Aug 132015

What reasons are given for the failure and insolvency of non-corporate businesses, i.e., those owned by individuals as sole traders or in partnership? Is there any alignment between the reasons given for non-corporate business failures and the reasons given for corporate failures? And where a non-corporate (aka personal) business  insolvency has been brought about by the phoenix scheme of a corporate customer or client, is this made known to the regulator for statistical purposes?

This article is an extension of the discussion in my post  “Confusing causes of corporate insolvency”. Continue reading »

2014 version of Bill to amend corporate and personal insolvency laws

 ASIC, Corporate Insolvency, Insolvency Law, Personal Bankruptcy, Regulation  Comments Off on 2014 version of Bill to amend corporate and personal insolvency laws
Nov 172014

On 7 November 2014  an exposure draft of the Insolvency Law Reform Bill 2014 (ILRB 2014) was released by the Australian Treasury for comment.

The Treasury Crest


The Treasury’s summary/promotion of the legislation is as follows:

“The draft Bill comprises a package of proposals to amend and streamline the Bankruptcy Act 1966 and the Corporations Act 2001. The proposed amendments will:

•remove unnecessary costs and increase efficiency in insolvency administrations;
•enhance communication and transparency between stakeholders;
•promote market competition on price and quality;
•boost confidence in the professionalism and competence of insolvency practitioners; and
•remove unnecessary costs from the insolvency industry resulting in around $55.4 million per annum in compliance cost savings.”

The Explanatory Material issued with the Bill opens with this outline:

“The Insolvency Law Reform Bill 2014 (Bill) amends the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act) and the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Bankruptcy Act) to create common rules that would:
• remove unnecessary costs and increase efficiency in insolvency administrations;
• align and modernise the registration and disciplinary frameworks that apply to registered liquidators and registered trustees;
• align and modernise a range of specific rules relating to the handling of personal bankruptcies and corporate external administrations;
• enhance communication and transparency between stakeholders;
• promote market competition on price and quality;
• improve the powers available to the corporate regulator to regulate the corporate insolvency market and the ability for both regulators to communicate in relation to insolvency practitioners operating in both the personal and corporate insolvency markets; and
• improve overall confidence in the professionalism and competence of insolvency practitioners.”

 Links to government material:

The draft Bill (ILRB 2014) in PDF format

The Explanatory Material in PDF format

The Insolvency Practice Rules – Proposals Paper in PDF format

Coversheet for a submission by post

The Treasury website page

Previous Bill and background material:

The first version of ILRB 2014 appeared on 19/12/2012 as Insolvency Law Reform Bill 2012, but it never became law. However, the 2012 Explanatory Memorandum and  the 2012 Exposure Draft  contains valuable background information related to the current Bill. (Sixteen submissions were made for this 2012 consultation.)

Further background information regarding ILRB 2014 is available in the June 2011 Treasury Options Paper titled “A Modernisation and Harmonisation of the Regulatory Framework Applying to Insolvency Practitioners in Australia”. (Thirty three submissions were made for this consultation.)

The 2011 options paper was followed in December 2011 by a Proposals Paper with the same title. (Twenty nine submissions were made for this consultation.)

Submissions regarding ILRB 2014:

Closing date for submissions: Friday, 19 December 2014.

Email submissions are to be done online at:{34029467-07BE-46D9-AA9E-86DAC3715DFF}

Address for written submissions:

Corporations and Scheme Unit
Financial System and Services Division
The Treasury
Langton Crescent

 For enquiries call Peter Levy at The Treasury on (02) 6263 3976.

Further posts on this site:

Further posts will be made on this blog site in the coming days with details of some of the proposed changes to corporate insolvency laws.



Jul 172014

Is there evidence that Australia’s external administration regime causes otherwise viable businesses to fail and, if so, what could be done to address this?

This is the question being asked about external administrations in the Interim Report of the Financial System Inquiry (FSI) (July 2014). The FSI says it would value views on the costs, benefits and trade-offs of the following policy options or other alternatives:

  • No change to current arrangements.
  • Implement the 2012 proposals to reduce the complexity and cost of external administration for SMEs. [See below for details of these proposals.]

The brief section of the FSI’s report dealing with external administration may be viewed HERE.  (The full report in pdf format is available HERE.)

David Murray

David Murray, FSI chairman. Artwork from

US Chapter 11 regime?

Adoption by Australia of a US Chapter 11 style form of external administration could still be an option, although the FSI has already given it the thumbs down, as this extract from its interim report shows:

“The Inquiry considers adopting such a regime would be costly and could leave control in the hands of those who are often the cause of a company’s financial distress. Capital would be maintained in a business that is likely to fail, which would restrict or defer the capital from being channelled to more viable and productive enterprises. Adopting such a regime would also create more uncertainty for creditors by limiting their rights. The Inquiry notes that Chapter 11 has rarely enabled businesses to continue as going concerns in the long term. There is little empirical evidence that Australia’s voluntary administration process is causing otherwise viable businesses to fail. The Inquiry would like stakeholders to provide any empirical evidence that supports that view.”

Second round of submissions to FSI

Submissions in response to the Interim Report are due by 26 August 2014. Submissions can be lodged online using the Financial System Inquiry special facility,  or may be lodged by email or post: or Financial System Inquiry,  GPO Box 89,  Sydney NSW 2001.

Insolvency reform proposals of 2012

The 2012 insolvency reform proposals to which the FSI specifically refers in its request for second round submissions concern:

  1. Registration and discipline of insolvency practitioners (See note 1 at end of post for more information).
  2. Specific rules relating to external administrations (note 2).
  3. Regulator powers and miscellaneous amendments (note 3).

The Explanatory Material issued with the Insolvency Law Reform Bill  on 19 December 2012 can be viewed HERE.

“Thought leadership”

The Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association (ARITA) (previously known as the Insolvency Practitioners Association) says it has embarked on “a major project to drive thought leadership around our insolvency regime”.  It is asking insolvency practitioners who want to make a submission to FSI to work with the professional association:

“ARITA has embarked on a major project to drive thought leadership around our insolvency regime.  Along with some of ARITA’s excellent previous work, significant new work has already been completed and ARITA members will soon be asked for comment on key aspects of our policy positions. This work is, obviously, well timed to support the FSI request for submissions. ARITA will actively work to represent the views of its membership and the profession to the FSI. We would urge all members and their firms to work with ARITA on providing strong and consistent representation to the FSI. If you or your firm is looking at making its own submission, please let ARITA know so that we can collaborate with you.”  ARITA Press Release 15/7/2014

NOTES re Proposals in December 2012 Insolvency Reform Bill:

Note 1: Registration and discipline of insolvency practitioners

Common rules regarding:   the physical registers of insolvency practitioners;  registration and disciplinary Committees.

Note 2: Specific rules relating to external administrations

Common rules regarding: •

  • Remuneration and other benefits received by the insolvency  practitioner;
  • The handling of administration or estate funds;
  • The provision of information by insolvency practitioners during an external administration or bankruptcy;
  • The meetings of creditors during an external administration or bankruptcy;
  • Committee of inspection formed as part of an external administration or bankruptcy; and
  • The external review of the administration of an estate or insolvency.

Note 3, part (a): Regulator powers and miscellaneous amendments

Provide ASIC with further powers to assist it in its oversight of the regulation of registered liquidators. In particular, the Bill amends the ASIC Act to:

  • enable ASIC to require the provision of information and books as part of an ASIC proactive surveillance program;
  • enable ASIC to provide administration information to a person with a material interest in the information; and
  • improve the transparency of ASIC oversight of the corporate insolvency industry.

