French CJ, Kiefel, Bell, Gageler, Keane, Nettle, Gordon JJ
Date: 7 Oct 2015 Case Number: S28/2015
Intellectual property – Patents – Patents Act 1990 (Cth) – Patentable subject matter – Patent claimed isolated nucleic acid coding for BRCA1 protein with specified mutations or polymorphisms indicative of susceptibility to cancer – Whether invention claimed is a patentable invention under s 18(1)(a) of Patents Act 1990 (Cth) – Whether invention claimed is a "manner of manufacture" within meaning of s 6 of Statute of Monopolies – Whether sufficient that invention claimed is artificially created state of affairs of economic significance – Utility of "artificially created state of affairs" criterion – Factors relevant to whether new class of claim falls within concept of manner of manufacture.
Words and phrases – "artificially created state of affairs", "isolated nucleic acid", "manner of manufacture", "naturally occurring", "patentable invention", "product of nature".
Patents Act 1990 (Cth) – ss 18(1)(a), 40(2)(b).
Statute of Monopolies (21 Jac I c 3) – s 6.
223 CLR 1; 79 ALJR 755; 214 ALR 92
Gleeson CJ, McHugh, Gummow, Kirby, Hayne, Callinan, Heydon JJ
Date: 10 Mar 2005 Case Number: M61/2003
Legal practitioners – Negligence - Immunity from suit - Applicant sought legal assistance from first respondent, a statutory corporation deemed to be a firm of solicitors, in defence of criminal prosecution - First respondent retained second respondent, a barrister, to appear for applicant at committal proceedings - Applicant pleaded guilty at committal proceedings but subsequently pleaded not guilty and stood trial - Evidence of guilty plea led at first trial - Applicant convicted but verdict quashed on appeal and new trial ordered - Applicant acquitted on retrial - Respondents alleged to have been negligent in advising applicant to plead guilty at committal - Advice allegedly tendered at a conference two days prior to committal proceeding and at a further conference on day of committal proceeding - Whether advocate's immunity available to respondents - Whether advocate's immunity applied in respect of advice allegedly given in conference.
Legal practitioners – Immunity from suit - Legal Profession Practice Act 1958 (Vic) - Barristers liable for negligence to same extent as solicitor as at 1891 - Extent of solicitor's liability for negligence in 1891.
Courts – Judicial process - Judicial process as an aspect of government - Nature of the judicial process - The need for finality of judicial determination - Whether advocate's immunity necessary to ensure finality of judicial process.
Courts – Abuse of process - Whether rules about abuse of process provide sufficient satisfaction of the finality principle - Nature of client's complaint - Whether distinction exists between civil and criminal proceedings - Whether distinction to be drawn between challenging the final outcome of litigation and challenging an intermediate outcome.
High Court – Whether Giannarelli v Wraith (1988) 165 CLR 543 should be reconsidered - Relevance of statutory changes since Giannarelli v Wraith - Relevance of developments in common law in England and Wales - Relevance of experience in other jurisdictions.
Courts – Practice and procedure - Summary determination of action without trial - Whether claim revealed an arguable cause of action.
Legal Profession Practice Act 1958 (Vic) – s 10.
Legal Practice Act 1996 (Vic) – s 442.
227 CLR 490; 80 ALJR 860; 226 ALR 570
Gleeson CJ, Gummow, Kirby, Hayne, Callinan, Heydon, Crennan JJ
Date: 10 May 2006 Case Number: S334/2005
Constitutional law (Cth) − Power with respect to service and execution throughout the Commonwealth of civil and criminal process − Summons served under State law upon person in another State to attend State commission of inquiry with investigative functions − Summons a "subpoena" for the purpose of the Service and Execution of Process Act 1992 (Cth) − "Civil and criminal process" − Whether "civil and criminal process" includes process relating to purely investigative functions of tribunals which are not in aid of an adjudicative function − Whether s 76 of the Service and Execution of Process Act 1992 (Cth) a valid exercise of Commonwealth legislative power.
Constitutional law (Cth) – Power with respect to service and execution throughout the Commonwealth of civil and criminal process – Parties did not contend that such power is confined to process of the courts of the States – Whether the High Court can nevertheless consider whether such power is so confined – Paramountcy of the Constitution.
Constitutional law (Cth) – Power with respect to service and execution throughout the Commonwealth of civil and criminal process – Whether such power is confined to process of the courts of the States – Whether increased potential for infringement of liberty associated with extending such power to process of State non-court bodies is a consideration supportive of narrower construction of such power – Proliferation of State non-court bodies that issue process – Relevance to constitutional meaning of changing features of modern government.
