Browne v Dunn and pleadings, witness statements, etc

Browne v Dunn does not necessarily require puttage of a proposition if that proposition is already clear to the opponent through pleadings, witness statements, etc.  The rule in Browne v Dunn is frequently misunderstood as requiring puttage even if the proposition is clear to the opposing party in such a way.

See eg Automotive, Food, Metals, Engineering, Printing and Kindred Industries Union v Visy Packaging Pty Ltd (No 3) [2013] FCA 525, discussed at  See also Odgers, [1.2.4440].

Importantly, Browne v Dunn is not a steadfast rule the violation of which necessarily leads to sanctions.  Rather, its violation goes to the weight of the competing propositions.


Browne v Dunn and puttage

Practical guidance on what conduct is consistent with the ‘rule in Browne v Dunn’ appears in Reid v Kerr (1974) 9 SASR 367.

Amongst other things, a ‘half hinted imputation’ is insufficient and the cross-examiner must put the proposition ‘fairly and squarely … so as to allow the witness to respond’.

See also