Peter Exton & Anor v Extons Pty Ltd & Ors [2017] VSC 14 (10 February 2017): Oppressio and deadlincok sections 233 and 461(1)(k) and 467(4) of the Corporations Act 2001)

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 [2017] 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 [1].

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 [2].

Peter started Read the rest of this entry »

Gucce Holdings Pty Ltd v Bank of Queensland Limited [2017] FCA 12 (19 January 2017): application to set aside staututory demand, section 459G Corporations Act

February 5, 2017

In Gucce Holdings Pty Ltd v Bank of Queensland Limited [2017] FCA 12  the Federal Court considered whether a sale for undervalue, or at least a claim as such, was a basis for an offsetting claim (and what is required) as well as whether a special leave application was sufficient to set aside a statutory demand.


Gucce Holdings Pty Ltd (ACN 099 191 714) filed an application, [1], with an  affidavit of  Tina Michelle Bazzo, director of Gucce,[2], on 29 December 2015 pursuant to s 459G of the Corporations Act 2001to set aside a statutory demand made by the Bank of Queensland Limited.

Bazzo stated that Read the rest of this entry »

Cato Brand Partners Pty Ltd v Air India Limited [2016] VSC 28 (5 February 2016) : statutory demand, Corporations Act Part 5.7

February 9, 2016

The Supreme Court, per Efthim As J, considered an application to set aside a statutory demand in Cato Brand Partners Pty Ltd v Air India Limited [2016] VSC 28.  The issue was bringing an application against a foreign corporate body and the application of foreign law in determining the applicable statute of limitations.


In December 2009 the plaintiff’s chairman, Kenneth Willis Cato, travelled to India in December 2009 and February, April and June 2010 for meetings with representatives of the defendant.  An agreement was entered into on 2 June 2010 [3].

The plaintiff claims it was owed Read the rest of this entry »

Locker Group Pty Ltd v HEA Australia Pty Ltd [2015] VSC 752 (18 December 2015): Section 459P Corporations Act, section 29 Civil Procedure Act 2010, duty of disclosure and consequences of failure

January 24, 2016

In Locker Group Pty Ltd v HEA Australia Pty Ltd [2015] VSC 752 the Victorian Supreme Court, per Randall AsJ, considered the authorities relating to the obligations to provide full disclosure, the failure to disclose a material fact and the consequences of not complying with an order in the service of an application resulting in late service. The Court made orders under the Civil Procedure Act relating to the very unfortunate conduct of Locker Group. The court also considered the scope of the power under the Civil Procedure Act in making costs orders encompassing costs incurred by liquidators.


On 16 April 2014  Australia Pressure Vessel Heads (2011) Pty Ltd, the Plaintiff, filed an originating process seeking to wind up HEA Australia Pty Ltd (‘the Company’) under s 459P of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (‘Corporations Act’)[2]. On 14 May 2014 the plaintiff’s counsel appeared. There was no appearance for the Company. There were negotiations the result of which was that payment was expected within seven days. A further hearing was adjourned to 21 May 2014 [3]. At that time the plaintiff’s counsel again appeared, advised that the plaintiff had been paid out and sought to be excused. Counsel for Locker Group Pty Ltd, a supporting creditor (‘Locker Group’), appeared and advised the Court that it wished to be substituted as plaintiff. At that time the Company had not filed a notice of appearance under r 2.9  of the Supreme Court (Corporations) Rules 2013 and s 465C of the Corporations Act [4]. Read the rest of this entry »

Report on Cyber Resilience, highlights the need for proper cyber security, this time from ASIC

April 6, 2015

As if it were necessary to say that data security was a matter of proper corporate governance the Australian Security and Investment Commission (“ASIC”) has made that abundantly clear with its Report 429 Cyber Resilience: Health Check.  As far as ASIC is concerned it has a role to ensure that companies maintain proper cyber security standards. This is a very important development because Read the rest of this entry »

Corporations Legislation Amendment (Deregulatory and Other Measures Bill 2014 passes the House of Representatives

November 28, 2014

For those solicitors and barristers practising in Corporations and insolvency law it is worth noting the passage of the Corporations Legislation Amendment (Deregulatory and Other Measures) Bill 2014 through the House of Representatives yesterday. While anything can happen in the Senate it is hardly a contentious piece of legislation. Its passage is assured.

The Bill, as the summary on the Parliamentary Business page on the bill states, will:

provide that a general meeting of a company must only be arranged if members with at least five per cent of voting shares make the request; reduce the remuneration reporting requirements; clarify the circumstances in which a financial year may be determined to be less than 12 months; and exempt certain companies limited by guarantee from the need to appoint or retain an auditor; and Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 to: enable members of the Takeovers Panel to perform duties while in Australia and overseas; and provide that the Remuneration Tribunal is responsible for setting the terms and conditions of Chairs and members of the Financial Reporting Council, the Australian Accounting Standards Board and the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board

The effect of the BIll include Read the rest of this entry »

The High Court to hand down judgment in Willmott Growers Group Inc v Willmott Forests Ltd (Receivers and Managers Appointed) (In Liquidation)

December 2, 2013

The High Court will hand down its decision in Willmott Growers Group Inc v. Willmott Forests Ltd (Receivers and Managers Appointed) (In Liquidation) In its capacity as manager of the unregistered managed investment schemes listed in Schedule 2 and Ors this Wednesday 5 December 2013.

