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Key decisions

  • Deputy Commissioner of Taxation v Rennie Produce (Aust) Pty Ltd (in liq) [2018] FCAFC 38
  • Prysmian Cavi E Sistemi SRL v Australian Competition and Consumer Commission [2018] FCAFC 30
  • University of Sydney v ObjectiVision Pty Ltd [2018] FCA 393


The Harman obligation

In Deputy Commissioner of Taxation v Rennie Produce (Aust) Pty Ltd (in liq) [2018] FCAFC 38 (20 March 2018) the Full Court considered the interaction between the statutory power conferred on the Commissioner of Taxation (‘Commissioner’) under s 353-10 of Sch 1 to the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) (‘TAA 1953), which includes a coercive power to require the production of documents, and the general law obligation commonly referred to as ‘the Harman obligation’ (see Harman v Secretary of State for Home Department [1983] 1 AC 280).

The Harman obligation was described by the plurality of the High Court in Hearne v Street (2008) 235 CLR 125 at [96] as follows: ‘Where one party to litigation is compelled, either by reason of a rule of court, or by reason of a specific order of the court, or otherwise, to disclose documents or information, the party obtaining the disclosure cannot, without the leave of the court, use it for any purpose other than that for which it was given unless it is received into evidence’.

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