“QUOTEWORTHY” 1984

1. “The bush boss was painted by the plaintiff’s counsel as the genius of the forest, the tutelary spirit by which all logging operations were informed. He was not called at the trial, and so the jury were not vouchsafed a glimpse of this important character. In his examination of witnesses counsel hinted darkly that if, for example, a snigger were to indulge in some forest indiscretion, the bush boss would suddenly materialise, like the Erlkoenig, and pluck the miscreant from his tractor, and carry him away. But when the evidence is examined the bush boss is found to be neither omnipotent nor omniscient.” Per Brooking J, in Brodribb Sawmilling Co. Pty Ltd v Gray and Stevens [1984] VicRp 25; [1984] VR 321, 29 November 1983, Vic Sup Ct).

2. “To reach a conclusion on this matter involved the court in wading through a monstrous legislative morass, staggering from stone to stone and ignoring the marsh gas exhaling from the forest of schedules lining the way on each side. I regarded it at one time, I must confess, as a Slough of Despond through which the court would never drag its feet, but I have, by leaping from tussock to tussock as best I might, eventually, pale and exhausted, reached the other side where I find myself, I am glad to say, at the same point as that arrived at with more agility by Lord Denning MR.” Per Hannan LJ, in Davy v Leeds Corporation [1964] 3 All ER 394.

3. “Subject to one consideration that I will mention later, I can contemplate some-one in the circumstances using words to this effect: ‘Take care of the cable or you will cut off the current to that factory without warning, and so mess up their machinery.”It is much more difficult to contemplate someone saying: ‘Treat that test tube tenderly or many of the auctioneers in Surrey will find there is no stock to sell.’ I find it difficult to contemplate an Indonesian chargehand using words to the effect: ‘Clean that corner out carefully or cock-roaches will contaminate the copra and the consignee’s customers in Antwerp will complain, and that will cost the consignee money.”Nor is it likely that a passenger in a Welsh company’s van near Cardiff would have said: ‘Hold hard or you will hit that hydrant and the water board will turn off the water; the boilers will be let out; the factories will get cold and so production will stop'”. Per Thesiger J in SCM v WJ Whittall & Son Ltd [1970] 2 All ER 417 at 435; [1970] 1 WLR 1017; 8 KIR 1073.

4. “Old judgments never die, they only fade away.” Per Brooking J, in Home Helper Products v Transmark Industries, Vic Sup Ct. unreported, 11 September 1984.

5. “… It is, I think, significant in this case that the defendant at first pleaded the representation in another way, and then amended it at the trial into its present form, and yet at no time disclosed what the defendant took the representation to mean, and at no time nailed its colours to the mast of divulging in what way or by what reasoning anything contained in it was false … It would be a mistake to think that these observations are aimed at the pleader or at those instructing him, for the legal practitioners cannot produce from the air material facts not supplied by the lay client. It is not only in the courtroom itself that bricks must sometimes be fashioned in a dearth of straw.” Per Fullagar J in American Home Assurance Co v Protean (Holdings) Ltd [1985] VicRp 18; [1985] VR 187 (Vic Sup Ct, 24 May 1984).

6. “It is strange that in the many years that one-man companies have been an important feature of commercial life so little attention should have been given to the question whether the man can steal from his company. Assume that Lord Roskill’s Eulenspiegel, having switched the labels in the supermarket, then moves out into its car park and there transposes two cars, intending nothing more than another merry prank. If charged with theft, he must be taken to have intended permanently to deprive the owners of their cars …” Per Brooking J in R v Roffel [1985] VicRp 51; [1985] VR 511; (1984) 9 ACLR 433; (1985) 14 A Crim R 134; (1985) 3 ACLC 339, Vic Sup Ct, 19 December 1984.