Litig8: Wrongful Dealing with Property: What is the relief?

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By Ljubica Petrovic, Lawyer

Each month as a part of Mills Oakley’s Litig8, we bring to you snapshots of eight key cases, legislative changes or other legal events. The summaries are not comprehensive and do not constitute legal advice. You should seek professional advice before taking any action based on the content of this email.

Part 8 of the May edition of Litig8

An owner whose property has been wrongfully dealt with may recover from the wrongdoer. In Australia, there is some controversy as to what the form of account for profits is available.

In Australia, there is some controversy as to whether restitution in the form of an account of profits is available to an owner whose property has been wrongfully dealt with.

The High Court in Hospitality Group Pty Ltd v Australian Rugby Union Ltd outlined that an account of profits as a remedy is not available in tort on the basis that a wronged owner cannot claim a windfall to prevent a wrongdoer profiting from his or her wrong.

However, such relief is available: where there has been a infringement of the plaintiff’s patent or in such circumstances, the High Court held that the defendants must be stripped of profits which they dishonestly made and which it would be unconscionable for them to return.

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