Tagged: High Court

Unsuccessful invocation of equitable principles to deflect a tax liability

The HCA disallowed a joint venturer’s claim to have derived a lump sum as constructive trustee. Alleged fiduciary duties owed to a non-venturer were not accepted. Alternatively, the venturer’s purported equitable assignment of his rights to the lump sum was not tax-effective.

Western Australia Senate election declared void

In Australian Electoral Commission v Johnston [2014] HCA 5, the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, answered questions of law in a way which led to the election of WA Senators to the Commonwealth Parliament being declared void.

Change of position – ‘Disenrichment’ principle not accepted

On 7 May 2014, the High Court unanimously held that Hills Industries Ltd (Hills) and Bosch Security Systems Pty Ltd (Bosch) established the defence of change of position. Hills and Bosch were not required to repay monies to Australian Financial Services and Leasing Pty Limited (“AFSL”), the party who had paid them monies as a result of a third party’s fraud. AFSL appealed from the decision of the NSW Supreme Court of Appeal. The appeal was unanimously dismissed.

High Court upholds validity of Northern Territory Drugs Forfeiture Law

The High Court, by majority, upheld the validity of a statutory scheme for the forfeiture of property. The scheme provided that, on application by the DPP, the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory could declare a person who had been convicted of three or more drug related offences within a ten year period to be a “drug trafficker”, and consequent upon the declaration, all property owned, effectively controlled or given away by that person was forfeited to the Northern Territory.

High Court Lets Liens for Litigating Liquidators Lie

The High Court held unanimously that a liquidator is entitled to an equitable lien over settlement monies for litigation expenses which the liquidator incurred for the purpose of impugning a secured creditor’s charge, applying and confirming the principle in Universal Distributing in the process.

High Court strikes down laws prohibiting donations to political parties and spending on election campaigns

The High Court held invalid recent changes to the NSW political donations and campaign expenditure laws. The laws would have prohibited donations to political parties by any person not on the electoral roll, and where an overall cap on campaign spending by political parties otherwise applied, would have deemed expenditure on a campaign by ‘affiliated organisations’ of a political party (eg, unions) as being expenditure by that political party.

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).