Friday, August 10, 2012

In the High Court of Australia commencing 14 August 2012

Next week in the High Court of Australia, on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 at 10:15am judgment will be delivered in two cases.
The first is Baker vThe Queen. In this case the issue is this:  in a joint trial where the Crown relies upon admissions made by an accused  in proof of guilt of the accused, and the admissions tend to exculpate a co-accused, should a trial judge be required (or have a discretion) to direct that the evidence of the accused’s admissions is also evidence in relation to the co-accused and should be considered as evidence in exculpation of the co-accused?
The second is Minister for Home Affairs v Zentai.  This is yet another step in protracted attempts to extradite Charles Zentai to Hungary in order to face trial in respect of alleged war crimes.  At issue in the proceedings is whether or not extradition is precluded where the specific offence for which extradition is sought  was not an offence under Hungarian law at the relevant time (the conduct having occurred in 1944, and the war crime offence not having been enacted until 1945), even though the conduct constituted another offence (ie murder) at the relevant time.
The High Court will also pronounce orders in Big Tobacco’s challenge to the Commonwealth Government’s plain packaging legislation, although the reasons for judgment will not be delivered until a later date.
The High Court will also hear argument in three cases next week.
On Tuesday, 14 August the Court will hear argument in Andrews v ANZ Banking Group Ltd, a group proceeding challenging the validity of various exception fees charged on overdraft account, dishonour fees, overdrawn credit card accounts etc.  The issues in the High Court include whether the jurisdiction of the courtsin relation to penalties is available only at law or whether it is still alive in equity, and whether a party can only be relieved against a penalty where it becomes payable for a breach fo contract (that limitation having been imposed by the House of Lords in Expert Credit Guarantee Department v Universal Oil Products Co).
On Wednesday, 15 August the Court will hear argument in two cases from NSW in which the question is whether or not the costs recovery limitations in the Legal Profession Act 2004 that apply in relation to a claim for “personal injury damages” apply in cases where the cause of action sued upon is an intentional tort (in these cases, assault and false imprisonment).
On Thursday, 16 August the Court will hear argument in Douglass v The Queen, a case which raises the important question of the application and discharge of the burden of proof where the prosecution case depends solely on an out of court statement and unsworn evidence of a young child contradicted in court by the accused’s sworn evidence where that sworn evidence is not rejected by the trial judge.

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