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Supreme courts roundup, 30 August to 5 September 2019

05 September 2019

Decisions, proceedings and news from the highest courts in some common law jurisdictions in the last week are as follows:

Supreme Court of New Zealand

Gizelis v R [2019] NZSC 94 (30 August 2019). Unsuccessful application for leave to appeal.

The applicant was convicted after a trial of sexual violation by rape and kidnapping – He appealed unsuccessfully to the Court of Appeal – The appeal relates to the admissibility of DNA evidence called at trial – Whether any miscarriage of justice arose from the Court of Appeal’s decision.

High Court of Australia

Brisbane City Council v Amos [2019] HCA 27 (4 September 2019). Unsuccessful appeal from the Supreme Court of Queensland.

The Brisbane City Council commenced proceeding against respondent for overdue rates and charges – The overdue rates and charges secured by charge on the land – The respondent argued the claim was an action to recover a sum recoverable by virtue of an enactment under s 10(1)(d) of the Limitation of Actions Act 1974(Qld) – The Council argued the claim was an action to recover a principal sum of money secured by a charge and subject to s26(1) of the Act – The proceeding falls within both ss10(1)(d) and 26(1) – Whether s26(1) applies to exclude the operation of s10(1)(d).

Lee v Lee; Hsu v RACQ Insurance Ltd [2019] HCA 28 (4 September 2019). Successful appeals from the Supreme Court of Queensland.

The appellant was injured in motor vehicle collision – The appellant gave evidence that his father was driving vehicle at time of collision – The appellant alleged his injuries were caused by negligence of his father – The appellant’s blood was located on driver's airbag – Expert evidence was provided relating to possible source of blood and relating to seatbelt and airbag design – The trial judge concluded appellant was driving vehicle – The Court of Appeal dismissed appeal – The HCA held that trial judge's findings were glaringly improbable or contrary to compelling inferences – The trail judge drew inferences and made findings of fact based on lay and expert evidence – Where Court of Appeal found inferences wrong in material respects – Whether Court of Appeal erred in failing to conclude trial judge misused advantage as trial judge – Whether Court of Appeal failed to conduct "real review" of evidence given and trial judge's reasons for judgment

Bell Lawyers Pty Ltd v Pentelow [2019] HCA (4 September 2019). Successful appeal from the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Generally, a self-represented litigant may not obtain any recompense for the value of his or her time spent in litigation – An exception to this is commonly referred to as "Chorley exception" which exists for a self-represented litigant who is a solicitor – The first respondent was a barrister – The first respondent undertook legal work in litigation in which she was represented – The first respondent incurred costs on her own behalf and for legal services provided by herself – Whether the Chorley exception operates to benefit barristers – Whether the Chorley exception is recognised as part of common law of Australia.

Supreme Court of Canada

No decisions released during this period

Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal

HKSAR v Chen Keen [2019] HKCFA 32 (30 August 2019). Successful appeal from the Court of Appeal.

The appellants were charged and convicted on two counts of conspiracy to defraud, the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK) and China Jin Hui Mining Co Ltd (Natural Dairy (NZ) Ltd) (462) – The first appellant (A1) was also convicted on money laundering – A1 was a director of 462 and the second appellant (A2) was the ultimate beneficial owner of the companies that entered into an agreement to sell to 462 some NZ farms – 462 was required to make a public announcement and publish a circular approved by the SEHK and in those documents A1and A2 claimed that they were independent of each other – Whether there was a risk that the jury may have convicted the appellants without actually agreeing upon whether the dishonest means of conspiracy was the one under the Particulars (a)-(c) or that under Particulars (d)-(e), and who among A,A2, and A3 were part of the conspiracy – Whether there was a risk that the jury had not arrived at a valid verdict against the same appellants based on an agreement to employ the same dishonest means, which means the prosecution mat not have proven their alleged criminal agreement beyond reasonable means.

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

No decisions released during this period

Supreme Court of Ireland

No decisions released during this period

Singapore Court of Appeal

No decisions released during this period

Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

No decisions released during this period

Supreme Court of the United States

No decisions released during this period

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Last updated on the 5th September 2019