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Key decisions

  • Brisbane City Council v Amos [2019] HCA 27
  • Lee v Lee; Hsu v RACQ Insurance Limited; Lee v RACQ Insurance Limited [2019] HCA 28
  • Minogue v Victoria [2019] HCA 31
  • Taylor v Attorney-General (Cth) [2019] HCA 30

Additional content – only available on LSJ Online

  • Bell Lawyers v Pentelow [2019] HCA 29

Limitation of actions

Recovery of debts – conflicting limitations periods

In Brisbane City Council v Amos [2019] HCA 27 (4 September 2019) the High Court considered which of two potentially overlapping limitation periods applied to the appellant’s action. Pursuant to statutory powers, the appellant levied rates and charges against the respondent, the owner of land in Brisbane. Statute also provided that ‘overdue rates and charges are a charge on the land’. The appellant brought an action to recover unpaid rates levied between 1999 and 2012. A number of defences were raised, but the High Court appeal related only to a limitation period pleaded. Section 26(1) of the Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Qld) provided for a 12-year limitation period for actions ‘to recover a principal sum of money secured by a mortgage or other charge on property’. That provision encompassed debts created by statute and secured by charge. Relevantly for this appeal, s 10(1)(d) provided for a six-year limitation period for ‘an action to recover a sum recoverable by virtue of any enactment’. The appellant argued that only the longer of the two limitation periods applied. The High Court said that one cannot understand the overlap between the sections without understanding their history.

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