High Court of Australia

Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts Australia Pty Ltd v The Commonwealth [2019] HCA 20

19 Jun 2019

Case Number: M137/2018

Before

Kiefel CJ, Bell, Gageler, Keane, Nettle, Gordon, Edelman JJ

Catchwords

Corporations – External administration – Receivers and other controllers of property – Priority debts – Where corporation carrying on business solely as trustee created circulating security interest over trust assets in favour of bank – Where receivers and managers appointed by bank realised trust assets and satisfied obligations to bank – Whether surplus proceeds required to be paid in accordance with Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), s 433 – Whether corporation's right of indemnity is property of the company "comprised in or subject to a circulating security interest" within meaning of s 433 – Whether trust assets themselves are such "property of the company" – Whether statutory order of priorities for payment of debts applicable to distribution of surplus proceeds from trust assets among trust creditors – Whether proceeds from exercise of insolvent corporate trustee's right of exoneration to be applied only in satisfaction of trust liabilities to which it relates.

Trusts – Trustees – Right of indemnity – Whether trustee's right of indemnity confers beneficial interest in trust assets – Whether such interest is "property" within meaning of Corporations Act, s 9.

Words and phrases – "beneficial interest", "circulating asset", "circulating security interest", "floating charge", "insolvent corporate trustee", "payment of creditors out of property", "power of exoneration", "PPSA security interest", "priority payments", "property", "property comprised in or subject to a circulating security interest", "property held by the bankrupt on trust", "property of the company", "right of exoneration", "right of indemnity", "taking possession or assuming control of property", "trust asset", "trust liabilities".

Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) – ss 9, 51, 51C, 433, 555, 556, 560.

Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) – ss 10, 12, 340.
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