Recent Cases

Rinehart & Anor v Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd & Ors; Rinehart & Anor v Georgina Hope Rinehart (in her personal capacity as Trustee of the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust and as Trustee of the HFMF Trust) & Ors [2019] HCA 13 (08 May 2019) (Kiefel CJ, Gageler, Nettle, Gordon and Edelman JJ)


Contract – Construction – Dispute resolution clause – Arbitration – Where arbitral clause in deeds provided for confidential arbitration in event of any dispute “under this deed” – Where deeds came into existence against background of claims and threats of litigation made publicly by one party to deeds against others – Where deeds contained releases, acknowledgments and covenants not to sue, and promises not to make further claims – Where deeds contained assurances they were entered into without undue influence or duress – Where appellants brought proceedings alleging breaches of equitable and contractual duties against other parties to deeds – Where appellants asserted they were not bound by deeds because their assent procured by misconduct of other parties to deeds (“validity claims”) – Where respondents sought orders that matter be referred to arbitration and proceedings be dismissed or permanently stayed – Whether validity claims subject to arbitral clause.

Arbitration – Parties – Where s 8(1) of Commercial Arbitration Act 2010 (NSW) (“NSW Act”) provided that court before which action is brought in matter which is subject of arbitration agreement must in certain circumstances refer parties to arbitration – Where s 2(1) of NSW Act defined “party” to include any person claiming “through or under” party to arbitration agreement – Where trustees and beneficiaries party to arbitration agreement – Where beneficiaries alleged breaches of trust against trustees and knowing receipt against third party companies as assignees of trust property – Where third party companies asserted beneficial entitlement of trustees to property as essential element of defence – Where third party companies sought order that claims against them be referred to arbitration pursuant to s 8(1) of NSW Act – Whether third party companies claiming “through or under” party to arbitration agreement.

Words and phrases – “arbitral clause”, “arbitration agreement”, “claiming through or under a party”, “confidential processes of dispute resolution”, “context and purpose of deed”, “dispute under this deed”, “party”, “privity of contract”.