Recent Cases

Glencore International AG v Commissioner of Taxation [2019] HCA 26 (14 August 2019) (Kiefel CJ, Bell, Gageler, Keane, Nettle, Gordon and Edelman JJ)


Privilege – Legal professional privilege – Where documents identified by plaintiffs as having been created by law practice for sole or dominant purpose of provision of legal advice to plaintiffs – Where privileged documents stolen from electronic file management system of law practice and disseminated – Where documents obtained by defendants – Where defendants refused to return documents to plaintiffs and provide undertaking not to refer to or rely upon documents – Where plaintiffs sought injunctive relief in equity’s auxiliary jurisdiction solely on basis of legal professional privilege – Where plaintiffs did not seek injunctive relief on basis of confidentiality or other area of law – Where defendants demurred on basis that no cause of action disclosed – Whether legal professional privilege operates only as immunity or is also actionable legal right – Whether policy considerations justify creation of new actionable right in respect of documents subject to legal professional privilege.

Words and phrases – “actionable legal right”, “basis for relief”, “breach of confidence”, “cause of action”, “common law right”, “confidentiality”, “development of the law”, “immunity”, “injunction”, “legal professional privilege”, “policy of the law”, “public interest”, “remedy”.