Monday, December 10, 2012

This week in the High Court of Australia

There are two cases to be heard in the High Court of Australia this week.
First up on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 is Maloney v The Queen, an appeal from a decision of the Queensland Court of Appeal upholding the validity of certain provisions of the Liquor Act 1992 (Qld) prohibiting the possession of alcohol on Palm Island as not being inconsistent with the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth).
Then on Wednesday, 12 December 2012 is Hunt & Hunt Lawyers v Mitchell Morgan Nominees Pty Ltd, which will give the High Court its first opportunity to consider the proportionate liability provisions enacted in more or less uniform terms throughout Australia as part of the civil liability reforms in the early 2000s, and in particular what wrongdoers are “concurrent wrongdoers” for the purposes of those provisions.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Forthcoming judgments in the High Court of Australia

On Wednesday, 5 December 2012 the High Court will deliver three judgments.
The first is in Papaconstuntinos v Holmes a Court.  This case arises out of the bid made by Holmes a Court and Russell Crowe in 20005 to inject money into the South Sydney Rugby League Club, a bid that was bitterly opposed by the appellant.  In the course of the antagonistic machinations prior to the Extraordinary General Meeting that approved the bid, Holmes a Court wrote a letter to Andrew Fergusson (state secretary of the CFMEU, of which the appellant was a member) accusing the appellant of making misleading statements about the bid, and making allegation of a misuse of Souths’ funds a few years earlier at a time when the appellant’s son was employed by Souths.  The letter was found to be defamatory.  At issue is whether or not Holmes a Court was entitled to succeed on a defence of qualified privilege at common law.
Next is Westfield Management Ltd v AMP Capital Property Nominees Ltd, an appeal from the NSW Court of Appeal arising out of a dispute between UniSuper and Westfield whether to wind-up their joint venture investment scheme in the Karrinyup Regional Shopping Centre in Perth.  At issue is whether or not the Unitholders’ and Joint Venture Agreement properly construed has the effect that UniSuper cannot vote to wind-up the scheme under section 601NB of the Corporations Act without the prior written consent of Westfield, and if so whether the Agreement is to that extent unenforceable as being contrary to the public interest.
Finally, judgment will be delivered in Commissioner of Taxation v Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd.  This case considers the proper constructions of section 159GZZZP of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and its application to a buy-back of 29% of Consolidated Media’s shareholding in Crown Melbourne Ltd at a price of $1 billion. At issue is whether this should properly be treated as a capital gain, or whether it should be treated as a dividend (and therefore entitled to a rebate).

This week in the High Court of Australia

There are three cases to be heard in the High Court of Australia this week.
First up on Tuesday, 4 December 2012 is Assistant Commissioner Michael James Condon v Pompano Pty Ltd, in which the Court will consider the constitutional validity of the Queensland  Criminal Organisation Act 2009 in an application by Queensland Police for a declaration that the Finks Motorcycle Club was a “criminal organisation” and that the respondent company Pompano Pty Ltd was a “part” of that organisation.
Commencing on Wednesday 5 December 2012 is Huynh v The Queen, a series of three appeals arising out of a murder by stabbing in the course of a brawl at the end of an 18th birthday party.  The appeals raise for consideration the extent to which a jury must be directed as to the element of “participation” in a joint enterprise liability for murder (ie where the accused is not alleged to have been the stabber, but was a party to an arrangement or understanding to kill the victim).
Commencing on Friday, 7 December 2012  is Tahiri v MIAC, a Special Case stated for determination by the High Court that will consider the requirements of Public Interest Criteria 4015 in its application to the children of a displaced Afghani Hazara woman who had lived, illegally, in Pakistan since 2003.  In particular, it will consider: whether the “home country” for the purposes of PIC 4015 is Afghanistan or Pakistan; whether the father of the children (who has not been seen since 2003) should be presumed to be dead for the purposes of establishing who has lawful authority to determine where the children should live; and finally whether the mother was afforded natural justice in establishing that her husband should be presumed to be dead.