It is OK to be wrong

wrongThe High Court of Australia has today handed down its judgments in Probuild Constructions (Aust) Pty Ltd v Shade Systems Pty Ltd [2018] HCA 4 and Maxcon Constructions Pty Ltd v Vadasz [2018] HCA 5.

The judgments run to some 60 pages, but can be summarised in a few words: adjudicators’ decisions are not subject to judicial review on the ground of non-jurisdictional error of law.

The result makes good common sense. Many (cynics might say most) decisions of adjudicators are riddled with errors, including errors of law. Unsurprising, one might think: most adjudicators are not Continue reading

Victorian Manners

Front_facade_of_the_Supreme_Court_of_VictoriaThere are several jurisdictions in Australia, each of them with its own Court of Appeal (in some jurisdictions known as a “Full Court”).  Last week I was in the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Victoria is a strange jurisdiction. Traditionally, solicitors in Victorian trials sit in front of counsel with their backs to the bench. Wigs are worn in civil cases in the County Court, but it is a contempt to wear a wig in a civil case in the Supreme Court. They have no robing rooms in the court buildings – counsel parade through the open streets around the courts fully gowned and tabbed – sometimes wigged – like black flamingoes returned to their waters after the rain.

The Court of Appeal was rather civilised, I thought, with judges who were Continue reading