Cabassi v Vila; 12 Dec 1940

References: (1940) 64 CLR 130, [1940] HCA 41
Links: Austlii
Coram: Rich ACJ, Starke, McTiernan and Williams JJ
Ratio: High Court of Australia – The claim sought to sidestep the rule giving immuity to witnesses before a court by alleging a conspiracy to give false evidence.
Held: Starke J said: ‘But it does not matter whether the action is framed as an action for defamation or as an action analogous to an action for malicious prosecution or for deceit or, as in this instance, for combining or conspiring together for the purpose of injuring another: the rule of law is that no action lies against witnesses in respect of evidence prepared . . , given, adduced or procured by them in the course of legal proceedings. The law protects witnesses and others, not for their benefit, but for a higher interest, namely, the advancement of public justice.’
This case cites:

  • Cited – Dawkins v Lord Rokeby ((1873) LR 8 QB 255)
    Police officers (among others) are immune from any action that may be brought against them on the ground that things said or done by them in the ordinary course of the proceedings were said or done falsely and maliciously and without reasonable and . .
  • Cited – Munster v Lamb CA ((1883) 11 QBD 588)
    Judges and witness, including police officers are given immunity from suit in defamation in court proceedings.
    Fry LJ said: ‘Why should a witness be able to avail himself of his position in the box and to make without fear of civil consequences . .
  • Cited – Watson v M’Ewan HL ([1905] AC 480, [1905] UKHL 1, Bailii, (1905) 13 SLT 340, (1905) 7 F (HL) 109)
    A claim was brought against a medical witness in respect of statements made in preparation of a witness statement and similar statements subsequently made in court. The appellant was a doctor of medicine who had been retained by the respondent in . .

(This list may be incomplete)
This case is cited by:

  • Approved – Marrinan v Vibert CA ([1963] 1 QB 528)
    A tortious conspiracy was alleged in the conduct of a civil action. The plaintiff appealed against rejection of his claim.
    Held: The appeal failed as an attempt to circumvent the immunity of a wirness in defamation by framing a claim in . .
  • Cited – Singh v Moorlands Primary School and Another CA (Bailii, [2013] EWCA Civ 909, [2013] IRLR 820, [2013] WLR(D) 306, [2013] 1 WLR 3052, [2013] ICR 1158, [2013] CP Rep 46)
    The claimant was a non-wite head teacher, alleging that her school governors and local authority had undermined and had ‘deliberately endorsed a targeted campaign of discrimination, bullying, harassment and victimisation’ against her as an Asian . .

(This list may be incomplete)

Last Update: 05-Aug-16
Ref: 567938