Note 3, part (b): Regulator powers and miscellaneous amendments

Amend the Bankruptcy Act to enable ITSA to provide information relevant to the administration of the corporate law to ASIC.

Note 3, part (c): Regulator powers and miscellaneous amendments

A range of miscellaneous amendments, including:

  • amending the Acts to strengthen the penalties for breach of a bankrupt’s or directors’ obligations to provide a report as to affairs (RATA), or the books of the company, to an insolvency practitioner;
  • amend the Corporations Act to provide a process for the automatic disqualification of directors that have failed to provide a RATA, or the books of the company, to a registered liquidator until they have complied with those obligations; and
  • amend the Acts to enable the assignment of an insolvency practitioner’s statutory rights of actions.

Insolvency Services Standard for public accountants to be strengthened

 Checklists and guides, Corporate Insolvency, Ethics, Insolvency practices, Regulation, Standards  Comments Off on Insolvency Services Standard for public accountants to be strengthened
May 282014

Australia’s Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards Board (ASESB) is revising the professional standard that governs accountants in public practice who perform insolvency services.

APESB logo

On 21 May 2014 ASESB issued an exposure draft of the proposed revisions. It is seeking feedback from insolvency accountants and “other stakeholders” by 4 July 2014.

Chairman of ASESB, Stuart Black, says

“The proposed new requirements to (the professional standard) APES 330 will further strengthen the professional requirements applicable to liquidators and administrators and provide a reference for creditors, regulators and other stakeholders to evaluate and monitor practitioner conduct”

The Media Release states that:

“APESB sets the code of ethics and professional standards by which members of Australia’s three major professional accounting bodies (CPA Australia, the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and the Institute of Public Accountants) are required to abide.”

Overview of the proposed changes

The exposure draft  contains the following list of “significant revisions” to the existing APES 330:

  • Revision or addition of the following definitions: Administration, Appointment, Approving Body, Contingent Fee, Controller, Firm, Independence, Insolvency Services, Insolvent Debtor, Member, Member in Public Practice, Professional Activity, Professional Bodies, Professional Services, Professional Standards, Referring Entity, and Related Entity;
  • Removal of the defined terms: Associated Entity, Controlled Entity, and Witness Report;
  • Extending the scope of the standard to include members’ voluntary liquidations with the exception of having to comply with the Independence requirements of the standard;
  • Introduction of a requirement to disclose the source of a referral where the Appointment follows a specific referral;
  • Introduction of a requirement to declare in the DIRRI that no information or advice, beyond that outlined in the DIRRI, was provided;
  • Use of the term “believing” to clarify that it is the Member in Public Practice’s reasons for believing that the Pre-appointment Advice provided or the relationship disclosed does not result in a conflict of interest or duty;
  • Extension of the prohibition on providing Pre-appointment Advice to both an insolvent Entity and its directors; to include an Insolvent Debtor and any corporate Entity associated with that individual;
  • New guidance to encourage disclosure of relationships with Associates of the insolvent Entity that were more than two years prior to the Appointment;
  • Amendment of the current prohibition of consenting to an Appointment where prior business dealings were held to exclude immaterial dealings, or those business dealings that occurred more than two years prior to the Appointment;
  • Additional guidance on what is considered a material business relationship;
  • A new requirement to provide the basis of fee calculations and where relevant the scale
  • Mandating that where fee estimates are provided that these be provided in writing with explanations of the variables that may affect the estimated fee;

  • An obligation on the Member in Public Practice to provide details of Expenses that may be charged from the Administration and the basis of how the Expenses will be charged and recovered by the Firm;

  • Prohibition of Members in Public Practice claiming any pre-appointment disbursements as an Expense;

  • Requirement for consistency between fees charged and those sought for prospective fee approval;
  • The scale of rates used to calculate prospective fees must be that approved by the Approving Body
  •  Where a Member in Public Practice accepts an Appointment with another Member, all Members are equally responsible for all decisions on the Appointment; 

  • Payments received for the costs of an Administration from third parties must be disclosed to the Approving Body and approved (other than in an Appointment as a Controller);
  •  Detailed requirements and guidance on Expert Witness obligations has been replaced by referring Members in Public Practice to APES 215 Forensic Accounting Services; and
  •  New requirements for a Member in Public Practice to use appropriate procedures to ensure statutory timeframes are met in a timely manner.


Deadline for comments


The deadline for stakeholder comments is 4 July 2014. APESB says it welcomes comments from respondents on any matters in the exposure draft (ED 01/14).

Comments should be addressed to:
The Chairman, Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board Limited
Level 7, 600 Bourke Street, MELBOURNE, VIC, 3000.

A copy of each submission will be placed on public record on the APESB website.


Sources and Links

APESB Media Release 21 May 2014

APESB At A Glance, APES 330 Insolvency Services ED, May 2014

Proposed Standard: apes 330 Insolvency Services


The Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association (ARITA) also has an extensive Code of Professional Practice.  That governs members of ARITA, but has also been accepted by some judges in hearings concerning misconduct as a guide to the professional standards expected of all insolvency practitioners.  Accordingly, the changes by the accounting bodies to APES 330 may not make much real difference to practice standards. But of course the accounting bodies must have their own rules in place.


Jan 242014

A Federal Government report on compliance by insolvency practitioners who work in the field of personal bankruptcy and insolvency, and are governed under the Bankruptcy Act 1966, was released on 16 January 2014. The 29 page report, published by Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA), is titled

“Personal insolvency practitioners compliance report 2012-13”.

The phrase “personal insolvency practitioners” refers to Registered Trustees in Bankruptcy and Registered Debt Agreement Administrators.

A list of the CONTENTS is published below. For a copy of the report (PDF) CLICK HERE.



Sep 182013

In continuing to develop its Code of Professional Practice, the Insolvency Practitioners Association of Australia (IPAA) released a draft third edition on 6 September 2013.

The Code sets guidelines for the behaviour and practices of trustees appointed under the Bankruptcy Act and liquidators and other types of external administrators appointed under the Corporations Act.

The draft is open for comment until 27 September 2013, and the IPAA hopes that the new version will take effect from 1 January 2014.

Those invited by the IPAA to comment are “members, regulators, government agencies and other stakeholders” – which presumably includes financiers, creditors, insolvent debtors, company directors and shareholders. In fact, the IPAA’s announcement is headed “public consultation“.

The full text of the IPAA’s Explanatory Memorandum – which provides “an explanation of the major changes that have been made to the Code in the development of the third edition” – is reproduced below.


From: Kim Arnold (IPAA)
Date: 6 September 2013
Subject: Explanatory Memorandum Draft Third edition of the Code 


This document summarises the more significant changes to the Code and discusses the reasons for the changes. It also addresses some of the concerns arising out of the first round of consultation with the IPA’s Insolvency Specialist Working Group (ISWG), National Board and State Committees.  

Disclosure of referrers (6.6)

A requirement has been added to the Code requiring a Practitioner to disclose the source of a referral in the DIRRI where the appointment follows a specific referral.  

During the first round of consultation, concerns were raised about this new requirement, specifically around commercial sensitivity of this information and the impact this may have on the reputation of the referral source. 

