Dallas Buyers Club, LLC v iiNet Limited (No 1) [2014] FCA 1232: Non parties seeking access to restricted documents on the court file & privacy

November 21, 2014

The Federal Court, per Perram J, recently considered an application by non parties to affidavit material filed with the court in Dallas Buyers Club, LLC v iiNet Limited (No 1).  It is a useful, and well written, exposition on the principles of open justice and, interestingly, the competing issues in non parties seeking access to affidavit material.   His Honour specifically foreshadowed that there will need to be consideration of the Australian Privacy Principles (the APPs) as privacy concerns have been raised by the Respondent.

FACTS

The Applicant (“Dallas”) is making application for preliminary discovery from the Respondent (“iiNet”) under Rule 7.22 of the Federal Court Rules.  Dallas obtained [4] and identified the IP addresses of persons it claims have been involved in file sharing of the film, The Dallas Buyers Club [3].  The IP address identifies Read the rest of this entry »

Federal Court makes announcement about Electronic Court File project

December 9, 2013

Today the Federal Court announced the transition to complete electronic filing and storage by the end of 2014.  Many in the profession have known for some time of the Federal Court’s preference for moving in this direction.

Details of the process are as follows (and found here):

Federal Court of Australia’s Electronic Court File

Project overview

The Federal Court of Australia is an early adopter of the use of information technology to increase the effectiveness, efficiency and accessibility of the Court. Technology has, and will continue to change court operations, similar to the ways in which technology has affected business practices across the globe.

The Court is currently undertaking an important change in its internal operations – it will transition from paper based information management to digital files. This transition is called the Electronic Court File (ECF) project.

This change will primarily affect the internal functions of the Court but will also provide opportunities for Court users to expand how they interact with the Court.

The ECF project is a further step towards the creation of a single web-based interface, which will effectively integrate the electronic provision and management of information and services. We use the term my files to describe the service. Registered court users will be able to see immediately a list of their files or more precisely, the information or documents they are authorised to access on the Court’s files. They will be able to undertake electronic interaction with the Court and other court users, in respect of my files (ie. your files).

Project aims

The key aims of the project are to:

Federal Court Amendment (Electronic Court File Measures No. 1) Rules 2013 comes into effect tomorrow, 26 November 2013

November 25, 2013

The Federal Court Rules 2011 have been amended to support the first stage of the implementation in the Federal Court of an electronic court file.

The amendments will make relatively minor changes to such things as the use of stamps and seals; preparation and lodging of documents; redacting, amending and removing documents; and producing documents for inspection or in compliance with a subpoena.

According to the notification from the Fedeal Court the the Amendment Rules will:

1. amend subrules 2.01(2) and (3) and paragraph 39.35(1)(b) and Schedule 1 to clarify that either the seal of the Court (for convenient processing electronically) or the stamp of a District Registry (for convenient processing in paper) can be used;

2. insert new rules Read the rest of this entry »

Federal Court amends Practice Note Corp 2 – CROSS-BORDER INSOLVENCY COOPERATION WITH FOREIGN COURTS OR FOREIGN REPRESENTATIVES

This practice note deals with cross-border insolvency co-operation with foreign courts. It is found here.

The amendment is the inserttion of paragraph 6 Read the rest of this entry »

New Practice note from the Federal Court on the content of Appeal Books and preparation for hearing.

The Federal Court has issued a new Practice Note APP 2, dealing with the Court’s requirements for Appeal Books and preparation for hearing. It is found here.

The amendments include Read the rest of this entry »

Fisher v Houston [2013] FCA 1026 (11 October 2013): Privacy Act 1988, preliminary discovery, costs

October 15, 2013

In Fisher v Houston [2013] FCA 1026 Tracey J made orders regarding the award of costs associated with an application for preliminary discovery.  The context of the preliminary discovery application relating to a potential claim under the Privacy Act 1988. I was junior counsel for the Applicant in this proceeding.

FACTS

The prospective applicant (“Fisher”) has a mobile telephone but only provided the number to a limited group of persons. In March 2012 he received a call on his mobile telephone from a journalist, the prospective respondent (“Houston”).  Houston asked Fisher for a comment about a legal proceeding in which a business associate of Fisher’s was involved [1] Fisher never Read the rest of this entry »

Chan v Four C Realty Pty Ltd (in liq), in the matter of Four C Realty Pty Ltd (in liq) [2013] FCA 928 (13 September 2013) & Chan v Four C Realty Pty Ltd (in liq), in the matter of Four C Realty Pty Ltd (in liq) (No 2) [2013] FCA 959 (23 September 2013): section 477(2B) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) for retrospective approval of contract for sale of business, obligation to indemnify insolvent company in respect of contingent liabilities, factors relevant to exercise of Court’s discretion

September 26, 2013

Gordon J in Chan v Four C Realty Pty Ltd (in liq), in the matter of Four C Realty Pty Ltd (in liq) [2013] FCA 928 and then in Chan v Four C Realty Pty Ltd (in liq), in the matter of Four C Realty Pty Ltd (in liq) (No 2) [2013] FCA 959 made orders regarding the enforcement of a contract and then approval for the Liquidator to enter into that contract.  The facts are common to both hearings

