Latest Decisions of Interest

25 April – 8 May 2020

NSW Court of Appeal Decisions

Ballas v Department of Education (State of NSW) [2020] NSWCA 86

Administrative Law: judicial review; Workers Compensation

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal brought by Ms Ballas relating to the assessment of psychiatric impairment that she sustained whilst working as a primary school teacher. The Court held that the primary judge erred in failing to hold that the Delegate of the Registrar of the Workers Compensation Commission’s decision was infected by jurisdictional error, and that the Certificate of Determination and the reconsideration determination should be set aside.

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Inghams Enterprises Pty Limited v Hannigan [2020] NSWCA 82

Arbitration: dispute resolution; Contracts: construction and interpretation

The Court of Appeal has granted leave and allowed an appeal brought by Inghams Enterprises from an order that Mr Hannigan was entitled to refer his damages claim to arbitration under a contract between these parties. The Court held that the primary judge erred in his construction of the relevant clause of the Agreement, and that if the dispute was required to be referred to arbitration, Mr Hannigan had not waived his right to insist that occur.

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Hackett (a pseudonym) v Secretary, Department of Communities and Justice [2020] NSWCA 83

Adoption: definitions, statutory interpretation

The Court of Appeal has granted leave to appeal on one ground from an order for the adoption of a child by a woman who had cared for the child for most of the child’s life. The Court held that the interpretation of “Aboriginal child” in Fischer v Thompson was wrong, and that the child in this case was an “Aboriginal child” for the purposes of the Adoption Act.

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Todd Hadley Pty Limited v Lake Maintenance (NSW) Pty Ltd (No 2) [2020] NSWCA 81

Torts: professional negligence; Mortgages: valuations

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal brought by a Lender against a Valuer of Property for mortgage valuation purposes. The Court held that the nature of the interest infringed by the alleged negligence was the mortgagee’s ability to “recoup” from the proceeds of sale of the mortgaged property the moneys advanced by way of loan. The causes of action against the Valuer arose at least by the time the mortgaged property was sold.

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Australian Intermediate Appellate Decisions

Braham v ACN 101 482 580 Pty Ltd [2020] VSCA 108

Consumer Law: misleading or deceptive conduct

The Victorian Court of Appeal has granted leave but dismissed an appeal brought by Mr Braham against the primary judge’s findings that a law firm did not make representations that a partnership structure used by Mr Braham complied with an ATO Ruling. The Court held that the firm’s conduct, including a failure to correct information, did not constitute misleading or deceptive conduct.

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CXXXVIII v Honourable Justice Richard Conway White [2020] FCAFC 75

Constitutional Law: separation of powers

The Full Court of the Federal Court has dismissed an application for judicial review in relation to an arrest warrant issued by a Federal Court judge pertaining to the applicant. The Court held that the relevant provision providing power to the judge to issue the arrest warrant was not invalid.

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Asia Pacific Decision(s)

Kariko v Korua [2020] PGSC 29

Civil Procedure; Administrative Law: judicial review

The Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea has dismissed an appeal brought by the Secretary of the National Court challenging the primary judge’s reinstatement of a former employee, who was dismissed after committing a serious disciplinary offence of soliciting bribes from former security officers. The Court commented on a number of procedural deficiencies in the case, and the importance of public authorities providing reasons for their decisions.

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International Decision(s)

Georgia v. Public Resource.Org, Inc. 580 U.S. __ (2020)

Copyright: copyrightable material

The US Supreme Court has granted certiorari in relation to a District Court injunction that a not-for-profit cease distribution of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated for copyright infringement. The Court held that the government edicts doctrine prevents judges and legislators from being considered the authors of works they produce in the course of their official duties, making the Code’s annotations ineligible for copyright protection.

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