In yesterday’s special leave hearings in Melbourne and Sydney, the High Court rejected all the applications from Melbourne but gave positive responses to three from Sydney. The three cases that will now be heard by the full Court are:
- Aspen Pharma Pty Ltd v H Lundbeck A/S  FCAFC 129: In 2004, Lundbeck obtained an extension of its patent in Lexapro (an anti-depressant) due to a delay in the regulatory approval of one of its components, but the extension was successfully challenged by makers of a generic version because Lundbeck’s application was made after a statutory time limit had expired. The day before the patent expired, Lundbeck applied for an extension of time to make another patent extension application on the ground that it had genuinely misunderstood the relevant time limit. The Full Court of the Federal Court rejected a challenge to the Commissioner of Patents’ grant of extensions to the time limit and the patent itself, holding that he had the power to extend the time limit and rejecting a challenge to the Administrative Appeal Tribunal’s review of his decision to grant both extensions.
- MBI Properties Pty Limited v Commissioner of Taxation  FCAFC 112: MBI purchased three serviced apartments in the Manly Sebel Town House from South Steyne. In an earlier case, the Federal Court ruled that, for the purposes of the GST, South Steyne’s initial lease of the apartments to the servicer, Mirvac, was an input-taxed supply of residential premises, its sale of the apartments to MBI was a tax-free supply of a going concern and MBI’s continuation of the existing leases to Mirvac was not a supply at all. In this case, the Full Court rejected the Commissioner’s argument that MBI’s going concern had an ‘increasing adjustment’ because it intended a ‘continuing’ supply of South Steyne’s leases to Mirvac.
- Versi v R  NSWCCA 206: Versi was convicted of two out of four charges of sexual abuse of his step-daughter around thirty years ago. The NSW Court of Criminal Appeal rejected all of his complaints about his convictions, including the admission of another step-daughter’s description of an incident that was similar to one of the charges, and a majority also rejected his appeal against his two-and-a-half year sentence. Justice Basten’s concurrence discussed whether appeal judges should listen to tape recordings of criticised jury directions (rather than relying on a transcript), while Adams J’s dissenting judgment was that the sentence was too high in light of the accused’s current age, evidence of his otherwise good character and the fact that his offences pre-dated NSW’s truth-in-setencing laws.
The first two cases were granted special leave, while Versi’s application for special leave was referred to the full court (which means that the High Court will hear the matter as if it was an appeal in order to decide whether to grant special leave.)