Sydney City Council v. Reid

(1994) 34 NSWLR 506
(1994) 84 LGERA 381

(Judgment by: MEAGHER J) Court:
New South Wales Court of Appeal

Judges: Kirby P
Meagher J
Powell J

Judgment date: 21 September 1994

Judgment by:

In this matter I have had the benefit of reading in draft the judgment of the President. I agree both with his Honour's reasons and with the orders he proposes. The issue with which the appeal is concerned is whether an employee of a local council can be said to be "in the service of the Crown". Manifestly he cannot. Even the learned solicitor who argued the case for the respondent, Mr D M Bennett QC, did not advance so farouche a submission that a municipal council was the Crown, or an arm of the Crown, or an emanation of the Crown, or an agent of the Crown. The aldermen of a council are elected by popular suffrage, not appointed by the Crown. They neither ask for, nor, in general, receive, any assistance from the Crown in the discharge of their daily tasks. The extent to which the Crown can interfere with their activities is slight, and the extent to which it does is minimal. In what sense, then can it be said that an employee is "in the service of the Crown"? Because, as Mr Bennett said - and said more than once - local government councils exercise what a political scientist might call "governmental functions": for example, they might build roads, or conduct schools, or run hospitals. But, as is obvious enough, so can and do many private persons and bodies. This suggested discrimen is inadequate.