It is our view that the disclosure of the referral source of an appointment is important for the following reasons: 

• Creditors have a right to know how the appointment came about and part of that process is who referred the appointment maker (directors, debtor) to the practitioner; 

• It may be relevant to creditors if the referral source is subsequently engaged to provide services in the administration and subsequently paid by the administration; 

• We have received numerous complaints about the practices of a number of referral agencies, however as their personnel are not members of the IPA (nor registered liquidators or registered trustees) we are unable to take any action in respect of these complaints. The disclosure of the referral source may assist the IPA in managing this industry issue. 

Disclosure of remuneration pre-appointment (6.13) 

A section has been added to the Code requiring Practitioners to provide certain information about remuneration to directors/debtor prior to a director/debtor appointment (not court or controller appointments). This is not a requirement to provide a quote or estimate, but if a quote or estimate is provided, it will need to be in writing. 

We have received a number of complaints from directors stating that they were told one thing by a Practitioner prior to the appointment and the actual fees sought/drawn in the administration were completely different. As there is usually no documentary evidence regarding what was told to the director prior to the appointment, it is difficult for the Practitioner to be able to verify what information was provided. By providing information about remuneration in writing to the directors/debtor, the Practitioner will receive protection from misinterpretation and will be able to provide evidence of the information provided in the event of a subsequent complaint. 

We have also received colloquial evidence from a practitioner that some practitioners are providing directors/debtors will very low fixed fee estimates in order to obtain appointments and subsequently charging remuneration at hourly rates and having that approved by creditors. 

Practitioners will also be required to disclose any estimates or quotes provided to directors/debtors prior to appointment in the initial remuneration advice sent to creditors. 

We have developed a template for use by Practitioners at 23.2.3 

Disclosure of basis of and actual disbursements (15.3.2) 

Although creditors do not have the right to approve disbursements, they do have the right to understand on what basis disbursements are recovered and the quantum of disbursements paid to the Practitioner’s firm. 

To provide greater clarity to creditors on the basis on which internal disbursements (eg internal non-professional fee expenses) are recovered , Practitioners will be required to disclose the basis in the initial advice to creditors regarding remuneration. This requirement has been built into the template at 23.2.1. 

To assist creditors with understanding what disbursements have actually been paid to the Practitioner, the following information must now be included in the remuneration approval report: 

• general information on the different classes of disbursements; 

• a declaration that the disbursements were necessary and proper; 

• in relation to disbursements paid to the Firm, whether directly or in reimbursement of a payment to a third party: 

– who the disbursement was paid to; 

– what the disbursement was for; 

– the quantity and rate (only for internal disbursements); and 

– the amount paid; and 

• details of the basis of any internal disbursements that will be charged to the Administration in the future (e.g. Page rate for photocopying done internally). 

Note that payments direct to third parties by the Administration only need to be clearly included in the receipts and payments. 

These requirements have been built into the report template at 23.2.2. 

Payment of remuneration by secured creditors in non-controller appointments (15.5.5) 

The Code now makes clear that any payments by secured creditors for the realisation of secured assets, in any appointments other than controller appointments, must be disclosed to the approving body and approved in the same way as other remuneration. 

In our view, this is a codification of the law. 

Section 449E in respect of VA is clear that an administrator is only entitled to remuneration as is determined by agreement with the COI, resolution of creditors or the Court. 

Similarly, section 473 for liquidators states that the liquidator is entitled to receive such remuneration as is determined by agreement between the liquidator and COI, resolution of creditors or the Court. 

In a bankruptcy, remuneration is fixed under section 162 by resolution of creditors or by the COI. A trustee may also make an application to the Inspector General. Under s 165, a trustee is not able to make an arrangement for receiving from any person any remuneration beyond the remuneration fixed in accordance with the Act. 

In our view, it is clear that there is a statutory requirement for proper approval to be obtained to draw any remuneration in any such appointments. 

There was resistance to this change to the Code in the first round of consultation. It has been suggested that the Practitioner would be acting as the agent of the secured creditor and thus acting outside the VA/liquidation/bankruptcy. In our view, acting as agent of the secured creditor would be a conflict that would prevent the continuation of the underlying insolvency appointment. ASIC has similar concerns regarding conflict issues. 

Furthermore, we envisage that the administrator/liquidator/trustee would be using the ABN, GST registration and insurance coverage of the underlying administration. 

The proper view, in our opinion, is that the VA/liquidator/trustee is selling those assets in their role as VA/liquidator/trustee and remitting the proceeds to the secured creditor (subject to any prior ranking creditor, for example section 561 in a liquidation). The VA/liquidator/trustee may withhold sufficient funds to meet the cost of selling those assets, but that money cannot actually be drawn as remuneration until approval is obtained from the approving body. 

Identity of directors (20.2) 

There is a new requirement in the Code for Practitioners to take appropriate steps to satisfy themselves of the identity of directors or a debtor prior to accepting an appointment where the appointment is being made by the directors or a debtor. 

The requirement is to take appropriate steps, which means that the Practitioner should use professional judgement to determine what is appropriate in the circumstances. 

This requirement is consistent with AFSA’s (previously ITSA) requirement to verify identity when lodging a debtor’s petition. 

Joint appointments (20.3) 

General guidance has been added to the Code stating that joint and several appointments: 

• should be taken with the knowledge that all Appointees are equally responsible for all decisions made on joint and several appointments, and

• the firm should have in place policies and procedures to ensure that all appointees are knowledgeable about the conduct of the administration, even if one appointee is leading the conduct of the administration. 

This is general guidance following a spate of disciplinary action against co-appointees that were not the lead appointee on the administration.


For the purpose of facilitating comment the IPAA has made this Explanatory Memorandum and the following documents publicly available free of charge from its website:

To see the notice issued by the IPAA click HERE.

A gift of new insolvency legislation

 Corporate Insolvency, Insolvency Law, Personal Bankruptcy, Regulation  Comments Off on A gift of new insolvency legislation
Jan 212013

Proposals for significant changes to Australia’s insolvency laws slipped out of the Government pipeline and into the public arena for comment just prior to Christmas.

According to the Government’s media release (19/12/2012):

  • the proposed laws aim at “reforming and modernising the way insolvency professionals are registered, disciplined and regulated”;
  • they will “improve regulatory oversight of the insolvency profession, improve value for money for recipients of insolvency services, and enhance creditor rights across all forms of insolvency administration (and in particular) provide greater powers for creditors to remove practitioners and curb excessive fees, and therefore deliver better outcomes for creditors, many of whom are small businesses”;
  • the laws are “an important element (in) the alignment of personal and corporate insolvency regulation in a number of key areas (and) seek to deliver greater consistency and less complexity for employees, creditors and practitioners, who all need to interact in the event of a personal or corporate insolvency”;
  • they show the Government is committed to “restoring the community’s confidence in the effective regulation, high professional standards, transparency and accountability of the insolvency profession following recent high profile cases of misconduct by corporate insolvency practitioners”.

The proposed laws are contained in the Insolvency Law Reform Bill 2012.

Interested parties have until 8 March 2013 to make a submission concerning the Bill.

The Exposure Draft of the Bill and the Explanatory Material are available for download from the webpage at

The address for submissions is also given at that webpage.

To see the full media release by the Government  release click HERE.

A second tranche of the Bill – with consequential amendments to corporate and personal insolvency legislation as a result of the reforms, as well as transitional measures – is expected to be released soon.

………………………………………….. END ……………………………………..

