February 14, 2017
The Supreme Court, per Sifris J, heard an application under sections 233 and 461(1)(k) of the Corporations Act 2001 in Peter Exton & Anor v Extons Pty Ltd & Ors  VSC 14.
Many oppression proceedings in the Corporations List involve family run companies. Exton v Extons Pty Ltd is not unusual in this regard. The First Plaintiff, Peter, and the Sixth Defendant, Ian, are brothers. They each hold, either directly or indirectly, 50% of the shares in each of the companies that made up the Extons group. They are also directors of those companies .
The Extons group was commenced by Peter and Ian’s father and uncle in the 1950s, when it was started . It engages in earthworks, excavating and contracting in New South Wales and Victoria and occasionally sells machines including machines that it holds for the purposes of its contracting work .
Peter started Read the rest of this entry »
October 16, 2016
Applications for injunctive relief are not uncommon in the commercial division of the superior courts. In Hera Project Pty Ltd v Bisognin & Anor  VSC 591 Justice McCaulay considered an application arising relating to a contract of sale of land.
His Honour described the events leading up to this application was Read the rest of this entry »
September 23, 2016
The Supreme Court in Pekell Delaire Holdings Pty Ltd v Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited  VSC 570 considered a statutory demand where a key issue was the effect of settlement of group proceedings acting as a bar to a claim of a genuine dispute to a statutory demand.
In July 2006 the applicant, Pekell Delaire Holdings Pty Ltd (“PDH”) applied to Great Southern Plantation Projects for two grove lots in the Great Southern Organic Olives Income Project and four vine lots in the Great Southern Wine Grape Income Project with associated applications for term finance. Finance was approved and funds were advanced on the basis of repayment in seven years of principal and interest. The loans were subsequently assigned and ultimately transferred to Bendigo  Read the rest of this entry »
May 19, 2016
In Complete Equipment Solutions Pty Ltd v Tesab Engineering Limited (A Company Registered in the United Kingdom, Company No. NI026214)  VSC 253 Associate Justice Randall considered the question of service. This is not a common issue in modern day jurisprudence relating to statutory demands. In this case a failure to comply with the service requirements resulted in the plaintiff’s application being dismissed.
The plaintiff, by originating process dated 9 November 2015, made an application under s 459G of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to set aside a statutory demand dated 14 October 2015 . The court noted, with some annoyance, that the Read the rest of this entry »
May 17, 2016
In Golden Taste Investment Pty Ltd v Laurence & Ors  VSC 250 Derham AsJ considered the plaintiff’s application for summary judgment under section 63 of the Civil Procedure Act 2010.
The plaintiff is the master franchisee for the Cacao Green and Red Mango franchises for Australia and operates retail stores in Victoria selling frozen yogurt and coffee products .
The first defendant (‘Daniel’) was a director and Read the rest of this entry »
April 11, 2016
In Re Manlio (No 2)  VSC 130 Justice MacDonald took quite serious action under powers under the Civil Procedure Act 2010 (the “CPA”) with significant consequences for a counsel involved in the case. This decision relates to the conduct of the legal representatives, not the substantive case itself. That decision was handed down on 21 December 2015 in Re Manlio  VSC 733.
It is a particularly informative decision as to Read the rest of this entry »
In Cohen & Ors v Amberley Corporation Australia Pty Ltd  VSC 140 Derham AsJ considered an application for discovery in relation to the administration by a trustee of a discretionary trust. What started out as a consideration of the plaintiff’s application concluded with part of the statement of claim being struck out. It is a very useful decision in the practical side of pleading breach of trust, which can be quite complicated.
The plaintiffs are the children of Harold Campbell-Pretty (‘Harold’) and Kerry Ainley Watkins (‘Kerry’). After 2 divorces he ultimately married Krystyna Campbell-Pretty (‘Krystyna’) . On 27 March 1975, the Campbell-Pretty Family Trust was established by a deed of settlement (‘Trust’ or ‘Trust Deed’). Under its terms Harold was specified as the Appointor and each of the plaintiffs were specified as Primary Beneficiaries .