Words and phrases − "civil and criminal process".
Constitution – s 51(xxiv).
Service and Execution of Process Act 1992 (Cth) – Pt 4, ss 47-80.
New South Wales Crime Commission Act 1985 (NSW) – ss 18, 18AA, 35.
249 CLR 381; 88 ALJR 67; 303 ALR 188
Crennan, Kiefel, Bell, Gageler, Keane JJ
Date: 6 Nov 2013 Case Number: S115/2013
Statutes – Statutory construction – Whether Court of Appeal erred in construction of s 130A of Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 (NSW) – Whether Griffiths v Kerkemeyer damages precluded by s 130A in respect of participants under Scheme in Motor Accidents (Lifetime Care and Support) Act 2006 (NSW) – Whether "provided for or are to be provided for" in s 130A means "paid for or are to be paid for".
Words and phrases – "provided for or are to be provided for".
Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 (NSW) – ss 128(1), 130A.
Motor Accidents (Lifetime Care and Support) Act 2006 (NSW) – ss 6, 8, 23, 26, 28.
227 CLR 373; 80 ALJR 1250; 228 ALR 334
Gleeson CJ, Gummow, Kirby, Heydon, Crennan JJ
Date: 22 Jun 2006 Case Number: B87/2005 B88/2005 B89/2005
Criminal Law – Common intention to prosecute unlawful purpose - Aiding the commission of an offence - Counselling the commission of an offence - Assault causing death - Appellants tried together and convicted of murder - Where Crown case relied on ss 7, 8 and 9 of the Criminal Code (Q) - Jury directed by trial judge that for the purpose of ss 8 and 9 of the Criminal Code (Q) "a probable consequence" was one which was "a real possibility or a substantial chance or a real chance" - Meaning of "a probable consequence" - Whether "probable" connotes something more than "possibility" or "real possibility" or "real chance" - Whether jury was misdirected.
Criminal Law – Application of the proviso under s 668E(1A) of the Criminal Code (Q) - Whether "substantial miscarriage of justice" has actually occurred - Whether trial fundamentally flawed - Relevance of unknown mode of jury reasoning - Relevance of the fact that the misdirection concerned the elements of the offences charged.
Appeal – Court of criminal appeal - Proviso not considered by court of criminal appeal - Whether High Court should consider proviso in the circumstances - Role of court of criminal appeal - Role of High Court - Limitations on High Court considering the proviso without scrutiny of the record of evidence by court of criminal appeal - Defects of a trial on the record.
Words and phrases – "a probable consequence", "substantial miscarriage of justice".
Criminal Code (Q) – ss 8, 9, 668E(1A).
243 CLR 588; 85 ALJR 694; 277 ALR 611
French CJ, Gummow, Hayne, Heydon, Crennan, Kiefel, Bell JJ
Date: 22 Jun 2011 Case Number: S313/2010
Evidence – Admissibility - Opinion evidence - Section 79(1) of Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) provided that rule excluding evidence of opinion did not apply where "a person has specialised knowledge based on the person's training, study or experience" and person's opinion "wholly or substantially based on that knowledge" - Respondent sued appellant in Dust Diseases Tribunal of New South Wales - Respondent claimed he was negligently exposed to unsafe levels of silica while working for appellant - Witness gave evidence about approximate level of respirable silica to which respondent may have been exposed - Opinion treated as admissible to found calculation of numerical or quantitative level of exposure to respirable silica - Whether opinion admissible for that purpose - Requirements for admissibility.
Procedure – Specialist tribunal - Dust Diseases Tribunal of New South Wales - Ability of judge constituting Tribunal to draw on experience as member of specialist tribunal when making findings of fact - Section 25 of Dust Diseases Tribunal Act 1989 (NSW) required Tribunal to apply rules of evidence - Section 25B provided exception subject to various requirements - Trial judge drew on "experience" that silicosis usually caused by very high levels of silica exposure in concluding that respondent's silicosis caused by exposure to silica - Section 25B neither invoked nor complied with - Whether trial judge entitled to draw on "experience" in making finding of fact.
Procedure – Objection to admissibility of evidence - Evidence taken on voir dire - Trial judge did not rule on objection at conclusion of voir dire - Desirability of ruling on objection to admissibility as soon as possible.
Words and phrases – "based on the person's training, study or experience", "basis rule", "opinion rule", "specialised knowledge", "specialist tribunal", "voir dire", "wholly or substantially based on that knowledge".
Dust Diseases Tribunal Act 1989 (NSW) – ss 25, 25B, 32.
Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) – ss 55(1), 76(1), 79(1).
Dust Diseases Tribunal Rules (NSW) – r 9.
226 CLR 234; 80 ALJR 946; 227 ALR 1
Gummow, Kirby, Hayne, Heydon, Crennan JJ
Date: 17 May 2006 Case Number: B62/2005 B63/2005 B64/2005 B65/2005 B66/2005 B67/2005
Limitation of actions – Personal injury - Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Q) - Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Q) - Appellants alleged serious physical and mental abuse suffered while in foster care under the supervision and care of the respondent - Application for extension of limitation period - Whether an applicant for leave to commence proceedings under s 43 of the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Q) must demonstrate a "reasonably arguable case for the granting of an extension" of time under s 31(2) of the Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Q) - Whether evidence relied on by appellants established a prima facie case for extension of time under s 31(2).
Statutory interpretation – Remedial legislation - Purposive approach - Provision for urgent interim relief - Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Q), s 43.
Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Q) – ss 30(1), 31(2).
Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Q) – s 43.
French CJ, Kiefel, Bell, Gageler, Keane, Nettle, Gordon JJ
Date: 13 May 2016 Case Number: S77/2016 S109/2016
Constitutional law – Election of Senators – Validity of provisions of Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Cth) as amended by Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Act 2016 (Cth) – Whether provisions for voting above or below dividing line on ballot paper prescribed more than one method of choosing Senators contrary to s 9 of Constitution – Whether indicating vote for party or group above dividing line contrary to requirement in s 7 of Constitution that Senators be "directly chosen by the people" – Whether prescription of "Droop quota" resulted in effective disenfranchisement – Whether instructions on ballot paper infringed implied freedom of political communication or system of representative government.
Words and phrases – "above the line", "ballot paper", "below the line", "directly chosen by the people", "dividing line", "Droop quota", "free and informed vote", "group voting ticket", "method of choosing senators", "preferential voting".
Constitution – ss 7, 9 and 24.
Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Cth) – ss 4(1), 123, 124, 126, 168, 169, 209(1), 210, 214, 214A, 239, 268, 268A, 269, 272 and 273.
211 CLR 85; 76 ALJR 1078; 190 ALR 441
Gaudron, McHugh, Kirby, Hayne, Callinan JJ
Date: 8 Aug 2002 Case Number: S252/2001
Criminal law – Murder - Directions to jury - Circumstantial case - Absence of proved motive - Evidence of the appellant's good character - Accuracy and sufficiency of directions to jury - Verdict not unreasonable having regard to evidence.
Criminal Appeal Act 1912 (NSW) – s 6.
212 CLR 338; 77 ALJR 99; 193 ALR 130
Gleeson CJ, Gaudron, McHugh, Gummow, Kirby, Hayne, Callinan JJ
Date: 14 Nov 2002 Case Number: P57/2001
Damages – Wrongful death of spouse – Basis upon which to assess damages to surviving spouse and dependants – Whether discount for prospect of remarriage should be made – Discount for general contingencies.
Lord Campbell's Act – Compensation to relatives – Damages – Basis upon which to assess damages for spouse and dependants – Whether discount for prospect of remarriage should be made – Whether such consideration is already included in discount for general contingencies.
Precedent – Damages – Whether discount for prospect of remarriage should be made – Whether too speculative – Whether based upon outdated norms – Whether previous expressions of the law regarding such discounts should be reconsidered and re-expressed.
Fatal Accidents Act 1959 (WA).
Lord Campbell’s Act 9 & 10 Vict c 93.
196 ALR 500
Gummow, Kirby, Hayne JJ
Date: 8 Apr 2003 Case Number: P57/2001
Practice and procedure – Costs - Appeal - Appeal allowed - Calderbank offer - Calderbank offer rejected by appellant - Where amount recovered by appellant exceeds amount offered by respondent.
Supreme Court Act 1935 (WA) – s 32.
French CJ, Kiefel, Bell, Gageler, Nettle JJ
Date: 24 Aug 2016 Case Number: M252/2015
Occupational health and safety – Statutory duty – Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007 (Vic), regs 3.
3 – Duties of employers in relation to hazardous manual handling tasks – Where primary school teacher tasked to use step ladder to remove papier mâché displays from pin-board on classroom wall – Where displays unstable or unbalanced, or difficult to grasp and hold – Where task constituted hazardous manual handling task – Where in course of task teacher fell from step ladder and injured knee – Whether evidence capable of supporting cause of action for breach of statutory duty – Whether risk of injury amounted to risk of musculoskeletal disorder "associated with a hazardous manual handling task" – Whether sufficient evidence for jury to infer it was reasonably practicable for employer to identify task as involving hazardous manual handling.
