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High Court Lets Liens for Litigating Liquidators Lie

The High Court held unanimously that a liquidator is entitled to an equitable lien over settlement monies for litigation expenses which the liquidator incurred for the purpose of impugning a secured creditor’s charge, applying and confirming the principle in Universal Distributing in the process.

Tobacco Plain Packaging: WTO dispute panel appointed

Five countries have brought WTO Complaints against Australia’s plain packaging rules for tobacco products. On 25 April 2014, the Dispute Settlement Body under the Dispute Settlement Understanding established panels to determine the complaints brought by Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the Ukraine, Honduras and Indonesia. On 5 May, the Director-General formally announced the 3 member Panel who will hear the disputes: Mr Alexander Erwin (chair); Prof. Francois Dessemontet; and Dame Billie Miller.

Intention to create a trust

In Korda v Australian Executor Trustees (SA) Ltd, the VSCA may have assisted the investors in a radiata pine managed investment scheme at the expense of trusts law orthodoxy.

Protecting major sporting events from ambush marketing

Did you know there was a Major Sporting Events (Indicia and Images) Protection Bill 2014? It was introduced into Parliament on 26 March 2014. It is designed to provide protections for certain indicia associated with the upcoming: Asian Football Championships to be held in Australia in 2015; the ICC World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand in 2015; and the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, against ‘ambush marketing’.

High Court strikes down laws prohibiting donations to political parties and spending on election campaigns

The High Court held invalid recent changes to the NSW political donations and campaign expenditure laws. The laws would have prohibited donations to political parties by any person not on the electoral roll, and where an overall cap on campaign spending by political parties otherwise applied, would have deemed expenditure on a campaign by ‘affiliated organisations’ of a political party (eg, unions) as being expenditure by that political party.

Ad Hoc Admission in Singapore – is it Feasible?

Last year CommBar was treated to the visit of Geraldine Andrews QC, before she took her seat in the Queens Bench Division. Her vast experience in arbitrations in Singapore is legend. For court appearances though, as with most common law jurisdictions, the Singaporeans are protective of their turf. They resist giving audience to foreign practitioners. So when the High Court of Singapore handed down its decision in re Andrews, Geraldine Mary QC [2012] SGHC 229, new ground was broken concerning a foreign practitioner’s right of appearance in Singapore, good news for Victorian barristers. But as we essay below, ad hoc admission there is not without a catch.

What a difference a day makes – When does the relation back period start?

In insolvency law the calculation of precise periods of time is important. Insolvency practitioners need to know exactly when limitation periods end in order to preserve potential claims. The “relation back period” is one of the more important time periods relevant to calculating limitations, and yet there is surprisingly little authority on exactly when the relation back period starts.

Software patents

Last week, 31 March, the US Supreme Court heard oral argument on the question whether Alice Corporation can patent its software system for a method of payment: Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International, Supreme Court Docket No 13-298 (2014). Several patents and claims are in issue, all relating to a computerized trading platform used for conducting financial transactions in which a third party settles obligations between a first and a second party so as to eliminate “counterparty” or “settlement” risk. The issue is whether what Alice Corporation is claiming is even patent-eligible subject matter (let alone knew or inventive). In Australia, the corresponding question is whether what is claimed is “a manner of manufacture”.

A wider ambit for the unreasonable director-related transactions provisions of the Corporations Act?

In Vasudevan & Ors v Becon Const & Anor [2014] VSCA 14, the Victorian Court of Appeal adopted a broader interpretation of the phrase ‘for the benefit of … a director’ in s 588FDA of the Corporations Act 2001 (the Act) than has been accepted in previous cases. The decision has the potential to widen the ambit of the unreasonable director-related transactions provisions of the Act.

Standing as a creditor in accordance with s 459P(1)(b) Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)

Challenge to creditor standing on application to wind up appellant company on grounds of insolvency. Standing examined with reference to bona fides of the appellant’s asserted counter claim and circumstances surrounding the failure of appellant to take steps to advance asserted counter-claim or demonstrate solvency. Court held respondent had standing as a creditor in accordance with s 459P(1)(b) Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).