The First Limb of Barnes v Addy: A Taxonomy in Tatters
AbstractThis lecture is given in tribute to Tony Lee. That is only fitting. He is a scholar of international significance and he was personally responsible for much of the core statutory law reform in this State on the subjects of Trusts and Succession Law. Not long after the High Court’s decision in Farah Constructions Pty Ltd v Say-Dee Pty Ltd (‘Farah’), I asked Professor Lee what he thought about it. He said this: ‘Well, David, after all these years of reading cases I think that cases where plaintiffs don’t win generally don’t decide very much about the law.’ Then he said: ‘But I don’t know, what do you think?’ I was taken aback. At that time, I was full of the joys of the High Court’s decision. First, I thought it had rescued indefeasibility from the scrap heap, particularly so far as bank mortgages were concerned. Secondly, whilst I now agree with Professor Keith Mason’s point of view that the High Court’s treatment of the New South Wales Court of Appeal was intemperate, I was not unhappy then that the High Court had stemmed the tide of those who were intent on bending first limb Barnes v Addy liability into a restitutionary framework.
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