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GLK Machinery Pty Ltd v S.I.D.C. Pty Ltd[2017] QCATA 125

GLK Machinery Pty Ltd v S.I.D.C. Pty Ltd[2017] QCATA 125

CITATION:

GLK Machinery Pty Ltd v S.I.D.C. Pty Ltd [2017] QCATA 125

PARTIES:

GLK Machinery Pty Ltd

(Appellant)

v

S.I.D.C. Pty Ltd

(Respondent)

APPLICATION NUMBER:

APL062-17

MATTER TYPE:

Appeals

HEARING DATE:

2 November 2017

HEARD AT:

Brisbane

DECISION OF:

Member Hughes

DELIVERED ON:

7 November 2017

DELIVERED AT:

Brisbane

ORDERS MADE:

  1. Leave to appeal refused.

CATCHWORDS:

APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – APPEAL – GENERAL PRINCIPLES – INTERFERENCE WITH DISCRETION OF TRIBUNAL BELOW – PARTICULAR CASES – CONTROL OVER PROCEEDINGS – ADMISSION OF EVIDENCE – where appellant did not explain why material not submitted earlier – where material would not have important impact on result

APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – APPEAL – GENERAL PRINCIPLES – INTERFERENCE WITH MEMBER’S FINDINGS OF FACT – where evidence capable of supporting findings – where Tribunal applied correct legal principles – where Tribunal gave sufficient reasons

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld), s 13, s 143

Bradlyn Nominees Pty Ltd v Saikovski [2012] QCATA 39

Cachia v Grech [2009] NSWCA 232

Cavalliotis v Rizio & Anor [2013] QCATA 201

Chambers v Jobling (1986) 7 NSWLR 1

Clarke v Japan Machines (Australia) Pty Ltd [1984] 1 Qd R 404

Dearman v Dearman (1908) 7 CLR 549

Glenwood Properties Pty Ltd v Delmoss Pty Ltd [1986] 2 Qd R 388

Jimenez v Sternlight Investments t/a LJ Hooker Alexandra Hills [2010] QCATA 29

McIver Bulk Liquid Haulage Pty Ltd v Fruehauf Australia Pty Ltd [1989] 2 Qd R 577

Piric & Anor v Claudia Tillier Holdings Pty Ltd [2012] QCATA 152

QUYPD Pty Ltd v Marvass Pty Ltd [2009] 1 Qd R 41

Selvanayagam v University of the West Indies [1983] 1 All ER 824

SIDC Pty Ltd v GLK Machinery Pty Ltd [2017] QCAT 45

Slater v Wilkes [2012] QCATA 12

Soulemezis v Dudley (Holdings) Pty Ltd (1987) 10 NSWLR 247

The Pot Man Pty Ltd v Reaoch [2011] QCATA 318

APPEARANCES:

Mr RJ Bakker of RB Lawyers appeared for GLK Machinery Pty Ltd

Mr Paul Cooper, Director appeared for S.I.D.C. Pty Ltd

REASONS FOR DECISION

What is this appeal about?

  1. [1]
    On 16 February 2017, the Tribunal ordered GLK Machinery Pty Ltd pay to S.I.D.C. Pty Ltd the sum of $10,008.70 for services. 
  2. [2]
    GLK wants to appeal that decision.
  3. [3]
    Because this is an appeal from a minor civil dispute, leave is required.[1]
  4. [4]
    In determining whether to grant leave, the Tribunal will consider established principles including:
  1. whether there is a reasonably arguable case of error in the primary decision;[2]
  2. whether there is a reasonable prospect that the appellant will obtain substantive relief;[3]
  3. whether leave is needed to correct a substantial injustice caused by some error;[4] and
  4. whether there is a question of general importance upon which further argument, and a decision of the Appeal Tribunal, would be to the public advantage.[5]
  1. [5]
    I will address the grounds of appeal below.

Should the Appeal Tribunal admit fresh evidence?

  1. [6]
    Before the hearing of the appeal, GLK applied to file fresh evidence: a letter that it claims shows that SIDC did not have a right to recover for services that it did not have the right to sell.[6] The Appeal Tribunal refused its application.[7]
  2. [7]
    This is because the Appeal Tribunal will only accept fresh evidence if it was not reasonably available at the time the proceeding was heard and determined. Ordinarily, an applicant for leave to adduce fresh evidence must satisfy three tests. Could the parties have obtained the evidence with reasonable diligence for use at the trial? If allowed, would the evidence probably have an important impact on the result of the case? Is the evidence credible?[8]
  3. [8]
    GLK claimed that it was unaware of the evidence of a dispute between SIDC and Hayes International Pty Ltd about ownership of the intellectual property within drawings supplied by SIDC. However, the transcript reveals that GLK was very much alive to the issue of intellectual ownership by the time of the original hearing:

MR SOKAC: --- … what appears to have happened now Paul has just copied the Hayes ---

MEMBER: Yes.

