Latest Decisions of Interest

12 April – 25 April 2022

NSW Court of Appeal Decisions

Judicial Review: jurisdictional error, procedural fairness

Franklin v Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW) [2022] NSWCA 58

The Court of Appeal has dismissed a summons for judicial brought by the applicant, Mr Franklin, against the decision of the District Court not to state a case to the Court of Criminal Appeal  pursuant to s 5B of the Criminal Appeal Act 1912 (NSW). The Court held that the exercise of the power in s 5B involves the relevant judge exercising a discretion, and a judge does not fall into jurisdictional error in exercising it accordingly.

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Res Judicata

Fordyce v Leung [2022] NSWCA 55

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal brought by the appellant, Mr Fordyce, in proceedings which raised the question, inter alia, of whether a decision of the primary judge not to set aside a judgment for the amount of unpaid costs was a final order that gave rise to a res judicata that would preclude a judge determining an appeal under ss 384 or 385 of the Legal Profession Act 2004 (NSW) from reaching a different conclusion. The Court found that the primary judge determined the application to set aside the judgment under r 36.15 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW), one of the consequences being that it did not give rise to a res judicata that would preclude a judge acting under ss 384 or 385 from reaching a separate conclusion.

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Administrative Law: suspension of registration of medical practitioner

Pridgeon v Medical Council of New South Wales [2022] NSWCA 60

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal brought by Dr Pridgeon against the decision of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to uphold the suspension of Dr Pridgeon’s registration as a medical practitioner on the ground that he posed of public interest. The Medical Council of NSW had earlier made the decision to suspend Dr Pridgeon’s registration on the ground that he posed a risk to the health and safety of the public. The concern which had led to the suspension was Dr Pridgeon’s role in harbouring and supporting a woman who removed her two children from the custody of their father, in circumstances where Dr Pridgeon believed the father to have sexually assaulted the children. The Court held that the ‘public interest’ to which the relevant legislation is directed must be given its meaning from the conduct of the practice of medicine in respect of which a medical practitioner’s registration is granted, rather than from extraneous considerations.

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Australian Intermediate Appellate Decision(s)

Statutory Interpretation: Confiscation Act 1997 (Vic)

Azizi v Director of Public Prosecutions [2022] VSCA 71

The Victorian Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal brought by the appellant, Ms Azizi. A serious dug offence restraining order was subsequently made over property owned by Ms Azizi and her husband jointly after her husband was charged with a serious drug offence. Ms Azizi had not paid any of the purchase price. Ms Azizi sought to have her interest in the property excluded from the order. On appeal, the key issue concerned whether, for the purposes of a provision which might entitle Ms Azizi to such relief, Ms Azizi acquired her interest ‘directly or indirectly’ from her husband. The Court held that Ms Azizi did receive her interest indirectly from her husband, as the term ‘indirectly’ is sufficiently and deliberately broad enough to capture the circumstance where an accused pays for property but ensures that an interest in the property is vested in a third party.

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Patents: artificial intelligence, scope of the term ‘inventor’

Commissioner of Patents v Thaler [2022] FCAFC 62

The Full Court of the Federal Court has allowed an appeal against the decision of a single judge of the Court holding that an artificial intelligence machine can be considered an ‘inventor’ for the purposes of the Patents Act 1990 (Cth) and Patents Regulation 1991 (Cth). The Court held that an ‘inventor’ may only be a natural person.

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Asia Pacific Decision(s)

Conflict of Laws; Family Law

Vew v Vev [2022] SGCA 34

The Court of Appeal of Singapore has allowed an appeal against a decision to grant an anti-suit injunction preventing the appellant from continuing litigation in the United Kingdom under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 (UK). The appellant and respondent were once married, and upon their divorce, their matrimonial assets were divided. A parcel of real property in London was found not to be a matrimonial asset. The respondent contended that the English proceedings would re-litigate this decided matter, but the Court found that there were significant reasons for Singaporean courts to be slow to grant anti-suit injunctions against the commencement of such proceedings and that in the present case, continuation of the English proceedings would not re-litigate decided matters as the question of division of the London property was neve before the Singaporean court.

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International Decision(s)

Taxation Law; Social Welfare Benefits

United States v Vaello Madero 596 U.S. ­­­____ (2022)

The Supreme Court of the United States of America has allowed an appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeals finding that the exclusion of Puerto Rican residents from the Supplemental Security Income program is unconstitutional owing to its inconsistency with the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. The Court found that, by reference to the deferential rational-basis test, Congress’ reasons for excluding Puerto Rican residents from the program were justified.

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