By and -

Key decisions

  • Pavlic [2023] FedCFamC1A 54
  • Simmons [2023] FedCFamC1A 44
  • Antoun [2023] FedCFamC1F 129
  • Gare & Farlow [2023] FedCFamC2F 109


Judge failed to distinguish between assets and liabilities of parties and parties’ company – Court not empowered to make order compelling parties to strip company of assets by distributing sale proceeds between parties in proportions not matching their (equal) shareholdings

In Pavlic [2023] FedCFamC1A 54 (4 May 2023), the Full Court (Austin, Williams and Howard JJ) heard a husband’s appeal from a decision of McClelland DCJ in a property case.

The parties owned numerous real properties and shares in a company which owned and conducted a building business (at [3]).

At first instance, the final orders compelled the sale of the business and the husband was to bear sole responsibility for the company’s tax debt, from which the husband appealed.

After stating that ‘no clear distinctions were drawn between the corporation, the parties, and their respective assets and liabilities’ (at [7]). Austin and Williams JJ stated (from [28]):

‘The orders require the parties to sell the corporation’s business and other assets, whereas the reasons for judgment discuss the need to sell the corporation itself, so the orders and reasons do not match … The orders then oblige the parties to divide between them any surplus proceeds realised on the sale of the corporation’s assets in respective shares of 57 and 43 per cent … The corporation will remain a separate viable entity because no order was made compelling the parties to liquidate it. …

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