All the High Court Cases About Lawyers

Here is my preliminary attempt at consolidating all the High Court cases about lawyers in one place. If I’ve missed any, let me know; it’s a work in progress.

Re Coleman (1905) 2 CLR 834; [1905] HCA 19 The Court gave the following judgment, about a NSW solicitor who had attempted to engage in what sounds like a fraudulent scheme to defeat a client’s creditor and been suspended from practice for 12 months: ‘This is not a case in which special leave to appeal should be granted. Looking at all the circumstances of the case we can see no reason to doubt that the decision of the Supreme Court was substantially correct. That Court was of opinion that the applicant had been guilty of professional misconduct which merited punishment, and we see no reason to differ from them. That being so, it is difficult to see how we can properly interfere with the exercise of the Court’s discretion in inflicting punishment upon one of its own officers. In such cases the nature of the punishment is a matter entirely within the discretion of the Supreme Court itself.’

The decision has been cited only in Re Daley, below.

McLaughlin v Daily Telegraph Newspaper (1906) 4 CLR 548; [1906] HCA 78

Re Daley (1907) 5 CLR 193; [1907] HCA 32 The Court declined to grant to a Sydney solicitor special leave to appeal against his suspension from practice for 18 months for making a fraudulent representation to counsel to induce him to accept a brief for which he went unpaid. The Court, applied Re Coleman, reiterating it was a matter for the Supreme Court of NSW.

The decision has been cited only by Tasmanian cases, as an illustration of the use of the word ‘punishment’ to describe the orders made in disciplinary proceedings.

Blake v Blayne (1908) 6 CLR 179; [1908] UKPCHCA 2

Frackelton v Atthow (1909) 10 CLR 522; [1909] HCA 76

Incorporated Law Institute (NSW) v Meagher (1909) 9 CLR 655; [1909] HCA 87

Varawa v Howard Smith (1910) 10 CLR 382; [1910] HCA 11

Southern Law Society v Westbrook (1910) 10 CLR 509; [1910] HCA 31

Re Byrne (1913) 17 CLR 52; [1913] HCA 30

Re Hanlon (1913) 17 CLR 60; [1913] HCA 46

Re Ramage (1913) 17 CLR 55; [1913] HCA 47

Charlick v Foley Bros (1916) 21 CLR 249; [1916] HCA 27

Woolf v Snipe (1933) 48 CLR 677; [1933] HCA 5

Polkinghorne v Holland (1934) 51 CLR 143; [1934] HCA 28

Tuckiar v R (1934) 52 CLR 335; [1934] HCA 49

Leeper v Primary Producers Bank of Australia Ltd (in liq) (1935) 53 CLR 250; [1935] HCA 19

Kahn v Board of Examiners (1939) 62 CLR 422; [1939] HCA 26

Australian Workers Union v Bowen (1946) 72 CLR 575; [1946] HCA 24

Re Davis (1947) 75 CLR 409; [1947] HCA 53

Ex parte Lenehan (1948) 77 CLR 403; [1948] HCA 45

Harvey v Phillips (1956) 95 CLR 235; [1956] HCA 27 (Professional negligence in settlement of litigation)

Ziems v Prothonotary of Supreme Court (NSW) (1957) 97 CLR 279; [1957] HCA 46 (Relationship of professional discipline and criminal law; misconduct outside of legal practice)

Clyne v Bar Association (NSW) (1960) 104 CLR 186; [1960] HCA 40

Hally v Queensland Law Society (1960) 105 CLR 286; [1960] HCA 44

Mann v Hulme (1961) 106 CLR 136; [1961] HCA 45

Bar Association (NSW) v Davis (1963) 109 CLR 428; [1963] HCA 31

Hall v Nominal Defendant (1966) 117 CLR 423; [1966] HCA 36

Bar Association (NSW) v Evatt (1968) 117 CLR 177; [1968] HCA 20

Henry v Boehm (1973) 128 CLR 482; [1973] HCA 32

Guss v Veenhuizen (Taxation of Costs) (1976) 136 CLR 47; [1976] HCA 57

Weaver v Law Society (NSW) (1979) 142 CLR 201; [1979] HCA 35

McInnis v R (1979) 143 CLR 575; [1979] HCA 65

R v Bell; Ex parte Lees (1980) 146 CLR 141; [1980] HCA 26

Datt v Law Society (NSW) (1981) 148 CLR 319; [1981] HCA 44

Baker v Campbell (1983) 153 CLR 52; [1983] HCA 39

O’Reilly v Commissioners of State Bank of Victoria (1982) 153 CLR 1; [1983] HCA 47