There were two variations to the Trust Deed:
- on 29 December 1987 the defendant was appointed Trustee in place of the previous Trustee. From about December 1986, Krystyna and Harold were the directors of the defendant. On 29 December 1987, Krystyna was appointed as an additional member of the class of General Beneficiaries under the Trust ;
- on 8 July 2005, the defendant as Trustee of the Trust purported to exercise a power given by clause 20 of the Trust Deed declaring that the plaintiffs were ‘deleted’ as Primary Beneficiaries under the Trust. Harold, as Appointor, consented to the variation .
Harold died on 25 May 2014. Krystyna was his executrix. The plaintiffs received nothing.
Breach of trust claim
The plaintiffs pleaded Read the rest of this entry »
February 18, 2016
In B J Bearings Pty Ltd v Whitehead  VSC 44 Hargrave J considered an application for preliminary discovery and set out the applicable principles. It is a useful Read the rest of this entry »
July 6, 2014
In Rescom Asia Pacific Pty Ltd v Reapfield Property Consultants Pty Ltd and Foxhat Employment Service Pty Ltd v Deputy Commissioner of Taxation the Victorian Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court considered applications to set aside statutory demands in very different circumstances.
Rescom Asia Pacific Pty Ltd v Reapfield Property Consultants Pty Ltd
The applicant sought leave to appeal a decision of Randall AsJ dismissing an application to set aside a statutory demand. The grounds of appeal included a failure to find there was a genuine dispute or offsetting claim .
The statutory demand relates to a claim for commission on the sale of various apartments in Carlton. The vendor retained Rescom as the underwriter for the sale of the apartments. It was a term of the retainer that in the event that the total sale price of the apartments did not reach a pre-determined level, Rescom would pay the difference to the vendor . If the total proceeds exceeded the predetermined level the vendor would pay the excess amount to Rescom. If the total proceeds exceeded a pre-determined level by a certain amount, then the excess would be shared between Rescom and the vendor .
Rescom engaged Reapfield as its sole marketing agent in Singapore on terms which included a 5% commission on the transacted price of all sales within Singapore. The Agreement referred to a price schedule in an Annexure A of the agreement.
There was, and is, a dispute between the parties as to contents of Annexure A to the agreement with there being two schedules, one referring to lower prices than the other. That said Randall AsJ found he did not need to determine which schedule was incorporated into the agreement for the purpose of determining the application. Focusing on the terms of the marketing agreement and on contemporaneous conduct  he found that the agreement did not impose an obligation on Reapfield other than to use all due care, skill and diligence. There were no consequences for failure by Reapfield to achieve a particular price .
Regarding the contemporaneous conduct the Randall AsJ found :
- the vendor accepted offers made by purchasers procured by Reapfield and booking forms that set out the purchase price and were signed on behalf of Rescom [over the caption] “accepted by underwriter”
- email correspondence to the effect that Rescom “appreciated the good job” and that Rescom was in the “midst of arranging payment as promised”.
- text messages passing between Rescom and Reapfield accepting the invoice for the commissions claimed without complaint and advising that payment would be made when Rescom received draw downs “from equity partners.”
- there were over 20 text messages where Reapfield sought payment and Rescom repeatedly promised to make payment.
- No complaint was made about the invoice that set out the prices obtained for each of the apartments or the liability to pay the commission .
The Court referred to and liberally quoted from the latest Court of Appeal authority on statutory demands, Troutfarms Australia Pty Ltd v Perpetual Nominees Ltd, handed down last year . The key principles can be reduced to the following:
April 12, 2012
Today Justice Beach, in Barrow v McLernon & Anor  VSC 134 handed down a very interesting and useful decision regarding discovery and the operation of section 27 of the Civil Procedure Act. It is an appeal from a decision of an Associate Justice.
The Plaintiff is suing Hugh McLernon and IMF (Australia) Limited for defamation arising out of the publication on 30 May 2011 of an email and two pdf attachments . The Plaintiff wishes to use documents discovered in this proceeding in support of issuing other proceedings, also a cause of action in defamation . Five documents discovered constitute Read the rest of this entry »