May 212015

Slap with feather … (updated 4 December 2015)

Case 3

Australian Financial Security Authority – Media release: (NSW) Hull – Bankrupt pleads guilty to three offences under the Bankruptcy Act

Wed 02 December 2015

A man was sentenced for disposing of property within 12 months prior to becoming a bankrupt with intent to defraud his creditors and having made a false declaration on his Statement of Affairs. Mr Denis John Hull was sentenced in the Downing Centre Local Court on 24 November 2015 following a guilty plea being entered to having disposed of property within 12 months prior to becoming a bankrupt with intent to defraud his creditors and to having made a false declaration on his Statement of Affairs.

On 31 March 2012 Mr Hull received a total of $21,175.44 from the sale of two parcels of shares authorised for sale on 26 March 2012. On 10 April 2012 he became bankrupt via Debtor’s Petition, by which time he had disposed of monies totalling $16,000 received from the sale of shares. In his Statement of Affairs completed on 5 April 2014, Mr Hull failed to disclose the sale of the two parcels of shares, and failed to disclose the existence of the bank account into which the share proceeds were subsequently deposited.

During the proceedings Magistrate Milledge remarked that the offending was “quite deceitful and very worrying”. She later stated that the offending was “despicable, mean and criminal”, but acknowledged that it was clear that Mr Hull accepted that as demonstrated in his letter to the court. In passing sentence, Magistrate Milledge gave consideration to Mr Hull’s age at the date of the offending; the fact that he had previously managed to lead a trouble free life; and that his recent efforts to repay the monies showed remorse; and remarked that it was her view that whilst there was serious criminality she saw it as something that was done at a critical place in life and understood that this was why Mr Hull had done what he had done, noting that this did not excuse the offending.

Mr Hull was sentenced and was ordered to enter into a 2 year good behaviour bond in the amount of $200 with nil conviction to be recorded pursuant to Section 19B(1)(d) Crimes Act 1914. Magistrate Milledge noted that no restitution order would be made as this was being taken care of.

The matter was prosecuted by the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.;

Amazing … (updated 11 August 2015)

Case 2

Australian Financial Security Authority – Media release: (TAS) Smith – Discharged bankrupt faces court and imprisonment for failing to disclose financial details and withdrawing cash of $72,600

Thu 06 August 2015

A dairy farmer formerly of King Island, Dominic Luke Smith was prosecuted in the Launceston Court of Petty Sessions on 24 July 2015 for removing $72,600 from his bank accounts in 2012, prior to and just after the date of bankruptcy.
Mr Smith also failed to keep appropriate books and records relating to his business transactions for five years prior to his bankruptcy and failed to disclose information as required by the trustee. Mr Smith was not able to account for how he spent a $100,000 loan and failed to produce bank account statements and cheque butts when requested by his bankruptcy trustee. Mr Smith pleaded guilty to 15 offences under the Bankruptcy Act and was sentenced to a total effective sentence of 4 months’ imprisonment, released on a $1,000 two-year good behaviour bond. The matter was prosecuted by the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Case 1

Australian Financial Security Authority – Media release NSW (McElwaine) – Nine-month bond for offence against the Bankruptcy Act

Thu 14 May 2015

A NSW woman has pleaded guilty to gambling away more than $137,000 from the sale of her property rather than paying creditors before declaring bankruptcy with debts of $438,000. Dee Why resident Bridgett McElwaine was sentenced in the Downing Centre Local Court on 12 May 2015 after pleading guilty to an offence against the Bankruptcy Act. Ms McElwaine filed for voluntary bankruptcy in October 2012 with debts of $438,000 mostly from the use of 22 credit cards. Before her bankruptcy, Ms McElwaine had received proceeds of more than $137,000 after selling her property in Frenchs Forest, NSW. She withdrew more than $96,000 in the 12 months before her bankruptcy and told the court she ‘blew the lot’ on gambling instead of making the money available to her creditors. In sentencing Magistrate Goodwin noted a jail term was available for Ms McElwaine’s serious offence and that a clear message needed to be sent to the community about the unacceptable nature of that behaviour. Ms McElwaine was convicted and placed on a nine-month good behaviour bond, recognisance of $500 and to accept Community Corrections Service supervision. The case was prosecuted by the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.Media release NSW (McElwaine) – Nine-month bond for offence against the Bankruptcy Act


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Factors considered in court review of provisional liquidator’s remuneration

 Corporate Insolvency, court decisions, External administrators, Insolvency Law, law reports  Comments Off on Factors considered in court review of provisional liquidator’s remuneration
Feb 172015

What information should a liquidator supply to the court to have his or her remuneration approved? On the other side, those opposed to the amount of remuneration must “settle on particular aspects of the liquidators’ conduct which can be queried”. This judgment from Western Australia on 11 February 2015 considers some issues.


Judgment – Remuneration of Provisional Liquidator – WA


Judges Gavel


RE PNP PACIFIC PTY LTD; EX PARTE STRICKLAND & HURT as Liquidators of PNP PACIFIC PTY LTD [2015] WASC 49 (11 February 2015)


MATTER : Application for approval of liquidators’ remuneration pursuant to s 504 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) > EX PARTE > KIMBERLEY ANDREW STRICKLAND as Liquidator of PNP PACIFIC PTY LTD  First-named Plaintiff > DAVID ASHLEY NORMAN HURT as Liquidator of PNP PACIFIC PTY LTD > Second-named Plaintiff.

Catchwords: Liquidation – Application for approval of remuneration – Turns on own facts. Legislation:   Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), s 449E (7)


1 MASTER SANDERSON: This was the plaintiffs’ application for approval of remuneration. The application was issued on 6 August 2014. It was supported by an affidavit of the second-named plaintiff, David Ashley Norman Hurt, sworn 29 May 2014, and a further affidavit of Mr Hurt, sworn 6 August 2014. Mr Sean Damian O’Reilly, a secured creditor of the company, appeared and opposed the making of the order for remuneration. I granted Mr O’Reilly leave to file any affidavit in opposition to the liquidator’s remuneration claim by 16 September 2014.

2 The matter came back before the court on 6 November 2014. The plaintiffs were represented, but Mr O’Reilly did not appear. I indicated to counsel for the plaintiffs no affidavit from Mr O’Reilly had been received and I would make orders approving the remuneration in terms of the originating process. I indicated I would give written reasons for my decision. On 16 December 2014 I read short oral reasons into the transcript and published these reasons both to the plaintiffs’ solicitors and to Mr O’Reilly. Regrettably, due to an administrative oversight, I did not take into account an affidavit of Mr O’Reilly which had been filed on 7 October 2014. I have now had the opportunity to consider that affidavit and have concluded that even with the benefit of Mr O’Reilly’s affidavit, the plaintiffs’ application should be approved. These reasons deal shortly with why, in these rather unusual circumstances, I would approve the plaintiffs’ remuneration.

3 The way in which the remuneration of liquidators, provisional liquidators and other company administrators is to be determined was set out by the Full Court of this court in Venetian Pty Ltd v Conlan (1998) 20 WAR 96. It is worth setting out again the regime mandated by the court. It is as follows (103 104):

Ordinarily, to commence the proceedings, the provisional liquidator will provide the court with a statement of account reflecting in appropriate itemised form, details of the work done, the identity of the persons who did the work, the time taken for doing the work, and the remuneration claimed accordingly. The statement of account should also reflect in appropriately itemised form the expenses incurred by the provisional liquidator, accompanied where necessary by voucher proof. Sufficient detail should be provided to enable the court to determine whether the disbursements were reasonably incurred and that the amounts claimed are reasonable.

The statement of account should be verified by affidavit. When the remuneration claimed involves work carried out by the provisional liquidator and his staff, the verifying affidavit need state merely that the work described in the statement of account was done by the provisional liquidator or under his personal supervision, and that from personal knowledge or from the records kept by the provisional liquidator or his firm, or from some other appropriate source, he believes that the information contained in the statement of account is correct. When disbursements are claimed, the affidavit should verify that they were incurred and, if necessary, why they needed to be incurred.

In Re Solfire Pty Ltd (In liq) (No 2), Shepherdson J said (at 1,164):

‘In my view, when a provisional liquidator seeks to have his remuneration determined by the court he should provide a document not dissimilar in form to the bill of costs in taxable form provided by a solicitor to his client … He should identify the person or persons and the grade or grades of the person or persons engaged in the particular task concerning the provisional liquidation, he should identify that task and dates on which time was spent on it, the amount of time spent on it and he should identify the relevant rate, according to the grade of the person or persons performing the work. I also consider that he should require the person performing the work to keep reasonably detailed diary notes and time sheets which documents should be open to inspection by persons entitled to see them.’

In our opinion, however, it is, with respect, unnecessary to lay down an absolute rule, in such detailed terms, concerning the statement of account to be provided by a provisional liquidator. It may well be that in a particular case information particularised as suggested by Shepherdson J would be appropriate. In other cases less detailed information may be required. Every case depends on its own circumstances. But the overriding principle remains: sufficient information must be provided to the court to enable it to perform its function under s 473(2).

