Author: Andrew P. Downie

Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 (Vic) applies to multi-apartment developments: Burbank Australia Pty Ltd v Owners Corporation [2015] VSC 160, 29 April 2015, McDonald J.

The Supreme Court of Victoria was required to consider the application of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 (Vic) to multi-apartment developments. McDonald J held that, subject to the nature of the works falling within the definition of “domestic building work”, the Act applies to multi-apartment developments and to developers of such developments.

The penalty doctrine and delay to practical completion caused by trivial events: Grocon Constructors (Qld) Pty Ltd v Juniper Developer No. 2 Pty Ltd & Anor [2015] QSC 102, 23 April 2015, P. Lyons J

A modified AS4300-1995 contract defined practical completion to include an exhaustive list of both significant and trivial items of work. The builder argued that because the failure to attend to trivial items of work could trigger the liquidated damages clause, the clause was penal. The Queensland Supreme Court disagreed.

2014 Victorian Civil Appeal Reforms: requirement for leave to appeal, new time limits, and no entitlement to an oral hearing

The Courts Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2014 implemented changes to the Supreme Court Act 1986 (Vic) that include a requirement for leave to appeal for all civil appeals, with limited exceptions, and there is no entitlement to an oral hearing for leave to appeal. The changes commenced on 10 November 2014, and the Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2005 were amended also.

Recent Victorian Offer of Compromise reform: costs inclusiveness, claim failure, pre-litigation offers and other changes

The Magistrates’ Court General Civil Procedure (Offers of Compromise Amendments) Rules 2014 bring the rules on offers of compromise in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (“MCV”) largely into alignment with the Supreme Court of Victoria (“VSC”) and County Court of Victoria (“CCV”) rules on offers of compromise. This amendment commenced on 1 August 2014. The VSC and CCV rules were amended on 1 September 2013 and 7 October 2013 respectively.

Sports Law round-up

Monitor’s Report – The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (‘ASADA’) investigation into the AFL and NRL appears to be continuing, despite the two codes almost commencing their next season since the investigation began. It is unclear what the outcome of this will be, and when an outcome will be achieved. Former Federal Court Judge Garry Downes has been appointed to review the ASADA investigation, including to determine whether charges could be laid in respect of alleged infractions.

Defects visible to the ‘untrained eye’ can constitute constructive knowledge

This is the second case note of two cases in which subsequent owners of a home have brought proceedings in respect of defects which are said to have arisen after purchase of the home. In determining whether the owners had suffered loss, the Tribunal considered whether the owners had constructive knowledge of ‘reasonably observable’ defects, also introducing the concept of the ‘untrained eye’.