High Court of Australia

Parker v Comptroller-General of Customs [2009] HCA 7

83 ALJR 494; 252 ALR 619

12 Feb 2009

Case Number: S317/2008


French CJ, Gummow, Hayne, Heydon, Kiefel JJ


Practice and procedure – Appeals - Procedural fairness - Respondent issued a warrant under s 214 of Customs Act 1901 (Cth) authorising seizure of documents relating to single bottle of brandy - Officers of respondent seized documents relating to "other goods" imported within previous five years - District Court decided in In the matter of the appeal of Lawrence Charles O'Neill (unreported, District Court of New South Wales, 18 August 1988) that warrants issued under s 214 did not permit seizure of five year documents - Court of Appeal decided O'Neill "mistaken" without affording appellant opportunity to make submissions - Whether appellant denied procedural fairness in Court of Appeal - Scope of principles respecting procedural fairness in curial proceedings - Whether appellate court required to afford parties opportunity to be heard on non-binding decision.

Practice and procedure – Appeals - Procedural fairness - Court of Appeal went on to decide appeal on footing O'Neill correct - Whether lack of opportunity to make submissions with respect to O'Neill caused prejudice to appellant and affected outcome in Court of Appeal.

Evidence – Illegally or improperly obtained evidence - Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) ("Evidence Act"), s 138 - Respondent admitted condition precedent to execution of warrant not satisfied - Whether wilful disregard of Act in execution of warrant - Whether additional fact of seizure of five year documents relevant to exercise of discretion under s 138.

Practice and procedure – Appeals - Procedural fairness - Function of appellate court upon review of exercise by trial judge of discretion under s 138 of Evidence Act.

Words and phrases – "procedural fairness", "relating to the goods", "the goods".

Customs Act 1901 (Cth) – s 214, Sched V.

Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) – s 138.


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