Before the Courts

Explore a curated selection of Australian court cases below. Click the links to access judgments or read our related articles.

Lehrmann v Network Ten Pty Limited [2024] FCA 369

15 APRIL 2024

Former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann lost his defamation case against Network 10 and Lisa Wilkinson in the Federal Court of Australia. The broadcasts focused on Brittany Higgins’ allegations of sexual assault by a colleague in a ministerial suite at Parliament House. Lehrmann claimed he was identifiable in the interview.

Although Lehrmann hasn’t been criminally convicted, Justice Michael Lee concluded in the civil case that Lehrmann did rape Higgins, rejecting Lehrmann’s version of events.

The lengthy decision also criticises Ten and Wilkinson for their conduct leading up to the airing of the interview, containing important lessons for defendants as well as claimants. The case has drawn intense media attention and public interest, and could lead other high-profile figures to reassess their defamation actions.

McBride v McBride [2024] NSWSC 45


In a case underscoring the importance of clarity and formality when making legal offers, Louise McBride claimed that her brother, David McBride, had made an offer to settle a family provision claim on social media.

In the video, David appealed to the public for financial assistance for a separate legal matter, and referenced seeking further provision from his deceased mother’s estate to also help him pay his legal bills. Louise argued that the video constituted a genuine offer to settle the estate litigation, which she purportedly accepted.

While the court accepted that it is possible to make an offer on social media, Louise’s motion was ultimately rejected. The judge found that David’s words in the video were a prediction of what the outcome of the family provision claim might be, rather than an offer to settle the claim.

CCSG Legal Pty Ltd & Anor v Commonwealth Bank of Australia & Ors [2023] NSWSC 1276

27 OCTOBER 2023

A recent ruling from the Supreme Court of NSW serves as a reminder for businesses to be vigilant against fraud and to always verify bank account details with clients before making payments.

CCSG Legal, a law firm, successfully secured a judgment to recover $145,282.20 in misappropriated funds. Fraudsters had manipulated an email exchange between the firm and its accountant, impersonating the firm and tricking the accountant into transferring the funds to a different Commonwealth Bank of Australia account.

CCSG Legal obtained court orders freezing the accounts, and the court has now found the fraudsters were unjustly enriched. They have been ordered to reimburse the stolen funds.

Maria Oliveira by her tutor Ivo De Oliveira v John Antonio Oliveira [2023] NSWSC 1130


In a recent NSW Supreme Court case, a family provision claim was dismissed after the disabled adult daughter of the deceased couldn’t show any basis for an award.

Maria, a 52-year-old woman with severe disabilities including Downs Syndrome, autism, epilepsy, intellectual disabilities, and alopecia, is nonverbal and partially blind. The deceased’s estate had passed to Maria’s mother, who now resides in a nursing home due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Justice Kunc assessed Maria’s financial situation and determined that her needs were being adequately met through government support. The judge acknowledged the case’s sadness but said he had to apply legal principles “rather than yield to natural human sympathy.”

Cameron v Franks (No 2) [2023] NSWSC 929

11 AUGUST 2023

Attwood Marshall Lawyers recently won a case that affirmed the rights of an equitable owner to force the sale of a property. Our client was the plaintiff, who owned a one-third interest in equity in a family property following the result of a historical family provision claim. The defendant was his brother who was the other part co-owner.

The defendant filed a crossclaim seeking to enforce an alleged historical sale agreement between the brothers, which the plaintiff denied the existence of.

After a plethora of procedural issues including the defendant not attending trial and seeking a retrospective adjournment of it, the Court decided in favour of the plaintiff.

Hunt Leather Pty Ltd v Transport for NSW [2023] NSWSC 840

19 JULY 2023

Four lead plaintiffs from a class action won their damages claim against Transport for New South Wales over the construction of the Sydney Light Rail.

The long-standing dispute took aim at the project for its continued delays, crowding and operation of heavy machinery. The business owners also complained of restrictions to the footpath and road traffic which were essential to their operations.

The decision is expected to have far-reaching implications for businesses seeking compensation for disruptions caused by construction – especially for regions like the Gold Coast, which is grappling with similar challenges related to city’s own light rail expansion.

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