Champion Mortgage Services v Craigie [2006] NSWSC 869

In this case the security premises were a fish farm. The fish were sold to pet shops and aquariums. The question arose as to whether the security was a farm for the purposes of The farm debts mediation act. Johnson J was heavily influenced by the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation (NSW) v Zest Manufacturing Company (1949) 79 CLR 166. Where the majority of the High Court (Rich, Dixon, McTiernan, Williams and Webb JJ agreeing, Latham CJ dissenting) held that fish were not livestock within the meaning of that word used in the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act 1935-1947. After referring to the dictionary definition of the word “livestock” and the statutory context in which it appeared, Dixon J concluded in Zest Manufacturing at 173:

“This context is anything but aquatic or ichthyological. It suggests broad acres and rural pursuits.”

This decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal and Matthew Bransgrove wrote an article on the Court of Appeal’s decision, which appeared in the Australian Law Journal and the New South Wales Law Society Journal.

Click here to read the full judgment

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