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 


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

Apr 202012

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

Bank of Western Australia Limited v   Srinivasan [2012] FMCA 177 (12 March 2012) BANKRUPTCY – Creditors   petition – ground of opposition challenging authority of Federal Magistrate –   interim applications for disqualification, transfer to Federal Court, or   adjournment – interim applications refused – ground of opposition rejected –   sequestration order made.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW – Creation of Federal Magistrates Court   – appointment of Federal Magistrates – whether invalid under Chapter III of   the Constitution   by reason of exclusion from judges’ pensions

Warren Mckeon Dickson Pty Ltd v Maytom [2012] FMCA 160 (6 March 2012) BANKRUPTCY – Contested creditor’s petition – grounds of opposition – consideration of whether any reason existed for the Court to defer making or refrain from making a sequestration order

Carlamax Properties Pty Ltd v Phontos [2012] FMCA 125 (28 February 2012) BANKRUPTCY – Creditor’s petition – whether grounds for an adjournment – whether the creditor was a secured creditor – whether for other sufficient cause a sequestration order ought not to be made

Thanks Bob – 4 time bankrupt, I understand – The Council Of The New South Wales Bar Association v Archer [2012] FMCA 81 (13 February 2012) BANKRUPTCY – Contested Creditor’s Petition – question of effectiveness of service of Bankruptcy Notice by email pursuant to regulation 16.01(1)(e).

An older decision, but interesting in the consideration given to amendment of creditors petition – Napiat Pty Ltd v Salfinger; In the Matter of Salfinger (No 3) [2011] FCA 1279 (8 November 2011)


Bankruptcy Act – following Date of Bankruptcy

Salfinger v Napiat Pty Ltd [2012] FCA 247 (19 March 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – security for respondent’s costs of appeal – appeal against sequestration order pursuant to which appellant/bankrupt made bankrupt – where appellant resident out of the jurisdiction – where no statement of affairs filed by appellant – whether security for costs should be ordered

Another instance where the value of the debt upon which a Sequestration Order was based will be costs of the administration – Charan v Gleeson [2012] FCA 236 (16 March 2012) BANKRUPTCY – appeal against Federal Magistrate’s decision that transfer of property from son to his parents was void against the Trustee – held that Federal Magistrate entitled to reasonably infer from circumstances that the son was or was about to become insolvent and that the main purpose of the transfer was to defeat creditors – insufficient evidence from parents to rebut presumption of advancement or rely on defence of an equity of exoneration PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – whether it was appropriate for affidavit evidence of Trustee to be taken without his being available for cross-examination – reasonable explanation for why Trustee was unavailable – held that appellate courts must exercise caution in interfering with discretionary exercises of a primary judge’s discretionary rulings on matters of practice and procedure

This Application & decision follows a number of hearings in a range of Court, largely brought by the bankrupt (Liprini) against the Trustee of his estate – the decision sets out the requirements for bringing vexatious proceedings – note that the Orders only apply in NSW (& only to NSW Courts?) & the Trustee’s costs are to be paid by the bankrupt (not payable from the Estate)  Pascoe v Liprini [2011] NSWSC 1484 (5 December 2011) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – vexatious proceedings – whether proceedings are vexatious – meaning of “vexatious” – whether proceedings were conducted frequently – meaning of “frequently”

Commonwealth Bank of Australia v Tarrant & Hawkins [2012] NSWSC 165 (5 March 2012) PROCEDURE – possession proceedings – Defendant fails to comply with orders for filing of pleadings and evidence – Defendant subsequently made bankrupt – stay sought by Defendant until appeal against sequestration order determined – no utility in stay – Plaintiff seeks summary judgment – final hearing directed

Hill and The Inspector-General in Bankruptcy [2012] AATA 69 (8 February 2012) BANKRUPTCY – power of trustee to object to bankrupt’s discharge before usual period – Trustee raised special and ordinary grounds of objection under s 149D – Decision under review affirmed

Capital Finance Australia Limited v Brookfield [2012] FMCA 165 (7 March 2012) BANKRUPTCY – Application to set aside sequestration and other orders made in the absence of the debtor

Young, in the matter of Macryannis (No 2) [2012] FCA 175 (2 March 2012) COSTS – principles relevant to an award of costs – Court has unfettered discretion – Trustee to be treated as an ordinary litigant – consideration given to what would be just in the circumstances

Thanks for this one Bob –  Young, In the matter of Macryannis [2011] FCA 1272 (8 November 2011) BANKRUPTCY – application under s 179 Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) for enquiry into Trustee’s conduct in administering deceased estate – administration under Part XI Bankruptcy Act– Trustee appointed by Court order – delay in distributing assets – application for enquiry brought by creditor of estate – whether creditor has standing to bring application – whether issues identified by creditor warrant an enquiry being ordered – consideration of principles relevant to exercise of Court’s discretion under s 179 – consideration of principles governing the duties of trustees in bankruptcy – Court has high degree of supervision and control over trustees’ conduct – powers of Inspector-General in Bankruptcy – reasons referred to Inspector-General for consideration BANKRUPTCY – administration under Part XI Bankruptcy Act – whether Trustee entitled to deal with non-divisible assets as part of administration – reference to bankrupt’s assets or estate to be read as reference to whole of deceased person’s property – Trustee required to administer whole of estate which includes non-divisible assets BANKRUPTCY – application by Trustee to have remuneration fixed – whether Trustee entitled to be remunerated for dealing with exempt assets – consideration of mechanism by which remuneration to be calculated – consideration of s 162(4) Bankruptcy Act and reg 8.08 Bankruptcy Regulations and relevant authorities – whether Trustee entitled to costs, charges and expenses of administration – remuneration and any costs, charges and expenses to be drawn from divisible assets

Dyason v Pascoe [2012] FMCA 146 (27 February 2012) BANKRUPTCY – Removal of trustee – failure to provide particulars of complaints – application summarily dismissed for default

Sheikholeslami v Tolcher (No 2) [2012] FCA 199 (9 March 2012) COSTS – apportionment

Sheikholeslami v Tolcher [2011] FCA 1050 (9 September 2011) BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY – whether certain real property part of bankrupt’s divisible property – whether bankrupt held property on trust for another at the commencement of her bankruptcy TRUSTS AND TRUSTEES – whether an express trust exists – informal family arrangement between siblings in respect of the ownership of real property EQUITY – defence of unclean hands – whether applicant should be denied equitable relief in circumstances where notice under s 26A of the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act required but not given

Sutherland as Trustee of the Bankrupt Estate of Leayr v Leayr [2012] FMCA 128 (20 February 2012) BANKRUPTCY – Application by trustee for an order that bankrupt vacate property – consent of bankrupt

Samootin v Official Trustee in Bankruptcy [2012] FCA 64 (10 February 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDUREFederal Court Rules 2001 (Cth) – r 30.01 – Application for separate trials – Discretion to order separate hearing – Separate questions – Whether preliminary question of whether application made within time should be heard separately from other questions – Factors affecting discretion to order separate hearing

Halsted (Bankrupt) v The Official Trustee in Bankruptcy, in the matter of Halsted (Bankrupt) (No 2) [2012] FCA 66 (9 February 2012) COSTS – loan contract – valid equitable charge in favour of respondent – application of contra proferentum rule – order for costs – whether applicant should be ordered to pay costs on a party and party basis or indemnity basis – construction of contractual arrangement – clause insufficiently explicit to require costs be paid on indemnity basis COSTS – imprudent or unreasonable refusal of an offer of compromise by applicant – whether indemnity costs to be ordered – indemnity costs ordered to be paid from date of expiry of reasonable offer of compromise

