in 2018 – Where purported cancellation decision subsequently quashed – Where respondent returned to Australia and refused a special category visa on the basis she was a “behaviour concern non-citizen” as defined in s 5(1) of Migration Act 1958 (Cth) (“Act”) due to her removal in 2018 – Where s 5(1) of Act defined “behaviour concern non-citizen” in para (d) as a non-citizen who “has been removed or deported from Australia or removed or deported from another country” – Whether respondent was a “behaviour concern non-citizen” within meaning of para (d) – Whether “removed … from Australia” means removed in fact or removed in accordance with Act. Words and phrases – “behaviour concern non-citizen”, “harsh consequences”, “nullity”, “removed”, “removed or deported from”, “theory of the second actor”.

  • Catchwords: Immigration – Refugees – Application for protection visa – Where appellant applied to Refugee Review Tribunal (“Tribunal”) for review of first respondent’s decision to refuse protection visa under Migration Act 1958 (Cth) (“Act”) – Where s 438 notification issued under Act in relation to material including appellant’s criminal record – Where Tribunal did not disclose existence of s 438 notification to appellant – Where first respondent conceded failure to disclose amounted to breach of procedural fairness – Where information covered by s 438 notification not referred to in reasons for decision – Whether breach material – Whether Tribunal in fact took s 438 notification information into account in making decision – Whether Federal Court erred by erecting presumption that Tribunal did not take s 438 notification information into account – Whether disclosure to appellant of fact of s 438 notification could realistically have led to different decision – Whether appellant or first respondent bore onus of proof of materiality – Whether Federal Court erred by confining materiality consideration to offence of dishonesty to exclusion of other offences. Words and phrases – “counterfactual inquiry”, “credit”, “discharging the burden of proof”, “failure to disclose”, “judicial review”, “jurisdictional error”, “lost opportunity to present legal and factual argument”, “materiality”, “onus of proof”, “opportunity to be heard”, “practical injustice”, “presumption”, “procedural fairness”, “realistic possibility”, “reasonable conjecture”, “statutory interpretation”, “subconscious impact”, “threshold of materiality”.

Full Federal Court

  • Catchwords: WORKERS COMPENSATION – where primary Judge dismissed an appeal from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (Tribunal) with respect to the operation of s 53(3)(c) of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth) (SRC Act) – where appellant sought relief under SRC Act for mental injury claimed to have been suffered prior to 1997 – where workers’ compensation claim in respect of injury not lodged until 2016 – whether appellant gave notice as soon as practicable after becoming aware of injury – whether Tribunal and primary Judge erred in findings concerning onus of proof – whether open to Tribunal to make factual findings concerning advice given to appellant in 1997 by appellant’s psychologist – whether Tribunal ignored the operation of the rule in Jones v Dunkel (2016) 258 CLR 308; [2016] HCA 35 – whether primary Judge incorrectly applied principles of reasonableness – whether primary Judge conducted impermissible merits review

  • Catchwords: MIGRATION – appeal from orders of a single judge declining to make an order restraining the Minister from refusing to grant the appellant a visa on the basis of character grounds under s 501(6)(h) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) – Vietnamese national alleged to have deliberately acted against national regulations – Interpol red notice issued by the Vietnamese government in relation to appellant – where prohibition sought is pre-emptory in nature – consideration of the discretionary nature of constitutional writs – preferable that the administrative decision-making process run its natural course – relief sought refused in the exercise of discretion – appeal dismissed

  • Catchwords: MIGRATION – appeal from order to set aside decision of the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs to refuse to grant the respondent a protection visa – Chinese national alleged to have defrauded banks or other monetary institutions of loans – Interpol red notice issued by Chinese government in relation to the respondent – whether primary judge erred in holding that the Minister misconstrued or misapplied s 501(6)(h) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) – whether it was reasonable to infer from the Interpol red notice that the respondent would present a risk to the Australian community or a segment of it – consideration of the meaning of “risk” – conflicting first instance authority – relevance of country information concerning Chinese criminal justice system – Minister’s reasons unreasonable on both lines of authority – appeal dismissed

