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How to serve a statutory demand

By Andrew Behman, an Associate of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

In earlier articles, we highlighted the problems that arise when serving a Creditor’s Statutory Demand by post: see You’ve been served! and It Serves You Right?.

This issue reared its head again two weeks ago in winding up proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW in which we acted for the creditor. The Court was satisfied with all but one element of the evidence required to make the winding up order. The Court did not accept that the statutory demand had been properly posted (even though there was evidence of postage).

The statutory demand had been ‘posted’ by an Australia Post employee attending and collecting it from the office premises rather than the statutory demand being placed into a post box. The Court was not prepared to accept that the statutory demand had been posted because it was unfamiliar with this practice. The Court was more familiar with posting a statutory demand by placing the document into a post box or directly with an Australia Post outlet.
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When is an old debt too old to collect?

By Andrew Behman, an Associate of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

Sometimes, we are all a bit guilty of putting some of the more difficult to collect debts in the ‘too hard basket’ for too long. For so long that they become an ‘old debt’. But how long can you leave an old debt before it’s too late to collect? And the old debt becomes ‘statute barred’?

For debts in NSW, the clock generally starts running for a period of 6 years from the date the cause of action first accrues (e.g. the date of default). After the expiry of this 6 year period, the legislation restricts you from recovering the debt and it becomes ‘stature barred’.

However, it is possible to reset the clock on old debts depending on the circumstances and events that take place during the 6 year period. A few examples that might reset the clock for an old debt include:
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Collecting debts is a legislative minefield

As if running your business isn’t complex enough – the process of chasing and collecting debts can be like wandering through a maze, and that’s even before you make contact with the debtor!

Debt collection is a heavily regulated activity in Australia. State and Federal legislation sets restraints on collection activities and are easy to fall foul of if you are not across the detail. Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of some of the legislation that affects how you can go about chasing debts:

  • Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)
  • Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth)
  • The Australian Consumer Law, which is a schedule to the Competition & Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)
  • Part 2, Division 2 of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth)
  • National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth) which includes the National Credit Code as Schedule 1
  • Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth)
  • Fair Trading Act 1987 (NSW)
  • Commercial Agents & Private Enquiry Agents Act 2004 (NSW)
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When its better to get something than nothing, the use of Payment Arrangements in recovering your debt.

By Renee Smith a Solicitor of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

When looking to recover funds from a Debtor there are numerous ways in which it can be recovered. All of those options should be canvassed and considered carefully. One of those options is an agreed payment arrangement.

Benefits of entering into a payment arrangement include the ability to receive regular periodic payments of funds from the Debtor as well as the ability to monitor the Debtor for any changes in their financial situation. In setting a frequent payment schedule such as weekly or fortnightly, any sudden changes in the Debtor’s financial situation such as the Debtor going into Bankruptcy or the Debtor Company going into external administration can be found out and acted upon quickly. An obvious disadvantage of entering into a payment arrangement is that depending on the amount of the debt owing, it can take some time for the outstanding debt to be paid in full.
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Credit Repair Schemes – A Magic Wand?

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has just issued a press release warning consumers about the aggressive and misleading sales techniques of companies promising to wipe clean bad credit reports.

As the press release makes clear, many of these companies are making promises they cannot keep and at the same time are seeking large upfront payments. See a copy of the press release here.

Despite what you might hear in certain advertisements, there is no “magic wand” for a debtor to improve their credit rating. The only ways that a credit report can be amended or updated is if the default listing is incorrect or the debt is paid.

The popularity of these credit repair schemes serves as a reminder that reporting a payment default remains an effective way to manage delinquent debt.

At Matthews Folbigg Lawyers we utilise default listing with reporting agencies as part of our multi-faceted approach to debt collection.

If you would like to discuss how Matthews Folbigg Lawyers can improve your credit collection performance, we would love to speak with you.

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Calderbank Offers – What You Need to Know

By Andrew Behman, an Associate of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group


In our earlier post about settlement negotiations “Agreement in principle” – is it binding?“, we discussed the an offer that was agreed to “in principle” and what that means.  The offer that we talked about was a Calderbank offer.

What is it?

Calderbank offer is a type of settlement offer designed to put the offeror in a position to ask the court to make an indemnity costs order, if the offerer succeeds in the litigation beyond the amount offered. An indemnity costs order is an order that the less successful party pay a larger portion of the other party’s costs. Normally ‘costs follow the event’ – which means that an unsuccessful party  will be ordered to pay the successful party’s costs of litigation. However normally, because of the way the costs assessment process works, only a portion of the successful party’s actual costs will be recoverable. However by making a Calderbank offer, a party to litigation can improve the chances of recovering a significantly higher proportion of those costs. These offers are based on the principles outlined in the English case of Calderbank v Calderbank [1975] 3 All ER 333.
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Garnishee Orders – 5 things to know.

By Renee Smith a Solicitor of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

In a previous blog, which can be found here, we explained the advantages and disadvantages of using Garnishee Orders to recover money from a Judgement Debtor.

Here are 5 things you may not have known about Garnishee Orders:

  1. There is no filing fee on a Garnishee Order.

The process of issuing a Garnishee Order against a Garnishee is a quick and inexpensive process.

  1. You can issue a Garnishee Order with limited information about your Judgment Debtor.

An advantage of Garnishee Orders is that you don’t need a lot of information in order to use the garnishing process. In most cases, the name of the debtor is all that is required, however the more information that is provided the quicker the process will be.

  1. A Garnishee Order for Debts can be Repeated.

A Garnishee Order for Debts will garnish an amount owed to, or held on behalf of, the Judgment Debtor at a particular period of time.  However, Garnishee Orders can be issued on the same garnishee multiple times. Therefore, should a Garnishee Order by issued on a bank, but not recover any monies at that time, a Judgment Creditor may choose to wait a further period of time and issue an additional Garnishee Order to the same bank.
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“Agreement in principle” – is it binding?

By Andrew Behman, an Associate of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

When you’re negotiating the terms of a contract, settlement or payment arrangement, you might hear the term “agreement in principle”.  The obvious questions are:

  1. What does it mean?
  2. If you agree “in principle” to a person’s offer, or that person agrees “in principle” to your offer, can the agreement be enforced?

These are questions that are considered in numerous cases and various situations. The Courts have historically considered such cases in the context of different categories of agreement based on the decision in Masters v. Cameron. Recently the Supreme Court of New South Wales looked at these questions again in the matter of P J Leahy & Ors v A R Hill & Anor [2018] NSWSC 6. In this matter, Mr Leahy (and his related parties) commenced proceedings against Mr and Mrs Hill to recover an amount he claimed was due for repairs to a shed and arrears under a licence agreement.
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