                        Halsted (Bankrupt) v The Official Trustee in Bankruptcy, in the matter of Halsted (Bankrupt) [2011] FCA 1242 (17 October 2011) BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY – settlement proceeds – whether settlement proceeds from personal injury claim are property of the bankrupt – proceeds are not property of bankrupt EQUITY – equitable charges – whether intention to create equitable charge over settlement proceeds in favour of the third respondent – where third respondent had entered into two loans with bankrupt – where loans included inevocable instruction not to pay money to bankrupt until loan debt had been paid out of settlement proceeds – whether there was intention to keep settlement proceeds separate and loan would be paid out of those separate funds – equitable charge created over settlement proceeds in favour of third respondent

Holden v Van Houten [2012] FCA 4 (13 January 2012) BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY – Bankruptcy annulled – Trustee’s entitlement to costs, expenses and remuneration

This decision was in last month, but I include it again because of the very useful observation proffered by one the recipients – “In respect of the above case and on an associated tack, I have always “preached” that if you as the trustee can not find anything to decline acceding to the bankrupt’s application to leave Australia you notify creditors of your decision and inform them that if they are not happy with your decision to let the bankrupt go, they can seek a review of your decision by the Court.” –  Good to see these decisions still go back to the Court to provide guidance to Trustees = Pearce (Trustee) v Mulhern (Bankrupt) (No 4) [2012] FCA 54 (2 February 2012) BANKRUPTCY – application for return of passport – whether just and equitable to do so – where respondent bankrupt had complied with obligations under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth)

Interesting series of decisions in relation to the one estate Pearce (Trustee) v Mulhern (Bankrupt) (No 4) [2012] FCA 54 (2 February 2012) BANKRUPTCY – application for return of passport – whether just and equitable to do so – where respondent bankrupt had complied with obligations under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth)

Pearce (Trustee) v Mulhern (Bankrupt) (No 3) [2012] FCA 16 (16 January 2012) BANKRUPTCY – warrant for arrest – warrant executed – order for release from custody after public examination

Pearce (Trustee) v Mulhern (Bankrupt) (No 2) [2012] FCA 7 (12 January 2012) BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY – arrest warrant – failure to attend public examination – use of an alias – flight risk

Pearce (Trustee) v Mulhern (Bankrupt) [2011] FCA 930 (9 August 2011) BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY – arrest warrant – whether to issue – where respondent bankrupt had not appeared for public examination – where it appeared respondent had not complied with obligations of a bankrupt under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) – arrest warrant issued


Bankruptcy Act – Other Schemes under the Act                                        

Osborne v Gangemi (No 3) [2012] FCA 188 (6 March 2012) COSTS – application to set aside a Personal Insolvency Agreement – whether allegations were made against Trustees personally sufficient to justify a costs order in favour of Trustees where Trustees were unsuccessful in their opposition to the application

Osborne v Gangemi (No 2) [2011] FCA 1278 (4 November 2011)

Osborne v Gangemi [2011] FCA 1252 (4 November 2011) BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCYSection 222(1) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) – whether the Court should set aside Personal Insolvency Agreement on grounds of unreasonableness or because it is not calculated to benefit the interests of creditors generally – amount available for distribution trivial or negligible when compared to the debtor’s total debts – debtor’s affairs call for further investigation – closeness of the vote of creditors a relevant factor – Personal Insolvency Agreement set aside and sequestration order made

It’s a long time since I can remember seeing a Part X decision, so two is just great – Gore v Prentice (Trustee), in the matter of the Personal Insolvency Agreement of Gore [2012] FCA 104 (3 January 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – interlocutory injunctions – whether serious question to be tried – where applicant alleged second respondent was not or appeared not to be impartial – where second respondent was partner of liquidator of a company of which the applicant was a director – no serious question to be tried – where balance of convenience favoured the respondent – interlocutory application dismissed


  Corporations – pre-appointment

Interesting matter, but did not find the result too surprising – Surdex Steel Pty Ltd v GB Manufacturing Pty Ltd [2012] VSC 90 (13 March 2012) CORPORATIONS – Winding up application filed before time for compliance with statutory demand had expired – Corporations Act 2001, s 459C(2)(a), s 459F(2)(a)(ii) – Application dismissed

Dynamics Co Pty Limited v G and M Nicholas Pty Limited [2012] NSWSC 206 (9 March 2012) CORPORATIONS – Winding up – Statutory demand – Costs of application to set aside statutory demand where orders were made by consent -Whether service of statutory demand was reasonable

GEORGIOU BUILDING PTY LTD -v- PERRINEPOD PTY LTD [2012] WASC 72 (1 March 2012) Winding up application – Insolvency – Adjudication under Construction Contracts Act 2004 (WA) – Whether winding up application is an abuse of process – Enforcement of adjudication – Whether creditor is a judgment creditor under s 457P Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)

Mintoo Property Developers Pty Ltd v Multiboard Australia Pty Ltd [2012] VSC 61 (29 February 2012) CORPORATIONS – Setting aside a statutory demand – Genuine dispute about the existence of debt – Offsetting claim – Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), s 459G

Armadale Retail Investments Ptd Ltd & Ors v Owenlaw Mortgage Managers Ltd [2012] VSC 9 (25 January 2012) CORPORATIONS — Appeal against decision of an Associate Justice — Rehearing de novo on the merits — Statutory demand— When statutory demand served — Service by post — Whether the deemed service provisions in the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) and Evidence Act 2008 (Vic) rebutted by evidence — Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) ss 109X, 459G, Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) s 29, Evidence Act 2008 (Vic) s 160

In The Matter of HEZ Pty Limited (Receivers and Managers Appointed) ACN 084 052 595In The Matter of HEZ Nominees Pty Limited (Receivers and Managers Appointed) ACN 100 786 187 [2012] NSWSC 26 (31 January 2012) CORPORATIONS –Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) s 459A winding up in insolvency – no issue of principle

Deputy Commissioner of Taxation v National Skin Institute (Aust) Pty Ltd [2012] FCAFC 2 (2 February 2012) CORPORATIONS – winding up application – affidavit in support – verification that debt still due and payable – a formal affirmation – formal proof not required

Norman, in the matter of Forest Enterprises Australia Limited (Subject to Deed of Company Arrangement) (Receivers & Managers Appointed) v FEA Plantations Limited (Subject to Deed of Company Arrangement) (Receivers Appointed) (No 2) [2011] FCAFC 169 (23 December 2011)

Northside Deli Pty Limited, in the matter of Deputy Commissioner of Taxation v Deputy Commissioner of Taxation [2011] FCA 1474 (12 December 2011) CORPORATIONS – application for stay of winding-up orders – where applicant asserted serious and fundamental error in taxation assessments forming basis of statutory demand – where applicant expressed intention to apply for review by Administrative Appeals Tribunal – where no evidence of error and no application for review brought – where company not otherwise trading

Lee, in the matter of Hyperbarics Australia Pty Ltd v Hyperbarics Australia Pty Ltd [2011] FCA 1429 (9 December 2011)  CORPORATIONS – application for appointment of provisional liquidator


