Friday, 15 May 2015

Social media: a breach of confidence?

Wilson v Ferguson [2015] WASC 15

The Supreme Court of Western Australia has found that individuals in a close relationship may owe one another equitable obligations of confidence, particularly in circumstances where intimate and private information is exchanged in a social media context.  A breach of that obligation may bring about liability for substantial damages awards. 

In Wilson v Ferguson [2015] WASC 15, the Western Australia Supreme Court awarded damages of $50,000 for humiliation, anxiety and stress suffered by the Plaintiff after a jilted ex-lover posted confidential (and explicit) photographs and videos on Facebook.  The Court also made orders restraining the Defendant from publishing further photos and videos.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Continuous disclosure and market based causation

The recent case of Grant-Taylor v Babcock & Brown Ltd [2015] FCA 149 ended years of litigation which followed the high-profile collapse of Babcock & Brown (BBL).  The judgment in the class action brought by 72 different plaintiffs offers some useful insight into whether Australia will follow the US in accepting market-based causation in the context of shareholder actions.


The proceeding was commenced by those plaintiffs who purchased shares in BBL during its final year of trading on the ASX.  At the beginning of February 2008 (when the first of the plaintiffs purchased their shares) the trading price was $16.76.   When the shares were last traded on 7 January 2009 the price had dropped to $0.33.  Following a trading halt, BBL was placed into administration and then subsequently liquidation.