If the Master were to be satisfied that the statement of account was sufficiently detailed to enable the remuneration to be determined, but there were objections to the account, special directions should be given in regard to the mode in which the account is to be taken or vouched. The procedure set out in O 45 should as far as possible be adopted. If, for example, the objector challenges whether a particular item of work was in fact done, or whether the person alleged to have done the work spent the time alleged in doing it, it may be necessary for the provisional liquidator to call direct evidence establishing the correctness of the allegations made: see generally Gava v Grljusich (unreported, Supreme Court, WA, Full Court, Library No 970492, 19 September 1997).

Notice should be given of the points on which the provisional liquidator will be crossexamined (if crossexamination is allowed). The notice of objection should be supported by affidavit. Crossexamination of the provisional liquidator and the objecting party may then occur. But care should be taken to follow the admonition of Sir Robert Megarry VC in Computer Machinery Co Ltd v Drescher (at 1386), namely: ‘It would not be right to allow anything resembling a trial of the action to take place in the guise of an argument on costs’.

4 What is anticipated by this regime is a twostage process. The practice is grown up of liquidators swearing an affidavit and attaching to that affidavit copies of the timesheets used to calculate remuneration. In addition, the liquidator will provide a brief description of the role of each person for whom a charge has been made, and the rate at which the time has been charged. I then consider the timesheets and all related material and form a prima facie view as to whether the charge is reasonable.

5 In this case the approach taken by the liquidators was slightly different. They produced a remuneration report pursuant to s 449E(7) of the Act. A copy of that report is annexure DH11 to the first affidavit of Mr Hurt. The remuneration was approved at a meeting of creditors held on 23 April 2012. The liquidators then undertook further work and prepared a further remuneration request report which appears as annexure DH13 to Mr Hurt’s affidavit. It is this report seeking an amount of $25,419 which formed the basis of this application. The report was not approved by a meeting of directors.

6 The first report itself begins by setting out a ‘Schedule of Hourly Rates and General Guide to Staff Experience’. For instance, under the classification ‘Director’ there appears a heading ‘Description’. It reads as follows:

Chartered accountant (or equivalent) and degree qualified with 9+ years (approximately) of experience. Able to autonomously lead complex insolvency appointments.

7 The hourly rate specified is $510. There then follow a number of categories down to the final category of ‘Clerical’. Such persons are charged at $110 an hour. There is then a heading ‘Liquidators’ Disbursements’ which sets out the way in which disbursements are charged. For instance, ‘Printing’ is charged at 30 cents per page. There then follows a heading ‘Remuneration Methods’ and it is said that the liquidators have charged on a time cost basis. There is a further subheading ‘Other Creditor Information on Remuneration’. Reference is made to a number of publications providing some guide as to the way in which liquidators charge generally.

8 The main part of the report appears under the heading ‘Schedule of Liquidator’s Anticipated Tasks and Estimated Remuneration for the Period 5 April 2012 to Finalisation of the Liquidation’. The total shown is $40,230, and it was this amount that was approved.

9 The second report was in a slightly different form. Once again, the hourly rates of staff were set out and it is said charging was based on a time cost method. There then appears a heading ‘Tasks Undertaken by the Liquidators and Time Costs for the Period 5 April 2012 to 30 June 2013’. By way of example as to how these matters are set out, appearing below is the first of a number of discrete boxes setting out what was done in relation to particular matters.

Task area
General description
9.9 hours
$311 per hour
Stock, Plant and Equipment
  • reviewing asset listings;
  • correspondence and liaison with auctioneers and potential buyers;
  • obtaining valuations; and
  • tasks associated with realising assets.
  • reviewing the trade debtor position.
Other assets
  • tasks associated with realising other assets.
Funds in CS Legal trust account
  • tasks associated with realising funds in CS Legal Trust account;
  • correspondence and liaison with solicitors;
  • tasks associated with obtaining court order.

10 There is a final heading ‘Summary of the Liquidators’ Time Costs for the Period 5 April 2012 to 30 June 2013 by Personnel Level and Task’. By way of example, Mr Hurt is described as ‘Associate Director’. His hourly rate is $467. He is said to have spent 6.7 hours working on the liquidation at a total cost of $3,129. That dollar figure is then broken down further. For instance, under ‘Assets’, as set out above, Mr Hurt is said to have incurred an amount of $94 by way of costs.

11 As with every single case I have looked at over the past almost 17 years since Venetian was decided, I was satisfied, prima facie, the charges claimed were justified. It is difficult to see how in any circumstance a different conclusion can ever be reached. All a liquidator can ever do is set out in broad detail what was done in the course of the liquidation and the hourly rate charged. There is no way I could, by looking at the broad description of the work done by Mr Hurt and his hourly rate, assess whether or not the charge is reasonable. Really, the first stage of this two stage process is a waste of time. Of course, if it were the case the material before the court was manifestly inadequate because there were no timesheets, the hourly rate was not specified, or the individuals who did the work were not identified, then the claim would fail. But that is a wholly different thing from requiring a preliminary assessment of the entitlement to remuneration.

12 In any event, having undertaken in this case a preliminary assessment of the material, I was satisfied, prima facie, the plaintiffs were entitled to compensation. It was then a matter of considering the affidavit of Mr O’Reilly. It is somewhat difficult to distil from the affidavit the nature of Mr O’Reilly’s complaint. It would appear to amount to Mr O’Reilly being dissatisfied with the time invested by the plaintiffs in the liquidation. At par 51 of his affidavit he says:

My professional opinion is that the amount of hours that could be substantiated in this matter is less than 50 hours.

13 In a following paragraph he goes on to offer a breakdown of how long various tasks would take. For instance, ‘Creditors’ is suggested to take four hours. Mr O’Reilly also complains about the charges of liquidators generally without reference to this particular liquidation. Mr O’Reilly was also not satisfied there was a need for investigation of the company’s affairs. If an investigation was actually undertaken, he says it was not comprehensive.

14 The difficulty with Mr O’Reilly’s affidavit is its generality. It does not settle on particular aspects of the liquidators’ conduct which can be queried. To refer again to the Venetian decision, Mr O’Reilly does not challenge whether a particular item of work was done or whether a particular person specified actually did the work. Based upon the general affidavit filed by Mr O’Reilly, there was no way I could have directed the liquidator to file further affidavit material. That would have required each and every one of the persons who were associated with the liquidation to swear an affidavit saying what they did, when they did it and why they did it. It is that sort of exercise which, on any approach to a review of remuneration, is to be avoided.

15 Accordingly, I was not satisfied the affidavit of Mr O’Reilly gave rise to any matter about which the liquidators had to provide further information. I am satisfied the approval of that remuneration was proper and appropriate. I made orders accordingly.


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Dec 152014

Registered liquidators are aware that they are prohibited by law from giving, or agreeing or offering to give, someone valuable consideration with a view to securing their own appointment or nomination as a liquidator or an administrator of a company, or an administrator of a deed of company arrangement (section 595 of the Corporations Act 2001).

But I wonder how many of them would be aware that giving an assurance of support for a proposed Deed of Company Arrangement may be an inducement under section 595.

The Chief Justice of the South Australian Supreme Court, Chief Justice Kourakis, took this view in his judgment in the case of Viscariello v Macks [2014] SASC 189, handed down on 9 December 2014.

Mr John Viscariello, a company director, alleged that registered liquidator Mr Peter Macks, administrator of two of Mr Viscariello’s companies, wrongfully failed to negotiate and put in place a Deed of Company Arrangement which would have allowed the companies to continue to trade under a changed ownership structure.

There were several other matters adjudicated upon in this case, and in a sense the allegation that the administrator had given an undertaking to the director that he would support a certain Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) became secondary.

But the comments by Chief Justice Kourakis are intriguing.

Chief Justice Kourakis

Chief Justice Kourakis

Mr Viscariello alleged that Mr Macks made certain representations to him and Mr Fred Bart (a businessman and entrepreneur who was a prospective purchaser of the company’s business) in a meeting in November 2001 to the effect that if he (Macks) were appointed as administrator, he would cause the company to enter into a deed of company arrangement reflecting the terms in a Heads of Agreement document, refered to by His Honour as “the proposed Bart DOCA”.

His Honour said:

“I find it unlikely that Mr Macks would have given an unqualified assurance that he would support the proposed Bart DOCA in breach of his duty to investigate the financial circumstances of the Companies and provide opinions to creditors.” [Para 122 of judgment]
“It is inherently improbable that he would have made the unqualified representations pleaded by Mr Viscariello.”[Para.125]
“If the pleaded representations were made and an agreement or understanding reached to that effect, Mr Macks would have breached s 595 of the Corporations Act and both Mr Bart and Mr Viscariello would have procured him to do so.” [Para.128]
“It would be contrary to the public interest to allow Mr Viscariello to recover damages for a misrepresentation which arises out of a failure to give effect to an unlawful arrangement.
(Footnote 76) With respect to the false and misleading conduct alleged against Mr Macks in respect of the 27 November meeting with Mr Viscariello and Mr Bart, I reject Mr Viscariello’s evidence that Mr Macks gave an assurance that he would ensure that the Companies would enter into the Bart DOCA.” [para. 130](Emphasis added)

Footnote 76: Yango Pastoral Co Pty Ltd v First Chicago (Australia) Limited (1978) 139 CLR 410; Brownbill v Kenworth Trucks Sales (NSW) Pty Ltd (1982) 39 ALR 191; Alexander v Rayson [1936] 1 KB 169; McCarthy Rose (Milk Vendors) Pty Ltd v Dairy Farmers Coop Milk Co Ltd (1945) 45 SR(NSW) 266; Mason v Clarke [1955] AC 778.