MR SOKAC: --- and he’s cut and pasted his work – his logos and everything over that. And it’s also creating another issue because I have been contacted by Hayes Bradburys, who advise that Paul has no right to provide any of that information and I have an email here from them.

MEMBER: All right. So there’s potential ---

MR SOKAC: Yes.

MEMBER: --- copyright type issues.

MR SOKAC: Yes, potential copyright and, in actual fact, they’ve already appointed legal counsel.[9]     

  1. [9]
    An application for leave to appeal is not, and should not be an attempt to reargue a party’s case at the initial hearing.[10] GLK has not explained why it did not procure the letter disputing ownership of the intellectual property earlier.
  2. [10]
    Moreover, the letter would not have an important impact on the result of the case as ownership of the drawings was raised at the original hearing, but was not a basis for the Tribunal’s findings. SIDC admitted that it did not own the intellectual property in the drawings.[11] SIDC’s claim was not based on the right to sell drawings, but rendering them into a computer design format.[12] The Tribunal accepted SIDC’s evidence that its retainer was confined to preparing drawings based on the existing GLK ‘C purlin’ design. That finding was open on the evidence.
  3. [11]
    The letter does not establish that SIDC required Hayes’ permission to render the services it provided to GLK. The letter does not prove that SIDC’s services provided to GLK improperly used a design forming part of Hayes’ intellectual property.
  4. [12]
    Rather, the letter is only evidence of a dispute about ownership of drawings – an unresolved dispute about intellectual property between SIDC and Hayes did not abrogate GLK’s obligation to pay SIDC for its services. Even if accepted into evidence, the letter does not establish that SIDC did not have the right to charge GLK for its services.
  5. [13]
    Once the Tribunal found that SIDC provided the service within its limited scope of works, GLK’s obligation to pay crystallised. The letter is not admitted into evidence and the application for leave to appeal must proceed on the basis of the evidence before the Tribunal. 

Was the evidence capable of supporting the Tribunal’s findings?

  1. [14]
    GLK also submitted that the Tribunal did not properly consider its evidence about the defect in the drawings. I have read the transcript of the hearing and the Tribunal’s reasons for its decision. GLK gave evidence about dimensional errors and other problems with the ‘Z purlin’ machine design.[13] The Tribunal expressly referred to problems with the ‘Z purlin’ machine design.[14] The Tribunal then went on to expressly find that those problems were not SIDC’s responsibility:

At the end of things, it seems clear that the Z purlin machine was to be based on the existing GLK C purlin machine design, and that this has been the root cause for most of the problems and delays in successfully commissioning the new Z purlin machine. Yet, I fail to see why responsibility for that should rest with SIDC, who has done no more than prepare drawings in response to GLK’s specific instruction that the machine be based on the C purlin machine design. I accept Mr Cooper when he says that the SIDC retainer was confined to the preparation of drawings to reflect GLK’s instructions.[15]

  1. [15]
    The Tribunal therefore made explicit findings about the terms of the retainer and scope of works. These are findings of fact. The Appeal Tribunal will not usually disturb findings of fact on appeal if the evidence is capable of supporting the conclusions.[16] An appellate tribunal may only interfere if the conclusion is ‘contrary to compelling inferences’ in the case.[17]
  2. [16]
    It is implicit that the Tribunal preferred SIDC’s evidence about the terms of the retainer and the scope of works. Having heard the evidence of both parties, allowed cross-examination and questioned them throughout the hearing, the Tribunal was in the best position to assess credibility. The Tribunal did refer to the evidence to support its ultimate findings[18] and which it was entitled to weigh accordingly.[19] It is not an error to prefer one version of facts to another.[20]
  3. [17]
    Nothing in the material or the transcript persuades the Appeal Tribunal that the findings were not open to the Tribunal. The Tribunal made findings about the terms of the agreement, the scope of works and whether the service provided was within the scope of works. Those findings were open on the evidence.
  4. [18]
    Having made those findings, the Tribunal found that payment was due and owing.  The Tribunal’s decision was unremarkable and I can find no reason to come to a different view.
  5. [19]
    Having read the transcript and considered the evidence, I find nothing to indicate that the Tribunal acted on a wrong principle, or made mistakes of fact affecting its decision, or was influenced by irrelevant matters. The evidence was capable of supporting the Tribunal’s conclusions.
  6. [20]
    This ground of appeal is dismissed.

