Weekly Snapshot Issue: 20 – 15 March 2019

Case we are discussing…. 

Mr Kanye West may not be the dufoos we believe him to be. His legal predictions are unnerving. In his lyrics for Gold digger he sings, Eighteen years, eighteen years. And on the 18th birthday he found out it wasn’t his?’

This statement basically summarises our case of the week, Magill v Magill [2006].

Mr. & Mrs. Magill were married on April 1988 and had 3 children. Mr Magill assumed responsibility for and was listed as the father of the 3 children on their respective birth certificates. On 1992 the parties separated and in 1998 their divorce was finalised. After the separation, the Father made Child support payments in respect of all three children. Such payments continued until late 1999. In April 2000, by DNA testing, it was established that the Father was not the father of either the second child or the third child.

In January 2001, the Father commenced proceedings against the Mother in the County Court of Victoria.  The cause of action sued upon was the tort of deceit.  The damages claimed were of two kinds.  First, the Father alleged that he had suffered personal injury, in the form of anxiety and depression, in consequence of the respondent’s fraudulent misrepresentations.  Secondly, he claimed financial loss, including loss of earning capacity by reason of his mental or psychological problems, and loss related to the time he had spent with, and money he had spent on, the children under the mistaken belief that he was their father.

The County Court awarded him $70,000.00 from his ex-wife. The County Court found Ms. Magill’s presentation of the birth registration forms to Mr. Magill constituted the deceitful representation by Mrs. Magill that he was the father. 

Both the Victorian Court of Appeal reversed that decision on grounds that Mr. Magill had failed to establish the essential elements of the offence of deceit. 

Mr. Magill then appealed to the High Court, which delivered its decision against him. 

Three judges held that no action for deceit could lie representations about paternity made between spouses. 

Three other judges held that there could be circumstances in which such an action might succeed but they were exceptional and did not cover Mr. Magill’s situation. 

Research we are considering…  

Often when we look at those more career successful from afar, it can seem like they have it all. Charles Duhigg, a Harvard Business School Graduate and Investigative Journalist, recently attended his 15-year reunion and was surprised to find that the former highly successful classmates were unhappy, while the classmates who had experiences set backs were happy, successful and content. Read Charles’s reasoning here.

Poem we are reading…

there are mountains growing

beneath our feet 

that cannot be contained 

all we’ve endured

has prepared us for this

bring your hammers and fists 

we have a glass ceiling to shatter 

lets leave this place roofless 

                                    Rupi Kaur 

Video we are watching …

In this 12-minute video, Thomas Frank presents us with 7 Things Organised People do. From keeping an electronic to do list to being deliberate with the things you keep- this video offers some insightful habits to becoming a more organised you!

Book we loved …

Trauma cleaner is the extraordinary, real life story of Sandra Pankhurst. Sarah Krasnostein’s immaculate writing skills adds to the un-put-down-ability of this book.  Pankhurst was at different times of her life a Husband, Father, drag queen, sex worker, wife and ultimately the founder of her trauma cleaning business, which aims to help people whose emotional scars are written on their houses. Pankhursts’ colourful past means she is empathic and non-judgemental and as such her business flourished as she dealt with the forgotten flat of a drug addict to the infested home of a hoarder. 

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