Latest Decisions of Interest

21 November – 4 December 2020

NSW Court of Appeal Decisions

Restitution: quantum meruit

Roude v Helwani [2020] NSWCA 310

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal brought by a couple for whom a tradesperson who carried out extensive electrical and plumbing work without a written contract or quotation, challenging the damages awarded against them. The Court held that there was evidence of the fair and reasonable market rate for the work the tradesperson performed.

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Contracts: mistake

James Adam Pty Ltd v Fobeza Pty Ltd [2020] NSWCA 311

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal brought by a vendor challenging a dismissal of their summons seeking specific performance of the contract, whereby the contract contained errors as to the dimensions of the lot being purchased. The Court held that the contract contained an error sufficiently absurd to engage the doctrine of rectification by construction.

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Judicial Review: supervisory jurisdiction

SafeWork NSW v BOC Limited [2020] NSWCA 306

The Court of Appeal has dismissed a summons brought by SafeWork NSW seeking to quash orders made acquitting a company which had incorrectly installed oxygen and nitrous oxide piping to an operating theatre at a hospital. The Court held that allowing an appeal against an acquittal would have created a double jeopardy situation.

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Administrative Law: appeal inquiry

Li v Attorney General for New South Wales [2020] NSWCA 302

The Court of Appeal has dismissed a summons brought by a man who was sentenced in relation to the supply of a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug, who was seeking judicial review of a decision to dismiss his application for an inquiry into his sentence. The Court held that the admissibility of evidence in related Victorian proceedings did not affect the sentencing process.

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Australian Intermediate Appellate Decision(s)

Industrial Law: statutory construction

Communications, Electrical, Electronic, Energy, Information, Postal, Plumbing and Allied Services Union of Australia v Qantas Airways Ltd [2020] FCAFC 205

The Full Court of the Federal Court has dismissed an appeal brought by multiple trade unions challenging the dismissal of proceedings they brought in relation to whether Qantas employees were entitled to take leave while they were stood down. The Court held that employees who have been stood down are able to take leave if they are otherwise entitled to such leave.

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Workers’ Compensation: psychiatric injury; Torts: negligence

State of Victoria v Kozarov [2020] VSCA 301

The Court of Appeal of Victoria has allowed an appeal brought by the State of Victoria challenging a solicitor’s successful claim for damages for personal injury arising from mental illnesses she developed while working in the Specialist Sexual Offences Unit at the Office of Public Prosecutions. The Court held that the solicitor had not proved that the State was able to prevent the exacerbation of her condition.

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Asia Pacific Decision(s)

Human Rights: sex discrimination

Leung Kwok Hung also known as “Long Hair” v. Commissioner of Correctional Services [2020] HKCFA 37

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal brought by a man who, following conviction, was required to have his long hair cut, claiming that he was discriminated against on account of his sex. The Court held that less favourable treatment was given to him compared with female prisoners, and therefore there was discrimination on the basis of sex.

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International Decision(s)

Constitutional Law: religious discrimination

Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, New York v. Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York, 592 US ___ (2020)

The US Supreme Court has granted an injunction sought by various religious institutions in relation to the Governor of New York’s Executive Order restricting attendance at religious services in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. The Court held that the institutions had proved that the restrictions violated the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and that discrimination had occurred.

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