Click here for pdf copy of judgment by Chief Justice Kourakis on 9 December 2014: Judgment in Viscariello v Macks [2014] SASC 18

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Jul 212014


In a recent decision concerning liquidators of the Walton Construction group, Justice Robertson of the Full Court of the Australian Federal Court has determined that it would be inappropriate and against the law to take into account the insolvency practitioners’ Code of Professional Conduct.

In Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Franklin (liquidator), in the matter of Walton Constructions Pty Ltd [2014] FCAFC 85 (judgment 18 July 2014), His Honour said:

“I should add that I do not regard the Insolvency Practitioners Association of Australia’s guide entitled Code of Professional Practice for Insolvency Practitioners, on which ASIC relied, as extrinsic material appropriate or permitted to be taken into account in construing ss 60 and 436DA of the Corporations Act. To my mind, the general law would not permit that guide to be taken into account in construing those provisions and that guide is outside the scope of s 15AB of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth). For example, the relevant parts of that guide were not reproduced or referred to in the explanatory memorandum to the Corporations Amendment (Insolvency) Bill 2007 (Cth). ”           (Judgment paragraph 38.)


Conflict of interest

At the heart of the main decision in this case is the issue of conflict of interest and duty. I will analyse this part of the decision in a separate post. But here I want to discuss issues concerning compliance with and enforcement of the association’s Code of Professional Conduct.

An interesting predicament for ARITA

Justice Robertson’s comments are likely to cause something of a predicament for the association of insolvency practitioners, the Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA). Naturally its Code of Professional Conduct (the Code) is binding on its members. So, it will probably review and amend this particular rule to bring it into line with the comments by Justice Robertson. Otherwise it would be imposing a requirement that the law does not acknowledge.

But, theoretically, it is not essential that ARITA bring its rules into line. If it thinks it necessary to have ethical rules that impose on its members duties greater than those imposed by the insolvency laws, it is entitled to do so. And it is entitled to take disciplinary action against members who breach such rules. Any member who doesn’t want to be bound by these extra duties can choose to resign from the association.

However it appears that enforcement of those rules by ARITA would be problematic. At the moment ARITA appears to enforce its rules only after a law enforcement agency (e.g. the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Companies Auditors and Liquidators Disciplinary Board) has made an unfavourable decision.

Apart from ARITA’s Code containing guidance as to what is meant by sections 60 and 436DA of the Corporations Act, ARITA has rules that impose greater duties and obligations than those imposed by the law. In constructing these extra duties and rules ARITA hopes that the courts will recognise them as a proper standard for judging the behaviour of insolvency practitioners and, by doing so, raise the standard of practice in the profession.

Until the comments by Justice Robertson in the Walton Constructions appeal case, it was widely believed that the statements and rules in ARITA’s Code applied not only to members of the association but effectively applied to all liquidators, because the courts would look to the Code when assessing whether the behaviour of a liquidator complied with his or her duties.

ARITA could suffer financially if this belief, based as it is on previous judgments by the courts, has been thrown into doubt by Justice Robertson. ARITA says that around 83% of all registered insolvency practitioners in Australia are ARITA members. But if its Code continues to impose standards that are more onerous than those imposed by the Corporations Act, and if the courts don’t continue to support its Code, more practitioners may choose not to join ARITA.

Comment by ARITA

Writing on behalf of the authors of the Code – the Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association (ARITA) – Michael Murray, Legal Director of ARITA,  says:

“Interestingly, Justice Robertson said that he did not regard the ARITA Code of Professional Practice for Insolvency Practitioners, on which ASIC relied, as extrinsic material appropriate or permitted to be taken into account in construing ss 60 and 436DA of the Corporations Act. This was the case as a matter of law under the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth).  As a matter of interpretation of the sections that comment is no doubt correct.  But it continues to be the case that the Code is relied upon by the courts in assessing standards of practitioners’ conduct: Dean-Willcocks v Companies Auditors and Liquidators Disciplinary Board [2006] FCA 1438.”


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Mar 072014


When the Insolvency Practitioners Association of Australia (since renamed the Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association, or ARITA) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) decided to run a test case on the obligations of liquidators upon the occurrence of a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) event, they probably knew they risked broadening the contentious issues.  But they had to try settling a far-reaching and long-standing argument ­ which ARITA and the ATO had been having since 2009.  (1)

Unfortunately for ARITA and the ATO, the Court decided not to adjudicate in one important area, deeming it “unnecessary to answer in light of the conclusion reached …”

In running Australian Building Systems Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation ([2014] FCA 116), decisions were sought on the following questions:

–          whether the liquidators (this was a joint appointment) are obliged by s 254 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 , prior to the issuing of a notice of assessment to Australian Building Systems Pty Ltd (ABS), to retain monies so as to meet what may be a taxation liability in respect of the income year when the CGT event occurred; and

–          whether the liquidators are obliged to pay to the Commissioner the whole of any tax due by ABS in priority to other creditors of that company notwithstanding  ss 501, 555 and 556 of the Corporations Act.

Tax law gavel

On the first question the Court –  Logan J presiding – concluded:

“ … that s 254 of the ITAA36 had no application to the liquidators. They were not, in the absence of any assessment, subject to any retention and payment obligation derived from that section…..” (para 25 of the judgment) and “s 254 does not require retention upon the mere happening of a CGT event …” (para 31).

As the ATO had argued that it was not necessary for there to be a notice of assessment before the retention obligation of S. 254 could arise, this decision was a victory for the liquidators.

But Logan J added the following cautionary advice:

“… Even though, for the reasons given, s 254 does not require retention upon the mere happening of a CGT event, that does not mean that a liquidator is obliged immediately to distribute the resultant gain or part thereof as a dividend to creditors in the course of the winding up. A prudent liquidator, like a prudent trustee of a trust estate or executor of a will, would be entitled to retain the gain for a time against other expenses which might arise in the course of the administration. Further, in relation to income tax, the liquidator would at the very least be entitled to retain the gain until the income tax position in respect of the tax year in which the CGT event had occurred had become certain by the issuing of an assessment or other advice from the Commissioner that, for example, no tax was payable in respect of that income year….” (para 31).


ATO back to the drawing board

The ATO will need to withdraw its exhaustive Draft Taxation Determinations TD 2012/D7 and TD 2012/D6 of September 2012 and try again to state the correct legal position.  In those determinations the ATO took the view that

  • “a receiver who is an agent of the debtor is required by paragraph 254(1)(d) of the ITAA 1936 to retain from the sale proceeds that come to them in the capacity of agent sufficient money to pay tax which is or will become due as a result of disposing of a CGT asset”; and
  • “The phrase ‘tax which is or will become due’ in paragraph 254(1)(d) of the ITAA 1936 is not restricted to tax that has been assessed, and includes tax that will become due when an assessment is made. Consequently, the obligation to retain an amount under paragraph 254(1)(d) can arise in respect of tax that has not yet been assessed”.


An advisory note from ARITA?

One can imagine that the decision and the words of caution by Logan J will eventually find their way into an advisory note or practice guide from ARITA to liquidators and other insolvency practitioners.  But in getting there the Judge’s caution is bound to cause ARITA’s technical advisers and members considerable trouble.

ARITA’s initial interpretation

ARITA posted a summary of the judgment on its website on 23 February  (“Liquidator succeeds in CGT dispute with ATO” by Michael Murray), and ended with a note that it will closely examine the decision and the Judge’s comments and will raise the matter at its next liaison meeting with the ATO.

ARITA’s interpretation included the following comment:

In the case in hand, no assessment had issued when the sale took place.  This means that there is no personal liability for a liquidator if, once the assessment issues, there are insufficient funds to meet the liability.

Kicking off the discussiondiscussion meeting

I would make a couple of preliminary observations regarding this comment.

First, the fact that no assessment had issued when the sale took place is unremarkable.  Normally, a tax assessment is not made until after an event occurs.  Ordinarily, the ATO would not even be aware that an event had occurred until it was disclosed in a return lodged by the taxpayer.  (2)

Secondly, I agree that, based on this decision, there would be no personal liability under s. 254(1)(d) or (e) of the ITAA 1936 for the tax payable as the result of a profit, etc., if the money the liquidator had was expended and/or disbursed before a tax assessment was issued.

But there are other important issues to consider.  If a tax return covering
a post-appointment period was lodged and/or a tax assessment was issued showing tax payable in respect of that period, this would give rise to a debt payable by the company; and that debt would, it seems to me, be entitled to priority payment under the Corporation Act, as are other costs
of the winding up.

Such a tax debt would probably be entitled to classification as an expense “properly incurred by a relevant authority” (e.g., a liquidator) (S. 556(1)(dd) of the Corporations Act).  If so, it would have a higher priority than, for example, liquidator’s remuneration (S. 556(1)(de)) and employee entitlements (S. 556(1)(e) and (g)).

