Overseas Decisions Bulletin
Produced by the Legal Research Officer,
High Court of Australia Library
Volume 11 Number 2 (17 March 2014 – 30 May 2014)
Decisions from the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Supreme Court of the United States, the Constitutional Court of South Africa and the Supreme Court of New Zealand.
MEC for Health, Eastern Cape and Anor v Kirland Investments (Pty) Ltd
Constitutional Court of South Africa:  ZACC 6.
Judgment delivered: 25 March 2014.
Coram: Moseneke ACJ, Skweyiya ADCJ, Cameron J, Dambuza AJ, Froneman J, Jafta J, Madlanga J, Mhlantla AJ, Nkabinde J and Zondo J.
Administrative law — Validity of administrative decisions — Respondent applied for approvals to establish two hospitals and two unattached operating theatres — Provincial Advisory Committee considered applications and recommended that they be refused — Superintendent-General declined to approve the applications and these decisions were reduced to writing — Superintendent-General went on sick leave and did not sign decisions — Acting Superintendent-General was appointed and approved the applications — Respondent was informed of this decision in writing — Respondent submitted building plans for approval and later sought to increase the capacity of the proposed hospitals — Superintendent-General resumed his duties, declined to approve respondent’s new applications and informed respondent that the approval by the Acting Superintendent-General was withdrawn — Whether validity of Acting Superintendent-General’s decision was before courts.
Held (7-3): Appeal dismissed.
Supreme Court of Canada: 2014 SCC 24.
Judgment delivered: 27 March 2014.
Coram: McLachlin CJ, LeBel, Abella, Rothstein, Cromwell, Moldaver, Karakatsanis and Wagner JJ.
Administrative law — Prisons — Corrections and Conditional Release Act, SC 1992, c 20, ss 27 to 29 — Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations, SOR/92 620, ss 5 and 13 — Procedural fairness — Duty to disclose — Scope of duty to disclose — Transfer of federal inmate from medium security institution to maximum security institution on emergency and involuntary basis — Whether transfer decision met statutory requirements related to duty of procedural fairness.
Jurisdiction — Habeas corpus — Scope of provincial superior court’s review power on application for habeas corpus with certiorari in aid in respect of detention in federal penitentiary — Whether on application for habeas corpus provincial superior court was entitled to examine reasonableness of administrative decision to transfer offender to higher security institution or whether reasonableness of decision should have been determined in Federal Court on judicial review.
Held (8-0): Appeal dismissed.
Canadian National Railway Co v Canada (Attorney General)
Supreme Court of Canada: 2014 SCC 40.
Judgment delivered: 23 May 2014.
Coram: McLachlin CJ, LeBel, Abella, Rothstein, Cromwell, Karakatsanis and Wagner JJ.
Administrative law — Canadian Transportation Act, SC 1996, c 10, ss 40, 41, 120.1 — Transportation law — Boards and tribunals — Judicial review — Standard of review — Governor in Council rescinded decision of Canadian Transportation Agency — Whether Governor in Council empowered to vary or rescind decision of Agency — Whether applicable standard of review is correctness or reasonableness.
Held (7-0): Appeal dismissed.
Conflict of Laws
Cox v Ergo Versicherung AG
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom:  UKSC 22.
Judgment delivered: 2 April 2014.
Coram: Lord Neuberger (President), Lord Mance, Lord Sumption, Lord Toulson, Lord Hodge.
Conflict of laws — Tort — Assessment of damages — Fatal Accidents Act 1976, ss 1, 3, 4 — English army officer killed in Germany when car left road and hit him — Car driven by German national insured by German insurers — Widow claimed damages against insurance company — Whether English law or German law applicable to assessment of damages — Whether widow required to give credit for maintenance from new partner following birth of their child.
Held (5-0): Appeal dismissed.
Morgan Advanced Materials Plc (formerly Morgan Crucible Co Plc) v Deutsche Bahn AG and Ors
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom:  UKSC 24.
Judgment delivered: 9 April 2014.
Coram: Lord Neuberger (President), Lord Mance, Lord Sumption, Lord Toulson and Lord Hodge.
Competition law — Limitation of action — Breach of European Union law — Claim for damages — Competition Act 1998, s 47A (6)(8) —Competition Appeal Tribunal Rules 2003, r 31 — European Commission found defendants in breach of competition law — First defendant applied successfully for immunity from fine and did not appeal decision — Other defendants appealed — Claimants brought follow-on claims against defendants in Competition Appeal Tribunal — Two year limitation period for bringing claims running from end of period for bringing appeal against commission’s decision or from time when such appeal determined — Whether Commission’s “decision” constituted by general finding of infringement or by specific finding against individual addressee —Whether time running as against first defendant deferred until after completion of other defendants’ appeals — Whether follow-on claims against first defendant statute-barred.
Held (5-0): Appeal allowed.