  • Orders: (1) The appeal be allowed. (2) Declaration 8 made on 26 October 2020 in VID781/2019 be set aside by consent. (3) Order 4 and declaration 7 made on 26 October 2020 in VID781/2019 be set aside and in lieu thereof it be ordered that: (a) the third further amended originating application by the applicant (Icon) as against the second respondent (QBE) be dismissed; and (b) Icon pay QBE’s costs of the proceeding to be agreed or assessed. (4) Icon pay QBE’s costs of the appeal as agreed or…

  • Catchwords: MIGRATION – appeal from dismissal of judicial review application of two Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) decisions affirming cancellation of first appellant’s visa under s 109 of Migration Act 1958 (Cth) and second appellant’s visa under s 140 – whether primary judge erred in holding no jurisdictional error in AAT finding that first appellant breached s 57 of Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1995 (NSW) (BDMR Act) – consideration of prescribed circumstance under s 109(1)(c) of Migration Act and reg 2.41(j) of Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth) – where non-biological parent of child recorded on birth certificate – meaning of “parent” in BDMR Act – where AAT failed to have regard to broad legal concept of parentage – whether error material – where prescribed circumstance is a mandatory relevant consideration for exercise of discretionary power – appealable error by primary judge in relation to both first and second AAT decisions – both AAT decisions set aside – review applications remitted to AAT for reconsideration MIGRATION – whether AAT made adverse credibility findings based on misunderstanding of s 104 of Migration Act – whether AAT had power to cancel second appellant’s visa under s 140(2) of Migration Act

NSW Court of appeal

  • Catchwords: CHILD WELFARE – care proceedings – statutory construction – interpretation – where guardian ad litem appointed for a child and young person in separate proceedings – where court found child and young person was incapable of giving proper instructions to a legal representative – whether appointment of guardian ad litem mandatory or discretionary – Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW) – interaction between ss 98(2A) and 100 of the Act CHILD WELFARE – care proceedings – where guardian ad litem appointed for a young person by Supreme Court – whether young person incapable of giving proper instructions to a legal representative

  • Catchwords: EQUITY — Trusts and trustees — Resulting trusts — Purchase money trusts — Where appellant purchased properties in the name of the respondent pursuant to a power of attorney — Whether appellant contributed to the purchase price — Whether appellant manifested an intention inconsistent with beneficial ownership of properties — Where appellant provided to the respondent a will to sign which clearly acknowledged her ownership of the properties — Where appellant submitted tax returns on behalf of the respondent which were not trustee returns

  • Catchwords: CIVIL PROCEDURE – Pleadings – Striking out –Appeal against striking out of Statement of Claim in full – Where quantum of damages claimed identical to value of real property subject to family law proceedings – Whether proceedings brought for an improper or collateral purpose and thus an abuse of process – No sufficient basis for finding of abuse – Whether District Court erred in striking out applicant’s statement of claim as defective in form – Whether reasonable causes of action – Statement of claim not so defective as to justify striking out TORTS – Malicious prosecution – Damage – Where limitations on recoverability of costs in subject proceedings – Whether legal costs of defence and lost earnings are actionable damage TORTS – Malicious prosecution – Elements – Whether malice and absence of reasonable or probable cause adequately particularised – Whether necessary to show that prosecutor prejudiced by false information – Whether Apprehend Domestic Violence Order proceedings capable of founding malicious prosecution claim TORTS – Trespass to land – Damage – Whether distress to children of claimant actionable damage

  • Catchwords: CONTRACT – construction – design and construct contract – contractor claimed additional payment for works required pursuant to development consent – whether works were “Excluded Works” – significance of definition commencing “Notwithstanding any other clause” – significance of grammatical meaning of clause – clause required to be read as a whole, harmoniously with other provisions in contract

  • Catchwords: COSTS – Party/Party – Appeals – Appeal against refusal of leave to commence proceedings out of time – Delay attributable to appellant’s solicitors – Unsatisfactory explanation for delay – Respondent opposed application and led court below into error – Costs not sought by respondent against appellant – No order as to costs between parties COSTS – Appeals – Orders against non-parties – Personal costs orders against lawyers – As between respondent and appellant’s solicitors – Solicitors acted negligently – Respondent increased costs considerably by opposing application – Orders not made COSTS – Appeals – Orders against non-parties – Personal costs orders against lawyers – As between appellant and appellant’s solicitors – Costs incurred without reasonable cause – Relevance of undertaking by solicitors to not seek costs against appellant – Orders made