Statutes – Interpretation – Remedial legislation – Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) – Where Act and Regulations intended to protect employees against risk of injury in course of work – Where legislation imposes civil penalties on employers for breach of statutory duty – Whether fact of civil penalty requires narrow interpretation of provision.
Words and phrases – "associated with", "close connection", "combined in terms of circumstances", "combined in terms of classification", "hazardous manual handling task", "musculoskeletal disorder", "real risk", "reasonably practicable", "Shirt calculus".
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) – ss 2(1), 4, 20, 21, 158.
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007 (Vic) – regs 1.
237 CLR 473; 82 ALJR 1411; 248 ALR 693
Gummow ACJ, Kirby, Heydon, Crennan, Kiefel JJ
Date: 3 Sep 2008 Case Number: B10/2008 B11/2008 B12/2008
Corporations law – Winding up in insolvency - Statutory demand - Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) ("Corporations Act"), s 459H(1) provided for setting aside of statutory demand where genuine dispute about existence or amount of debt - Deputy Commissioner of Taxation served statutory demands on respondent taxpayers in respect of debts - Debts were due and payable for assessments and declarations of goods and services tax, income tax, interest and penalties - Taxpayers instituted review proceedings under Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) ("Administration Act"), Pt IVC and applied to Supreme Court under Corporations Act, s 459G to set aside statutory demands - Whether pending Pt IVC proceedings constituted "genuine dispute - about the existence or amount of a debt" within meaning of s 459H(1)(a) - Whether primary judge erred in setting aside statutory demands.
Corporations law – Winding up in insolvency - Statutory demand - Discretion to set aside statutory demand for "some other reason" in Corporations Act, s 459J(1)(b) - Scope of discretion - Whether pendency of Pt IVC proceedings proper basis for exercise of discretion - Whether disruption to taxpayers, creditors and contributories proper basis for exercise of discretion - Relevance of provision in Administration Act for recovery of tax while Pt IVC proceedings pending.
Taxation – Recovery of tax - Scope of application of Corporations Act, Pt 5.
4 to recovery of tax "debt" - Special character of tax "debts" as creatures of statute - Effect of conclusive evidence provisions in Administration Act, Sched 1, ss 105-100 and 298-30 and Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth), s 177(1) - Whether position different for "full self-assessment taxpayer" - Concession of Deputy Commissioner that pendency of Pt IVC proceedings relevant to hearing of winding up application.
Words and phrases – "assessment", "debt", "full self-assessment taxpayer", "genuine dispute - about the existence or amount of a debt", "some other reason", "tax debt", "tax-related liability".
Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) – Pt 5.
4, ss 459G, 459H, 459J, 459S.
Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) – ss 14ZZM, 14ZZR, Sched 1 ss 105-100, 255-5, 298-30.
Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth) – ss 177(1), 208, 209.
199 CLR 370; 74 ALJR 564; 169 ALR 503
Gleeson CJ, McHugh, Gummow, Kirby, Callinan JJ
Date: 2 Mar 2000 Case Number: M58/1999
Income tax – Remittance of tax payable by employees deducted by employer – Penalty notices sent to director – Form of notices – Whether notices invalid due to absence of due dates for remittance of deductions – Whether notices misleading.
Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth) – ss 222ANA, 222AOC, 222AOE, 222APE.
181 ALR 301
Gleeson CJ, Gaudron, Kirby, Hayne, Callinan JJ
Date: 9 Aug 2001 Case Number: S151/2000
Negligence – Standard of care of motorist - Vehicle struck infant who darted on to road - Vehicle travelling at 10 to 15 kilometres per hour under the speed limit - Whether Court of Appeal was entitled to find that the motorist was travelling at excessive speed in the circumstances.
217 CLR 1; 77 ALJR 1433; 199 ALR 547
Gleeson CJ, McHugh, Gummow, Hayne, Callinan JJ
Date: 5 Aug 2003 Case Number: S236/2002
Evidence – Identification evidence – Where reliability of evidence not in dispute – Whether trial judge required to inform jury of special need for caution before accepting evidence – Evidence Act 1995 (NSW), s 116.
Evidence – Inconsistency between appellant's statement to police and his evidence at trial – Where prosecutor did not contend that statement to police was a lie indicating consciousness of guilt – Whether trial judge should have given direction in relation to lies.
Words and phrases: "miscarriage of justice".
Criminal Appeal Act 1912 (NSW) – s 6.
Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) – ss 114, 115, 116.
241 CLR 491; 84 ALJR 635; 270 ALR 1
French CJ, Gummow, Hayne, Heydon, Crennan, Kiefel, Bell JJ
Date: 22 Sep 2010 Case Number: M11/2009 M102/2010
Constitutional law – Inconsistency between Commonwealth and State laws - Direct inconsistency - Appellant convicted under State law of conspiracy to steal property belonging to a company - Commonwealth law made conspiracy to steal property belonging to Commonwealth an offence - Property stolen belonged to Commonwealth within meaning of Commonwealth law - Whether State law inconsistent with Commonwealth law - Whether State law altered, impaired or detracted from operation of Commonwealth law - Discussion of indirect inconsistency and intention to cover the field.
Words and phrases – "conspiracy".
Constitution – s 109.
Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) – s 4C.
Criminal Code (Cth) – ss 11.
Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) – ss 72, 321.
88 ALJR 34; 203 ALR 42
French CJ, Kiefel, Bell JJ
Date: 30 Oct 2013 Case Number: B15/2012
Criminal law – Practice and procedure – Duties of prosecutor – Duty of prosecutor to call all material witnesses – Appellants convicted of rape – Only one of two police officers who attended scene called to give evidence – Whether failure of prosecutor to call second officer occasioned miscarriage of justice.
Criminal law – Practice and procedure – Statutory power and duty of trial judge to call witness of own motion – Scope of duty – Whether evidence of uncalled witness "essential to the just decision of the case".
Criminal law – Evidence – Depositions – Statement of uncalled witness not in evidence – Trial judge referred to statement to determine effect of failure to call witness – Whether reference to statement occasioned breach of natural justice.
Words and phrases – "essential to the just decision of the case", "fair trial", "material witness", "miscarriage of justice".
Criminal Code (Q) – ss 7, 348.
Criminal Procedure Act 1972 (Nauru) – ss 100(1), 188.
Laws Repeal and Adopting Ordinance 1922 (Nauru) – s 12.
Date: 1 Dec 2017 Case Number: S204/2017
Practice and procedure – Original jurisdiction – Where plaintiff applied for order to show cause why prohibition, certiorari and injunction should not issue in respect of orders in Supreme Court of Victoria – Where orders of Supreme Court approved settlement by group proceeding plaintiffs with nunc pro tunc authority of group members – Where settlement deed purportedly released defendants in group proceedings from all claims – Where plaintiff contended orders made in federal jurisdiction beyond power as not involving a "matter" – Where various defendants to plaintiff's application sought dismissal or summary dismissal – Where plaintiff did not attempt to appeal impugned orders –Where some issues raised pending in District Court of New South Wales – Where issues raised in original jurisdiction would not arise if plaintiff sought leave to appeal in Supreme Court – Whether Court of Appeal of Supreme Court of Victoria has power to entertain an appeal – Whether appropriate to invoke original jurisdiction of High Court.
Constitutional law – Constitutional writs – Where plaintiff seeks constitutional writs against judge of Supreme Court of Victoria – Whether judge exercising federal jurisdiction acting as officer of Commonwealth for purposes of s 75(v) of Constitution and s 33(1)(c) of Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth).
Words and phrases – "appeals", "certiorari", "constitutional writs", "construction of settlement deed", "declaration", "extension of time", "federal jurisdiction", "group proceedings", "injunction", "leave to appeal", "officer of the Commonwealth", "prohibition", "settlement of group proceeding".
Constitution – ss 73(ii), 75(v).
Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) – ss 58AA, 500(2).
Supreme Court Act 1986 (Vic) – ss 17, 33V, 33ZC, 33ZF.
High Court Rules 2004 (Cth) – r 25.
202 CLR 321; 74 ALJR 1538; 175 ALR 315
Gleeson CJ, Gaudron, Gummow, Kirby, Hayne JJ
Date: 12 Oct 2000 Case Number: P42/2000
Criminal law – Sentencing - Crown appeals against sentence - Circumstances in which Court of Criminal Appeal should allow appeal against sentence and substitute its own sentence - Necessity to find and identify error before allowing appeal - Whether failure to do so in reasons of Court of Criminal Appeal.
Criminal law – Sentencing - Crown appeals against sentence - Circumstances in which judicial discretion to suspend sentence should be exercised - Whether power to suspend sentence is confined by reference wholly, mainly or specially to the effect on rehabilitation of the offender.
Criminal Code (WA) – s 688.
Sentencing Act 1995 (WA) – ss 39(2), 76.