Corporations – post appointment

McElligott v. Commonwealth Bank of Australia [2012] QCA 61 (20 March 2012) CONVEYANCING – MATTERS ARISING AFTER COMPLETION – OTHER MATTERS – CAVEATS AGAINST DEALINGS – where appellant lodged a registered owner’s caveat against land on behalf of a company in liquidation – where the caveat prevented registration of a transfer of the land and mortgage over the land – where the mortgagee applied for removal of the caveat pursuant to s 127 Land Title Act 1994 (Qld) – where the caveat was based upon alleged fraudulent conduct – where the alleged fraudulent conduct related to persons other than the transferee and mortgagee – whether the primary judge’s discretion under s 127 Land Title Act 1994 (Qld) miscarried in ordering that the caveat be removed PROCEDURE – COURTS AND JUDGES GENERALLY – COURTS – OTHER MATTERS – whether the primary judge erred in refusing to stay an order for removal of a caveat to permit the appellant to add a party to the proceeding APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – APPEAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – QUEENSLAND – POWERS OF COURT – COSTS – where the respondent contends that the appellant advanced the same hopeless position on appeal as at first instance – whether costs should be awarded on the indemnity basis Land Title Act 1994 (Qld), s 127

In the matter of Richard James Porter and David Ian Mansfield. [2012] NSWSC 220 (13 March 2012) CORPORATIONS – Winding up – Replacement of liquidator – Administration – Replacement of administrator

In the matter of Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga in Australia Inc (administrators appointed) Phoenix Lacquers & Paints Pty Limited v Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga in Australia Inc (administrators appointed) & Ors [2012] NSWSC 214 (13 March 2012) CORPORATIONS – Creditors’ meeting – Plaintiff seeks declaration as to validity of resolution to remove and replace joint and several administrators – Plaintiff submitted proof of debt to chairperson of creditors’ meeting- Chairperson admitted debt after recalculating interest at a lower simple interest rate – Debt treated as “a debt the value of which was not established” for the purposes of reg 5.6.23(2)(d) of Corporations Regulations 2001 (Cth) – Whether chairperson’s decision effected by bad faith, mistake as to facts, error of law or error of principle – Whether the declarations sought by the Plaintiff ought to be made

BOSI SECURITY SERVICES LTD -v- PAKWEST PTY LTD (RECEIVER AND MANAGER APPOINTED) [2012] WASC 52 (17 February 2012) Practice and procedure – Whether trial of preliminary issues should be ordered – Turns on its own facts

& the saga continues –  THE BELL GROUP LTD (In Liquidation) -v- WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION [2011] WASC 367 (16 January 2012) Practice and procedure – Case management principles – Application to vary order that two related applications be heard together – High likelihood of appeal of interlocutory proceedings – Proceedings potentially impacted by proceedings in United Kingdom – Turns on own facts

This Decision has me interested for a number of reasons – now we see a Winding-up Order Set Aside!! – Is this very common??  I’ve only ever seen it in relation to a Sequestration Order – Worth a look at to see how a Taxing Officer might review a Bill of Costs – the legislative restrictions impinging on this process are also of interest – Is anyone aware of any instances where these Corporations decisions where referred to in applications to set aside Sequestration Orders? –  Barbo Group Pty Ltd v Investment and Construction Enterprise Pty Ltd [2012] VSC 71 (2 March 2012)

Re AED Oil Limited (admns app’td) (No 2) [2012] VSC 54 (27 February 2012) CORPORATIONS – Administration under Part 5.3A of the Corporations Act 2001 – Application for further extension of time to convene second meeting of creditors pursuant to s 447A(1) of the Act

Algeri; Re Colorado Group Limited (No 2) [2012] VSC 22 (17 February 2012) CORPORATIONS – Further extension of time to convene second meeting of creditors – ss 439A(6), 447A(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)

In the matter of Norman Nominees Pty Ltd (in liq) & Ors v Zervos Pty Ltd & Ors (No 2) [2012] QSC 18 (16 February 2012) Costs – discretionary factors – turns on own facts

 Amaca Pty Limited (under NSW administered winding up) & Ors v Messrs A G McGrath & C J Honey (as liquidators of the HIH Group of Companies) & Anor [2012] NSWSC 176 (5 March 2012) CORPORATIONS – Winding up – Insolvency – Proceeds of contract of reinsurance – Application for orders under Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) s 562A(4) – Whether “just and equitable” to make orders sought by the Plaintiffs

Australian Receivables Ltd v Tekitu Pty Ltd (Subject to Deed of Company Arrangement) (Deed Administrators Appointed) & ors [2012] NSWSC 170 (5 March 2012) EQUITY – “fruits of the action” lien – prior to commencement of hearing in main proceedings solicitor acted for company defending a claim and prosecuting a cross-claim – judgment in favour of the company on the cross-claim – HELD – lien arose in favour of the solicitor over moneys recovered in the litigation by reference to the cross-claim – EQUITY – trust over litigation proceeds claimed – no question of principle – HELD – no trust was created – CORPORATIONS – deed of company arrangement – charges registrable under s 262(1) Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) – whether a “fruits of the action” lien is registrable – whether equitable charge created by deed over money to be recovered by company in litigation is registrable – HELD – “fruits of the action” not registrable under s 262(1) as it arises by operation of law and is exempt under s 262(2) – express charge over money claimed in litigation registrable as a book debt insofar as secured claim was for reimbursement of expenses incurred in ordinary course of business – CORPORATIONS – deed of company arrangement – competing priorities between a fixed charge and an administrator’s statutory and/or equitable lien – circumstances in which an equitable lien may arise in favour of the administrator and take priority over a fixed charge – AGENCY – claim that a grant of irrevocable authority to current solicitor to pay former solicitor created a secured interest in favour of former solicitor – HELD – no such secured interest – CONTRACT – whether personal obligation of directors of company to pay solicitors’ costs – created by either the retainer or the deed – HELD – no personal obligation created by deed, but personal obligation arose from joint retainer under which the directors were joint and severally liable with the company for costs of the proceedings

Sutherland v Ghougassian & Ors [2012] NSWSC 125 (29 February 2012) MORTGAGE – account of moneys secured by mortgage – no question of principle

Daniel Ivan Cvitanovic in his capacity as liquidator of Master Education Services Pty Ltd (in liquidation) [2012] NSWSC 205 (17 February 2012) CORPORATIONS – Insolvency – Liquidation – Application by liquidator to Court under s 511 of Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)

In the matter of Ursidae Pty Ltd formerly trading as Powerfab Engineering (in liquidation) -v- Commissioner of Taxation [2012] NSWSC 172 (13 February 2012) CORPORATIONS – application by company and its liquidator under s 588FF of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to recover tax paid as voidable transactions – Commissioner admits liability and seeks indemnity against directors under s 588FGA(2)

Deputy Commissioner of Taxation v West Apartments Pty Ltd (in liq) [2012] FCA 222 (9 March 2012) CORPORATIONS – resignation of liquidator – appointment of liquidator by the Court

Crisp, in the matter of ACN 069 895 585 Pty Ltd (in liq) v ACN 069 859 585 Pty Ltd (in liq) [2012] FCA 148 (5 March 2012) PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Discovery – Privilege – Whether claim of privilege waived by making of claims in proceeding – Whether maintenance of privilege inconsistent with those claims – Whether contents of documents necessarily laid open for scrutiny by those claims

Burrup Fertilisers Pty Ltd (Receivers and Managers Appointed) v Oswal (No 5) [2012] FCA 191 (6 March 2012) COSTS – security for costs – whether springing order for dismissal on non-compliance

