In the two judgments, Commissioner of Inland Revenue v Salus Safety Equipment Ltd (in liq) [2020] NZHC 1368 and Commissioner Inland Revenue v Green Securities Ltd (in liq) [2020] NZHC 1371, Associate Judge Bell significantly reduced the amount recoverable in each proceeding by liquidators. 

Both cases considered applications from liquidators to seek approval of their remuneration.  In Salus the amount claimed was $91,600 and in Green Securities it was $159,044.

The Court considered that the inquiry was to determine the fairness and reasonableness of what was charged when measured against the work undertaken and the result achieved.  In both cases, it was held that it was unreasonable to charge for 'padding' and inefficiencies such as for attendances in handing the file from one person to another, routine clerical work and taking too long to resolve what should have been simple liquidations.

As a result, the Court materially limited the liquidators’ remuneration in both cases to $30,000 in Salus and $120,000 in Green Securities.  While highly critical of the liquidators’ inefficiencies the Court also acknowledged its own delay in returning judgments on these applications.  Both decisions are being appealed.

The decisions can be found here and here.