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Barker v Commonwealth Bank of Australia

The Federal Court of Australia has delivered a landmark decision in the case of Barker v Commonwealth Bank of Australia
[2012] FCA 942 awarding damages in favour of the Applicant Stephen Barker. A Commonwealth Bank employee since 1981, Mr Barker’s employment as an Executive Manager was terminated in 2009. In his judgment, Justice Besanko held that the Respondent,
Commonwealth Bank failed to give the Mr Barker four weeks’ notice in breach of contract.
In a landmark decision Justice Besanko further held that the Bank breached an implied term of mutual trust and confidence by acting in serious breach of its redeployment policy in connection with the termination and that Mr Barker was entitled to damages for loss of chance to be redeployed due to the breach. The impact of Justice Besanko’s decision has been to clarify the Australian position as to implied terms of mutual trust and confidence in contracts of employment reflecting the position in England. Mr Barker was awarded judgment in the sum of $317,500 plus costs and interest. Mr Barker was represented in the action by Benjamin McKay of Pace Lawyers along with Counsel Paul Heywood – Smith QC with Stephen Mitchell, both of Anthony Mason Chambers. Commonwealth Bank intends to appeal the decision and Mr Barker may cross appeal, his original claim having been in excess of $1,000,000.
For further information please contact
Serina Pace, Pace Lawyers
08 8410 9294 or send us an email here.