the Irish for rights

Blog posts on Restitution – featuring Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo!

Steve Hedley has added a very useful page on blog posts relating to restitution to his wonderful site of legal resources on Restitution and Unjust Enrichment. From it, I learn of an entertaining post Hand over the money, Skippy by Legal Eagle on skepticlawyer.

On television, before Barney, long before Barney, there was Skippy, Skippy, Skippy, the bush kangaroo we all love to hate, or at least to parody. Now, Legal Eagle directs us to a fabulous story in which Actor Tony Bonner wants residuals from Skippy:

AFTER 40 years it seems there’s one last adventure left for Skippy, Australia’s iconic television kangaroo – Skippy Goes To Court.

Actor Tony Bonner [link added], the star of the show that debuted in the late 1960s and sold to more than 128 countries, has lodged a claim in the Supreme Court that could be worth “millions”.

With the show still running overseas in places such as Hong Kong, he is seeking declarations that he’s entitled to a share of four decades worth of profits from the show, merchandising and associated film and music spin-offs. …

Sydney lawyer Rick Mitry, representing Bonner, said yesterday: “I believe he’s entitled to be compensated for his role in the show.

As Legal Eagle says, it’s hard to imagine what his cause of action would be, especially without access to the original contracts between the parties:

It’s not really a question of “compensation� in the true sense because he has not suffered a “loss�, other than perhaps the loss of opportunity to bargain for a share of the profits. It seems more to be a case for a reasonable fee representing his contributions towards the profits of the television series.

It might be that he is arguing that there was an implied term in the contract relating to residuals, and that the failure to pay them is a breach of that contract (though he would then be limited to claiming only six years worth of residuals under s14 of the NSW Limitation Act, 1969). Or it might be that he is arguing that the initial failure to discuss and the later failure to pay the residuals amounted to fraud, which could extend the period to 30 years, but fraud is notoriously difficult to plead and prove. And, in either case, residuals were hardly the major feature of the television industry in the 1960s that they are today.

Since the law of contract is probably not very helpful to Bonner’s claim, it might after all be a case where doctrines like “unjust enrichment” or “equitable compensation” or “unconscionability” have been very loosely pleaded, in the hope that one of them will firm up over the course of the case. In any case, [insert Skippy joke to taste], I shall watch this one with interest, via skepticlawyer.

3 Responses to “Blog posts on Restitution – featuring Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo!”

  1. Legal Eagle says:

    Oh, that’s awesome. I’ll have to bookmark it in my favourites.

    I do hope it’s not one of those cases where they plead unjust enrichment or unconscionability really loosely. Nothing guaranteed to irritate a judge more – I sometimes suspect that’s where prejudice against unjust enrichment and unconscionability stems from.

  2. Eoin says:

    Well, I don’t think that the prejudice against unjust enrichment stems from this, but it hardly helps. Should we blame counsel for trying everything on behalf of a client, or berate them for sloppy drafting? I’m in the latter camp, myself.

  3. […] Australia Day, if you can’t forget Skippy, then you can’t forget Lassie either. From Strange Brew via the Language […]

Leave a Reply



Me in a hatHi there! Thanks for dropping by. I'm Eoin O'Dell, and this is my blog: Cearta.ie - the Irish for rights.

"Cearta" really is the Irish word for rights, so the title provides a good sense of the scope of this blog.

In general, I write here about private law, free speech, and cyber law; and, in particular, I write about Irish law and education policy.

Academic links


  • RSS Feed
  • RSS Feed
  • Subscribe via Email
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

Archives by month

Categories by topic

My recent tweets

Blogroll (or, really, a non-blogroll)

What I'd like for here is a simple widget that takes the list of feeds from my existing RSS reader and displays it here as a blogroll. Nothing fancy. I'd love a recommendation, if you have one.

I had built a blogroll here on my Google Reader RSS subscriptions. Google Reader produced a line of html for each RSS subscription category, each of which I pasted here. So I had a list of my subscriptions as my blogroll, organised by category, which updated whenever I edited Google Reader. Easy peasy. However, with the sad and unnecessary demise of that product, so also went this blogroll. Please take a moment to mourn Google Reader. If there's an RSS reader which provides a line of html for the list of subscriptions, or for each RSS subscription category as Google Reader did, I'd happily use that. So, as I've already begged, I'd love a recommendation, if you have one.

Meanwhile, please bear with me until I find a new RSS+Blogroll solution




Creative Commons License

This blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. I am happy for you to reuse and adapt my content, provided that you attribute it to me, and do not use it commercially. Thanks. Eoin

Credit where it’s due

The image in the banner above is a detail from a photograph of the front of Trinity College Dublin night taken by Melanie May.

Others whose technical advice and help have proven invaluable in keeping this show on the road include Dermot Frost, Karlin Lillington, Daithí Mac Síthigh, and Antoin Ó Lachtnáin.

Thanks to Blacknight for hosting.