Category Archives: LAW FIRM

Obergefell v Hodges, Director General of Department of Health 576 US (2015)

ON 26 JUNE 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States delivered Obergefell v Hodges, Director General of Department of Health 576 US (2015).

Click to access 14-556_3204.pdf

The petitioners successfully challenged the marriage laws in the US States of Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee which, like Australia, defined marriage as being between the union of one man and one woman. The US Supreme Court held that Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution required the States to licence the marriage of persons of the same sex whose marriage was lawfully licensed and performed in other States.

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Bunning v Cross [1978] HCA 22 | 14 June 1978

ON THIS DAY in 1978, the High Court of Australia delivered Bunning v Cross [1978] HCA 22; (1978) 141 CLR 54 (14 June 1978).

“Evidence – Illegally obtained – Statutory offence – Driving under influence of alcohol – Compulsory breath and blood tests – Grounds for requiring submission to test – Grounds not satisfied – Whether sample obtained illegally – Whether evidence admissible – Error in obtaining evidence not wilful – Discretion to exclude – Public policy – Road Traffic Act, 1974 (W.A.), ss. 63-68, 70, 71.”

A court has the discretion to admit or exclude evidence that is improperly or illegally obtained. In exercising its discretion, the court is to weigh up the competing public requirements of (a) bringing to criminal wrongdoing to conviction and (b) protecting all individuals from unfair and unlawful treatment.  The onus is on the accused to prove misconduct and justify the exclusion.


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ON 10 JUNE 2015, the High Court of Australia delivered Isbester v Knox City Council [2015] HCA 20 (10 June 2015).

‘Administrative law – Natural justice – Bias – Reasonable apprehension of bias – Incompatibility of roles – Where respondent made order under s 84P(e) of Domestic Animals Act 1994 (Vic) for destruction of appellant’s dog – Where there was panel hearing and deliberation prior to decision being made – Where member of panel had been involved in prosecuting related criminal charges – Whether fair-minded observer might reasonably apprehend that panel member might not bring impartial mind to decision – Whether interest of panel member might affect decision-making of others on panel.

Words and phrases – “conflict of interest”, “incompatibility of roles”.

Domestic Animals Act 1994 (Vic), s 84P(e).’

The appellant had been convicted by a Victorian Magistrate on a charge that her Staffordshire terror had attacked and seriously injured another person. The decision making committee of Knox City Council (“the Panel”) subsequently determined that the dog be destroyed.

The appellant unsuccessfully sought judicial review of the decision in the Supreme Court of Victoria and the Victorian Court of Appeal.

The appellant was successful on appeal to the High Court of Australia. The High Court held that the decision making process of the respondent’s Panel was contrary to natural justice because a fair minded observer might think that a person who took part in the prosecution of the dog owner might not bring an impartial mind to the decision to destroy the dog because of their role in the prosecution.

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Elevation of Justice Carolyn Simpson to Court of Appeal

Justice Carolyn Simpson has been elevated to the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Her Honour will be sworn in at a private ceremony on 11 June 2015.

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Appointment of Desmond Fagan SC to the Supreme Court of NSW

Desmond Fagan SC will be sworn in as a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales at 9am on 11 June 2015 in the Banco Court, Level 13, Queen’s Square, Sydney.

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Migration Act 1958 (Cth) | 1 June 1958

ON THIS DAY in 1959, the Commonwealth Migration Act 1958 commenced.

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Tail docking | 1 June 2004

ON THIS DAY in 2004, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 was amended to make it an offence to dock the tail of a dog unless done by a registered veterinary surgeon and in the interests of the dogs welfare.

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Brodie v Singleton Shire Council [2001] HCA 29 | 31 May 2001

ON THIS DAY in 2001, the High Court of Australia delivered Brodie v Singleton Shire Council ; Ghantous v Hawkesbury City Council[2001] HCA 29; (2001) 206 CLR 512.

“Negligence – Highways – Injuries to user of highway – Liability of highway authority – Whether immunity under the “highway rule” – Distinction between misfeasance and non-feasance.

Negligence – Duty of care – Statutory authority – Highway authority – Content of duty of care – Relevant considerations.

Negligence and nuisance – Whether nuisance in relation to public authorities subsumed by the law of negligence.

Highways – Negligence and nuisance – Immunity under “highway rule” – Misfeasance and non-feasance – Whether liability subsumed in general principles of negligence.

Precedent – Stare decisis – High Court – Departure from previous decisions – Relevant considerations.

Words and phrases – “highway rule” – “immunity”.

Local Government Act 1919 (NSW), ss 220-277B.”

The ruling abolished the common law immunity of highway authorities from liability for injury, loss or damage caused by their own non-feasance in Australia.

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Oscar Wilde | 25 May 1895

ON THIS DAY in 1895, Oscar Wilde was convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to two years hard labour.

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Overseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v The Miller Steamship Co Pty (The Wagon Mound No 2) [1966] UKPC 1 | 25 May 1996

ON 25 MAY 1966, the Privy Council delivered Overseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v The Miller Steamship Co Pty (The Wagon Mound No 2) [1966] UKPC 1 (25 May 1966).

Negligence – reasonably forseeable

A person is negligent if they fail to prevent a real risk that is reasonably foreseeable. A real risk is one in the mind of a reasonable person “which he would not brush aside as far-fetched”. This does not depend on the actual risk of occurrence.


Sydney, Australia

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