Federal Magistrates Court Name Change
On 12 April 2013, the Federal Magistrates Court changed its name to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. From 12 April 2013, the judicial officers of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia will be known as Judges of that Court. According to a media release of the Court, "the jurisdiction, status and arrangements under which that Court operates will not change and there will be no impact on litigants". See the media release of the Court issued here.
Bankruptcy Numbers The Lowest Since 1996
On 10 April 2013 ITSA released its most recent bankruptcy figures stating that
"The national number of new bankruptcies in the March quarter 2013 is the lowest level recorded in a quarter since the March quarter 1996."
Why is this so? Perhaps the increase in filing fees have something to do with it?
From January 2013 creditors wanting to issue bankruptcy proceedings against a debtor must pay a filing fee of:
$4375 for a Publicly listed company
$2915 for a Corporation
$1215 for Others
(The fees prior to the increase for a corporation and individual were $1983 and $828 respectively).
Amendment to Scale of costs in the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has radically amended its scale of costs (to be effective from 1 April 2013). The changes remove the old concept of party/party costs and aims to mirror how costs are actually charged - on a time basis. The court has released a statement regarding the scale avaliable at http://www.supremecourt.vic.gov.au/resources/6d674951-9ac5-4856-9b7c-2dda3f54179e/new_scale_of_costs.pdf
ASIC wins case against bad debt collectors
On 26 October 2012 the Federal Court handed down its judgment in the case of Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Accounts Control Management Services Pty Ltd  FCA 1164. The debt collectors involved were found to have engaged in conduct that was contrary to lawful debt collection practice. This case is mandatory reading for debt collection agencies and a warning to those collectors that fail to abide by the rules in debt collection. To read the case click here. The debt collection company has released a media statement.
ATO Dispute Resolution Plan announced
The Australian Tax Office has released a dispute management plan for disputes regarding super and tax (and generally to other disputes) aimed at reducing time and costs for all parties. Have a look at the plan here.
Leave granted to Creditor to Intervene in Family Law Proceedings
In the case of Martin v Martin the Court the Family Court granted leave to a creditor to intervene under s. 92 of the FLA, where a proposed property settlement (sought by consent between the husband and wife) would have had an effect on the ability of the creditor to recover its debt. See the case here.
Don't Forget to Collect!
Worrells insolvency experts warn in an article that business owners should adhere to their own payment terms to avoid being left empty handed by insolvent customers who might go into liquidation or bankruptcy. See the article here.
Lawyer caught Fibbing
A Federal Magistrate in Townsville has made an example of a fibbing lawyer (Mr B) who said the reason for non-appearance of his client (Ms R) in Court was that she was sick and he could not reach her by telephone, when the truth was, the lawyer had seen the client outside the Court that day and told her to go home. The Federal Magistrate said at [8 - 9]:
"All courts in the land must be able to rely upon the complete integrity and frankness of the legal representatives that appear for parties before them on a daily basis... Reliance upon the integrity and the honesty of the legal representatives representing such parties is a cornerstone of the administration of justice...
In this particular matter, particularly in light of the statements that were made in relation to the proceedings and the indication given by Ms R that she had seen Mr B outside of the precincts of the court and had been advised to go home, I cannot find other than that one of the ultimate obligations of a legal representative, to be full and frank, to be truthful and to be honest with the courts and with the statements they make to the courts has not been met by Mr B in relation to this matter."
Click link to read the judgment Re B (A Solicitor)  FMCAfam 997