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Cross-border insolvency: joint hearing by New Zealand Court of Appeal and Federal Court of Australia

By Jack Wass (Stout Street Chambers)

Readers may be interested to know that on Thursday 23 September 2021, the New Zealand Court of Appeal will be sitting in a joint hearing with the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia.

Earlier this year, the High Court of New Zealand and the Federal Court of Australia gave judgment on parallel applications for directions concerning the distribution of funds held by Halifax Investment Services Pty Ltd and its New Zealand subsidiary. The hearing of those applications was conducted by VMR with counsel in Sydney and Auckland; witnesses were sworn and examined in both proceedings, and the parties agreed that the judges could deliberate jointly. The upcoming hearing is of appeals against those judgments, to be heard by Kós P, Cooper and Goddard JJ in New Zealand, and Middleton, Beach and Moshinsky JJ in Australia.

Cross-border insolvency cries out for international judicial cooperation; significant strides have been made under the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency, while the legal barriers between New Zealand and Australia have been substantially lowered by the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Acts. The use of joint hearings is a welcome and pragmatic development of the techniques and procedures introduced by those regimes.

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