In Navarac v Pty Ltd v Carrello [2016] WASC 327, the court-appointed receiver and manager of Esperance Cattle Company Pty Ltd had applied for orders from the court to conclude the receivership.

In order to prepare evidence and submissions to oppose the receiver's application, a director of the company applied to inspect certain documents, which she asserted were or might be held by the receiver.

A key issue was whether and to what extent the appointment of a receiver affects a director’s exercise of the right to inspect the books, financial records and documents of a company under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act) and at common law. The court held that the director had rights to inspect the books and financial records of the company under sections 198F, 290 and 421 of the Act (similar to New Zealand's Companies Act 1993, s 191) and at common law (For NZ see Berlei Hestia (NZ) Ltd v Fernyhough [1980] 2 NZLR 150).

The court noted that the common law right of inspection draws a distinction between documents in the possession of the company (including documents created or received by the receivers as agents of the company) and documents prepared by the receiver for his own benefit or protection and which are held by him in that capacity.

See Court decision here.