Author Archives: Legal Eagle

Lumley v Wagner: The Nonperformance of the Cantatrice

I love cases. I simply love cases. I love the drama of them, and I love to go hunting for extra facts about the case. The case of Lumley v Wagner (1852) 1 De GM & G 604; 42 ER 687 involved Johanna Wagner, a famous German singer (and the niece of Richard Wagner). She […]

Letter from a former slave to his master

Today I came across an interesting post, via Letters of Note, which details a letter which a former slave, Jourdon Anderson, wrote to his former master, Colonel P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee. Colonel Anderson had written to Jourdon Anderson, requesting him to come back to work on his farm. According to sources of the […]

Student loses case against Geelong Grammar

In May this year, I wrote a post about the case of Rose Ashton-Weir, who, with her mother, Elizabeth Weir, was suing Geelong Grammar because she alleged it did not support her to a sufficient degree to allow her to get into Law at Sydney University. Judgment has been handed down (Weir v Geelong Grammar […]

Scientists found guilty for ‘causing’ earthquake deaths

I was very interested to read that some scientists had been found guilty of manslaughter in relation to advice given about an earthquake: Six Italian scientists and a government official have been found guilty of multiple manslaughter for underestimating the risks of a killer earthquake in L’Aquila in 2009. They were sentenced to six years […]

Exam nightmares

Every now and then, I’m sitting in an examination room at my old English school. There’s been some problem with my A-Level exams, and they’ve asked me to re-sit the History exam some 20 years later to prove it was really me who took the original exam. I am trying my best to write essays […]

Alan Jones, feminism and Australian politics

Radio personality Alan Jones has been in trouble again, this time because he made some insensitive comments about the recent death of the father of Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the Sydney University’s Liberal Club President’s Dinner. Jones suggested Gillard’s father ‘died of shame’ as a result of the lies his daughter had told the […]

Social media and crime

Here in Melbourne we’ve been absolutely devastated by the disappearance of Jill Meagher. Ms Meagher was a 29-year-old Irishwoman who worked at the ABC. Last Friday, she went missing after going to drinks with colleagues in Sydney Road, Brunswick. A colleague offered to walk her home; but she lived only 800m away and declined the […]

Pennies from heaven

Copyright law has really jumped the shark. The Canadian Royal Mint wants to sue a struggling artist for featuring Canadian pennies on the cover of his latest album called No More Pennies (pictured above). (I can’t resist adding – he may be struggling but he’s not penniless, as the album cover shows. Boom tish! Okay, […]

High Court says that bank fees may be penalties

In Andrews v Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd [2012] HCA 30, the Australian High Court decided that bank fees may potentially be penalties, notwithstanding the fact that the trigger for the imposition of most of the fees was not a breach of contract. I’ve already outlined the law against penalties in some detail […]