News: Four more High Court cases

On Friday’s oral special leave hearings, the High Court added three new cases to its docket, while rejecting leave in a high profile matter, former army reservist, Bernard Gaynor, whose sacking by the ADF over anti-gay and anti-Islam views he posted online will accordingly stand. However, in the week after June’s oral hearings, the High Court granted leave on the papers in a connected set of five disputes concerning the powers of state tribunals, which include an anti-discrimination complaint against Gaynor over his alleged anti-homosexual remarks.

The four matters that can now be appealed to the High Court are:

  • Burns v Corbett; Gaynor v Burns [2017] NSWCA 3, which involves a NSW anti-discrimination campaigner‘s complaints against residents of Queensland (Gaynor) and Victoria (Christian Party political candidate Therese Corbett). The Court of Appeal unanimously held that NCAT, NSW’s omnibus administrative tribunal, has no jurisdiction to hear cases between residents of different states. Rather, federal law only gives state courts, not state tribunals, the power to hear disputes in the High Court’s ‘diversity’ jurisdiction.
  • R v Irwin [2017] QCA 2, which involves a public fight in a Gold Coast shopping centre between two men in their 50s, former business partners who had apparently fallen out over business dealings and a second-hand claim of adultery. The jury convicted the defendant of causing grievous bodily harm on the basis of the victim’s broken hip after the defendant shoved him over,  but acquitted him of subsequent claims that he kicked the complainant when he was down The Court of Appeal rejected the defendant’s appeal, including the defendant’s ‘more nuanced’ argument that he fell within the defence of accident because of the unforseeability of a 55 year old’s broken hip from a fall.
  • Pipikos v Trayans [2016] SASCFC 138, which involves a dispute over the joint purchase of a property by two brothers and their wives, over whether the deal included the sale of a separate property by one couple to the other. The Full Court of South Australia’s Supreme Court unanimously held that the trial judge should have found that the side deal was made (including by the selling couple’s wife), given the unlikelihood that the other couple would have agreed to fully fund the joint purchase without it. However, it also held that the side deal was unenforceable, because the side deal (as opposed to the main deal) was not recorded in writing and the purchase of the main property was not a ‘part performance’ of the oral deal.
  • Rozenblit v Vainer [2017] VSCA 52, which involves whether litigation between former business partners about a disputed transfer of shares in a tyre recycling company should be stopped until the plaintiff pays an interim cost order. The plaintiff was told to pay $22,000 in costs resulting from his belated (and failed) attempt to amend his claim to argue that the now liquidated company’s assets were subject to a trust in his favour. The Court of Appeal upheld a trial judge ruling staying his whole claim after he said he was unable to pay those costs, despite an earlier case barring the use of such rulings as a form of debt collection.
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About Jeremy Gans

Jeremy Gans is a Professor in Melbourne Law School, where he researches and teaches across all aspects of the criminal justice system. He holds higher degrees in both law and criminology. In 2007, he was appointed as the Human Rights Adviser to the Victorian Parliament's Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee.

4 thoughts on “News: Four more High Court cases

  1. The transcript in Irwin today reveals (a) that the judges immediately called on the prosecution, suggesting that they were already minded to grant SL (so why hold a hearing?); and (b) that the parties estimated that the whole case will be done and dusted in 90 minutes. Lowest estimate I’ve seen so far for a SL grant.

  2. Noted that the appeal in Konani was allowed as predicted by posting on this website by me, Kevin Johnson. But wait — Koani has been removed from pending cases…

    • It hasn’t been removed, just that, like many matters currently before the court, the pending page hasn’t been written and put up — entirely my own fault over the past few months (and partly due to the difficulty of writing much that is of use about cases that are in the early stages of HCA proceedings — including almost all new-ish SL grants)

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