McMullin v ICI Austalia Operations Pty Ltd: 1997

ICI had developed an insecticide for cotton plants whose active ingredient was CFZ. It was common for cattle to graze on cotton stubble. A number of cattle became contaminated with CFZ in this way, and it was suspected that other cattle, whose owners had bought cotton plants treated with CFZ, might have become contaminated.
Held: The court divided the claimants into seven categories. The first four categories were claimants who owned, or had in their possession, cattle which became contaminated, or those who had bought cattle, or meat, after it had become contaminated. A fifth category was claimants whose cattle were not in fact contaminated but were placed in detention because of a belief (erroneous in the event) that they were or may be infected. The phrase ‘cattle trail’ was used to refer to the link connecting each of the first four categories of claimant (contaminated cattle or meat). The fifth claimants did not recover because that link was missing.


Wilcox J


(1997) 72 FCR 1




Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.331081