June 26, 2006

MUSU in Liquidiaton v Darren Ray

Posted in criminal law, funny law, judgments and transcripts, university at 7:01 am by thelawthoughts

Every now and then a case comes along that makes one really laugh. Remember Darren Ray? For those of you who have been at uni for a few years, he was the guy who got elected to the Student Union by giving us all $8 vouchers to spend at the UBar in return for voting.

Anyway, he was supposedly one of the driving forces behind the spectacular collapse of the Melbourne Uni Student Union (the other guy was called Scott something, and tried to get elected to a City Council recently. Brimbank maybe?).

Darren Ray and Benjamin Cass, amongst others, were sued by the liquidator for breaches of fiduciary duty and conspiracy. This proceeding related to an injunction sought by the liquidator to prevent Cass publishing material on his blog, in contempt of court.

The injunction wasn't granted, so Cass can still publish whatever he likes about the liquidator's conduct in the proceedings. I'm going to be straight with you, I'm not going to read the whole judgment.

You can, if you like, because from the overview that I took, it seems an interesting case in the evolution in this country of liability for work published in blogs.


Ambush Marketing

Posted in football, funny law, marketing, passing off, sponsorship at 1:56 am by thelawthoughts

I had a discussion a while ago about the soccer balls painted on the nose cones of Lufthansa planes. Here is a further case of FIFA's over zealous anti-ambush marketing campaign.

Dutch fans were ordered to take off their pants before the Ivory Coast game, because they bore the logo of a beer company that wasn't an official sponsor.

I mean, seriously.

June 13, 2006

Judicial Conduct Reporter and the Mystic Dwarfs

Posted in funny law at 10:46 pm by thelawthoughts

Hilarious as usual, the latest instalment of A Criminal Waste of Space. Now why don't we have a quarterly judicial conduct publication. We could put the performers from the recent Legal Comedy Debate in there.

Apart from reading about judges deciding cases by flipping a coin, read about the judge who consults imaginary mystic dwarfs in his chambers. Hmmm.

June 12, 2006


Posted in constitution, funny law, judgments and transcripts at 9:52 am by thelawthoughts

I, along with lots of others, have previously noted Inchoate's invaluable service of providing High Court transcript humour.

This is the latest piece of verbal acrobatics of Mr. Bennett, in arguing that murders in lighthouses should be able to be dealt with under the lighthouses power. This would, of course, bring extra criminal legislative power into the hands of the Commonwealth, at the expense of the States.

However, it is the Special Leave application in the same post that got my attention. Go and read the Hich Court transcript here. Mr. Walker from the other side didn't even need to speak, save for his 'we seek costs, your Honour'. Payday. What would he and his learned junior picked up for that court appearance? $1000 each?

The easiest money they ever made. 

June 9, 2006

Appellate Judges

Posted in funny law, judgments and transcripts at 6:18 am by thelawthoughts

See David Starkoff for a great quote about appellate judges, from the perpsective of trial judges.

I would just post his post in full, but that is naughty.

Community Service in Zambia

Posted in funny law, judgments and transcripts at 4:58 am by thelawthoughts

This UK businessman will be thanking his lucky stars– after overstaying his visa in Zambia, he was sentenced to 15 days gardening at, guess, the Zambian Immigration Department!

Imagine we applied that policy in Australia. Right, all you queue jumpers, get out and mow the lawn, then we will deport you. We would save a heap of money on those expensive outback detention centres, and would save even more on the gardening bills in Canberra. I hear there is a lot of grass up there.

June 8, 2006

eBay Home Sales

Posted in contracts, funny law, internet law, real estate at 8:55 am by thelawthoughts

This story, about Uri Geller (the spoon bending guy) buying Elvis Presley's old house, is intriguing.

After his bid, but before any documentation was signed, the house was sold to another party. Interestingly, an auction is not an offer for the purposes of offer and acceptance forming a binding contract. The bid is the offer. Accepting the bid is at the discretion of the vendor, despite what the auctioneer may tell you.

Whatever the outcome is in terms of contract law, I find eBay's reaction the most fascinating. Here is the money quote:

"The platform we provide in real estate really serves to generate interest," said eBay spokeswoman Catherine England. "It isn't a legally binding contract," she added.

Excuse me? An eBay sale is not a legally binding contract? So, are we just bidding on things in the hope somebody will send the product? At what point does a sale made on eBay become legally binding?

From my 236-odd experiences buying and selling on eBay, I have found that the bidder always transfers the money before the seller posts the item. What would happen if the $1mil odd sale price was deposited, then the vendor said, 'sorry, not a legally binding contract'. Could they sue for their money back?

I know they can in Equity, but what a hassle! Next time you are on eBay, watch what happens to people who renege, who effectively say 'it's not a binding contract'. Not pretty, I can assure you. It seems to me that everybody on eBay thinks it is a binding contract.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Posted in funny law, judgments and transcripts at 7:50 am by thelawthoughts

Writing my Civil Procedure exam notes, which deal extensively with alternative dispute resolution, means I am in a frame of mind to be receptive to quirky methods that do not involve the words mediation, negotiation or arbitration.

Having said that, this case is not what I had in mind. Evidently, two lawyers who could not agree on the venue for a hearing were ordered by the court to play rock, paper scissors to determine the outcome. Yes, by court order. This is a binding order which in punishable by contempt of court proceedings.

It makes one ask the question, 'why can't they just figure it out?'