McCabe v British American Tobacco Australia Services Limited [2002] VSC 73

Answer ALL of the following 5 sub-questions. Each sub-question carries 4 marks, for a total of 20 marks.

  1. (a)  Leaving aside interlocutory applications, list all court documents/forms that would be filed in the Court Registry in a typical Supreme Court proceeding in the Northern Territory seeking damages, from the commencement of proceedings through to final judgment on liability and damages (but not including enforcement steps). Specify the relevant time limits for filing and/or serving each Form and the applicable Rule.
  2. (b)  Outline the relevant Rule/s and principles governing claims for discovery before proceedings.
  3. (c)  Discuss, with examples, the various types and sources of limitations upon jurisdiction (both time and amount) of the various courts dealing with civil litigation under Northern Territory (not federal) law. Outline the principles and cases governing extension of limitation periods in the Northern Territory.
  4. (d)  Outline and briefly discuss the procedures available to a plaintiff who suspects that a defendant may be about to flee the jurisdiction of the Northern Territory or to hide assets, dispose them or remove them from the jurisdiction. Specify the Court Rule, statutory or other sources of each such procedure and any applicable major constraints. You need deal only with the Supreme Court, not the Local or Federal Court.
  5. (e)  In McCabe v British American Tobacco Australia Services Limited [2002] VSC 73, it emerged that the defendants had managed, during a short period when there were no negligence claims on foot against British American Tobacco (BAT) by smokers who had contracted cancer and other (allegedly)

[20 marks]

smoking-related illnesses, to destroy by shredding almost all copies of relevant documents they possessed, especially expert reports which may have shown the extent of BAT’s knowledge of the health effects of smoking. However, copies of most of these documents were forwarded to and retained by a tobacco industry body in the United States. Are those documents discoverable by BAT? Discuss the relevant principles and cases. What other interlocutory procedures might you utilize to pursue these documents? Note that the Victorian Supreme Court Rules are relevantly identical to the NT Supreme Court Rules.

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