So … if, when the assessment issues “there are insufficient funds to meet the liability”, the liquidator may be deemed to have breached his or her duty to distribute the proceeds in accordance with the priorities established by law.

It seems to me that this very issue was the one being broached by Logan J in his caution at para 31 of the judgment when he said:

“ … in relation to income tax, the liquidator would at the very least be entitled to retain the gain until the income tax position in respect of the tax year in which the CGT event had occurred had become certain by the issuing of an assessment or other advice from the Commissioner that, for example, no tax was payable in respect of that income year….”.


(1)    In October 2012 the ATO issued draft rulings on the subject; and in February 2013 the  hearing of the test case began.
(2)    In the case being examined here, the ATO was informed of the CGT event when the company sought a private ruling from the Commissioner on whether s.254(1)(d) applied.


For more on this topic see my article “Post-appointment income tax debts of liquidator” published on this site on 10 October 2010.


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Sep 032013

Melbourne liquidator Andrew Leonard Dunner is likely to be prohibited from being registered as a liquidator for 5 years, following a decision by the Federal Court in an action brought against him by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

In a media release on 30 August 2013 ASIC said that:

“In handing down his reasons for judgment today, Justice Middleton found that Mr Dunner had failed to adequately investigate the circumstances and affairs of companies to which he was appointed and had inaccurately reported to ASIC and creditors.

“The Court also found that he had drawn remuneration in excess of $600,000 without appropriate approval or adequate supporting documentation. The Court considered it appropriate that he should repay that remuneration and have leave to apply to the Court for justification of an entitlement to recoup remuneration where appropriate. Justice Middleton found that Mr Dunner’s conduct indicated ‘…a systemic failure of administration and internal protocols, as well as (in a number of instances) extremely poor professional judgment. In this way, Mr Dunner has failed to satisfy the high standards of conduct required of his offices’.

“In finding that a banning period of 5 years was appropriate, Justice Middleton said:

‘Withdrawing a liquidator’s registration operates directly to protect the public from the work of the person. It also operates generally by deterring other liquidators from acting in a similar fashion. ASIC submitted – and I accept – that there is a compelling public interest in the maintenance of a system which recognises that registration as a liquidator is a privilege, the continuance of which is conditional upon diligent performance of its attendant duties.’

To see the ASIC media release, CLICK HERE.

To see Justice Middleton’s important 67 page report and judgment, CLICK HERE .

Case citation:

Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Dunner [2013] FCA 872.

Case catchwords:

CORPORATIONS – Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), ss 423, 499, 536 – Duties of liquidator – Duties of receiver – Court inquiry into defendant’s conduct as liquidator and receiver – Failure by defendant to investigate circumstances of companies to which he was appointed – Drawing remuneration without approval or adequate supporting documentation – Inaccurate reporting to ASIC and creditors regarding external administrations – Repayment of remuneration drawn without approval – Unfitness to remain registered as liquidator – Duration of prohibition order.


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Sep 242012

Complied by Michael Ennis. Michael developed an interest in insolvency case law, while a Deputy Registrar in Bankruptcy at the Federal Court of Australia and while undertaking various roles at the Insolvency Trustee Service Australia (ITSA). He has maintained this interest since retiring. If you would like to receive the Insolvency Decisions schedule direct, advise Michael of additional decisions, or share your observations, you may contact Michael direct on Michael’s comments appear in red text.

Note: There is no July 2012 edition of Australian Insolvency Decisions.

Bankruptcy Act – following Date of Bankruptcy

Ambrose (Trustee) in the matter of Poumako (Bankrupt) v Poumako [2012] FCA 889 (21 August 2012) BANKRUPTCY – where transfer void against trustee in bankruptcy – property jointly owned by bankrupt and another person – appropriate orders in circumstances

BANKRUPTCY – where transfer void against trustee in bankruptcy – transferee paid part consideration – property subject to mortgage – mortgagee’s rights – mortgage funds used to pay part consideration – operation of s 120(4) regarding repayment of consideration paid by transferee

BANKRUPTCY – whether two transfers of property are void against the trustee in bankruptcy – undervalued transactions – transfer of residential properties by bankrupt to family members – whether the properties were held in trust – reliability of evidence – repayment of consideration paid

Mulhern v Pearce [2012] FCA 884 (17 August 2012)

Maxwell-Smith v Donnelly [2012] FCAFC 82 (16 May 2012)

Seems to be an important matter, providing review of s.179 – clearly a lot going on Liprini v Pascoe as Trustee of the Bankrupt Estate of Liprini [2012] FCA 886 (16 August 2012) BANKRUPTCY – application for inquiry pursuant to s 179 Bankruptcy Act 1966   – threshold requirements for inquiry

Freeman v National Australia Bank Limited [2012] FCA 866 (16 August 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – vexatious litigant – application for extension of time for leave to appeal – application for leave to appeal against decision dismissing application to rescind vexatious litigant orders – order declaring vexatious litigant interlocutory not final – relevant principles in considering application for extension of time and for leave to appeal – reopening previous decision because of alleged fresh evidence – merits of case – whether primary judge had proper regard to issues raised by applicant – indemnity costs

Interesting reading – looking forward to future hearings National Australia Bank Limited v Moore [2012] FCA 865 (15 August 2012) BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY – bank seeking leave pursuant to s 58(3)(b) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966   to take fresh steps in, and to continue with, proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales

Rose v Meriton Apartments Pty Limited [2012] FCA 844 (13 August 2012) BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY – discretion to make sequestration order – whether discretion miscarried – whether leave should be granted to amend notice of appeal

Frost v Bovaird [2012] FCA 831 (10 August 2012)

Rahman v Dubs [2012] FCA 849 (9 August 2012)

 Corporations – pre-appointment

 Valuestream Investment Management Ltd v Richmond Management Pty Ltd [2012] FCA 898 (22 August 2012) CORPORATIONS – urgent ex parte interlocutory application for the appointment of an interim receiver and manager – managed investment scheme – whether circumstances justified appointment of a receiver and manager – prima facie evidence that the trustee company no longer had director resident in Australia or registered office – prima facie evidence that the trustee company had made improper investments, failed to keep accounting records, appoint an auditor and report to unit holders


 Corporations – post appointment

 Warner v Hung, in the matter of Bellpac Pty Limited (Receivers and Managers Appointed) (In Liquidation) (No 3) [2012] FCA 819 (6 August 2012)

Robinson, in the matter of Darrell Lea Chocolate Shops Pty Ltd (Administrators Appointed) [2012] FCA 833 (3 August 2012) period for holding meeting extended

Shannon (in his capacity as receiver and manager of North East Wiradjuri Co Limited) v North East Wiradjuri Co Limited (No 4) [2012] FCA 836 (2 August 2012) Fees fixed

WARWICK ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE PTY LTD (RECEIVERS AND MANAGERS APPOINTED) atf THE WARWICK ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE UNIT TRUST -v- SILKCHIME PTY LTD (RECEIVERS AND MANAGERS APPOINTED) atf THE SILKCHIME UNIT TRUST [No 2] [2012] WASC 275 (1 August 2012) Companies – Payment by one company to another in group – Existence of debt – Evidence of Joint Venture Agreement – Interest payments
Evidence – Corporations Act s 1305 – Books kept – Admissible
Directors’ duties – Corporations Act s 181 – Breaches of statutory duties

Gannell v Seaquest Pleasure Boats Pty Ltd (In Liquidation) [2012] VCC 893 (26 July 2012) CATCHWORDS – Personal injury claim – negligence of boat builder – breach of contract of sale of boat – assessment of damages for pain and suffering and pecuniary loss

VCC & the QDC! – seldom, if ever see insolvency matters in this jurisdiction  Andrew Fielding as Liquidator of Lyngray Developments Pty Ltd v Dushas & Anor [2012] QDC 96 (11 May 2012) Corporations – external administration – voidable transactions – uncommercial transactions

Vouris and Tonks as Deed Administrators Of Good Impressions Offset Printers Pty Limited (ACN 002 306 587) [2012] NSWSC 603 (30 May 2012) CORPORATIONS – Deed of company arrangement –   Corporations Act 2001, 444DA – employees – employees not given priority by deed – employee creditors consent to deed – circumstances in which court will approve non-inclusion of provision under 444DA – whether approval can be given after execution of deed

Inglewood Farms Pty Ltd v AM No. 1 Pty Ltd (administrators appointed) (No 2) [2012] NSWSC 591 (29 May 2012) CORPORATIONS – Winding up – Corporations Act 2001   s 440A(2) – Application for the adjournment of winding up application – Relevant factors as to whether application should be adjourned – Whether requirements satisfied

Moodie, in the matter of Gowinta Farms Pty Ltd (administrators appointed) [2012] FCA 578 (31 May 2012) CORPORATIONS – extension of time to convene a second meeting of creditors of company in administration


Lowe v Pascoe (No 2) [2012] NSWSC 885 (3 August 2012) Cash payments journals and expert report in relation to them admitted as evidence in fresh trial

Appoint of a Receiver and Manager of the partnership businessesLowe v Pascoe [2010] NSWSC 388 (7 May 2010) Existence of partnership Unusual signed partnership agreement Family patriarch conducting partnership business (or businesses) as if it (they) was (were) his own and controlling all aspects Numerous disputed questions of fact and law and subsidiary issues
Substantial cash businesses (grocery and butchery) Non-disclosure of full partnership income to ATO
Evasion of tax – plus 


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Aug 062012

Complied by Michael Ennis. Michael developed an interest in insolvency case law, while a Deputy Registrar in Bankruptcy at the Federal Court of Australia and while undertaking various roles at the Insolvency Trustee Service Australia (ITSA). He has maintained this interest since retiring. If you would like to receive the Insolvency Decisions schedule direct, advise Michael of additional decisions, or share your observations, you may contact Michael direct on’s comments appear in red text.


