Williams v Spautz: 27 Jul 1992

(High Court of Australia) Criminal Law – Abuse of process – Stay of proceedings – Action for wrongful dismissal against university – Information for criminal defamation by plaintiff against officer of university – Predominant purpose of informant to secure reinstatement or favourable settlement of action – Whether abuse of process.
Brennan J attempted a partial definition of purpose in the context of the tort of abuse of process, committed when a person conducts litigation for a purpose other than that for which the court’s process is designed: ‘Purpose, when used in reference to a transaction, has two elements: the first, a result which the transaction is capable of producing; the second, the result which the person or persons who engage in or control the transaction intend it to produce. Or, to express the concept in different terms, the purpose of a transaction is the result which it is capable of producing and is intended to produce.’


Mason CJ, Brennan, Deane, Dawson, Toohey, Gaudron and McHugh JJ


61 A Crim R 431, (1992) 66 ALJR 585, 107 ALR 635, (1992) 174 CLR 509, [1992] HCA 34




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedHayes v Willoughby SC 20-Mar-2013
The claimant and appellant had been employer and employee who had fallen out, with a settlement in 2005. The appellant then began an unpleasant and obsessive personal vendetta against Mr Hayes, complaining to public bodies with allegations of tax . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commonwealth, Torts – Other

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.471929