J v Lieschke (1987) 162 CLR 447; [1987] HCA 4

Hawkins v Clayton (1988) 164 CLR 539; [1988] HCA 15

Giannarelli v Wraith (1988) 165 CLR 543;[1988] HCA 52 (Advocates’ immunity)

Street v Queensland Bar Association (1989) 168 CLR 461; [1989] HCA 53

Giannarelli v Wraith (No 2) (1991) 171 CLR 592; [1991] HCA 2 (Legal professional privilege and party-party taxations)

Wentworth v NSW Bar Association (1992) 176 CLR 239;[1992] HCA 24

Smith v NSW Bar Association (1992) 176 CLR 256; [1992] HCA 36

Dietrich v The Queen (1992) 177 CLR 292; [1992] HCA 57

Hill v Van Erp (1997) 188 CLR 159; [1997] HCA 9 (duty of care to beneficiaries of testator clients)

Astley v Austrust Ltd (1999) 197 CLR 1; [1999] HCA 6 (Duty of care)

Walsh v Law Society (NSW) (1999) 198 CLR 73; [1999] HCA 33 (Procedural fairness in disciplinary investigations)

Boland v Yates Property Corporation Pty Ltd (1999) 74 ALJR 209; [1999] HCA 64 (professional negligence)  

Barwick v NSW Law Society (2000) 74 ALJR 419; [2000] HCA 2 (Non-compliance by legal regulators with procedural requirements of statute robs disciplinary tribunal of jurisdiction) See this blog post and this one too.

A Solicitor v Council of the Law Society of New South Wales (2004) 216 CLR 253; [2004] HCA 1 (misconduct outside of legal practice) See this blog post.

Re Minister for Immigration & Multicultural Affairs; Ex parte Goldie (2004) 217 CLR 264; [2004] HCA 27

D’Orta-Ekenaike v Victoria Legal Aid (2005) 223 CLR 1; [2005] HCA 12 (Reasserted and restated the justification for advocates’ immunity)

APLA Ltd v Legal Services Commissioner (NSW) (2005) 224 CLR 322; [2005] HCA 44

Nudd v The Queen (2006) 80 ALJR 614; [2006] HCA 9  

Smits v Roach (2006) 227 CLR 423; [2006] HCA 36

Z v New South Wales Crime Commission (2007) 231 CLR 75; [2007] HCA 7

CGU Insurance Limited v Porthouse (2008) 235 CLR 103; [2008] HCA 30

Hunt & Hunt Lawyers (a firm) v Mitchell Morgan Nominees Pty Ltd (2013) 247 CLR 613; [2013] HCA 10 (proportionate liability)

Legal Services Board v Gillespie-Jones (2013) 249 CLR 493; [2013] HCA 35 (trust monies)

Badenach v Calvert (2016) 257 CLR 440; [2016] HCA 18 (duty of care to non-client (beneficiary of testator client))

Attwells v Jackson Lalic Lawyers Pty Ltd (2016) 259 CLR 1; [2016] HCA 16 (Attenuated advocates’ immunity)

Kendirjian v Lepore (2017) 259 CLR 275; [2017] HCA 13 (advocates’ immunity and settlement)

Bell Lawyers Pty Ltd v Pentelow (2019) 93 ALJR 1007; [2019] HCA 29 (abolished ‘Chorley’ exception for lawyers to principle self-represented litigants may not claim costs other than disbursements)

See also:

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