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High Court Judgments

Every Issue

Cite as: October 2009 83(10) LIJ, p56


Transactions void against Official Receiver - power to require recipient of property to pay its value - time at which value determined

In Vale v Sutherland [2009] HCA 26 (29 July 2009) the High Court in a joint judgment considered how a dispute as to how the amount that the Official Receiver could demand in a notice under s137ZQ of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) from a person, as being the value of property received from the bankrupt, was to be determined: Gummow, Hayne, Heydon, Crennan, Kiefel JJ jointly.

Personal injuries

Terms - "caused by" - linesman injured while repairing conductor struck by aircraft - whether injuries "caused by" impact of aircraft

In ACQ Pty Ltd v Cook [2009] HCA 28 (5 August 2009) the High Court considered what damage was covered in the phrase "damage or destruction caused by . . . something that is the result of an impact [of an aircraft or part of an aircraft]" in s10(1)(c) of the Damage by Aircraft Act 1999 (Cth). The Court concluded the Court of Appeal (NSW) was not in error in accepting the injury suffered by a linesman sent to repair power lines dislodged as a result of impact between an aircraft and an electrical facility was covered by the section: French CJ, Gummow, Heydon, Crennan, Bell JJ jointly.


Amendment - application for amendment at eve of trial - relevance of case management considerations

In Aon Risk Services Australia Ltd v Australian National University [2009] HCA 27 (5 August 2009) the High Court rejected the view that an application for leave to amend a pleading should be approached on the basis that a party was entitled to raise an arguable claim subject to payment of costs by compensation. The Court concluded that questions of case management and waste of court resources were relevant matters: French CJ; sim Gummow with Hayne, Crennan, Kiefel, Bell JJ; Heydon J. Decision of the Court in Queensland v JL Holdings (1997) 189 CLR 146 explained.

Trade practices

Misleading conduct - incorrect statement of financial performance - when estimate may be misleading - damages - whether loss caused by misleading conduct

In Campbell v Backoffice Investments Pty Ltd [2009] HCA 25 (29 July 2009) the High Court considered whether misleading and deceptive conduct had occurred in the context of the sale of an interest in a business and whether the allegations pleaded were made out. The Court concluded that alleged misleading conduct as to past financial performance of the company was not made out, and while there was a contravention in relation to future projections this did not cause loss. The Court declined to determine whether there was an implied term in the agreements, or a duty, that the parties would cooperate as the issue was not clearly raised: French CJ; sim Gummow with Hayne, Heydon, Kiefel jointly. Appeal allowed.

THOMAS HURLEY is a Victorian barrister, ph 9225 7034, email The full version of these judgments can be found at


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