Cases, cases

Update, 19 February 2008: Fellow Melbourne law blogger Legal Eagle has kindly written a case note on Equuscorp v Wilmoth Field Warne.

Update, 21 December 2007: Another two advocates’ immunity cases:

1. Symonds v Vass [2007] NSWSC 1274, 36,000 words, after nearly 3 weeks of trial. See Ysaiah Ross’s case note in his article in The Australian on 30 November 2007 titled ‘Let’s Dump Advocates’ Immunity’.

2. Mallik v McGeown [2007] NSWSC 1414.

Update, 19 December 2007: Fellow Melbourne law blogger Legal Eagle has done an excellent case note on the first case referred to below, saving me the trouble.

Original post: The Supreme Court and Court of Appeal is dropping cases on this blog like no tomorrow. I can’t keep up, so I will just bring them to your attention for the time being:

1. Re Legal Practice Act 2004; re OG, a lawyer [2007] VSC 520, in which the Court of Appeal today struck off the roll a barrister whose disclosure to the Board of Examiners about an allegation at university that he cheated on an assignment was found to be a lie. Legal Eagle provided a long note of the case here. In other news, a famous American judge, Richard Posner, wrote a book on plagiarism. He blogs too. Update: 29 January 2008: And compare this American case (In the Matter of Willie Jay White, Supreme Court of Georgia) about an applicant for admission to practice which was denied because his explanation for curious similarities between his work and another’s at law school was not believed.

2. Equuscorp Pty Ltd v Wilmoth Field Warne (a firm) [2007] VSCA 280, a case about whether estoppel by convention could operate against the prima facie disentitlement in a solicitor to recover fees under a void costs agreement, and about where exactly the dividing line is between a void and a good costs agreement. It is the latest in a long saga.

3. Coadys (a firm) v Getzler [2007] VSCA 281, a case covering much the same territory as the Equuscorp Case. This case and the previous one will be very important for the interpretation of the Legal Profession Act, 2004‘s costs provisions.

4. Francis v Bunnett [2007] VSC 527, in which Justice Lasry dismissed an application for summary judgment by reference to advocates’ immunity in a classic regretted settlement case. That is, his Honour was not persuaded of the hopelessness of the client’s argument that where there has been no adjudication after a trial, there is no finality of the kind protected by the immunity which is worthy of protection. It is notable that a number of cases which have gone the other way are not mentioned in the judgment.

5. MM&R Pty Ltd v Grills [2007] VSC 528, a decision of Justice Cavenough yesterday about the availability of advocates’ immunity as a defence to a suit alleging simple delay, and where there has been no adjudicated decision of a court worthy of protection. His Honour recognised that the immunity applied in such circumstances.

It will be interesting to read the two advocates’ immunity decisions more carefully, and tease out to what extent they are consistent with one another.

See also:

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