Full Court Minute Books

Case C3/2024

Commonwealth of Australia v. Mr Stradford (a pseudonym) & Ors
His Honour Judge Salvatore Paul Vasta v. Mr Stradford (a pseudonym) & Ors
State of Queensland v. Mr Stradford (a pseudonym) & Ors

Case Nos.

Case nos C3/2024; C4/2023; S24/2024

Case Information

Catchwords C3 and C4/2023

Constitutional law – Chapter III Court – Judicial Immunity – Contempt order – Where Judge of Federal Circuit Court ("Judge"), incorrectly found Mr Stradford ("Mr S") in contempt and sentenced him to 12 months’ imprisonment – Where Mr S detained for six days – Where Full Court allowed Mr S' appeal and set aside contempt declaration and imprisonment order – Where Mr S commenced proceeding in Federal Court alleging false imprisonment by Judge – Where Federal Court held Judge liable for false imprisonment – Where Federal Court found Commonwealth and State of Queensland ("Queensland") vicariously liable – Where Mr S, Commonwealth and Queensland each appealed to Full Court of the Federal Court – Whether Judge liable to Mr S for tort of false imprisonment – Whether Federal Circuit Court of Australia had power to punish for contempt despite its designation as inferior court – Whether order for contempt by inferior court affected by jurisdictional error void ab initio – Whether Judge had same immunity as superior court judge with respect to making of contempt orders – Whether Federal Court erred in concluding Commonwealth and Queensland not afforded protection at common law from civil liability in circumstances where their respective officers executed imprisonment order and warrant issued by Circuit Court which appeared valid on their face – Whether Federal Court erred in concluding Circuit Court’s constitutionally derived power to punish contempts and its power under s 17 of Federal Circuit Court of Australia Act 1999 (Cth)ousted or limited by Pts XIIIA and XIIIB of Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) – Whether Federal Court erred in finding errors Judge made "outside" or "in excess of" jurisdiction and he had pre-judged outcome of hearing in relation to contempt orders.

Catchwords S24/2024

Torts – False imprisonment – Contempt order – Where second respondent incorrectly found first respondent in contempt and sentenced him to 12 months’ imprisonment – Where first respondent detained for six days – Where officers of appellant took and held first respondent in custody – Where Full Court allowed first respondent's appeal and set aside contempt declaration and imprisonment order – Where first respondent commenced proceeding in Federal Court alleging false imprisonment by second respondent – Where Federal Court held second respondent liable for false imprisonment – Where Federal Court found third respondent and appellant vicariously liable – Where third respondent, second respondent and appellant each appealed to Full Court of the Federal Court – Whether appellant liable to first respondent for tort of false imprisonment – Whether Federal Court erred in concluding third respondent and appellant not afforded protection at common law from civil liability in circumstances where their respective officers executed imprisonment order and warrant issued by Circuit Court which appeared valid on their face – Whether Federal Court erred in concluding s 249 of Criminal Code (Qld) did not apply to warrant issued by Federal Circuit Court, and Court ought to have held ss 247, 249 and 250, which together relevantly provide for limited immunity for persons executing sentences passed and warrants issued without authority, applied to Queensland’s officers executing warrant and imprisonment order.

Documents*

08/02/2024 Determination (Commonwealth of Australia v. Mr Stradford (a pseudonym) & Ors)

08/02/2024 Determination (His Honour Judge Salvatore Paul Vasta v. Mr Stradford (a pseudonym) & Ors)

08/02/2024 Determination (State of Queensland v. Mr Stradford (a pseudonym)  & Ors)

15/02/2024 Causes Removed from the Federal Court

28/03/2024 Written submissions (HH Judge Vasta)

28/03/2024 Chronology (HH Judge Vasta)

28/03/2024 Written submissions (State of Queensland)

28/03/2024 Chronology (State of Queensland)

28/03/2024 Written submissions (Commonwealth)

28/03/2024 Chronology (Commonwealth)

10/05/2024 Written submissions (Mr Stradford)

24/05/2024 Reply

*The due dates shown for documents on this page are indicative only.