The Future of Australian Law Reform – the five top priorites?

The Australian Law Reform Commission released its report The Future of Law Reform: A Suggested Program of Work 2020-25 on 2 December 2019.  The report contains what the ALRC says is an ambitious agenda for law reform over the next five years which it is proposing to government. It follows an extensive community consultation on what […]

Anti-competitive conduct in the insolvency industry?

A new code of conduct for insolvency practitioners in Australia now proscribes illegal anti-competitive conduct, unusual for an industry code but no doubt included for good legal reasons, given the last competition review of insolvency was in 1992. Professionals can have the knowledge and authority to significantly influence, often in their favour, the framing of […]

Liquidator’s fees were too low

Adverse findings have been made against a liquidator by a disciplinary committee, one being that he accepted fees that were “significantly below the actual cost” of the liquidations concerned, and, that being the case, he gave less attention to the investigation of those matters than he should have.[1] That raises an interesting issue about what […]

Australia’s Official Receiver (in corporate insolvency)

Australia adopted much of English corporate law at the beginning of the 20th century but one thing it did not take on was the English Official Receiver role[1] – the UK’s default liquidator and trustee in bankruptcy, among other tasks, also adopted in New Zealand as the Official Assignee. Official liquidators Instead, Australia opted for […]

Breaking a bankruptcy monopoly in New Zealand

There are moves in NZ to break the monopoly of the Official Assignee in personal insolvency by allowing private insolvency practitioners to administer bankruptcies under the same structure as applies in Australia. A private member’s bill – the Insolvency (Private Administration of Personal Bankruptcy) Amendment Bill – would amend the Insolvency Act 2006 to allow this. […]

New Zealand – corporate insolvency practitioner regulation

The New Zealand government has called for submissions on the proposed minimum standards and conditions for the licensing of insolvency practitioners under the Insolvency Practitioners Regulation Act 2019, including Australian practitioners. The Discussion Paper sets out a number of issues, some of which, by way of comparison with Australia, are these. The Act has introduced […]

Corporate phoenixing – a crime?

The Australian Law Reform Commission has released a Discussion Paper addressing a number of aspects of its reference on corporate criminal liability. Phoenix activity receives attention. Other issues are the division between criminal offences and civil penalty provisions; the method for attributing criminal liability to corporations; individual liability for corporate offences; deferred prosecution agreements; and […]

New Zealand insolvency reform – half a gift card

The New Zealand government has decided to give consumers with unclaimed gift cards issued by a failed business a priority in the winding up of the business; the consumers are otherwise just unsecured creditors. But there are to be limits. Insolvency practitioners will be required to honour at least 50 percent of the value of […]

Cross-border insolvency – the Canberra session

I was pleased to have been involved with others in giving a presentation on UN Day 24 October 2019 to commemorate 25 years of cross-border insolvency reform from UNCITRAL. My session in Canberra was chaired by the Hon Dr Warwick Neville, of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, with commentary from Ms Prue Bindon, of […]