Beware the Ides of August

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 [195]- 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.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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True RWDB
True RWDB
2022 years ago

Yes we can’t have those damned accountants getting a slice of OUR money, can we guys. Besides we have the IP rights on bloodsucking, and we ain’t gonna let it go lightly. So get back to your bookkeeping you bloody interlopers!

Al Bundy
Al Bundy
2022 years ago

Earplugs, mate. If there’s one thing that great big exercise in communal living, the Army, taught me, it was the value of earplugs in getting a decent night’s sleep.

Jacques Chester
Jacques Chester
2022 years ago

On a tanget, Ken: are you using Word to compose your posts?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Jacques

No I just do them in text using the basic Moveable Type interface to insert the most basic HTML tags, and I manually add any twiddly bits (like dot points, indents etc). I don’t think it would be very useful to use Word, because the MT text entry box is basically just like Word Pad with a couple of extra buttons to add some basic HTML. If you pasted a Word document into it, the formatting wouldn’t be preserved anyway, I don’t think. And even if there was a way to preserve it, Word generates all manner of extraneous, unnecessary code that just slows down the page loading. Why do you ask?

BTW I used to use a free composition/editing program called w.bloggar, but I now find it easier just to use MT and add extra code manually.

Jacques Chester
Jacques Chester
2022 years ago

I ask because I keep seeing question marks where I presume you are meaning to insert single quotation marks. Word’s HTML export feature is notorious for leaving a windows-specific quotation character in text, which leads to non-IE browsers rendering ?quotations thus?, and ‘not thus’, where locales are not in agreement with the character encoding.

Following up, I see the text renders fine in IE or Firefox; but Thunderbird using the Forumzilla extension is rendering incorrectly.

Looking at your page source, it pushes the character encoding as iso-8859-1, in which an apostrophe appears as character hex 27 and the question mark as hex 3F. Presumably either Thunderbird or Forumzilla are not respecting the encoding your website is announcing, and possibly using the encoding being offered by Windows.

On the other hand, this glitch does appear in earlier posts of yours when I go back to them using ForumZilla. This suggests that the actual HTML you’re pushing has changed. How long have you been using the w.bloggar program?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Jacques

I HAVEN’T used the w.bloggar program for at least 12 months. I just use stock standard HTML code and type quotation marks with my keyboard. The MT interface renders them fine and, as you say, displays perfectly in commonly used browsers. Your problem with Mozilla suggests another reason not to bother with it until they get it right.

Jacques Chester
Jacques Chester
2022 years ago

Ken;

Read my comment again. I specifically identified Thunderbird+ForumZilla as rendering quote marks in a manner recalling the Word->HTML snafu.

Firefox (and therefore all other Gecko-based browsers) renders your pages perfectly. While I demure to you in matters of law, I’m just going to come out and say that your growing pathology against the Mozilla project is unbecoming and uninformed by any sort of serious understanding of the programs on offer.

IE is broken, insecure junk, Ken. Face up.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

I think you probably mean “demur”, Jacques. Demure you aint.

Jacques Chester
Jacques Chester
2022 years ago

I blame my cheap education and spellcheckers.

“Rude upstart” might describe me.