7 Consent declarations without a hearing on the merits are a rarity. Courts will frequently not entertain them. I am only prepared to do so in this case because I have formed the view that it is clearly appropriate and justified. That is because I have already gained some familiarity with the issues through the process of case management in the Expedition List; I am confident in the good sense and sound judgment of both counsel who requested that I make the declaration; and I am satisfied that there are no possible competing property rights to the die other than those of the parties before me.
8 It is perhaps stating the obvious to say that the making of a declaration is a judicial act determining and pronouncing a legal right: Williams v Powell  1 WN 141. It follows that a declaration that is not based on the court’s review of the evidence but on the admissions of the parties may not always be satisfactory or prudent. As an order of the court, a declaration binds the parties to the proceedings before it. But the impact of a declaration may not be confined to the parties. Where the declaration “will have effects on the community … that extend far beyond the interests of the original plaintiff and defendant” ( Myer Queenstown Garden Plaza Pty Ltd v Port Adelaide City Corporation (1975) 33 LGRA 70 at 82), a declaration made based merely on the consent of the parties to the proceedings is inappropriate.
9 If the declaration sought is confined to the private rights between the parties such as (to use the example proffered by Keely and Beaumont JJ in BMI v Federated Clerks Union of Australia (1983) 51 ALR 401 at 413 – 414) the respective rights of the parties under a contract – it may be appropriate to make a declaration by consent. However, where there is a risk that a declaration will have a wider effect than the respective rights of those parties, it must be based on evidence considered by the court.
10 Declarations as to proprietary rights present additional problems. This case involves a contest over a proprietary right as between Mr Ajkay and Hickey. Although prima facie a proprietary right, unlike a contractual right, is enforceable against the world, a declaration as to a proprietary right will not be effective against a stranger to the proceedings. It can only operate between the parties to the declaration: Blair v Curran (1939) 62 CLR 464 at 531-532 (Dixon J).
11As a matter of legal theory therefore, the declaration sought in this case will not prevent a third party from claiming ownership of the 412 Die and from bringing proceedings seeking a declaration to support their claim to ownership. However, there is no realistic prospect of this occurring and I do not foresee any possible future contest relating to the question of ownership. I am therefore content to make the declaration which both parties seek.