Chan v Four C Realty Pty Ltd (in liq), in the matter of Four C Realty Pty Ltd (in liq) [2013] FCA 928

FACTS

The Applicant, (“Chan”)  applied under sections  471B,  477(2B) and 477(6) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (the Act) for a series of orders including a declaration that, on 13 August 2013, she and the First Respondent (“Four C Realty”)  entered into a binding and enforceable contract for her to purchase its  business assets of Four C Realty. The Respondents submitted that no binding contract existed on 13 August 2013 and, alternatively, if a binding contract did exist, then Chan was required to provide security for what has been described as “the indemnity” [2].

Four C Realty carries on business as an estate agent, conducting Read the rest of this entry »

Platinum Communications Pty Ltd v Computer Networks Pty Limited [2012] FCA 1260 (14 November 2012): statutory demand, application to set aside, amendment

December 19, 2012

Griffiths J in Platinum Communications Pty Ltd v Computer Networks Pty Limited [2012] FCA 1260 considered an amendment to application to set aside a statutory demand.

FACTS

The plaintiff, a retailer, and the defendant, a software provider, entered into an agreement whereby the plaintiff would use the defendant’s software under licence and receive related services for payment [1].  When the software was switched on the plaintiff suffered difficulties in many of its stores [7].  The plaintiff claimed Read the rest of this entry »

Statutory demands & Sportsco Pty Ltd v Singh Group Pty Ltd (No 2) [2011] VSC 576 (15 November 2011) & BKW Investments Pty Ltd v Training Connect Limited [2011] FCA 1314

December 14, 2011

In recent decisions of Sportsco Pty Ltd v Singh Group Pty Ltd (No 2) [2011] VSC 576 (per Ferguson J) and BKW Investments Pty Ltd v Training Connect Limited [2011] FCA 1314 (per Cowdroy J) the courts considered applications to set aside statutory demands. In Sportsco the court, hearing an appeal from an Associate Justice, refused to set aside the application.  In BKW the court set aside the application.

Sportsco Pty Ltd v Singh Group Pty Ltd (No 2)

Facts

The underlying dispute related to the purchase of a franchise business.  Singh, the purchaser, submitted that the statutory demand on Sportsco for $70,500 was a refundable deposit under the franchise agreement. Sportsco, the vendor, applied to set aside the demand claiming there was a genuine dispute concerning the debt and that it had an offsetting claim.  Singh alleged there was an agreement that the money was refundable if it was unable to obtain finance for the franchise business.  Singh did not obtain finance.  While Singh was provided with an  an offer to lease premises from which the franchise would operate it was never executed by Singh.  Sportsco claimed there was a dispute as to what constituted the agreement and whether the agreement was subject to finance. It also claimed Singh was liable to pay a franchise royalty fee of five years as a consequence of the breach and was liable for damages of approximately $300,000.

Decision

Ferguson J referred to TR administration proprietor Ltd V Frank marketing and Sales Brochure Ltd as support forthe proposition that Read the rest of this entry »

CORPORATIONS, duties of directors and officers, division of functions between Board and management, duties and degree of skill required of non-executive directors;Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Healey [2011] FCA 717 (27 June 2011)

June 29, 2011

In Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Healey Middleton J found against the directors of Centro Properties Limited.  It is a very long and detailed decision which provides an excellent summary of the obligations of directors.

Facts

ASIC alleged that the approval of the consolidated financial accounts of Centro Property Limited. Centro Property Trust and Centro Retail Trust for the financial year ending 30 June 2007 contravened sections 180(1), 344(1) and 601FD(3) of the Corporations Act 2001. Those contraventions included failing to disclose $1.5billion of short term liabilities of Centro Property and $500 million of Centro Retail by classifying them as non current liabilities and failing to disclose guarantees of short term liabilities of an associated company of about US $1.75 billion that had been given after the balance date (see [24] for a detailed summary of the issues).  Middleton J found that those matters were well known to the directors or, if not well known to them, should have been [11] & [23].

Middleton J found, at [8], the directors failed “..to take all reasonable steps required of them, and acted in the performance of their duties as directors without exercising the degree of care and diligence the law requires of them.”  His consideration of the facts with respect to each director is found at ([289][532]).  It is too extensive to comment upon here.  The focus of this post is on the legal principles enunciated by Middleton J.

Decision

Middleton J highlighted the consequences of the breaches and why they are significant when he said, at [10]:

This proceeding is not about a mere technical oversight. The information not disclosed was a matter of significance to the assessment of the risks facing CNP and CER. Giving that information to shareholders and, for a listed company, the market, is one of the fundamental purposes of the requirements of the Act that financial statements and reports must be prepared and published. The importance of the financial statements is one of the fundamental reasons why the directors are required to approve them and resolve that they give a true and fair view.

Principles

Middleton j restated the obligations and responsibilities of a director as: Read the rest of this entry »