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Peter Ridd loses High Court appeal — Sterling Law QLD

Professor Peter Ridd’s appeal to the High Court over the termination of his employment by James Cook University (JCU) has today been dismissed.

Peter Ridd loses High Court appeal — Sterling Law QLD

On 16 December 2015. Professor Ridd sent an email to a journalist suggesting that reports produced by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the ARC Centre of Excellence were unreliable. Professor Ridd stated in the email that those two organisations should “check their facts before they spin their story” and that if the organisations were asked about the issue, his “guess is that they will both wiggle and squirm because they actually know that these pictures are likely to be telling a misleading story – and they will smell a trap”.

JCU found that, in using the language he did in the relevant email, Professor Ridd’s conduct amounted to “Misconduct” as defined in the Enterprise Agreement in that he did not act in a collegial way, did not respect the right of others, did not display responsibility in respecting his colleagues’ reputations, in breach of the Code of Conduct (the First Finding).

On 29 April 2016, Professor Ridd was issued with a formal censure (the 2016 Censure) and was told that, “In future it is an expectation that in maintaining your right to make public comment in a professional capacity in an academic field in which you are recognised, it must be in a collegial manner that upholds the University and individuals (sic) respect” (the First Speech Direction).

On 1 August 2017 participated in an interview with Alan Jones and Peta Credlin where he again criticised the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the ARC Centre of Excellence.

On 2 May 2018, JCU terminated Professor Ridd’s employment for serious misconduct. The termination followed two prior censures, one on 29 April 2016, and one, described as the Final Censure, on 21 November 2017. The censures related to findings by JCU that Professor Ridd had engaged in misconduct contrary to the Code of Conduct in that he had not expressed a professional opinion in a manner consistent with his obligations under the Code of Conduct. This included by failing to act “in the collegial and academic spirit” but had denigrated a colleague (including by failing to treat a fellow staff member “with respect and courtesy”), the ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies (ARC Centre of Excellence), and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), that he had denigrated the University in a manner inconsistent with his obligations under the Code of Conduct, and that he had breached directions to maintain confidentiality. JCU considered that Professor Ridd’s conduct subsequent to the Final Censure amounted to serious misconduct, demonstrating a pattern of conduct intentionally designed to damage the University’s reputation and destructive of the necessary trust and confidence for the continuation of the employment relationship.

Professor Ridd commenced the proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court on 20 November 2017. 

Full story: https://sterlinglawqld.com/peter-ridd-loses-high-court-appeal

Time to sue: The law of limitation periods

Limitation periods in the law impose time limits within which types of civil proceedings should ordinarily be commenced. In commercial litigation, statutes of limitations impose most of the limitation periods. In Queensland, the statute of limitations is the Limitation of Actions Act 1974.

Barring the remedy only

It is commonly thought that limitation periods prohibit a person from suing out of time, however this is inaccurate.

Limitation periods are not a mandatory prohibition on suing that bar the Court from having jurisdiction (power) to hear the claim. They instead provide a defence available for defendants when proceedings are brought out of time, which must be specifically pleaded to be upheld. Unless a plaintiff can show that an exception would overcome the limitation period hurdle, the defence, once pleaded, must defeat the parts of the claim brought out of time.

When the cause of action arises

Time starts to run for the purposes of the limitation period once the cause of action arises/accrues.

The cause of action ordinarily arises as soon as a plaintiff is entitled to sue. Usually, this means when the plaintiff has suffered actual loss, because the wrongful acts or omissions said to have caused the loss must have occurred before the loss was suffered. From that moment, the relevant limitation period starts to run.

Common limitation periods in Queensland

The Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Qld) imposes the following limitation periods in Queensland:

·       6 years for an action founded on simple contract or quasi-contract or on tort where the damages claimed by the plaintiff do not consist of or include damages in respect of personal injury to any person

·       6 years to enforce an award or recognisance

·       6 years for an account or a specialty

·       12 years to enforce a judgment

·       2 years to recover a penalty or forfeiture, or a sum by way of a penalty or forfeiture

·       1 year for defamation actions

·       3 years for personal injury, save for cases of a dust-related condition or child abuse

·       12 years to recover land

·       2 years for action for contribution under the Law Reform Act 1995 or 4 years after the limitation period for the principal action, whichever is the earliest.

In Brisbane City Council v Amos [2019] HCA 27, the High Court unanimously held that where a cause of action is subject to two or more limitation periods, a Defendant is entitled to plead and rely on the shorter limitation period.

In some circumstances, the limitation period will be or can be extended.

Read full article here: https://sterlinglawqld.com/the-law-of-limitation-periods

Types of appeals in Queensland and the Federal Courts

Not all types of appeals in the law are the same.


Different rules and principles in how they are conducted and decided apply, depending on the nature of the appeal in question.

Appeals in the law are creatures of statute: Attorney-General v Sillem [1864] EngR 352; (1864) 10 HLC 704 at 720-721, Mickelberg v The Queen [1989] HCA 35, Deane J at [4], R v Ferguson; ex parte A-G (Qld) [2008] QCA 227 at [20]. In other words, they never existed at common law, but were instead…

Types of appeals in Queensland and the Federal Courts — Sterling Law QLD

Christian Porter withdraws defamation case against the ABC — Sterling Law QLD

Former Attorney-General Christian Porter has agreed to discontinue his claim for damages against the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)  after the national broadcaster published a number of articles and programs about allegations he had raped a member of his debating team in the late 1980s.   The outcome comes days after after Porter lost high…

Christian Porter withdraws defamation case against the ABC — Sterling Law QLD

Sue Chrysanthou SC restrained from representing Christian Porter — Sterling Law QLD

Defamation specialist Sue Chrysanthou SC has been restrained by a Federal Court judge from representing former Attorney General Christian Porter in his defamation suit against the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and its star reporter Louise Milligan. This is a blow for Porter, who had engaged Sue Chrysanthou SC after the ABC aired allegations that he…

Sue Chrysanthou SC restrained from representing Christian Porter — Sterling Law QLD

Jarryd Hayne sentenced to five years and nine months imprisonment for sexual assault — Sterling Law QLD

Rugby league star Jarryd Hayne was found guilty of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent. Hayne had pleaded not guilty and denied sexually assaulting the then 26-year-old woman at her home at Fletcher, on Newcastle’s outskirts, in September 2018. THE TRIALS His first trial in Newcastle last year ended in a hung jury, however…

Jarryd Hayne sentenced to five years and nine months imprisonment for sexual assault — Sterling Law QLD

Businesswoman Elaine Stead awarded $280,000 in defamation damages — Sterling Law QLD

Australian Financial Review columnist Joe Aston had in various articles described former Blue Sky Alternative Investments director Elaine Stead as a “feminist cretin” who “set fire to other people’s money”, with an investment in an “unviable enterprise”. The articles also alleged Dr Stead  had “recklessly destroyed the capital of business ventures” and she was a…

Businesswoman Elaine Stead awarded $280,000 in defamation damages — Sterling Law QLD

Types of appeals in Queensland and the Federal Courts — Sterling Law QLD

Appeals in the law are creatures of statute: Attorney-General v Sillem [1864] EngR 352; (1864) 10 HLC 704 at 720-721, Mickelberg v The Queen [1989] HCA 35, Deane J at [4], R v Ferguson; ex parte A-G (Qld) [2008] QCA 227 at [20]. In other words, they never existed at common law, but were instead…

Types of appeals in Queensland and the Federal Courts — Sterling Law QLD
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