Was the order ‘fair and equitable’?

  1. [21]
    GLK submitted that the Appeal Tribunal did not identify the legal principle to be decided as the basis for the decision. It submitted that an order cannot be ‘fair and equitable’ to the parties[21] without identifying the legal principle upon which it is based.
  2. [22]
    ‘Fair and equitable’ in the context of minor civil disputes means that the decision must not be beyond jurisdiction, contrary to natural justice, or arbitrary or capricious:

In the interest of expedition and economy, this provision releases the Tribunal from mandatory adherence to the rules of common law and equity, and confers a ‘broad jurisdiction to make orders that it considers fair and equitable’…[22]

  1. [23]
    A decision must not be so plainly arbitrary or capricious as to bear no reasonable relationship to the facts of the case.[23] This was a minor debt claim. To make a finding that GLK was required to pay SIDC for services rendered, the Tribunal need only have been satisfied on the facts of the case that SIDC agreed to provide services, SIDC did provide the services, the terms of payment and that GLK did not pay as required by those terms.
  2. [24]
    By specifically referring to GLK requesting SIDC to prepare plans,[24] SIDC preparing plans,[25] the scope of the services,[26] the payment terms[27] and GLK’s failure to pay as required,[28] as prerequisites to finding that GLK was required to pay SIDC, the learned Member applied the correct legal principles.  
  3. [25]
    The Appeal Tribunal is not satisfied that the Tribunal made an appellable error resulting in substantial injustice by not specifying the legal principle it was required to decide.[29]
  4. [26]
    This ground of appeal is dismissed.

Did the Tribunal provide adequate reasons for its decision?

  1. [27]
    GLK submitted that the Tribunal’s reasons did not adequately explain why it found for SIDC.
  2. [28]
    A failure to give full reasons does not necessarily amount to an error of law – the nature and extent of the obligation varies according to the nature of the case.[30] The question is not whether some reasons must be given relevant to the findings of fact that are made, but what reasons are required.[31]
  3. [29]
    The Tribunal did not expressly articulate why it accepted SIDC’s evidence and did not accept GLK’s evidence in making its findings. However, the Tribunal did summarise their evidence in its reasons and it was implicit from its reasons that it was satisfied that the surrounding circumstances were more consistent with GLK’s version of events.[32]
  4. [30]
    It was not necessary for the Tribunal to detail each factor that it found to be relevant or irrelevant in making its ultimate findings,[33] particularly in the minor civil disputes jurisdiction where the Tribunal’s mandate to deal with matters fairly, quickly and economically[34] is most acute. No judicial reasons can ever state all of the pertinent factors, nor can they express every feature of the evidence that causes a decision-make to prefer one factual conclusion over another.[35]
  5. [31]
    It is not an error for the Tribunal to not explain away each and every of evidence not considered relevant or of sufficient weight.[36] It is sufficient that the Tribunal’s reasons set out the evidence it considered relevant and the basis for its findings.[37]
  6. [32]
    This ground of appeal is dismissed.

Should the Appeal Tribunal grant leave to appeal?

  1. [33]
    Leave will not be granted where a party simply desires to re-argue the case on existing or additional evidence.[38] A clear purpose of the requirement for leave, before a party has the right to appeal, is to prevent any attempt to simply conduct a retrial on the merits of the case.[39]
  2. [34]
    There is no question of general importance for the Appeal Tribunal to determine. There is no reasonably arguable case that the Tribunal was in error. There is no reasonable prospect of substantive relief on appeal. There is no evidence that a substantial injustice will result if leave is not granted. Leave to appeal should be refused.

What is the appropriate Order?

  1. [35]
    The appropriate Order is:
    1. Leave to appeal refused.

Footnotes

[1] Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld), s 143(3).

[2]QUYPD Pty Ltd v Marvass Pty Ltd [2009] 1 Qd R 41.

[3]Cachia v Grech [2009] NSWCA 232, [2].

[4] QUYPD Pty Ltd v Marvass Pty Ltd [2009] 1 Qd R 41.

