Equitable fraud on creditors – bankruptcy composition set aside

Among several grounds for setting aside a composition between a bankrupt and his creditors under the Bankruptcy Act was ‘equitable fraud’. It had emerged in evidence that the bankrupt, Mr Zappia, ‘had made representations to a number of creditors that if and when he rehabilitated himself he would be aiming to repay the money he […]

Boensch v Pascoe – High Court’s decision

The seven member bench of the High Court which heard Boensch v Pascoe on 11 October 2019 has unanimously dismissed Boensch’s appeal [Boensch v Pascoe [2019] HCA 49] finding that on the making of the sequestration order, the debtor’s right of indemnity in the Rydalmere property held on trust by him for his family vested […]

Halifax – no reason why the NZ High Court should not physically sit in Australia …

The on-going matter of the Halifax liquidation came before Justice Jacqueline Gleeson in the Federal Court of Australia (FCA) on 18 December 2019, and jointly, before Justice Geoffrey Venning of the High Court of New Zealand (NZHC), by video-link. The intermingled nature of the assets and liabilities of Halifax AU and Halifax NZ has prompted […]

Major corporate collapses and the public interest – British Steel and more

The collapses in the UK of socially and economically important enterprises – British Steel, Carillion Constructions and Thomas Cook are current examples – raise many public interest issues that are managed by the joint conduct of the liquidations by the government Official Receiver and private insolvency firms. The insolvency of a business raises broader issues […]

Halifax – a cross-border insolvency

A joint hearing of Australian and New Zealand courts is one way to deal with an intermingled cross-Tasman insolvency, through a letter of request process, but other options might have been available through the Model Law. “Classic candidate for cross-border cooperation” On 22 August 2019, the Federal Court decided in principle that it could send […]

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 […]

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 […]

Fair Entitlements Guarantee – powers to demand information

The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business’ Annual Report 2018-2019 provides some information about the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Recovery Program which is now administered by the Attorney-General’s Department, and about a 2019 court decision in 1st Fleet. Fair Entitlements Guarantee Recovery Program The annual report explains that since it began on 1 July […]

A bankrupt and ‘one rooster, one peacock, three ducks, and 22 chickens …’

A person’s bankruptcy can arise from a host of circumstances, disputes with neighbours and non-compliance with local council requirements being a significant one. The 2012 bankruptcy of Maria Fokas arose from her allegedly and unlawfully keeping on her Kogarah property ‘one rooster, one peacock, three ducks, and 22 chickens when no more than 5 chickens could […]

Do old emails ever die?

A respondent car hire company being sued by the ACCC for unconscionable conduct has claimed that what the ACCC alleges were its intimidating and threatening emails sent to its customers have been deleted and cannot be retrieved. The Judge was not convinced. Judicial notice After hearing expert evidence as to the nature of emails and […]