Lithgow City Council v Jackson [2011] HCA 36

This case is important but there are so many nuggets that it needs to be looked at afresh every time particular evidentiary issues arise.  So I have not summarised it.


18. …However, Basten JA doubted the “statutory basis” for the conclusion that ss 7679 apply only to evidence of opinions given by witnesses in court.

19. There are strong textual reasons supporting Basten JA’s doubts and indicating that the conclusion is not merely to be doubted, but is wrong. Section 69 is in Pt 3.2 of the ActSections 7679 are in Pt 3.3. Section 56(1)[11] contemplates that relevant, ie otherwise admissible, evidence may be excluded by more than one exclusionary rule in Pts 3.23.11. One exclusionary rule is the hearsay rule. If evidence satisfies s 69, then by s 69(2) the hearsay rule does not apply. But s 69(2) does not provide that the evidence is admissible. It is only admissible if no other exclusionary rule applies. Section 76 excludes “[e]vidence of an opinion” – not “evidence by a witness of an opinion”. There is no indication in any other provision in Pt 3.3 that it operates only in relation to the opinions of witnesses. 





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