- The trial judge approached the question of interest by examining the amount of interest the appellant had paid on a loan used to enable him to pay out his siblings’ legacies and retain ownership of the family home
- The Court of Appeal held it was erroneous to reject the claim by the appellant that interest should be awarded at the statutory rate and in accordance with the relevant Reserve Bank rate plus 4 per cent
- To obtain interest in a case where the court has power to award it, an order for interest up to judgment must be specifically claimed
The principles relating to the discretion to award and the quantification of pre-judgment interest in tort have been vexed questions for lawyers for many years.
The relevant statutory basis for the discretion of any award of pre-judgment interest is section 100 of the Civil Procedure Act 2005. Its manner of exercise is governed by UCPR Rule 6.12, which relevantly provides in subsections (7) and (8) as follows:
“(7) In the case of a liquidated claim, a claim for an order for interest up to judgment:
(a) must specify the period or periods for which interest is claimed and
(b) must specify the rate or rates at which interest is claimed.
(8) If no rate of interest is specified under subrule (7)(b), the rate at which interest is claimed is taken to be:
(a) in respect of the period from 1 January to 30 June in any year, the rate that is 4% above the cash rate last published by the Reserve Bank of Australia before that period commenced, and
(b) in respect of the period from 1 July to 31 December in any year, the rate that is 4% above the cash rate last published by the Reserve Bank of Australia before that period commenced.”