[5] Glenwood Properties Pty Ltd v Delmoss Pty Ltd [1986] 2 Qd R 388, 389; McIver Bulk Liquid Haulage Pty Ltd v Fruehauf Australia Pty Ltd [1989] 2 Qd R 577, 577, 580.

[6]Letter Hallett Legal to SIDC Pty Ltd dated 19 July 2016.

[7] Appeal Tribunal Decision dated 25 October 2017.

[8] Clarke v Japan Machines (Australia) Pty Ltd [1984] 1 Qd R 404, 408.

[9] Transcript dated 7 July 2016, Page 1-10, Lines 11 to 29; See also Page 1-34, Lines 21 to 23.

[10] Bradlyn Nominees Pty Ltd v Saikovski [2012] QCATA 39.

[11]Transcript, page 1-7, Lines 19 to 47.

[12]Transcript, page 1-8, Lines 18 to 23, 45 to 47.

[13] Transcript, page 1-30, Lines 12 to 45.

[14]SIDC Pty Ltd v GLK Machinery Pty Ltd [2017] QCAT 45, [11].

[15] SIDC Pty Ltd v GLK Machinery Pty Ltd [2017] QCAT 45, [17].

[16]Dearman v Dearman (1908) 7 CLR 549, 561; Fox v Percy (2003) 214 CLR 118, 125-126.

[17] Chambers v Jobling (1986) 7 NSWLR 1, 10.

[18] SIDC Pty Ltd v GLK Machinery Pty Ltd [2017] QCAT 45, [16], [17].

[19] Selvanayagam v University of the West Indies [1983] 1 All ER 824, 826.

[20]Slater v Wilkes [2012] QCATA 12, [6].

[21] QCAT Act, s 13(1).

[22] Cavalliotis v Rizio & Anor [2013] QCATA 201, [15], citing The Pot Man Pty Ltd v Reaoch [2011] QCATA 318, [8] (Wilson J).

[23] Cavalliotis v Rizio & Anor [2013] QCATA 201, [18].

[24] SIDC Pty Ltd v GLK Machinery Pty Ltd [2017] QCAT 45, [7], [17].

[25]SIDC Pty Ltd v GLK Machinery Pty Ltd [2017] QCAT 45, [10], [17].

[26] SIDC Pty Ltd v GLK Machinery Pty Ltd [2017] QCAT 45, [8], [17].

[27] SIDC Pty Ltd v GLK Machinery Pty Ltd [2017] QCAT 45, [9], [17].

[28] SIDC Pty Ltd v GLK Machinery Pty Ltd [2017] QCAT 45, [10], [12], [14], [17].

[29] Slater v Wilkes [2012] QCATA 12, [6], citing QUYD Pty Ltd v Marvass Pty Ltd [2009] 1 Qd R 41; Drew v Bundaberg Regional Council [2011] QCA 359, [19].

[30] Jimenez v Sternlight Investments t/a LJ Hooker Alexandra Hills [2010] QCATA 29, [26].

[31] Soulemezis v Dudley (Holdings) Pty Ltd (1987) 10 NSWLR 247, 268.

[32] SIDC Pty Ltd v GLK Machinery Pty Ltd [2017] QCAT 45 at [15], [16].

[33] Soulemezis v Dudley (Holdings) Pty Ltd (1987) 10 NSWLR 247, 270.

[34]QCAT Act, s 3, s 4.

[35]Slater v Wilkes [2012] QCATA 12, [6], citing QUYD Pty Ltd v Marvass Pty Ltd [2009] 1 Qd R 41; Drew v Bundaberg Regional Council [2011] QCA 359, [19].

[36] Soulemezis v Dudley (Holdings) Pty Ltd (1987) 10 NSWLR 247, 271.

[37]Transcript, pages 1-18 to 1-23.

[38] Piric & Anor v Claudia Tillier Holdings Pty Ltd [2012] QCATA 152, [12] (Wilson J).

[39]Ibid.

Close

Editorial Notes

  • Published Case Name:

    GLK Machinery Pty Ltd v S.I.D.C. Pty Ltd

  • Shortened Case Name:

    GLK Machinery Pty Ltd v S.I.D.C. Pty Ltd

  • MNC:

    [2017] QCATA 125

  • Court:

    QCATA

  • Judge(s):

    Member Hughes

  • Date:

    07 Nov 2017

Appeal Status

Please note, appeal data is presently unavailable for this judgment. This judgment may have been the subject of an appeal.

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