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Wednesday, 23 March 1966

Mr BOWEN (Parramatta) .-I just wanted to say a word about clause 39. As it was in the Bill originally introduced it did considerably cut down the right of appeal which formerly existed from the Bankruptcy Court to the High Court so that now one could appeal as of right only from sequestration orders. If one wished to appeal on any other matter one would have to obtain leave from the High Court. In the normal run of cases, of course, if one were appealing say from a State court one would have to show that there was an amount of £1,500 involved and then an appeal would lie to the High Court as a matter of right, and it would be where one had an amount involved of perhaps less than this that one would have to get special leave by showing some special character about the case - that is, that it was a test case or a case involving a principle of public importance. For some reason - and 1 know that the committee which reported on bankruptcy expressed the view that is now embodied in the legislation - the right of appeal from the Judge in Bankruptcy, who sits as a single judge, is restricted, and one has to get special leave, whatever the amount involved, in all cases except, as formerly in the Bill as originally introduced, those involving sequestration orders. Now, under the amendment introduced this evening by the Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden), there is a right of appeal on a question of law from a conviction for an offence.

The amendment now introduced does improve the Bill, if I may say so with respect, along the direction I advocated at the time of the second reading. 1 thought I should record my view that it still does not go far enough. In other words, if one is looking at a case for an appeal from a single judge one is requiring, in matters of great complexity such as those involving the doctrine of relation back or those involving avoidance of preferences, the person to get special leave from the High Court before he can get the question of law determined. I feel that this is a proper case where the limit of amount should apply only as it does in the general run of legal appeals.

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