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Supreme courts roundup, 6 to 12 March 2020

12 March 2020

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

Lambie Trustee Ltd v Addleman [2020] NZSC 14 (4 March 2020) Partially successful application for leave. Leave to appeal granted on whether the Court of Appeal was correct to order the applicant to disclose to the respondent any legal opinions and other advice obtained by the trustees of the Lambie Trust and funded by the Trust - approved question was whether the Court of Appeal was correct to reject the applicant’s claims of legal advice privilege and litigation privilege respectively - Court said criteria for the grant of leave to appeal was not met regarding orders to disclose financial statements and meeting minutes.

Neho v R [2020] NZSC 13 (4 March 2020) Unsuccessful application for leave.Applicant convicted after trial on one charge of sexual violation by rape and acquitted on the other six charges -  His appeal against conviction to the Court of Appeal on the basis of inconsistent verdicts was dismissed – He sought leave to appeal to Supreme Court on the same basis - In essence, the applicant wished to argue that the Court of Appeal paid lip service to the principles applicable to an appeal based on inconsistent verdicts but did not actually apply those principles -  Further, it would be argued that the Court did not factor in the proposition that the jury did not believe the complainant in relation to the other six charges in a case where her credibility was central - Appeal focus would be on how the principles were applied to the particular facts of this case. No question of general or public importance arose - Application dismissed.

O’Carroll v R [2020] NZSC 15 (5 March 2020) Application for leave granted. Successful application for leave to appeal CA decision - approved question was whether Court of Appeal was correct to dismiss the appeal - Bail extended on same conditions until appeal determined.

Easton v Attorney-General [2020] NZSC17 (6 March 2020) Unsuccessful application for fee waiver. Unsuccessful  application for review of the Deputy-Registrar’s decision declining to waive payment of the filing fee – applicant represented himself,  applied for leave to appeal against a High Court judgment striking out his proceedings for judicial review - also filed an application for waiver of the filing fee - fee waiver application was declined – Deputy Registrar said proposed appeal did not did not concern a question of law of significant interest to the public or to a significant section of the public - While the issues raised may be important to applicant, Court agreed with the Deputy-Registrar that criteria for a fee waiver was not met - In any event that, material currently before the Court, it was not apparent that the criterion in s 75(b) of the Senior Courts Act 2016 - exceptional circumstances to justify a direct appeal from the High Court to Supreme Court was met - Application declined.

High Court of Australia

No decisions released during this period.

Supreme Court of Canada

No decisions released during this period.

Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal

No decisions released during this period.

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

HSBC Institutional Trust Services (Singapore) Ltd (trustee of Capitaland Mall Trust) v Chief Assessor [2020] SGCA 10 (25 February 2020) Appeal against High Court judge affirming Chief Assessor’s 2008 assessment of the annual value of a property. The appellant was trustee of CapitaLand Mall Trust, which acquired a shopping mall - “Plaza Singapura” in 2004. The property was the seventh floor of Plaza Singapura. It has been leased to Golden Village Multiplex Pte Ltd (“GV”) since 1999, when it was first leased as a “bare shell” with minimal finishes. GV spent over $7.8m on fitting-out works that included installing of air conditioning, cinema equipment and carpets, among other items. The final result was a fully operational 1,733-seat cinema complex as well as an office space and retail unit. In 2008, the Chief Assessor determined the annual value of the Property to be $3,292,000. The appellant challenged that valuation before the Valuation Review Board (“the VRB”), the Judge and now challenges it before the court. It argued that the Property should have been assessed in its bare shell state without GV’s fitting-out works. The rebus sic stantibus or “things as they stand” principle of valuation is a principle that the assessable entity should be valued according to its physical nature and condition as well as its usage when the assessment was made. The Court could not to agree with the appellant’s characterisation of the Property “as it stands” as a bare shell. If the Works were fixtures, the court should consider the Property as it was in 2008 – with the Works affixed – not the hypothetical scenario where those Works had been removed at the end of the tenancy, regardless of GV’s obligation under the tenancy agreements. As counsel for the Chief Assessor pointed out, the “attachment” that the appellant relied on was a contractual clause. It did not bind third parties and was not an encumbrance such as an easement or zoning law that might have to be considered. If the Works were ultimately removed, the value of the Property for property tax purposes would be adjusted correspondingly downwards. The Court dismissed the appeal and awarded costs to the respondent in the sum of $35,000.

Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

No decisions released during this period.

Supreme Court of the United States

No decisions released during this period.

Last updated on the 12th March 2020