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Last week the NSW Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by a father who had been ordered to pay his 28 year old son $120,000.
Usually I write these blog posts for lawyers. This one is different. This blog is for lay people (lawyers are not allowed to sit on juries) because it’s about what can go terribly wrong if you become a juror and aren’t listening when your verdict is announced.
This week the High Court unanimously reversed a decision of the Queensland Court of Appeal that was itself unanimous. The reversal represents the culmination of a four year campaign waged by a Mr Martin Albrecht of Noosa to convert five extra square metres of body corporate common property into deck space between his two adjoining townhouses. (This article in the Financial Review tells you about the peronalities involved).
On 29 April I blogged here about the forthcoming decision of the High Court in Sidhu v Van Dyke, a case where a man promised a woman a share of a property if she continued to live and work on it. Judgment has now been published: Sidhu v Van Dyke  HCA 19.
Usually in this blog I write about equity. But it's my blog and I'll write how I want to - so today I'm writing about the AFL.
Earlier this year I appeared in a proprietary estoppel case: Rau v Rau  VCC 175. Final addresses were made on 6 February 2014, judgment was given on 3 March 2014. One of the issues that arose was whether the plaintiff had relied on alleged promises to his detriment or whether his life would have been much the same in any event. Reference was made to the New South Wales Court of Appeal decision in Van Dyke v Sidhu  NSWCA 198 and the Victorian Court of Appeal decision in Flinn v Flinn  VSCA 109;  3 VR 712. At the time of the trial the High Court had granted the respondent in Van Dyke v Sidhu special leave to appeal but the appeal had not then been heard.
It’s not often that bank customers emerge victorious in litigation, especially after failing at first instance. So you have to admire Mr Chol Young Lee, a Korean national who persuaded the Queensland Court of Appeal to tear up his guarantee to the ANZ Bank.
On Tuesday 3 September 2013 I presented a Legalwise seminar on letters of intent at the RACV club in Melbourne. I made two key points.
Students of Dickens will be overjoyed to know that Bleakhouse is alive and well. Harpur v Levy & Ors represents the 16th year of litigation arising out of the will of the late Peter Rand. In this, the latest chapter, the trustee of the Peter Rand Trust sought equitable recoupment from the estate of the late Mr Rand. Mr Rand had transferred several properties to the trust. The properties were mortgaged and rent from them had been applied in payment of interest to the mortgagee. The trustee later sold some of the properties and paid out the mortgagee. He then sought to recoup these payments from Mr Rand’s estate, of which Mr Levy and others were the executors.
When majority shareholders run a company oppressively, the minority can bring a proceeding under s. 232 of the Corporations Act. These proceedings often seek the winding up of the company. But what about where there is a unit trust? A trustee can also operate a trust oppressively to the minority of unitholders but winding the trustee up will not solve the problem. In Literski v Fresh 2 U Pty Ltd & Ors  VSC 307 the defendant was the trustee of a unit trust that carried on a wholesale fruit business. It allowed related businesses to be registered in the names of the majority unitholders. It also sold the wholesale business but allowed some of the benefits of the sale to accrue to the majority unitholders. The plaintiff sought an order for removal of the trustee.
Suppose a husband and wife jointly take out a mortgage loan. Suppose also that the husband uses all the proceeds for his own purposes. In these circumstances the wife will be entitled to have the burden of repayment cast onto the husband's share of the mortgaged property. This is the "equity of exoneration".
The appellant and her two brothers were beneficiaries under their father’s will. The brothers were also executors. Before their frail father died, their mother sold properties belonging to the father under a power of attorney but pocketed the proceeds without authority. She then disbursed some of the proceeds to the two brothers. The mother subsequently died. The appellant brought an action against her brothers for knowing receipt of trust property and an action in “devastavit”. “Devastavit” is the tort committed by an executor who fails to call in and collect the assets of a an estate which results in loss to the estate.
You don’t often see an action for "an account" these days but Justice Sifris of the Victorian Supreme Court has recently handed down a decision that outlines the relevant principles. It’s the case of Jane v Bob Jane Corporation Pty Ltd & Anor  VSC 406 (9 August 2013).