Bankruptcy Act – Prior to Date of Bankruptcy

Commonwealth Bank of Australia v Oswal [2012] FCA 772 (12 July 2012) BANKRUTPCY – debtor resident outside of Australia – substituted service of bankruptcy notice – service upon solicitors who are representing or have represented the debtor in other proceedings in Australia – whether leave to serve a bankruptcy notice out of Australia is required

Westpac Banking Corporation v Cossar & Anor [2012] FMCA 602 (10 July 2012) BANKRUPTCY – Creditor’s Petition – whether respondent debtors’ proposed proceeding against supporting creditor warrants adjournment or constitutes other sufficient cause not to make a sequestration order – whether sufficient evidence that proposed proceedings will proceed without undue delay and are likely to be successful – this criteria not established on evidence before Court – sequestration order made

Rookharp Pty Ltd & Anor v Webb & Anor [2012] FMCA 607 (5 July 2012) BANKRUPTCY – Creditor’s petition – no appearance of debtors at hearing – no grounds of opposition – sequestration order made

Bankruptcy Act – following Date of Bankruptcy

Quickly & thoroughly review all estates transferred from another Trustee  Newman v Bain [2012] FMCA 629 (5 July 2012) BANKRUPTCY – Application for extension of time for election by trustee pursuant to s.60(3) of the Bankruptcy Act – matters relevant to exercise of discretion

One with the lotCooper v Mbuzi [2012] QSC 190 (17 July 2012) PROCEDURE – MISCELLANEOUS PROCEDURAL MATTERS – VEXATIOUS LITIGANTS AND PROCEEDINGS – where the respondent in this matter has had a vexatious proceeding order made against him– where the applicant in this matter is the respondent in a matter commenced by the current respondent before the vexatious proceeding order was made against the current respondent – whether the applicant should be granted leave to be added to the earlier vexatious litigant proceedings – whether the earlier order under the Vexatious Proceedings Act 2005 should be amended to stay the other proceeding brought by the respondent

Bankruptcy was annulled 9 months after Sequestration Order made, but action continues Phillip Segal & Anor v Max Christopher Donnelly & Ors [2012] NSWSC 833 (24 July 2012) Whether solicitor authorised by registered proprietors of property to conduct sale process on their behalf – whether emails between solicitor and plaintiffs evidence an intention to enter into binding contract – where one co-owner acted as agent for the purchasers – whether other co-owner entitled to reject offer made by plaintiffs for purchase of the Property

Maxwell-Smith v Hall & Anor [2012] NSWCA 205 (25 June 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – application for pro bono assistance under UCPR 7.36 – where litigant had received assistance under a previous referral twice within preceding three years – determining whether interests of justice are in the applicant’s favour requires assessment of whether the appeal has reasonable prospects of success – prospects of success found to be insufficient – application refused
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – power to waive, postpone and remit fees under Civil Procedure Regulation 2005 reg 11 – power to be exercised by Registrar on separate application

Same mistake still being made!! – “…a search by an officer of the Deputy Commissioner in April 2012 did not reveal the 2010 Order because the search was made by entering only the first name and surname of Mr Russell which, due to the form of that search, did not reveal the 2010 Order” Deputy Commissioner of Taxation v Russell [2012] FMCA 598 (9 July 2012) BANKRUPTCY – Annulment – whether second sequestration order ought to have been made  

Unusual circumstance in which this application considered – it occurred during the transfer of the bankruptcy administration to a registered trustee in bankruptcy pursuant to s 181A of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 – given outcome of the FMCA matter above, should in-coming Trustee be ‘engaged’ by ITSA to manage the administration, till transfer confirmed? Leader Computers Pty Ltd v Johnson [2012] FCA 716 (6 July 2012) BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY – application pursuant to s 58(3)(b) of Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) for leave to proceed in actions in the District Court of South Australia against bankrupt for voidance of transfer of property – whether leave should be granted in absence of indication from trustee in bankruptcy as to whether application opposed – where urgency in leave being granted due to impending trial date for District Court actions. Held: It was appropriate to grant leave pursuant to s 58(3)(b) of the Act.

Re s. 153B Stewart v Grauby [2012] FCA 703 (2 July 2012) BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY – application under r 36.05 of the Federal Court Rules 2011 to extend time to appeal – order from Federal Magistrates Court of Australia dismissing application for annulment – whether time should be extended

Sullivan v Macquarie Leasing Pty Ltd [2012] FMCA 601 (2 July 2012) BANKRUPTCY – Application to set aside substituted service orders and sequestration order of Registrars of the Federal Magistrates Court – where applicant concedes debts owed – where applicant provides no evidence of ability to repay debts – where applicant claims unaware of papers relating to bankruptcy – whether to set aside orders

The end (perhaps) of an interesting, long running series of hearings in this bankruptcy Sheahan (Trustee) in the matter of Frost (Bankrupt) v Frost (No 4) [2012] FCA 708 (29 June 2012)

One of two significant decision Bob referred to me – as Bob remarked: “The judgment at paras 143-145, succinctly details the operation of s.58(1)(b) & (6) and s.116(1) of the Bankruptcy Act, and confirms that unrealised divisible property remains vested in the bankrupt estate notwithstanding that the bankrupt has been discharged from bankruptcy” Falloon v Madden; Madden v Madden [2012] NSWSC 652 (14 June 2012) TRUSTS – sole proprietor – resulting trust – beneficiary bankrupt at the time – joint tenants or tenants in common – payments for benefit deceased estate – occupation fee

The 2nd from Bob – again I will include Bob’s worthy comment “So I would submit that the lesson to be learnt from this judgment is that when you are fully engaged in investigating a “suspect” transaction with a view to recovery a property etc, from time to time stand back and ask the question “ Is the investigation/legal action still going to bring money into the estate ?”” –  Travaglini v Raccuia [2012] FCA 620 (14 June 2012) COSTS – application for leave to discontinue with no order as to costs – application of r 26.12(7) of the Federal Court Rules 2011 that the discontinuing party is liable for costs unless the Court is satisfied there is a good reason for ordering otherwise – whether parties acted reasonably in prosecuting and defending the proceeding  Held: when applicant commenced proceeding there was a reasonably foreseeable risk that litigation would become futile – applicant should pay the respondents’ costs upon discontinuance

Tarrant v Statewide Secured Investments Pty Ltd [2012] FCA 582 (6 June 2012) BANKRUPTCY – Appeal from sequestration order – where federal magistrate refused to adjourn creditor’s petition – federal magistrate allowed the creditor’s petition to be amended to correct judgment date and dispensed with service of the amended petition – federal magistrate refused to receive bankrupt’s evidence where bankrupt required for cross-examination on her affidavits but did not attend – whether grounds of appeal disclose any appealable error

A ‘must read’ – the circumstances in which a S of A could be rejected by ITSA has not been considered by the Court as far as I’m aware – I wonder where these Orders would put the Offence provisions, if the answers are not answered accurately  Vince (Trustee), in the matter of Sopikiotis (Bankrupt) v Sopikiotis [2012] FCA 573 (1 June 2012) BANKRUPTCY – s 54(1) Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) – whether document purporting to be a statement of affairs defective – whether bankrupt should be required to file a statement of affairs – order made

Another matter deserving a good read & consideration  Weeden v Rambaldi [2012] FCA 552 (29 May 2012) BANKRUPTCY – whether notices of objection to discharge filed pursuant to s 149B of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) valid – whether notices of contribution assessment made pursuant to s 139(1)(c) of the Bankruptcy Act valid – whether notices were invalid because made by a joint trustee acting alone – unanimous concurrence required for act of joint trustee – whether joint trustees were appointed or a sole trustee appointed by meeting of creditors – s 257 of Bankruptcy Act and presumption that minutes of meeting provide prima facie evidence of meeting – whether evidence of concurrence of joint trustees – whether s 306(1) of the Bankruptcy Act validates the act of a joint trustee acting alone, where the consent of other trustee is later given, in relation to the making and notification of an assessment pursuant to s 139W(1) of the Bankruptcy Act and in relation to the filing of an objection to discharge pursuant to s 149B of the Bankruptcy Act – whether a formal defect or irregularity within the meaning of s 306(1)

I’m not quite sure what is going on here – also, the plaintiff, joint trustees, use subpoena rather that s. 77C Notice Re estate of Mischel [2012] VSC 296 (13 June 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Objection to a subpoena – Whether the Commissioner has power to release documents pursuant to the Taxation Administration Act 1997 (Vic) – Sections 91, 93, 94, 95 considered

