Court of Appeal

Fearnley v Finlay [2014] QCA 155 ; [2014]2 QdR 392 (14/2137) Holmes and Morrison JJA and Jackson J 27 June 2014

Full-text: QCA14-155.pdf

Catchwords

STATUTES – ACTS OF PARLIAMENT – INTERPRETATION – where the respondent alleged the appellant had a contract for agistment of his cattle on the respondent’s properties – where the agistment contract was not limited to storage of the cattle – where the respondent sought a declaration of a lien over the appellant’s cattle under the Storage Liens Act 1973 (Qld) – whether the agistment of cattle constituted goods deposited with a storer for storage

Summary Notes

General Civil Appeal – Statutes – Interpretation – where the respondent alleged the appellant had a contract for agistment of his cattle on the respondent’s properties – where the agistment contract was not limited to storage of the cattle – where the respondent sought a declaration of a lien over the appellant’s cattle under the Storage Liens Act 1973 (Qld) – whether the agistment of cattle constituted goods deposited with a storer for storage – where the question for decision in this appeal is whether a person who is engaged in the business of agisting cattle on their land has a storer’s lien on the cattle for their lawful charges for storage, preservation and other expenses in relation to the cattle, under s 3 of the Storage Liens Act 1973 (Qld) (“SL Act”) – where the method of the modern law of statutory interpretation requires that the “task of statutory construction must begin with a consideration of the text itself” and “[s]o must the task of statutory construction end”, whilst also not forgetting that the “the modern approach to statutory interpretation ... insists that the context be considered in the first instance, not merely at some later stage when ambiguity might be thought to arise” – where two central concepts on which s 3 operates, are contained in the words “goods” and “storer” within the phrase “goods deposited with the storer for storage” – where there is no real scope for any argument that the definition of goods cannot extend to cattle – where as defined, “storer” only extends to a person who is in the business of storing goods for reward as a bailee – where the historical conspectus serves to make four points: 1. a warehouseman had no lien at common law at the time when the 1973 Qld Act was enacted; 2. the 1973 Qld Act was enacted to alter the law in that respect, consistently with the statement in part of the long title that it was “an Act to amend the law relating to warehousing of goods”; 3. the amendments made by the Revision Act do not appear to amend the substance of the operation of the 1973 Qld Act; 4. the legislation in Queensland in this respect operated against the backdrop of a fairly consistent set of State and Territory comparator Acts – where the long title still provides that the SL Act is an Act “to amend the law relating to warehousing of goods” – where under the pleaded contract, the agistment of the appellant’s cattle in the present case does not constitute goods “deposited… for storage” within the meaning of s 3 of the SL Act, on a close consideration of the text of s 3 in the context of the SL Act. Appeal allowed. Orders of the primary judge set aside. Specified paragraphs within the statement of claim struck out with costs.