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Discovery and legal professional privilege – all is not lost when disclosure is accidental

In Expense Reduction Analysts Group Pty Ltd & Ors v Armstrong Strategic Management & Marketing Pty Ltd & Ors [2013] HCA 46 the High Court has confirmed that accidental disclosure of documents over which legal professional privilege is claimed will not amount to a waiver of such privilege. The appropriate course, in accordance with good practice management, will normally be for the recipient of the documents to return them to the solicitor of the party claiming privilege, and for that party to seek leave to amend its List of Documents. Failing to take such a pragmatic approach and raising technical legal points may in the circumstances be a breach of a party’s and its legal representatives’ obligations under the NSW Civil Procedure Act (and, it follows, the Victorian Civil Procedure Act).

Violet Home Loans Pty Ltd v Schmidt [2013] VSCA 56

In this case Mr Schmidt obtained a line of credit facility from Perpetual Trustees Australia Limited (Perpetual) and gave a mortgage over his home as security for the facility. Violet Homes Pty Ltd (Violet) was the mortgage originator and manager and processed the loan application on behalf of Perpetual. Mr Schmidt borrowed the money to invest in what he thought were property developments. He was duped into doing so by Mr Maddock, who has since been convicted of fraud. Most of the money advanced by Perpetual to Mr Schmidt was paid directly or indirectly to Mr Maddocks and was lost.

Mansfield v The Queen; Kirzon v The Queen (2012) 293 ALR 1

In this case, the High Court rejected an argument that to constitute ‘insider’ trading in contravention of the Corporations Act 2001, the information of which the accused person is in possession must be true and accurate. Justices Hayne, Crennan, Kiefel and Bell delivered a joint judgment and Justice Heydon delivered a separate judgment in which his Honour agreed with the plurality that the appeal ought to be dismissed.

Defects visible to the ‘untrained eye’ can constitute constructive knowledge

This is the second case note of two cases in which subsequent owners of a home have brought proceedings in respect of defects which are said to have arisen after purchase of the home. In determining whether the owners had suffered loss, the Tribunal considered whether the owners had constructive knowledge of ‘reasonably observable’ defects, also introducing the concept of the ‘untrained eye’.

‘Inherent vice’ exception in marine insurance applies when there is no fortuitous action

The United Kingdom Supreme Court has recently decided a case interpreting the ‘inherent vice’ exclusion under the widely used Institute Cargo Clauses (A) policy and the equivalent exclusion under the Marine Insurance Act 1906 (UK) (‘MIA’) in contradistinction to the insurance coverage term ‘peril of the sea’. Because the Marine Insurance Act 1909 (Cth) is for all intents and purposes identical to the MIA, and because of the wide customary usage of the Institute Cargo Clauses, the case is important to all practitioners in the fields of marine insurance and international trade law.