Sill v City of Wodonga [2017] VSC 671

This is a case about a disputed $22.50 dog licence fee.  To use the words of the applicant in his written case:

“This case started with a notice from my Local Government Office in Wodonga, the notice said I had to pay for a $22.50 annual dog licence by 10 April or I will be fined $389.  I sent a letter back on 10 April 2014 saying I will pay the registration fee if they can show me the Assented Legislation requiring the payment.  I received a letter back on 28 May quoting the 1994 Domestic Animal Act with no Assent, after a few letters back and forth I received an infringement notice.  This offer has always and is still open.”

From these modest beginnings, the issues in dispute between the parties multiplied.  In the course of his journey to this Court, the applicant has raised issues concerning the constitutionality of various State and Commonwealth Acts, the validity of the appointments of certain state governors (including the present governor), allegations of treason and assertions that various courts are either unlawful, unconstitutional, illegal or star chambers. Despite seeking to appeal to the Supreme Court, Mr Sill first challenged its authority, describing it as an unlawful administrative court or body, rather than a common law court in which he said he was entitled to have his case heard. In his County Court appeal, Mr Sill issued a subpoena to the Attorney-General seeking production of documents; including the copies of legislation bearing ‘a wet ink signature’ of the Governor, and ‘a wet ink signature’ with the Royal Seal of the Governor, and of Her Majesty, of various Acts of Parliament, including: the Constitution Act 1975; the Courts Administration Act 1975; the Local Government Act 1989; and the Domestic Animals Act 1994.

He sought a similar document in respect of the Royal Style and Titles Act 1973 (Cth) bearing the ‘wet ink signature’ of the Governor-General and of Her Majesty the Queen. He also sought production of documents relating to the appointment of three Governors of Victoria bearing ‘a wet ink signature’ and the Royal Seal of Her Majesty. Mr Sill then argued that Judges of this Court had not taken valid or appropriate oaths of office or allegiance. Mr Sill also challenged the validity of the appointment of recent Governors of Victoria, including the current. Mr Sill then argued that the Local Government Act 1989 was unlawful and pointed to the failure of a Commonwealth referendum in 1988 to give recognition to local government in the Commonwealth Constitution. Mr Sill said that he was entitled under United Nations conventions to be treated as a human and not to be treated as a corporate body.

Click to access sill-v-city-of-wodonga-2017-vsc-671.pdf


The appellant appealed this decision in Sill v City of Wodonga [2018] VSCA 195. In the course of argument, the judge attempted to unravel some of the applicant’s more opaque submissions. When confronted with legislation which suggested there was no merit in one of his arguments (for example, s 143(1)(a) of the Evidence Act 2008), the applicant’s response was that the legislation had not been validly assented to, was unlawful or was treasonous. Similarly, when confronted with authority that was at least arguably inconsistent with the maintenance of one of the applicant’s argument, the applicant sought to contend that the relevant decision was unlawful, or the court was unconstitutional or otherwise lacked validity.  So, for example, when the judge raised with the applicant the decision of Hayne J in Rutledge v The State of Victoria (2013) 251 CLR 457 as authority for the proposition that the Bill for the Constitution Act 1975 was assented to in accordance with law (and the Act was therefore valid), the applicant said:

With Rutledge, it was a single court judge, therefore it was a star chamber.  … A High Court judge, if he says it, doesn’t necessarily have to be correct because we have also got the evidence we have got under the Constitution may not have been put to him because if it was, he couldn’t make that presumption and obviously he rode over the top of that, made the decision, and as I said, in an unlawful court, it doesn’t matter if it’s the High Court or a Magistrates’ Court, if it’s a single court judge, under the Magna Carta, the 1688 Bill of Rights, all says that a single court judge or a star chamber is unlawful.

Click to access sill-v-city-of-wodonga-2018-vsca-195.pdf