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Key decisions

  • Trustee of the Bankrupt Estate of Hicks & Hicks and Anor [2018] FamCAFC 37
  • Snipper & James and Anor [2018] FamCA 7
  • Heyman & Heyman & Anor [2018] FCCA 129
  • Tassinari & Pesalaccio & Ors [2018] FamCA 12

Property – parties suppressed evidence of husband’s $606,000 debt in their application for consent orders

In Trustee of the Bankrupt Estate of Hicks & Hicks and Anor [2018] FamCAFC 37 (26 February 2018) a majority of the Full Court (Strickland and Murphy JJ) allowed an appeal by the trustee in bankruptcy against Stevenson J’s dismissal of its s 79A application. Austin J dissented. The trustee argued at trial that consent orders should be set aside as the parties had entered into a scheme to defeat a creditor by applying for those orders without divulging that ‘Mr S’ was suing the husband for $606,000 (judgment was entered against him a week after the orders were made) or notifying Mr S of the proposed orders.

The trial was bifurcated, the Court only hearing and determining the s 79A issue. At first instance, the wife conceded that there was a miscarriage of justice but persuaded Stevenson J not to exercise discretion to set aside the order, her Honour finding that the wife had no involvement in the husband’s debt to Mr S; that the debt was not incurred for a matrimonial objective; and that the trustee would find itself in no better position if the order were set aside.

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