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In the matter of Ashley and Martin Pty Ltd. - (28 Jan 2022)

Court can relieve a person from civil liability provided that the person concerned acted honestly


The Plaintiff has sought the relief under Section 1322(4)(a) of the Corporations Act, 2001 from compliance with its financial reporting and lodgment obligations for the financial year ending 30 June 2019 and from civil liability in respect of this non-compliance.

Section 1322 of the Act confers broad authority on the court to grant relief where the statutory pre-requisites are met. The power must be exercised having regard to the interests of all parties affected and the public interest in ensuring compliance with the Act and company constitutions.

There is no evidence of any substantial misconduct, serious wrongdoing or flagrant disregard of the Act to warrant refusal of the relief sought. There is nothing in the evidence suggesting that any minority shareholder interest might be oppressed, or any other interest might be affected. In exercising the discretion to grant relief under Section 1322(4) of the Act, a relevant factor is the promptness with which the Plaintiff has sought to remedy the irregularity once it has been identified.

Section 1322(4)(c) of Act, permits the court to make an order relieving a person from civil liability for a broad range of contraventions or failures, subject to the conditions in Section 1322(6) that the person concerned acted honestly and that no substantial injustice has been or is likely to be caused to any person. All persons concerned in or party to the contravention acted honestly, and that no substantial injustice has been or is likely to be caused to any person by reason of the contravention or the making of the proposed form of orders. Relief from civil liability under Section 1322(4)(c) should be granted.


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