Duties of Provisional Liquidators set out by Court – is this usual? –  Griffin Energy Group Pty Ltd v Griffin Windfarm Holdings Pty Ltd, in the matter of Griffin Energy Group Pty Ltd (subject to Deed of Company Arrangement) [2012] FCA 197 (2 March 2012) CORPORATIONS – appointment of provisional liquidators – circumstances in which usual undertaking as to damages not required

White v Norman; In the Matter of Forest Enterprises Australia Limited (Receivers and Managers Appointed) (in Administration) (No 2) [2012] FCA 163 (2 March 2012) CORPORATIONS ACT – where plaintiff successful on appeal from decision of receivers under s 1321 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) – form of orders – whether order for payment of disputed amount appropriate in context of legislative scheme – whether the court has power to award interest under s 1321 – whether the court has power to award interest under s 51A of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth). Held: The proceeding be dismissed. The appropriate orders are declarations and an order modifying the receivers’ decision. No power to award interest under s 1321 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) or s 51A of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth)
COSTS – where plaintiff claimed indemnity costs on basis that proceeding concerned proper administration of a fund – consideration of appropriate costs order in appeal under s 1321 – whether proceeding adversarial in nature. Held: The proceeding was of an adversarial nature and costs should be assessed on a party and party basis

Deputy Commissioner of Taxation v 24 x 7 Direct Pty Ltd (No 2) [2012] FCA 157 (1 March 2012)

From CPA Insolvency Group – highlighted for consideration of ‘creditor’ and earlier cases on point – good review of earlier decisions –  BE  Australia WD Pty Ltd (subject to a Deed of Company Arrangement) v Sutton [2011] NSWCA 414 (20 December 2011) CORPORATIONS – voluntary administration – whether person having unadjudicated claim under s 106 Industrial Relations Act 1996 is a “creditor” bound by a Deed of Company Arrangement – whether Court has power under s 447A(1) Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to vary operation of Pt 5.3A to allow admission of such claim
CORPORATIONS – voluntary administration – definition of “creditor” in Pt 5.3A – whether term has same meaning as defined in s 553 – Brash Holdings v Katile Pty Ltd [1996] 1 VR 24 – whether scheme, purpose and scope of Pt 5.3A require class of claims broader than that of claims under s 553
CORPORATIONS – voluntary administration – definition of “claim” in Pt 5.3A – contingent claim – Community Development Pty Ltd v Engwirda Construction Co [1969] HCA 47; (1969) 120 CLR 455 – requirement of existing obligation
INDUSTRIAL LAW – unfair contracts – status of unadjudicated claim under s 106 Industrial Relations Act – whether “claim” within meaning of s 553 – Majik Markets Pty Ltd v Brake & Service Centre Drummoyne Pty Ltd (1991) 28 NSWLR 443 – Fisher v Madden [2002] NSWCA 28 – Colley v Futurebrand FHA Pty Ltd [2005] NSWCA 223 – whether basis, founded on existing legal right, for asserting a right to participate in the division of the assets of the company – whether legally enforceable right to have Industrial Relations Commission determine application according to law is sufficient – analogy with claim for costs
CORPORATIONS – voluntary administration – power of Court – s 447A – whether Court has power under s 447A(1) Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to vary operation of Pt 5.3A to deem to be a creditor someone who is not a creditor – Re Motor Group Australia Pty Ltd [2005] FCA 985
CORPORATIONS – voluntary administration – power of Court – s 447A – whether limitations imposed by the subject matter, scope and purpose of the statute – whether order falls within objectives within s 435A or other purpose within Pt 5.3A
CORPORATIONS – voluntary administration – power of Court – s 447A – where broad power conferred on court, requirement to exercise judicially – requirement to exercise power to achieve purposes for which it was conferred
CORPORATIONS – voluntary administration – power of Court – s 447A – whether nexus with how Pt 5.3A is to operate
CORPORATIONS – voluntary administration – power of Court – s 447A – Standing – person with unadjudicated claim under s 106 Industrial Relations Act seeking order deeming them to be creditor – whether “any other interested person” – Allatech Pty Ltd v Construction Management Group Pty Ltd [2002] NSWSC 293
APPEAL – right of appeal – jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal – s 101(2)(r)(ii) Supreme Court Act 1970 – whether leave to appeal required – whether appeal involves a matter at issue amounting to $100,000 or more
COSTS – general rule – costs follow the event – whether departure from general rule – where proceedings relate to fund being administered subject to control of court – whether costs should be treated as costs in administration – no reason to depart from general rule

Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Letten (No 17) [2011] FCA 1420 (12 December 2011) CORPORATIONS – unregistered managed investment scheme – receivership – whether claims of trust creditors and investor claimants are “trust creditor claims” for purposes of the Pooling Orders – trustee’s right of indemnity – clear accounts rule – trustee’s duties – duty to get in / secure surplus investor funds – duty to account for income generated and debt funding secured against scheme property – duty to account for distributions to investors – duty to comply with the law

Termicide Pest Control Pty Ltd, in the matter of Granitgard Pty Ltd (in liq) v Albarran [2011] FCA 1410 (9 December 2011) CORPORATIONS – application under s 503 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to remove a liquidator – liquidator voluntarily appointed by insolvent company – insolvent company involved in a transaction that is at least questionable – consideration of ‘cause’ to remove a liquidator – liquidator may be removed if the Court is satisfied that it is in the general interest of the creditors of the insolvent company to do so – liquidator need not have demonstrated unfitness, impropriety or breach of duty HELD – application granted

In the Matter of Sullivans Cove IXL Nominees Pty Ltd; Crawford v de Kantzow (No 2) [2011] TASSC 53 (27 September 2011) Corporations – Winding up – Conduct and incidents of winding up – Applications to court for directions or advice – Costs of applications – Application by liquidator for directions – Dispute between shareholders as to distribution of surplus on winding up – Outcome of dispute depended on the construction of a contract between shareholders – Company not a party to the contract – Whether losing shareholder should pay the costs of the winning shareholder and the liquidator – Whether the company should pay the costs of all parties

In the Matter of Sullivans Cove IXL Nominees Pty Ltd; Crawford v de Kantzow [2011] TASSC 9 (2 March 2011) Corporations Share capital – Shares – Classes of shares and shareholders – Generally – Whether the holders of the “B” class ordinary shares are to receive a distribution from a surplus on winding up – Whether an agreement between shareholders conferred any special privileges, rights or conditions on the “B” class ordinary shares


Agusta Pty Ltd v Provident Capital Ltd [2012] NSWCA 26 (8 March 2012) REAL PROPERTY – conveyancing – voluntary alienation to defraud creditors – transfer of land by judgment debtor – whether intent to defraud creditors by making execution against land impossible – PROCEDURE – judgments and orders – enforcement of judgments and orders – whether writ of execution may be enforced in respect of judgment debt of trustee – EQUITY – trusts and trustees – money judgment against trustee – trustee’s right of indemnity and preferred beneficial interest in trust assets – subrogated position of trust creditors – protection of preferred beneficial interest from destruction by levy of execution

