Recent Cases

Boensch v Bingham [2024] NSWCA 116 (20 May 2024) (Gleeson and White JJA, Griffiths AJA)


MORTGAGES AND SECURITIES — Unregistered mortgage — Where mortgage granted as security for legal fees — Whether caveat claiming an interest pursuant to mortgage valid — Whether mortgage void or otherwise terminated for breach — Whether mortgage secures forensic and speculative amount — Whether mortgage executed as a deed in accordance with requirements of Conveyancing Act 1919 (NSW), s 38

COSTS — Solicitor/client — Costs agreement — Where costs estimate given and costs agreement capped legal costs — Whether mortgage constituting costs agreement void by reason of asserted non-compliance with disclosure obligations to provide an updated costs estimate

COSTS — Solicitor/client — Costs assessment — Where Costs Review Panel found costs payable pursuant to mortgage constituting costs agreement — Where mortgage terms cap amount payable and defer date for payment of costs — Where Costs Review Panel determined it lacked jurisdiction to determine costs assessment application before costs became payable under agreement — Whether attempt to enforce costs agreement before costs fell due constitutes breach of agreement

APPEALS — Appeal by mortgagor against declarations that mortgage secures legal costs and is enforceable subject to final quantification by assessment process after a future date — Whether trial judge misinterpreted findings of other courts on related issues between same parties

CIVIL PROCEDURE — Pleadings — Departure from pleadings — Whether respondent acquiesced in appellant’s departure from pleadings — Whether trial judge should have made findings on matters not pleaded below

EQUITY — Defences — Set-off — Whether client’s claim against solicitor in negligence in separate proceedings capable of offsetting amount owing under costs agreement — Where negligence claim still on foot and neither party presently has a monetary judgment against the other