High Court of Australia

Houghton v Arms [2006] HCA 59

225 CLR 553; 81 ALJR 466; 231 ALR 534

13 Dec 2006

Case Number: M107/2006

Before

Gleeson CJ, Gummow, Hayne, Heydon, Crennan JJ

Catchwords

Trade practices – Misleading or deceptive conduct in trade or commerce - Where appellant employees of a corporation made misleading or deceptive statements to respondent in the course of their employment - Where the corporation was sued for contravention of s 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) ("the Commonwealth Act") by reason of the conduct of the appellants - Where the appellants were also sued for contravention of s 9 of the Fair Trading Act 1999 (Vic) ("the State Act") - Whether each appellant was a "person" for the purposes of s 9 of the State Act - Whether conduct of each appellant was "in trade or commerce" for the purposes of s 9 of the State Act.

Statutes – Statutory construction - Construction of s 9 of the State Act - Where the Commonwealth Act and the State Act have concurrent and overlapping operation - Where the Commonwealth Act had, but the State Act did not have, provisions imposing accessorial liability upon persons "involved" in a contravention - Where the Commonwealth Act had, but the State Act did not have, provisions deeming conduct engaged in on behalf of a corporation to have been engaged in by the corporation - Whether s 9 of the State Act is to be construed so as not to apply to persons who were not engaged in trade or commerce on their own account.

Words and phrases – "in trade or commerce".

Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) – ss 52, 75, 75B, 82, 84.

Fair Trading Act 1999 (Vic) – ss 9, 159.

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