High Court of Australia

Equuscorp Pty Ltd v Haxton [2012] HCA 7

Equuscorp Pty Ltd v Bassat

Equuscorp Pty Ltd v Cunningham's Warehouse Sales Pty Ltd

246 CLR 498; 86 ALJR 296; 286 ALR 12

8 Mar 2012

Case Number: M128/2010 M129/2010 M130/2010 M131/2010 M132/2010

Before

French CJ, Gummow, Heydon, Crennan, Kiefel, Bell JJ

Catchwords

Restitution – Restitution of benefits derived from unenforceable or illegal contracts - Recovery of money paid as money had and received - Respondents invested in tax driven blueberry farming schemes - Respondents borrowed funds to pay farm management fees - Each investment a "prescribed interest" under Companies Code of each respondent's home State ("Code") - Contrary to s 170(1) of Code, no valid prospectus registered when prescribed interests offered - Farming schemes collapsed - Respondents did not repay loan funds - Loan agreements unenforceable against respondents due to illegality - Whether restitution of loan funds available - Whether failure of consideration - Whether respondents' retention of loan funds unjust.

Personal property – Alienation of personal property - Assignment of choses in action - Assignment of right to restitution - Deed of assignment included assignment of legal right to debts and "all legal and other remedies" - Whether right to restitution capable of assignment - Whether deed of assignment assigned right to restitution.

Words and phrases – "bare right of action", "chose in action", "failure of consideration", "legal and other remedies", "money had and received", "prescribed interest", "unjust enrichment".

Companies Code – ss 170, 174.

Property Law Act 1974 (Q) – s 199(1).

Judicature Act 1873 (UK) – s 25(6).

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