 Corporations – pre-appointment

TRINH OPTICAL YLLUSION PTY LTD v VAN [2012] SASC 125 (25 July 2012) Application to set aside a statutory demand – amount due under a trust – whether a debt for the purposes of the Corporations Act 2001 – creditor/beneficiary an eight year-old boy – statutory demand served on the instructions of his mother – whether mother had authority to do so

Williams (as liquidator of Willahra Pty Ltd (in liq)) v Kim Management Pty Ltd [2012] QSC 143 (19 June 2012) CORPORATIONS – WINDING UP – CONDUCT AND INCIDENTS OF WINDING UP – LIQUIDATORS – where an application was made to set aside an order made pursuant to s 588FF(3)(b) of the Corporations Act – whether an order should be set aside as of right because a party affected by the order made was not given an opportunity to be heard on the s 588FF(3)(b) application – circumstances in which a shelf order can be made on an ex parte basis – where the plaintiff liquidator did not know that the defendant was a potential target of an application under s 588FF(1) – whether the plaintiff liquidator ought to have known that the defendant was a potential target of an application under s 588FF(1) and served the defendant – the standard expected of a party and its lawyers on an ex parte application – the duty to make proper inquiries before making an ex parte application

GMW Group Pty Ltd (Receivers and Managers Appointed) (in liquidation) & ors v Michael Saadie in his own right and trading as GMW1 & ors [2012] QSC 140 (4 June 2012) PROCEDURE – SUPREME COURT PROCEDURE – QUEENSLAND – PROCEDURE UNDER UNIFORM CIVIL PROCEDURE RULES AND PREDECESSORS – DEFAULT OF PLEADING – where the applicants apply for summary judgement against the respondents under r 374 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 – where the proceeding was commenced by originating application and pleadings were later ordered – where service and timing of service of the statement of claim on the second and third respondents within the required period is unclear – where the first respondent has filed a defence and the second and third respondents have filed no defence – where the respondents have not complied with a court order requiring them to file affidavits detailing their personal assets – whether the applicants have satisfactorily proven that the respondents have failed to take a step in the proceeding thus warranting summary judgment under r 374

Applicant became bankrupt subsequent to initial application  McElligott v Boyce & Ors [2012] QSC 189 (17 July 2012) PROCEDURE – JUDGMENTS AND ORDERS – AMENDING, VARYING AND SETTING ASIDE – where applicant seeks to set aside under r 667(2) of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules an earlier order of the court for the winding up of a company on the basis of allegations of fraud – where earlier appeals against winding up order were dismissed – where the allegation of fraud was considered in the appeal – where the applicant is a bankrupt – whether the applicant has standing to bring the application – whether the applicant’s contentions are based on newly-discovered material

Field Camp Services Pty Ltd v Green (No.3) [2012] FMCA 577 (6 July 2012) CONSUMER PROTECTION – Alleged misleading and deceptive conduct – hire of transportable accommodation and camp units. PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Failure to pay costs of earlier proceedings in other courts – statutory demand made – whether application to be dismissed or permanently stayed. COSTS – Failure to pay costs of earlier proceedings in this court and State courts – statutory demand made – whether application to be dismissed or permanently stayed

Deputy Commissioner of Taxation v Compumark Pty Ltd [2012] FCA 583 (5 June 2012) CORPORATIONS – application to wind up company in insolvency by reason of tax debt – court’s residual discretion in applications for winding up – test for reasonably arguable case to challenge the existence of a tax debt PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – corporate respondent – leave to appear otherwise than by a lawyer – dispensing with r 4.01(2) of the Federal Court Rules 2011
EVIDENCE – “fullest and best” evidence principles

Corporations – post appointment

Handberg & Anor v MIG Property Services Pty Ltd [2012] VSCA 126 (15 June 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Application for leave to appeal – Whether substantial injustice demonstrated

Mischel v Mischel Holdings Pty Ltd (in liq) [2012] VSC 292 (27 July 2012) CO-OWNERSHIP – Joint tenancy at law – whether tenancy in common in equity – whether consideration given for acquisition of share – severance of joint tenancy by agreement and by conduct – effect of death of joint tenant after exchange of contracts but before completion of sale of the subject land EQUITY – Maxims – Equity will not assist a volunteer

Clarke & Ors v Great Southern Finance Pty Ltd & Ors [2012] VSC 312 (24 July 2012) COSTS – Privilege – Loss of privilege under s 124 Evidence Act 2008 (Vic) determined before trial – Plaintiffs successful. COSTS – Application by plaintiffs under s 1321 Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to review decision of liquidators to assert joint privilege – application adjourned sine die without determination

Clarke & Ors v Great Southern Finance Pty Ltd (in liq) & Ors (Ruling No 1) [2012] VSC 295 (29 June 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Application by Plaintiffs to amend statement of claim – whether proposed amendments are defective – whether prejudice is likely to be suffered if the application were to be allowed – application refused

Re Traditional Values Management Ltd [2012] VSC 308 (19 July 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – COSTS – Orders made without adjudication on the merits – Discussion of relevant principles – Costs order made

Traditional Values Management Limited (in liq) v Taylor & Ors [2012] VSC 299 (10 July 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Consolidation of proceedings – Separate proceedings against directors and officers, auditors, accountants and unitholders in failed managed investment scheme – Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2005 (Vic), r 9.12

Hoddinott & Ors v Willmott Forests Limited (recs & liq apptd) (in liq) [2012] VSC 282 (27 June 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – COSTS – Orders agreed without adjudication on the merits – Relevant principles for an award of costs in a compromised proceeding – Costs order made

TNT Building Trades Pty Limited v Benelong Developments Pty Limited (administrators appointed) [2012] NSWSC 766 (9 July 2012) CORPORATIONS – Creditors’ meeting – Resolution of meeting – Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) s 600A(2)(a) – Application to set aside resolution of creditors’ meeting.
CORPORATIONS – Termination of deed of company arrangement – Whether deed should be terminated by Court – Interests of creditors of company as a whole – Whether winding up would allow more favourable outcome or better return to creditors than deed of company arrangement and whether deed of company arrangement would be contrary to the interests of or prejudicial to creditors as a whole

Fw: Napier Constructions Pty Ltd (Subject to DOCA)(Receivers & Managers Appointed) -v- Christopher Honey (in his capacity as Joint and Several Receiver and Manager of Napier Constructions Pty Ltd) [2012] NSWSC 762 (6 July 2012) CONTRACT – Construction of deed recording agreement as to the basis upon which a party would assist companies and their receivers in prosecuting proceedings against certain third parties – where another party (the bank) makes available funds to facilitate prosecution of proceedings and is owed money under secured facilities – construction of formula for the sharing of settlement proceeds (between the companies and the bank) where provision is capable of two meanings – construction of clauses providing for the taking into account of interest

St Hilliers Construction Pty Ltd (In Administration) -v- Fitzpatrick Investments Pty Ltd [2012] NSWSC 804 (2 July 2012) BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION – where design and construct building contract requires provision by the contractor of bank guarantees as security for performance – where, upon satisfaction of certain conditions, the contractor is entitled to a reduction of the security – whether such conditions satisfied – whether, by taking possession of the works, the principal has exercised an election amounting to a waiver of its right to continue to keep the security

Management 3 Group Pty Ltd (In Liq) v Lenny’s Commercial Kitchens Pty Ltd (No 2) [2012] FCAFC 92 (25 June 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – pre-judgment interest – date from which interest is to run – interest to run until judgment is entered – rate at which interest accrues – whether penalty interest rate or Reserve Bank of Australia cash rate plus 4% – Practice Note CM16 Pre-judgment Interest Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth), ss 51A, 52

In the matter of KASH Aboriginal Corporation ICN 108 (Administrators Appointed) No 2 [2012] FCA 789 (27 July 2012) CORPORATIONS – Aboriginal Corporation – administrators seeking directions in respect of proposed loan and mortgage with associated entity – whether administrators personally liable for monies borrowed – potential liability of administrators in respect of workplace health and safety issues – proposal to borrow funds from related entity

Roumanus v Orchard Holdings (NSW) Pty Limited (In Liq) [2012] FCA 775 (20 July 2012) CORPORATIONS –Whether the defendant corporation in liquidation should be held liable as the primary contravenor or, alternatively, as an accessory, in respect of misleading and deceptive conduct constituted by representations made by persons who occupied office as directors of the corporation in connection with the sale by one of those persons to others of shares in the corporation – whether causes of action out-of-time in any event – whether causes of action could be maintained pursuant to ss 52, 75B and 82 of the Trade rPractices Act 1974 (Cth)

Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Storm Financial Limited (Receivers and Managers Appointed) (in liq) [2012] FCA 750 (16 July 2012)

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v ACN 135 183 372 (in liquidation) (formerly known as Energy Watch Pty Ltd) [2012] FCA 749 (13 July 2012) CONSUMER LAW – declaratory relief, penalties and costs – breach of ss 18(1), 29(1)(g) and 34 of the Australian Consumer Law, Schedule 2 to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) – misleading and deceptive conduct – false and misleading representations – in trade or commerce – multimedia mass advertising campaign – retail energy prices – energy brokering services – general and specific deterrence – consumer protection

