Posts in Equity
Moving to the front of the queue: prioritising and enforcing an administrator’s right to remuneration in a company wind-up

An administrator appointed over a company is entitled to payment of his or her remuneration, expenses and costs incurred in carrying out the role. To that end, an administrator can be indemnified out of the company’s property and can hold a lien over that property to secure the indemnity if the company is subsequently wound up.

The Supreme Court has recently ruled on two questions arising from such a scenario: does the lien extend to all the company’s property, or only that which the administrator caused the company to hold? And where does the administrator’s indemnity rank with the company’s other debts?

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When enforcing a contract, what does it mean to be ‘ready, willing and able’ to perform your side of the bargain?

Where a party seeks to rely on another’s repudiation of a contract as a basis for suing, that party must show it has been ready, willing and able to comply with the contract. Matters can be complicated where the parties clearly disagree about how to interpret and comply with the contract, and even more so where the contract expressly requires the parties to use their best endeavours to see the contract fulfilled. The Court of Appeal in its recent decision in Bisognin v Hera Project Pty Ltd [2018] VSCA 93 has tackled these kinds of issues.

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Is your caveat defective? If you cannot fix it, perhaps seek an injunction instead

A caveator of land, when notified by the Registrar of Titles of the pending registration of an interest or transfer of the land, can seek a court order that such registration be delayed for a period of time. But what if the caveat itself is defective and cannot be fixed? The Supreme Court in TL Rentals Pty Ltd v Youth on Call Pty Ltd [2018] VSC 105 has recently clarified the law regarding the ability of the caveator to instead seek an injunction in such circumstances.

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Actions for recovery of land: the Court of Appeal on constructive trusts and limitation periods

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 should the court consider a lesser remedy instead of declaring a trust? The Court of Appeal in McNab v Graham [2017] VSCA 352 answers those questions.

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Enforcing an equitable charge against a bankrupt

The Full Court of the Federal Court has recently clarified the law regarding the ability of a secured creditor of a bankrupt estate to commence proceedings against the bankrupt pursuant to the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth). In Morris Finance Ltd v Brown [2017] FCAFC 516 the Full Court considered the provisions of the Act and held that, as an exception to the general rule that a creditor requires leave of a court to bring a claim for a provable debt against a bankrupt, proceedings to enforce an equitable charge do not require leave.

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Account of profits and accessorial liability: the Federal Court gives guidance on both

The Full Court of the Federal Court has recently determined an appeal relating to an order for an account of profits and a finding of accessorial liability for the conduct giving rise to those profits. The decision in Lifeplan Australia Friendly Society Ltd v Ancient Order of Foresters in Victoria Friendly Society Limited [2017] FCAFC 74 is noteworthy for the way in which it enunciates and applies the principles relating to the remedy of an account of profits, and discusses the distinction, and whether there is a distinction at all, between the equitable and the statutory tests for accessorial liability.

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Seeking an injunction? The court might award damages instead

A person may apply to a court for an injunction in order to prevent threatened or actual and ongoing infringement of that person’s legal rights. When hearing an application for an injunction, most courts have jurisdiction to award damages instead of, or together with, an injunction. The Queensland Supreme Court has recently provided some guidance regarding the circumstances in which a court might do so.

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Contracts, specific performance and interlocutory injunctions

The Victorian Supreme Court has recently refused to grant an interlocutory injunction that would have had the effect of requiring specific performance of a contract. In addition to giving persuasive reasons for doing so, the decision in Hera Project Pty Ltd v Bisognin & Anor more broadly represents a useful illustration of the principles to be applied when considering an application for an injunction.

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