Ha and Another v State of New South Wales and Others: 17 Feb 1997

(High Court of Australia) The court unanimously considered that ‘it would be a perversion of judicial power to maintain in force that which is acknowledged not to be the law’. This would especially be so where ‘non-compliance with a properly impugned statute exposes a person to criminal prosecution’. ‘This Court has no power to overrule cases prospectively. A hallmark of the judicial process has long been the making of binding decisions of rights and obligations arising from the operation of the law upon past events or conduct. The adjudication of existing rights and obligations as distinct from the creation of rights and obligations distinguishes the judicial power from non-judicial power. Prospective overruling is thus inconsistent with judicial power on the simple ground that the new regime that would be ushered in when the overruling took effect would alter existing rights and obligations. If an earlier case is erroneous and it is necessary to overrule it, it would be a perversion of judicial power to maintain in force that which is acknowledged not to be the law.’
(1997) 189 CLR 465, [1997] HCATrans 82
Austlii
Australia
Cited by:
CitedNational Westminster Bank plc v Spectrum Plus Limited and others HL 30-Jun-2005
Former HL decision in Siebe Gorman overruled
The company had become insolvent. The bank had a debenture and claimed that its charge over the book debts had become a fixed charge. The preferential creditors said that the charge was a floating charge and that they took priority.
Held: The . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 May 2021; Ref: scu.228295