For those, like myself, who practice in the corporations and insolvency area it is a long awaited decision with significant ramifications.

The High Court transcript provides:

MR G.T. BIGMORE, QC: May it please the Court, I appear Read the rest of this entry »

Banksia Securities Limited (Receivers and Managers Appointed) [2013] VSC 416 (13 August 2013): Examinations being conducted pursuant to Part 5.9 of the Corporations Act 2001, Whether insurance documentation “relates” to examinable the affairs of company within meaning of s 596D(2).

September 2, 2013

Associate Justice Gardiner undertook a detailed examination of a liquidator’s powers under part 5.9 of the Corporations Act, in particular section 596D(2), in Banksia Securities Limited (Receivers and Managers Appointed) [2013] VSC 416 .


On 25 June Gardiner AsJ ordered a summons for the examination of Michael Hall (“Hall”) under section 596B of the Corporations Act (The “Act”) by the plaintiff, the joint and several receivers of Banksia Securities Limited (“Banksia”) [1].  Hall applied for orders to set aside the summons in so far as it related to the production of documents [11].

Hall is a member of the the firm MB+M.  The plaintiffs are investigating an unqualified audit report for the 2008 financial year which he signed, on behalf of MB+M and whether the provisioning for some of the loans was materially inadequate.  At the time of the application no proceedings had been issued against MB+M or Hall [10].

Hall’s submissions

Hall objected on the following bases:

  1. while he accepted that an examinable affair of a company includes the property and that the existence of insurance in respect of a chose in action against a third party is capable of being an examinable affair however stated that the Court can not be Read the rest of this entry »

Arhanghelschi v Ussher [2013] VSC 253 (16 May 2013): Oppression, conduct of the affairs of trustee company oppressive, unfairly prejudicial, or unfairly discriminatory, sections 232 and 233 Corporations Act

May 27, 2013

In Arhanghelschi v Ussher [2013] VSC 253 the Supreme Court, per Ferguson J, consider the claim of oppression and the construction of the unit trust deed.


Dr Arhanghelschi, the Plaintiff, and the four defendants are radiologists who conducted a practice in Ballarat under the name Base Imaging Group Pty Ltd (“BIG”).  Through BIG the doctors successfully tendered for work from the Ballarat Health Services (“BHS”) in 2009. In June 2010 they established a unit trust which performed its obligations under the BHS contract. Each doctor held 20% of the units in the trust.

The four defendant doctors wished to part company with Arhanghelschi.   On 4 March 2013 three of the unit holders gave notice under the Deed  stating that they wished Arhanghelschi  to cease to be involved in the business with immediate effect [13]. On 7 March 2013 the defendants gave notice requiring the trust to convene a meeting [15]. That meeting took place on 15 March where the directors resolved that Arhanghelschi  resign as a director of BIG and from his position with BHS [17].  No reason was given at the meeting for the action taken but at trial the defendant’s evidence was that Arhanghelschi was unapproachable, he took long lunches, left early and arrived late, and finally was working for a Bendigo radiology group [19].



Is there an obligation of good faith and reasonableness

Her Honour stated that a Unitholders Deed must Read the rest of this entry »

Re Australian Property Holdings Limited (in liq) (recs & mgrs apptd) (No 2) [2012] VSC 576 (4 December 2012): Corporations law, Application for a stay of civil redress proceedings & Application to file limited defences on grounds of exercising privilege against exposure to penalty and self-incrimination

January 14, 2013

In Re Australian Property Holdings Limited (in liq) (recs & mgrs apptd) (No 2) [2012] VSC 576  Robson J considered applications by the defendants to stay the proceedings, which was refused, and to file limited defences, which was granted.


Australian Property Custodian Holdings (“APCH”) commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court against seven of its former directors to recover $30 million that was paid out of its assets it held on trust as a fee to companies controlled by Mr Lewski [1].  ASIC  commenced action in the Federal Court against APCH and 5 of its directors who are also defendants in this proceeding alleging breaches of the Corporations Act (“the Act”).

APCH is the responsible entity of the Prime Retirement and Aged Care Property Trust, a managed investment scheme under the Act [5].  In 2006 the constitution of the Prime Trust was amended by the board of APCH to provide for a payment of a listing fee to APCH if units of the Prime Trust were listed on the ASX [7], which they were in August 2007[8] and APCH received $33m out of the assets of the trust. The Supreme Court proceedings were commenced by the liquidator on 5 March 2012 in the name of APCH [13] and a statement of claim was filed and served against all defendants for compensation under sections 1317H and HA or 1325 of the Act as well as a claim for equitable compensation[14]. ASIC commenced proceedings in the Federal Court on 21 August 2012 [15].

Both proceedings allege that APCH breached its statutory duties under the Act in amending the trust to the detriment of the unit holders [10] and both rely upon section 601FD [11].



The Supreme Court has an inherent power to stay proceedings in the interests of justice [19] (which is the overriding consideration [24]).  His Honour set out, at [21], the relevant principles regarding a stay found in McMahon v Gould as follows (absent citations):

(a) Prima facie a plaintiff is entitled to have his action Read the rest of this entry »