Recent Cases

Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust v Attorney General of New South Wales [2024] NSWCA 30 (16 February 2024) (Bell CJ, Ward P and Leeming JA)


EQUITY – charitable trusts – relationship with statute – distinction between charitable trust created pursuant to statute and recognised in equity and “statutory trust” created by statute which ceased when statute repealed – Necropolis Act 1867 (NSW) authorised vesting of land in separate trustees for denominational burial grounds at Rookwood – whether charitable trust recognised in equity thereby created – Necropolis Act repealed – new provisions extinguish any charitable trust over the land – whether new provisions extinguish charitable trust over proceeds of operation of burial ground

PARTIES – declaratory relief – absence of contradictor – plaintiffs join Attorney General and seek declaration over existence and nature of charitable trust – Attorney supports plaintiffs’ submission that charitable trust exists, but disputes plaintiffs’ submission that its purpose has changed – whether declaratory relief available and appropriate

STATUTES – statutory consolidation – Necropolis Act 1867 (NSW) repealed and replaced by Necropolis Act 1901 (NSW) – whether change in wording effected a change in charitable purpose – principles of construction applicable to consolidating statutes