The Victorian Court of Appeal and a Full Court of the Federal Court have each recently held that the statutory priority regime applies to the winding up of companies that act as trustees of trading trusts, confirming that employee claims and a liquidator’s remuneration and costs are priority debts. Special leave to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision has been sought.
By a 2-1 majority the Court of Appeal held that a loan establishment fee of $26,625 was a penalty, arguably bucking the trend of decisions since the High Court’s judgment in Paciocco.
Can you prefer one creditor by arranging a third party loan, the proceeds of which are paid directly to that creditor, without the arrangement being void against your trustee in bankruptcy? “Yes” says the Full Federal Court – thus confirming an important distinction between personal and corporate insolvency.
Where seeking to recover land on the basis of a constructive trust arising from proprietary estoppel, when does that constructive trust arise? Does it arise when a court makes a declaration to its effect, or when the relevant cause of action accrues? And when should the court consider a lesser remedy instead of declaring a trust?
The Full Federal Court held that an employee owed fiduciary obligations not only to his employer (an established category of fiduciary relationship), but also to a subsidiary of his employer. The Court considered when fiduciary obligations will be found outside the established categories.
What is the appropriate method of distribution to competing trust beneficiaries whose funds have been mixed? This short article considers this question following the decision in Hannan v Zindilis  VSC 723.
What should a trustee do if the trust deed governing the trust cannot be found? On what terms does the trustee hold the property? This short article considers these questions in the Victorian context.
Undaunted by the High Court’s decision in Farah Constructions, the New South Wales Court of Appeal has breathed life into common law claims for money had and received, holding that they can coexist with claims arising in circumstances covered by the well-recognised ‘first limb’ of Barnes v Addy (knowing receipt).
The Victorian Court of Appeal recently allowed an appeal against an order staying a proceeding brought by companies in liquidation against their former directors for knowingly assisting breaches of trust allegedly committed by the companies. The Court discussed the principles that operate in such circumstances.
In Crown Melbourne Ltd, the High Court held that a statement that lessees “would be looked after at renewal time” did not give rise to an estoppel in favour of the lessees. The judgments of the majority members of the Court should not distract attention from, or suggest a confinement of, the broad inquiry involved in assessing a claim of promissory (or proprietary) estoppel.
For the second time in four years the High Court has considered penalties, but the law remains somewhat fragmented and challenges remain for practitioners seeking to apply it in practice.
Statements made during negotiations: rectification or estoppel where the written agreement differs from the terms of an antecedent bargain?
The New South Wales Court of Appeal has confirmed that rectification of a contract is generally only available to redress a common mistake, and that estoppel is available in respect of pre-contractual representations, even in the face of an entire agreement clause.
High Court finds settlement between one co-surety and lender does not affect other co-surety’s right to claim contribution in equity where contribution disproportionate
The decision of the High Court of Australia confirms and explains the application of the equitable doctrine of contribution between co-sureties. It provides a helpful summary of the law in respect of co-ordinate liabilities and the nature of covenants not to sue, all of which should be kept in mind by co-sureties when settling recovery proceedings brought against them by a lender.
The HCA disallowed a joint venturer’s claim to have derived a lump sum as constructive trustee. Alleged fiduciary duties owed to a non-venturer were not accepted. Alternatively, the venturer’s purported equitable assignment of his rights to the lump sum was not tax-effective.