Statutory Interpretation

LFDB v SM (No 3) [2017] FCA 80

PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW – application under s 72(1) of the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010 (Cth) (the Act) to set aside the registration of two judgments of the High Court of New Zealand in relation to proceedings under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (NZ) – whether enforcement of judgments would be contrary to public policy in Australia as involving a gross denial of procedural fairness – whether the judgments were given in a proceeding in rem – whether the subject of the proceedings is moveable property not situated in New Zealand – whether one of the judgments is not a “registrable judgment” because if contravened it would make LFDB liable to conviction for contempt in New Zealand. 

STATUTORY INTERPRETATION – construction of s 72(1) of the Act – whether judgment contrary to public policy – whether the judgments were given in a proceeding in rem the subject matter of which was moveable property.

Dr Ward SC and Dr Tully successfully resisted an application to refuse recognition of a foreign judgment under the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act on public policy grounds.  The decision of the Federal Court discussed the circumstances in which recognition may be refused on grounds of public policy as well as the nature of judgments in rem..