Carson, in the matter of Hastie Group Limited (No 3) [2012] FCA 719 (5 July 2012) CORPORATIONS – application for directions under s 447D of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)

Australian Executor Trustees Ltd v Provident Capital Ltd (No 2) [2012] FCA 754 (3 July 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – stay – principles applying to grant of a stay

Smith in the matter of Actively Zoned Pty Ltd (in liq) [2012] FCA 605 (8 June 2012)

Quikfund (Australia) Pty Ltd v Prosperity Group International Pty Limited (In Liquidation) [2012] FCA 603 (7 June 2012) CORPORATIONS – consideration of an application for leave to proceed to prosecute an appeal

Hancock, in the matter of St Hilliers Construction Pty Limited (administrators appointed) [2012] FCA 602 (7 June 2012) CORPORATIONS – extension of time to convene a second meeting of creditors of a company in administration

Burrup Fertilisers Pty Ltd (Receivers and Managers Appointed) v Oswal (No 6) [2012] FCA 590 (7 June 2012) COSTS – security for costs application – compliance with a subpoena – whether the Court is empowered under the Federal Court Rules 2011 to award security for costs in advance for costs and expenses of a non-party who is subpoenaed by a party Held: a stranger to litigation should not be put to onerous expense in complying with a subpoena issued by a party not resident in the jurisdiction – that quantum of security should be reviewed and fixed by a Registrar

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v ACN 135 183 372 (Administrators Appointed) (formerly known as Energy Watch Pty Ltd) [2012] FCA 586 (1 June 2012)

Moodie, in the matter of Gowinta Farms Pty Ltd (administrators appointed) [2012] FCA 578 (31 May 2012) CORPORATIONS – extension of time to convene a second meeting of creditors of company in administration

An on-going matter – looking forward to seeing where it all ends up MG Corrosion Consultants Pty Ltd v Gilmour [2012] FCA 568 (31 May 2012) CORPORATIONS – variation to freezing order

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Jun 292012

A NSW Supreme Court judge has replaced the special purpose liquidator of the collapsed telecommunications company One.Tel.

Registered Liquidator, Paul Weston, who has served as special purpose liquidator since December 2003, was removed from his role after judge Patricia Bergin found creditors, led by Optus, had lost confidence in Mr Weston’s capacity “to bring a dispassionate mind to bear in exercising his powers in the liquidation”.  Mr Weston contended that the creditors’ loss of confidence in him was not enough to justify his removal. He contended that there must be some serious misconduct, conflict of interest or lack of independence.

Justice Bergin appointed another registered liquidator, Stephen Parbery, in Mr Weston’s place.

The application for removal of was Mr Weston was brought under section 503 of the Corporations Act 2001: “The Court may, on cause shown, remove a liquidator and appoint another liquidator.”

Issues considered in the case included:

  • The special liquidator’s relationship with the creditors’ Committee of Inspection.
  • The liquidator’s remuneration and expenses.


Extracts from the court judgment, and a link to the full judgement of 19 June 2012, are given below.

“In a court appointed liquidation (or a liquidation by the Court), a liquidator, as an officer of the Court, is a representative of the Court, entrusted with the reputation of the Court. It is expected that the liquidator will discharge the relevant functions and powers with impartiality and proper dispatch: Commissioner for Corporate Affairs v Peter William Harvey [1980] VR 669. Albeit that it may be inappropriate to refer to the defendant as “an officer of the Court” in this particular liquidation, it is expected that he would discharge his relevant functions and powers with impartiality and proper dispatch.”  (para 151)

“It is expected that the defendant will maintain an “even and impartial hand” in his dealings with those interested in the liquidation … It is expected that he will be independent in the sense that he will deal impartially and objectively in the interests of the creditors …”. (para 152)

“In City & Suburban Pty Ltd v Smith, Merkel J observed at 336 (excluding citations): Section 503 of the Law provides that the court may “on cause shown” remove a liquidator and appoint another liquidator. It has long been accepted that the section and its predecessors were not confined to situations where it is established that there is personal unfitness, impropriety or breach of duty on the part of the liquidator. Cause is shown for removal whenever the court is satisfied that it is for the better conduct of the liquidation or, put another way, it is for the general advantage of those interested in the assets of the company that a liquidator be removed.” (para 160)

“In the present case the acrimony which has arisen between the liquidator and the committee of inspection has not come about as a result of any unreasonable conduct on the part of the committee. Rather, it has come about because the liquidator has carried out his tasks in respect of the liquidation with some insensitivity to the angst of the members of the committee of inspection.” (para 162)

“In AMP Music Box Enterprises Ltd v Hoffman [2002] BCC 996, Neuberger J (as his Lordship then was) considered the power under s 180(2) of the Insolvency Act 1986 (UK) to remove a liquidator “on cause shown” and said at 1001-1002:

On the other hand, if a liquidator has been generally effective and honest, the court must think carefully before deciding to remove him and replace him. It should not be seen to be easy to remove a liquidator merely because it can be shown that in one, or possibly more than one, respect his conduct has fallen short of ideal. So to hold would encourage applications under s 108(2) by creditors who have not had their preferred liquidator appointed, or who are for some other reason disgruntled. Once a liquidation has been conducted for a time, no doubt there can almost always be criticism of the conduct, in the sense that one can identify things that could have been done better, or things that could have been done earlier. It is all too easy for an insolvency practitioner, who has not been involved in a particular liquidation, to say, with the benefit of the wisdom of hindsight, how he could have done better. It would plainly be undesirable to encourage an application to remove a liquidator on such grounds. It would mean that any liquidator who was appointed, in circumstances where there was support for another possible liquidator, would spend much of his time looking over his shoulder, and there would be a risk of the court being flooded with applications of this sort. Further, the court has to bear in mind that in almost any case where it orders a liquidator to stand down, and replaces him with another liquidator, there will be undesirable consequences in terms of costs and in terms of delay.” (para 164)


  1. I am satisfied that it is in the best interests of this liquidation for the defendant to be removed as special purpose liquidator and for Mr Parbery to be appointed in his place. The defendant is to meet with Mr Parbery and provide him with any advice, documents or other assistance sought by Mr Parbery so that he may be in a position to pursue the remaining purposes of the special purpose liquidation in the most cost efficient manner.
  2. I am conscious that ASIC’s review of the defendant’s remuneration and fees has effectively been put on hold pending the outcome of these proceedings. I am satisfied that it is appropriate to defer any ruling in relation to conducting an inquiry under s 536 of the Act until ASIC’s review has concluded. It may be that, having regard to the defendant’s removal and/or the outcome of ASIC’s review, the plaintiffs may no longer wish to press for such an inquiry.”


SingTel Optus Pty Limited & Ors v Weston [2012] NSWSC 674 (19 June 2012)

Click here to read and/or copy judgment.



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Jun 122012

Complied by Michael Ennis.  Michael developed an interest in insolvency case law, while a Deputy Registrar in Bankruptcy at the Federal Court of Australia and while undertaking various roles at the  Insolvency Trustee Service Australia (ITSA).  He has maintained this interest since retiring.  If you would like to receive the Insolvency Decisions schedule direct, advise Michael of additional decisions, or share your observations, you may contact  Michael direct on


Bankruptcy Act – Prior to Date of Bankruptcy

You will recall the following Decision from the previous email – I now understand that it is related to the earlier  Decision , In the matter of Macryannis [2011] FCA 1272) , which itself had some particularly interesting features , especially in relation to the conduct of the Trustee –  National Australia Bank Limited v Oberg [2012] FMCA 233 (27 March 2012) BANKRUPTCY – Creditor’s petition – whether debtor satisfied court that he is able to pay his debts within s.52(2)(a) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966.


Bankruptcy Act – following Date of Bankruptcy

Worth a solid read-  Rambaldi (The Trustees of the Estate of John Edward Atkinson a Bankrupt) v Woodward [2012] NSWSC 434 (11 May 2012) REAL PROPERTY – co-owners – statutory power of sale – application by bankruptcy trustees of one co-owner – property encumbered – whether trustees entitled to sell if no equity remaining in property – whether sale would be outside provisions of Bankruptcy Act and Regulations – whether discretion in court to refuse order for sale


Bankruptcy Act – Other Schemes under the Act


Corporations – pre-appointment

In the matter of Samkev Investments Pty Limited [2012] NSWSC 527 (21 May 2012) Statutory Demand set aside

Elite Catering Equipment Pty Ltd v Serosthan [2012] VSC 194 (11 May 2012) CORPORATIONS – External administration – Application to set aside statutory demand pursuant to Section 459G of the Corporations Act 2001 on basis of alleged genuine dispute – Accounts of plaintiff and other documents support defendant’s contentions as to existence of debt and are not satisfactorily rebutted by the plaintiff – Demand varied to reflect recalculation of interest by reason of reduction in principal component of demand

Golden Era Investments Pty Ltd v Commonwealth Bank of Australia Limited [2012] VSC 178 (4 May 2012) CORPORATIONS – External administration – Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) – Application to set aside statutory demand by reason of existence of genuine dispute – Defendant bank deals with bearer cheques in accordance with mandate without notice of impropriety of bearer who was plaintiff’s accountant – No plausible contention requiring investigation – Application dismissed


