All too often in our business, we come across cases of shareholder conflict. It is particularly the case where two friends or associates build a business together as equal shareholders in a company and later find themselves in a conflict situation. For the sake of all stakeholders, it is critical to into a shareholders’ agreement that deals with situations that could result in conflicts.
A recent case demonstrates the Fair Work Ombudsman’s commitment and willingness to protect vulnerable, exploited employees by holding not only businesses accountable for contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 but also external advisors who are involved in the contravention. If an advisor is found to be involved in a contravention of the Act, they will be found to have accessorial liability, and significant penalties can be imposed on them.
The duties that arise out of a fiduciary relationship, such as those owed by a trustee to a beneficiary, are some of the most stringent the law imposes. The recent case of Ancient Order of Foresters in Victoria Friendly Society Ltd v Lifeplan Australia Friendly Society Ltd  demonstrates the serious repercussions for a third party who, while not a fiduciary themselves, knowingly assists a fiduciary in their dishonest and fraudulent conduct.
The case demonstrates that the Court is willing to order such a third party to account for their profits, including potential future profits for an unrestricted time frame.
Non-compliance with a statutory demand is the most common way to prove insolvency.
The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Victoria in A G Coombs Pty Ltd v M & V Consultants Pty Ltd (in liq)  VSC 468 illustrates the issues faced by the recipient of a statutory demand who disputed the debt on which the demand was based. While it was argued that they were unquestionably solvent, the recipient failed to make an application to have the statutory demand set aside within the 21-day time limit.