1997

CA

Propend Finance Pty Ltd v Sing 111 ILR 611 (1997)

In august 1993 the Attorney General of Australia sought assistance from the UK government to obtain a court order for search warrants in respect documents relating to an Australian investigation concerning the plaintiff company into alleged tax evasion in Australia, the warrants were issued in the UK. Documents were seized and handed to the Australian High Commission, and injunction was sought not to send the copies to Australia. Alan Sing was an officer of the Australian Federal Police and an accredited diplomat with the role of police liaison officer at the Australian High Commission in London. Contrary to the injunction had sent extracts to Australia, by the time of this case he was living in Australia working as an officer of the AFP. [Individual can attract immunity provided he is the ‘State’ or ‘separate entity’] Once it was established that the concept of acta jure imperi existed in English Law (Kuwait Airlines 1995) it was relevant to a determination of what bodies were part of the state and ‘government’ for the purpose of 14.1 SIA 1978

Government should not be confined to what in other context would in English Law mean the government of the UK. Once a broad scope of governmental or sovereign activity was accepted, the performance of police functions was essentially a part of governmental activity. The court had no doubt that the first defendant activities (of an individual) and, if vicarious liability were to be established, those of the second defendant (the Australian Federal Police) were covered by state immunity. The first defendant was part of the Government of Australia within the meaning of 14.1 SIA 1978