Corporations – post appointment

Dolores Correa and The Spanish Club Limited (subject to Deed of Company Arrangement) v Kenneth Michael Whittingham (No 3) [2012] NSWSC 526 (21 May 2012) CORPORATIONS – External administration – Administration under deed of company arrangement – Validity of appointment of administrator – Whether appointment invalid by reason of lack of number of directors as required by articles of association – Whether appointment invalid by reason of lack of quorum for directors meeting – Indoor management rule – Whether appointment valid by reason of statutory assumptions under ss 128-129 of Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) – Whether appointment should be validated under s 447A and s 1322 of Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) – Factors relevant to validation application brought when administration largely complete – Relevance of delay on part of party challenging validity of administrator’s appointment – Whether exposure to statutory regime for assessment of remuneration under s 449E of Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) amounts to substantial injustice

McCracken v Phoenix Constructions (Qld) Pty Ltd [2012] QCA 129 (18 May 2012) CORPORATIONS – GENERALLY – CORPORATIONS LEGISLATION – where respondent is creditor of corporation of which appellant is director – where trial judge found appellant in contravention of s 182(1) Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and awarded damages to respondent pursuant to s 1324(10) – where appellant argued s 1324(10) does not confer right of damages upon creditor for contravention of s 182 – where appellant argued award of damages under s 1324(10) would amount to preference over other unsecured creditors – where respondent argued damages available under s 1324(10) – where respondent argued jurisdiction for granting injunction sufficient to enliven award of damages under s 1324(10) – whether trial judge erred in awarding damages under s 1324(10) EVIDENCE – ADMISSIBILITY AND RELEVANCY – FACTS SHOWING STATE OF MIND – INTENTION – where the appellant sought to rely on affidavit at trial as evidence of understanding or agreement between appellant and his wife in relation to proper construction of joint venture agreement – where trial judge concluded that the affidavit evidence was not admissible – where appellant argued evidence admissible on different ground that it showed appellant’s purpose of entering into deed of amendment – where respondent argued that affidavit not tendered as evidence of appellant’s purpose, but evidence of conduct – whether the trial judge erred in not admitting the affidavit evidence EVIDENCE – GENERAL – OTHER GENERAL MATTERS – where trial judge awarded damages equal to respondent’s contractual claim against appellant for contravention of s 182(1) Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) – where appellant argued respondent failed to prove alleged loss due to existence of unsecured creditors and no evidence of financial position – where respondent argued contention should not be considered because not pleaded, not subject of any disclosure, not subject of evidence, and because appellant was only person capable of doing so – whether appellant not giving evidence could justify drawing adverse inference – whether respondent failed to prove claimed loss

Perpetual Nominees Limited v Rytelle Pty Ltd (recs & mgrs apptd) & Ors [2012] VSC 209 (18 May 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Joinder of party to proceedings – Discretion of court to permit joinder – Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2005 (Vic), rule 9.02. CORPORATIONS LAW – Managed Investment Scheme – Whether former Responsible Entity entitled to indemnity from fund – whether new Responsible Entity liable for obligations and liabilities of former Responsible Entity – Whether new Responsible Entity entitled to indemnity from fund – Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) Pt 5C, ss 601FS, 601FT, 601GA.

Sanelli v Acee Victoria Pty Ltd (No 2) [2012] VSC 190 (14 May 2012) COSTS ― Judgment for plaintiff after defendant company withdrew defence ― Costs order in favour of plaintiff ― Insolvent defendant ― Application for company directors to pay plaintiff’s costs ― Principles applicable for costs orders against non parties ― Application refused

Re Environinvest Ltd (No 6) [2012] VSC 173 (14 May 2012) CORPORATIONS – Managed Investment Scheme – Winding up by a person appointed under s 601NF(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) – Conflict of duty – Person appointed to wind up the schemes also the liquidator of the Responsible Entity – Directions in winding up under s 601NF(2) of the Corporations Act – Approval of deeds of sale – Approval of mediated agreement as to costs, expenses and remuneration – Scheme liquidator excused from compliance with obligations arising under scheme constitution – Discharge of scheme liquidator on completion of winding up

Sellers & Anor v Flinn & Anor [2012] VSC 132 (13 April 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Injunctions – Interlocutory injunctions – Application to restrain the defendants from dealing with livestock – Application for declarations as to ownership of livestock pursuant to stock mortgage

KLEENTEX (THAILAND) CO LTD & ORS v CORPORATE IM PTY LTD & ORS [2012] SASC 71 (2 May 2012) The chargee of a fixed and floating charge seeks by way of summary judgment a declaration that its interest in the charged property is superior to that of the defendants and an injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with the exercise by its appointed receiver of his functions. Whether the appointment of the receiver was invalid – whether an event of default had occurred justifying the receiver’s appointment – whether the failure to give notice of a default invalidated the appointment – whether the charge had an ulterior purpose which invalidated the appointment – whether permission should be granted for the defendants to bring proceedings in the name of the second plaintiff.

COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA -v- PANKAJ OSWAL (IN HIS PERSONAL CAPACITY AND AS TRUSTEE OF THE BURRUP TRUST) [2012] WASC 128 (26 April 2012) Application for summary judgment – Extension of time – Issue to be determined – Arguable case – Turns on own facts
Appointment of receiver – Whether beyond power – Improper purpose – Good faith obligation – Sale of assets – Undervalue – Fair market value

In the matter of Steven Sherman & Peter Walker in their capacities as liquidators of One.Tel Limited [2012] NSWSC 544 (3 May 2012) CORPORATIONS – Payment of Special Purpose Liquidator’s legal costs by General Purpose Liquidator is justified – undertaking to repay legal costs if those costs were not properly incurred

Another worth a good read =  In the matter of Purcom No 34 Admin Pty Ltd (Receiver and Manager Appointed) [2012] NSWSC 543 (3 May 2012) CORPORATIONS – Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001(Cth) ss 502 and 503 – Where liquidator is to be removed or has resigned his appointment in a number of external administrations after disciplinary proceedings – appointment of new liquidator being a principal of the firm where the first liquidator works – comprehensive undertakings having been given by the first liquidator to ASIC under s 93AA of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001(Cth) – appointments made

Leslie John Schirato -v- SCW Pty Ltd (In Liquidation) [2012] NSWSC 541 (24 April 2012) CORPORATIONS – Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) s 488(2) – application under s 488(2) for special leave to distribute surplus funds in circumstances where shareholders and contributories consent to distribution and where company has adequate funds to meet any possible further obligations – HELD – surplus funds appropriate to be distributed – operation of orders subject to receipt of notice from Commissioner of Taxation pursuant to s 260-45 of Schedule 1 of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) CORPORATIONS – Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) – application under s 477(2B) for retrospective approval of agreement between liquidator and his solicitors – HELD – agreement approved by the Court



Whild v GE Mortgage Solutions Ltd [2012] VSC 212 (18 May 2012) MORTGAGES – Mortgagee’s power of sale – Whether mortgagee’s notice to pay in the exercise of the statutory power of sale mistakenly referred to extent of moneys owing or to extent of default – Requirements as to form of statutory notice – Whether financial information provided to mortgagor indicating arrears could amount to statutory or contractual notice – Whether mortgagee of a registered Torrens system mortgage could also have available and exercise contractual power of sale – Websdale v S & JD Investments Pty Ltd (1991) NSWLR 573 (CA); Bunbury Foods v National Bank of Australasia Ltd [1984] HCA 10; (1984) 153 CLR 491; Midland Montagu v Cuthbertson (1989) 19 NSWLR 309 – Transfer of Land Act 1958, ss 76 and 77.

Have not seen reference to this Act for a while – the instalment provisions of the Act have interesting implications for Bankruptcy Notices –  Davidson v Greedy & Anor [2012] VSC 202 (15 May 2012) JUDGMENTS ORDERS AND DECLARATIONS ― Judgment debt ― Application for payment of judgment debt by instalments ― Applicable considerations ― Judgment debt includes interest payable on judgment debt ― Application refused ― Judgment Debt Recovery Act (No 10063 of 1984)

Butler & Ors v Vavladelis & Ors [2012] VSC 186 (9 May 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Application to set aside default judgment – Whether arguable defence based on unconscionable conduct – Asset based lending – Arguable defence established – Judgment set aside on conditions.  EQUITY – Unconscionable conduct – Whether asset based lending unconscionable – Loan by clients of solicitor’s mortgage practice – Arguable defence of unconscionability established – Default judgment set aside on conditions –Elkofairi v Permanent Trustee Co Ltd [2002] NSWCA 413; Kowalczuk v Accom Finance Pty Ltd [2008] NSWCA 343; Perpetual Trustees Australia Limited v Schmidt & Anor [2010] VSC 67; Perpetual Trustee Company Limited v Khoshaba [2006] NSWCA 41 considered.

Thiess Pty Ltd & Anor v Arup Pty Ltd & Ors [2012] QSC 131 (17 May 2012) EVIDENCE – ADMISSIBILITY AND RELEVANCY – OPINION EVIDENCE – EXPERT OPINION – Qualifications of witness – Where witness is accountant and auditor – Whether witness possesses expertise in a specialised field of knowledge relevant to the proceedings – Whether report prepared by witness sufficiently discloses the bases or reasoning for opinions

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