Early Saturday morning … crisp and cool … managed to fight off insomnia and slept through the night … looking forward to a delicious sleep-in … BANG CRASH BANG BANG BANG … LOUD VOICES. Christ what time is it? 6.30. Cunts. Blokes preparing for a fishing trip in the units parking lot next door. Woman in the flat next to mine yells “Thanks for waking me up, ya bastards.” Those bastards are cunts, I think. In fact those cunts are bastards. BANG BANG BANG … Fucktards! If only I had a rifle …
I decide to blog instead. I’m irresistably reminded of Ide v Ide (via Quantum Meruit), a decision handed down a few days ago in the NSW Supreme Court. The catchwords in the headnote say it all really:
CORPORATIONS - Receiver- Remuneration- Not ordinarily to include remuneration for time spent assisting police where one officer of the corporation shoots and kills another in receiver’s presence.
It was a partnership dispute between Mr Idle senior and his business partner son. A receiver had been appointed, and Idle’s daughter held his power of attorney (presumably he had kangaroos loose in the top paddock). The judgment goes on to explain:
On 18 February 2002, Mr Leigh, one of the receivers’ staff, some drovers and Karen Fallon called at the property for the purpose of removing the remaining cattle. Karen Fallon was the daughter of the plaintiff and held his power of attorney of the plaintiff; she was also the defendant’s sister. An argument ensued between Ms Fallon and the defendant. The defendant’s version of the event was that he accidentally fired his rifle in his sister’s vicinity and, by ricochet she was hit by the bullet and subsequently died. The defendant gave his address as Grafton gaol when he swore his affidavit.
Police investigations followed during which the receivers assisted and spent some time towards providing interviews, giving statements and seeing the matter through to trial. Annexed to the affidavit of Mr Leigh sworn 8 October 2003 is a statement of particulars outlining the time spent on attending to matters relating to the additional costs incurred as a result of assisting investigations. The total value of this time is calculated to be $20,457.50. The total value of remuneration sought by the receivers amounts to $40,612.00 plus $4061.20 in GST.
The receivers charged the partnership estate 20,000 bucks for giving police statements and attending the murder trial!! It’s a bizarre example of something all businesspeople should keep firmly in mind. Accountants (who are generally the professionals appointed as receivers, liquidators, managers ec of businesses in dispute or difficulty) essentially see their function as being to transfer the business’s accumulated assets to their own office account as quickly as possible by all available means. If you want to have anything left at the end of your dispute, be sensible and sort it out and avoid appointing one.
To give you an idea of the amounts typically involved in those situations, Chief Justice Young in Equity almost thought bothering to rule on a piddling sum like $20,000 in receiver’s claimed remuneration was beneath his judicial dignity:
It is certainly the case that there is high authority for the proposition that the court does not get involved with little bits of accounts …
Under some modern rules of court, a superior court would not concern itself with a dispute over $20,000. However, some small disputes are merely instances of a wider problem. In the present case, it seems to me that it is in everybody’s interest that the question be decided and preferably with as little expenditure of time and cost as possible.
Young CJ in Equity went on to make the following very helpful ruling, which is sure to be very influential in the vast multitude of cases where a partnership receiver claims costs from one of the partners shooting another:
In the present case, the incident which gave rise to the police involvement occurred in the course of the receivers’ agents’ duties. However, the incident had nothing to do with the administration by the receivers, it appears to have been a personal matter within the partners’ family.
Even taking on board the point that the inquiries were initiated by the police and not by the receivers, it is difficult to see how assisting the police with their enquiries into Karen Fallon’s death was work which was part of the ordinary or extraordinary duties of the receivers. However, a small part of the time spent might fall within this category. …
In passing I think it is important to note that assisting police with any enquiry falls into a greater civic duty that surpasses all professional duties. That the receivers’ representative was a witness to the shooting and unfortunate killing of Ms Fallon places on them a civic responsibility to ensure that justice is done by assisting police in any way they can, for the greater benefit of the community.
So the bloodsucking leech accountants don’t get their twenty grand. Good job. No doubt the lawyers got it all instead. And the cunts next door have stopped banging and shouting. I might go back to bed for a while, and then cycle up and buy the Weekend Australian.