A recent High Court judgment illustrates potential issues when the same liquidator(s) are appointed to Australian and New Zealand companies.

Australian liquidators were appointed to the Cedenco group of companies, two of which were New Zealand companies and three Australian. They sought orders requiring delivery of documents and for the companies’ relationship manager at ANZ to attend for a second examination. One of the arguments against this was that the New Zealand companies' creditors were likely to be paid in full.

Heath J held that the Court has jurisdiction to order an examination and the provision of documents where there is a surplus if the Court, in its discretion, considers it justified. He was not so satisfied on the facts. In particular, the liquidators had "failed to identify any subject on which [the relationship manager] should be examined that would benefit [the New Zealand companies], as opposed to [the Australian companies]". While jurisdiction to examine for the Australian companies’ benefit might lie under the Insolvency (Cross Border) Act 2006, it would be oppressive to make the orders sought "when no benefit could flow to creditors of Cedenco NZ, who have been paid in full". The liquidators' actions were "for an ulterior purpose".

On the facts, the transcript of the examination could not be used by the liquidators in their capacity as liquidators of the Australian companies (as it had been represented as being confidential), but the decision leaves this open in appropriate circumstances.

See Court decision here.