Equuscorp Pty Ltd v Haxton; Equuscorp Pty Ltd v Bassat; Equuscorp Pty Ltd v Cunningham’s Warehouse Sales Pty Ltd [2012] HCA 7 (8 March 2012) Restitution − Restitution of benefits derived from unenforceable or illegal contracts − Recovery of money paid as money had and received − Respondents invested in tax driven blueberry farming schemes − Respondents borrowed funds to pay farm management fees − Each investment a “prescribed interest” under Companies Code of each respondent’s home State (“Code”) − Contrary to s 170(1) of Code, no valid prospectus registered when prescribed interests offered − Farming schemes collapsed − Respondents did not repay loan funds − Loan agreements unenforceable against respondents due to illegality − Whether restitution of loan funds available − Whether failure of consideration − Whether respondents’ retention of loan funds unjust. Personal property − Alienation of personal property − Assignment of choses in action − Assignment of right to restitution − Deed of assignment included assignment of legal right to debts and “all legal and other remedies” − Whether right to restitution capable of assignment − Whether deed of assignment assigned right to restitution. Words and phrases – “bare right of action”, “chose in action”, “failure of consideration”, “legal and other remedies”, “money had and received”, “prescribed interest”, “unjust enrichment”.  http://ww

Sounds interesting –  Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited v Konza [2012] FCA 196 (9 March 2012) TAXATION – notices to furnish information issued by Deputy Commissioner pursuant to s 264(1)(a) of Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth) – notices directed to Australian bank – information sought in notices provided to bank from subsidiary in Vanuatu – information stored electronically in Australia – whether notices invalid – whether notices require bank to breach common law and statutory confidentiality obligations under Vanuatu law – whether s 264 authorises Commissioner to issue notices that infringe foreign sovereignty – whether notices were issued for a proper purpose – whether notices are uncertain – whether bank “not capable of complying” with notices within meaning of s 8C(1B) of Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) – application dismissed

Waller v Hargraves Secured Investments Ltd [2012] HCA 4 (29 February 2012) Mortgages – Mortgagee’s remedies – Farm Debt Mediation Act 1994 (NSW) (“Act”) – Creditor must provide notice of intention to take “enforcement action” under “farm mortgage” (“Notice”) – Notice must specify availability of mediation regarding farm debts – Creditor unable to take enforcement action until NSW Rural Assistance Authority (“Authority”) issues certificate that Act does not apply because satisfactory mediation has occurred – Borrower mortgaged land to secure all monies owed under loan agreement – Borrower defaulted and lender provided Notice – Borrower requested mediation under Act – Following mediation parties executed second and third loan agreements, discharged previous debts and created new farm debts – Authority satisfied of successful mediation and issued certificate certifying that Act did not apply to farm mortgage – Borrower defaulted in making interest payments due under third loan agreement – Whether successive farm debts created new “farm mortgage” requiring satisfactory mediation before creditor could pursue enforcement action – Whether separate Notice required for enforcement action under subsequent loan agreements – Whether certificate issued by Authority void – Whether lender’s entitlement to possession of secured land and outstanding monies barred. Words and phrases – “enforcement action”, “farm debt”, “farm mortgage”, “in respect of the farm debt involved”, “in respect of the farm mortgage concerned”.


Questions and (perhaps) Answers

(1)    Peter asked me for decisions where a bankrupt had claimed that they held property in ‘trust’ only, especially where it is held for minor children. I readily recalled two bankruptcies which expended generous amounts of Court time.

Marchesi v Apostolou [2007] FCA 986 (4 July 2007) BANKRUPTCY – Torrens system land registered in name of bankrupt – Whether bankrupt had made effective gift of land – Whether bankrupt held beneficial title to land.
EQUITY – Gift of Torrens system land – Registered title not transferred – Instrument of transfer held by solicitor acting for donor and donee – Whether instrument had been delivered to donee – Whether donor had done everything necessary to be done by him to transfer registered title – Whether gift perfect in equity.
EQUITY – Torrens system land – Agreement by registered proprietor to transfer equitable interest for value – Full price not paid by other party to agreement – Agreement not complied with in other respects – Whether agreement specifically enforceable – Whether agreement gave rise to option – Whether other party acquired equitable interest in land as a result of agreement.
BANKRUPTCY – Gift of Torrens system land to registered proprietor’s family trust – Whether purpose was to defeat creditors – Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth), s 121.
BANKRUPTCY – Torrens system land – Agreement by registered proprietor to transfer equitable interest for value – Whether purpose was to defeat creditors – Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth), s 121.
TRUSTEES – Land held on trust – Expenses and outgoings relating to land – Trustee incurring expenses incidental to proposed development of land but not in capacity of trustee – Whether trustee entitled to indemnity from trust estate-”vasiliou%20

Owens v Lofthouse [2007] FCA 1968 (12 December 2007) BANKRUPTCY — appeal from orders of Federal Magistrates Court transferring beneficial title of properties to trustee in bankruptcy — whether appellant beneficial owner of properties
TRUSTS — whether document titled “Declaration of Trust” effective — whether document manifested intention to declare a trust — document ambiguous in its terms — whether parol evidence rule applicable — appellant’s subsequent conduct inconsistent with declaration of trust
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE — application to adduce “further evidence” pursuant to Federal Court Act 1976 (Cth) s 27 — further evidence relevant to creation of purported “Declaration of Trust” — principles relevant to reception of further evidence — whether evidence could have been led below — whether evidence sufficiently cogent to warrant its reception — whether evidence likely to have produced different result”sue%20owens%20

Lofthouse v Baxter & Anor (No2) [2007] FMCA 1481 (30 August 2007) BANKRUPTCY – Application by Trustee pursuant to ss.58 and 116 of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 – whether valid trust – equitable principles – relevance of evidence of Bankrupt in other proceeding claiming ownership of property and no reference to trust

(2)    Matthew referred me to an article from one of the published Insolvency newsletters of February 2012 about the decision below.

I was aware of the decision and was surprised it was not more well known. The article included the following observation: “Readers can assess whether that is a decision on the facts or is worthy of legislative attention, or neither.”

I also will leave that to you to decide, though would be please to hear your views & / or other decisions on point.

My early enquiries elicited the following two observations:  “ … the decision was very much based on the failure of the trustee to include in the deeming of the income the bankrupt as the doctor was generating the income by his personal exertion and that the employer company was an alter ego of the bankrupt . Also there was no provision for the operating expenses of the “business” allowed by the trustee , if I recall correctly.”  and

“Appeal dismissed- this is going to cause a lot of problems where we deem income.

Law needs to be beefed up here asap.”

Inspector-General in Bankruptcy v McGushin [2009] FCA 662 (18 June 2009) BANKRUPTCY – appeal by Inspector-General in Bankruptcy from decision of Tribunal – surgeon employed by company – Tribunal found net income of company was distinct from income paid to respondent – held net income of company not income ‘derived by the bankrupt’ for the purposes of s 139W of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (BA) – whether Tribunal correctly interpreted operation of s 139(L)(a)(vii) BA – whether income received by company was income ‘derived by’ the respondent – whether income derived by company could be deemed as being income derived by employee by virtue of s 139M BA”mcgushin%20

The AAT decision:

McGushin and Inspector-General in Bankruptcy [2008] AATA 769 (27 August 2008) Bankruptcy – Applicant was the sole income producing employee of a Company of which he held 10/11ths of the issued capital as at the date of his bankruptcy – net income of Company, as distinct from income paid to applicant, not held to be “income … derived by the bankrupt” for the purposes of s 139W of the Bankruptcy Act 1966”mcgushin%20

A Contributions decision with a more pleasing outcome, to Trustees:

McPhee and Inspector-General in Bankruptcy [2011] AATA 322 (13 May 2011) “Everett” Assignment – applicant assigned 50% of income from legal practice carried on in partnership with others – effect of such arrangement following dissolution of partnership and applicant’s subsequent bankruptcy – held assignment not operative in relation to income derived by applicant as a sole practitioner – such income derived solely by applicant”mcgushin%20