Tag Archives: GOOD LAWYERS

Nagle v Rottnest Island Authority [1993] HCA 76 | 21 April 1993

ON 21 APRIL 1993, the High Court of Australia delivered Nagle v Rottnest Island Authority [1993] HCA 76; 177 CLR 423; (1993) Aust Torts Reporter 81-211; (1993) 112 ALR 393; (1993) 67 ALJR 426 (21 April 1993).

Nagle became a quadriplegic after diving into a swimming hole and striking his head on a submerged rock.  It was known to Rottnest that visitors engaged in this activity.

Rottnest was liable to pay Nagle damages as it had breached its duty of care to Nagle to warn him of the risk of submerged rocks.

The risk was foreseeable: “Whether small or not, the risk was certainly not far-fetched or fanciful.”

The accident was cased by a failure on the part of Rottnest to erect a sign.

The Civil Liability Acts have since altered the obligations and responsibilities of public authorities and occupiers in such situations.

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Harris v Caladine [1991] HCA 9 | 17 April 1991

ON THIS DAY in 1991, the High Court of Australia delivered Harris v Caladine [1991] HCA 9; (1991) 172 CLR 84 (17 April 1991).

Parts of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) allowing Judges of the court to make rules delegating judicial powers to registrars and non-judical officers were held to be valid and not in breach of the doctrine of separation of powers found in s71 and Chapters II and III of the Australian Constitution.

Family Court Judges may make rules and delegate their powers as long as they continue to bear the major responsibility for the exercise of judicial power.  The delegation must not be inconsistent with the obligation of a court to act judicially and that the decisions must be subject to review or appeal by a Judge.

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Statute of Frauds 1677 | 16 April 1677

ON THIS DAY in 1677, the English Parliament enacted the Statute of Frauds 1677.

This Act required certain dealings with real property, sale of goods, estates, trusts and marriage be reduced to writing and signed in order to avoid fraud or perjury.

The provisions of the Act have since been incorporated into many pieces of legislation around the common law world.

 

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Inc Pty Ltd v Commonwealth (“Fraser Island case”) [1976] HCA 20 | 14 April 1976

ON THIS DAY in 1976, the High Court of Australia delivered Murphyores Inc Pty Ltd v Commonwealth (“Fraser Island case”) [1976] HCA 20; (1976) 136 CLR 1 (14 April 1976).

The court held that the Commonwealth could validly legislate over the environment through its trade and commerce powers under the Constitution.  As a result, sand mining licensed by the Queensland Government was prohibited on the Fraser Island – the largest sand island in the world.

Fraser Island later became part of the Register of the National Estate, National Heritage List and the World Heritage List.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1976/20.html

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Abebe v Commonwealth [1999] HCA 14 | 14 April 1999

ON THIS DAY in 1999, the High Court of Australia delivered Abebe v Commonwealth [1999] HCA 14; 197 CLR 510; 162 ALR 1; 73 ALJR 584 (14 April 1999)

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1999/14.html

In 1994, the Commonwealth Parliament enacted provisions in Part 8 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) limiting the ability of the Federal Court to review the legality of an administrative decision of the Refugee Review Tribunal.

In 1997, Ms Abebe, an Ethiopian woman who unsuccessfully sought refugee status in Australia, brought proceedings in the Federal Court against the Immigration Minister seeking relief on the grounds that she had been denied natural justice and that the Refugee Review Tribunal’s decision declining her application for permanent residence was unreasonable. The Federal Court dismissed the application.

Ms Abebe then made an application to the High Court, challenging Part 8 of the Act and seeking orders for prerogative relief.

The High Court dismissed Ms Abebe’s application, determining that the provisions of Part 8 were not outside of the legislative powers or the Commonwealth.

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Cachia v Hanes [1994] HCA 14 | 13 April 1994

ON THIS DAY in 1994, the High Court of Australia delivered Cachia v Hanes [1994] HCA 14; (1994) 179 CLR 403; (1994) 120 ALR 385; (1994) 68 ALJR 374 (13 April 1994).

Costs recoverable from an unsuccessful party do not include time spent by a successful litigant who is not a lawyer.

Costs are recoverable under the indemnity principle: for money paid and liabilities incurred for professional legal services. No such costs are incurred when a non-lawyer represents themselves.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1994/14.html

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Viro v R [1978] HCA 9 | 11 April 1978

ON THIS DAY in 1978, the High Court of Australia delivered Viro v R [1978] HCA 9; (1978) 141 CLR 88 (11 April 1978).

The High Court held that it is no longer bound by decisions of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom.  The court is “pre-eminently equipped to decide what is the law for Australia”.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1978/9.html

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Mallet v Mallet [1984] HCA 21 | 10 April 1984

ON THIS DAY in 1984, the High Court of Australia delivered Mallet v Mallet [1984] HCA 21; (1984) 156 CLR 605 (10 April 1984).

Equality had long been the starting point when dividing matrimonial property on divorce.  The High Court in this case held that there is not to be a presumption of equality and that each case is to be determined upon a consideration of it’s particular circumstances.

Section 79(4) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) requires consideration of the financial contributions, non-financial contributions and parental and/or homemaker services.

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Hawkins v Clayton [1988] HCA 15 | 8 April 1988

ON 8 APRIL 1988, the High Court of Australia delivered Hawkins v Clayton [1988] HCA 15; (1988) 164 CLR 539 (8 April 1988).

A firm of solicitors was held to be negligent by failing to take reasonable steps to locate an executor (a non-client) following the death of a testatrix (a client whose will they prepared and retained for safe keeping) for some six years after the testatrix’s death.  The solicitors were held to be liable to pay damages for the loss suffered by the executor (who was also a residuary beneficiary) in not being able to manage the estate during the period of delay.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1988/15.html

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Miller v Miller [2011] HCA 9 | 7 April 2011

ON THIS DAY in 2011, the High Court of Australia delivered Miller v Miller [2011] HCA 9 (7 April 2011).

A joint illegal enterprise (eg joyride) negates a duty of care (driver to passenger) thereby creating a defence of illegality on the part of the driver/insurer: see Gala v Preston [1991] HCA 18. However, in Miller v Miller the High Court held that the plaintiff (injured passenger) was owed a duty of care because she withdrew from the enterprise by asking to be let out of the car and there were no reasonable steps available to her to prevent the continuation of the offence.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2011/9.html

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