Case Note

$64 million verdict obtained by 6 St James Hall Counsel in fraud trial.

Senior Counsel at 6 St James’ Hall Dr Christopher Ward SC last week secured for his client Dr Benoy Berry a verdict of $64,800,000 in a long-running commercial fraud case brought against former Reserve Bank company Securency (now known as CCL Secure).  Dr Ward appeared with experienced junior counsel Mr Phillip Santucci and was instructed by leading boutique firm Marque Lawyers.  The verdict follows the earlier judgment on the merits in December 2017 and demonstrates the risks to corporate entities when engaging in fraudulent conduct to achieve commercial goals.  The merits judgment is found here. The case is discussed here

Dr Christopher Ward SC wins in landmark fraud and trade practices case

Dr Christopher Ward SC with junior Philip Santucci has successfully represented European businessman Dr Benoy Berry in landmark fraud and Trade Practices litigation against former Reserve Bank of Australia subsidiary Securency (now known as CCL Secure Pty Ltd).  

The Federal Court (Rares J) found that Securency and some of its officers had engaged in a “practiced deception” amounting to a “shabby fraud” as a result of which Dr Berry and his company were deceived into the early termination of an extremely valuable commercial contract involving the sale of polymer banknotes in Nigeria. The judgment, which also describes the conduct of Securency in relation to Nigerian governmental officials, reinforces the serious consequences for Australian companies that engage in deceptive business practices overseas.

The importance of decision notification: Dr Stephen Tully wins in visa cancellation case

Dr Stephen Tully of Chambers and Sally Hunt, Solicitor Director of Supra Legal, successfully overturned a decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal which rejected as late a merits review application lodged by their client concerning a decision of a delegate of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection not to revoke a prior visa cancellation decision.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection purported to notify the client of this decision in a letter which omitted certain information. The tribunal held that it lacked jurisdiction, and proceedings were commenced before the Federal Court of Australia.

The parties agreed to remit the tribunal’s decision for reconsideration because the client had not been correctly notified of the delegate’s decision as required by the Migration Act 1958 (Cth). 

LFDB v SM [2017] FCAFC 178

The Full Federal Court has strongly supported the mutual recognition of judgment provisions of the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act. The Full Court upheld the registration of a significant money judgment obtained in New Zealand. The Appellant had been ‘debarred’ by an 'unless order' from participation in the original New Zealand proceedings. The Full Court rejected the argument that the New Zealand proceedings offended Australian public policy and procedural fairness requirements and upheld the underlying principle of reciprocal recognition of judgments from New Zealand.  The Full Court found that New Zealand 'unless orders' were simply a form of peremptory order by which courts were able to control their processes. The Full Court also confirmed the jurisdiction of the Federal Court in relation to the enforcement of New Zealand judgments.

From the Federal Court of Australia:

PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW – appeal from the dismissal by the primary judge of an application under s 72(1) of the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010 (Cth)to set aside the registration of a judgment of the High Court of New Zealand in relation to proceedings under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (NZ) – whether enforcement of judgment would be contrary to public policy in Australia

Dr Christopher Ward SC and Dr Stephen Tully successfully appeared for the respondent.

Steven Cominos wins one of the first successful appeals from a Football Federation of Australia banning order [2017] FIBAC 5

Mr Cominos acted for the appellant in an application to set aside a decision of the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) to ban the appellant from attending A-League and other FFA-sanctioned matches for a period of five years. The Football Independent Banning Advisory Committee (FIBAC), comprising Soulio J (chair), Ian Lloyd QC and Simon Mitchell, decided to set aside the 5 year ban.

Michelle McMahon wins landmark case on compensation rights for residential park residents in NSW

After almost four years and eight separate proceedings, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) awarded sums of $260,000 and $240,000 for two women who were being evicted from their residential park due to a redevelopment of the land. In the initial proceedings, NCAT determined their compensation to be $85,000 & $62,000 respectively.

A significant issue in dispute involved the statutory construction of the compensatory regime and the elements to be included for valuation, which took the matter to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. Whilst this issue was being resolved, the relevant legislation was amended to broaden and clarify the compensation scheme. The Residents went back to NCAT and successfully argued that they fell within the transitional arrangements for the new law. This set the scene for a test case on how the new provisions would apply in practice.

In the final proceedings NCAT agreed that compensation should be based on a valuation of the residents dwelling under the "Point Gourde" principle being that the dwellings were to be valued as if the park were to continue in operation, was in reasonable condition and had reasonable amenities.

Michelle McMahon appeared for the residents.

A win for “Diesel” (and animal lovers) in NCAT

Our strata, property and animal law specialist, Amy Douglas-Baker, recently appeared in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for “Diesel” Thomas, a 4 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback. Ms Douglas-Baker was able to persuade the Tribunal that it was unreasonable to withhold permission for Diesel to live in a strata scheme on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. As a result of Ms Douglas-Baker’s advocacy, Diesel will be able to enjoy living in strata with his young family. Welcome home Diesel!

A copy of the decision is available online for download.

A summary of the decision is available here

Egyptian Court of Cassation Orders Retrial for Journalist Peter Greste

On 1 January 2015, Egypt's highest judicial body overturned the conviction, and ordered a retrial, of Australian journalist, Peter Greste. Mr Greste, along with two other Al Jazeera journalists, Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohammad, had been convicted of news reporting "spreading lies in an attempt to aid a terrorist group" (the banned Muslim Brotherhood) in June 2014. Mr Greste was sentenced to 7 years incarceration.

Since November 2014, 6 St James' Hall Chambers' international law specialists Dr Christopher Ward and Dr Stephen Tully, instructed by Chris Flynn of Gilbert & Tobin, have been acting for Mr Greste pro bono in relation to the appeal and associated international law issues.