Recent Cases

Sims v Commonwealth of Australia [2022] NSWCA 194 (04 October 2022) (Bell CJ, Meagher and White JJA)


Catchwords:


CONSTITUTIONAL LAW – constitutional implications – whether ss 81 and 83 of the Constitution provide an implied basis for the recovery of ultra vires payments by the Commonwealth – where proceedings brought by Commonwealth to recover ultra vires payments mistakenly made to former Navy officer after his separation from Navy – whether s 14(1)(a) of Limitation Act 1969 (NSW) is rendered inoperative or invalid in its application to the Commonwealth’s claim by reason of ss 81 and 83 of the Constitution

RESTITUTION – bars and defences to restitutionary claims – limitation periods – where Commonwealth brought proceedings to recover ultra vires payments mistakenly made to former Navy officer after separation from Navy – application of principle in Auckland Harbour Board v The King [1924] AC 318 – whether recovery of some payments statute-barred by reason of limitation period – whether Auckland Harbour Board claim is a claim in “quasi contract” within the meaning of s 14(1)(a) of the Limitation Act 1969 (NSW) – meaning and historical development of claims in “quasi contract” – whether limitation period should be postponed pursuant to s 56 of the Limitation Act

RESTITUTION – public authorities – claims by public authorities – where Commonwealth mistakenly continued to make payments to former Navy officer for six years following separation from the Navy – where mistaken payments were made ultra vires – application of principle in Auckland Harbour Board v The King [1924] AC 318 – historical development and juristic nature of claim pursuant to Auckland Harbour Board principle – whether recovery of some payments statute-barred by reason of limitation period – whether claim based on the Auckland Harbour Board is a claim in “quasi-contract” within the meaning of s 14(1)(a) of the Limitation Act 1969 (NSW) – whether former Navy officer liable for payments made to third parties at his direction prior to separation from Navy

RESTITUTION – nature of restitutionary liability – common counts – money had and received to the use of the plaintiff – where Commonwealth mistakenly continued to make payments to former Navy officer for six years following separation from the Navy – where mistaken payments were made ultra vires – application of principle in Auckland Harbour Board v The King [1924] AC 318 – historical development and juristic nature of claim pursuant to Auckland Harbour Board principle – whether recovery of some payments statute-barred by reason of limitation period – whether claim based on the Auckland Harbour Board is a claim in “quasi contract” within the meaning of s 14(1)(a) of the Limitation Act 1969 (NSW)

LIMITATION OF ACTIONS – quasi-contract and restitution – construction of “quasi contract” for the purposes of s 14(1)(a) of the Limitation Act 1969 (NSW) – where Commonwealth brought proceedings to recover ultra vires payments mistakenly made to former Navy officer after separation from Navy – application of principle in Auckland Harbour Board v The King [1924] AC 318 – whether recovery of some payments statute-barred by reason of limitation period – whether Auckland Harbour Board claim is a claim in “quasi contract” within the meaning of s 14(1)(a) of the Limitation Act 1969 (NSW) – meaning and historical development of claims in “quasi contract” – whether limitation period should be postponed pursuant to s 56 of the Limitation Act