FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA
VISION PROJECT GROUP PTY LTD (ACN 160 724 434)
DATE OF ORDER:
THE COURT ORDERS THAT:
2. The second respondent pay the applicant’s costs of the application for default judgment against the second respondent.
3. Otherwise, the interlocutory application filed 2 May 2019 be dismissed.
4. Liberty be granted to the applicant’s lawyers to approach the associate to Gleeson J to have the proceeding listed for a case management hearing no later than 30 September 2019.
Note: Entry of orders is dealt with in Rule 39.32 of the Federal Court Rules 2011.
1 By interlocutory application filed on 29 April 2019, the applicant (Spice Chest) applied for default judgment against the respondents in an amount of $1,130,067.00.
2 Rule 5.23(2)(b) of the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Rules) provides:
If a respondent is in default, an applicant may apply to the Court for:
(b) if the claim against the respondent is for a debt or liquidated damages – an order giving judgment against the respondent for:
(i) the debt or liquidated damages; and
(ii) if appropriate, interest and costs in a sum fixed by the Court or to be taxed; ...
3 Rule 5.23(2)(c) provides:
If a respondent is in default, an applicant may apply to the Court for: ...
(c) if the proceeding was started by an originating application supported by a statement of claim, or if the Court has ordered that the proceeding continue on pleadings — an order giving judgment against the respondent for the relief claimed in the statement of claim to which the Court is satisfied that the applicant is entitled.
4 By r 5.22, a party is in default if the party fails to:
(a) do an act required to be done, or to do an act in the time required, by these Rules; or
(b) comply with an order of the Court; or
(c) attend a hearing in the proceeding; or
(d) prosecute or defend the proceeding with due diligence.
5 By r 5.01, a party or the party’s lawyer must attend the Court on the return date fixed in the originating application.
6 By r 5.02, a respondent who has been served with an originating application must file a notice of address for service, in accordance with Form 10, before the return date fixed in the originating application.
7 By r 16.32, a respondent must file a defence, in accordance with Form 33, within 28 days after service of the statement of claim.
8 In support of the application, Spice Chest relied upon the affidavits of:
(1) Ben Hughes, law clerk, affirmed 29 April 2019 and 15 May 2019;
(2) Wendy Hastie, licensed commercial agent, sworn 29 March 2019 and 15 May 2019; and
(3) Andrew Wilson, solicitor, affirmed 10 April 2019.
9 Neither of the respondents appeared before the Court on Spice Chest’s application for default judgment.
Relevant legal principles
10 In Speedo Holdings BV v Evans (No 2)  FCA 1227, the Court outlined a number of principles relevant to the discretion to enter default judgment, including the following (at -) (citations omitted):
 First, the power ... remains discretionary. ... Just as the discretion must be exercised [cautiously] where it is the applicant that is in default ... the same caution must be exercised where it is the applicant who is seeking orders as against a defaulting respondent.
 Second, the discretionary power to enter a default judgment is enlivened when (as in the present case) an applicant applies to the Court for an order. Rule 5.23(2) provides that where a respondent is in default “an applicant may apply to the Court”.
 Third, there is a difference in the terms in which the ambit of the power conferred by the former r 3(2)(c) (“the relief... that the applicant appears entitled to on the statement of claim”) and the wording of the current r 5.23(2)(c) (“the relief claimed in the statement of claim to which the Court is satisfied that the applicant is entitled”). Notwithstanding that difference in language, the requirement imposed is not that an applicant prove by way of evidence the claim sought to be advanced; the requirement is that the Court needs to be “satisfied” on the face of the statement of claim that the applicant is entitled to the “relief” claimed. ... The facts as alleged in the statement of claim are deemed to have been admitted by a respondent. ...
 Fourth, to be satisfied that an applicant “is entitled” to the relief claimed in the statement of claim, the Court needs to be satisfied that “each element of the relevant civil wrong involved is properly and discretely pleaded in the statement of claim”. ...
 Fifth, in addition to the facts alleged in a statement of claim, the Court may permit recourse to limited further evidence. But it may not admit evidence which would alter the case as pleaded.
11 In Maylord Equity Management Pty Ltd v Parazelsus Ltd  FCA 979, I recorded out the following relevant principles at -:
 The condition in rule 5.23(2)(c) of the Rules, that the Court be satisfied that the applicant is entitled to relief before judgment is entered against the respondent, does not require proof by way of evidence of the applicant’s claim, although evidence may be adduced: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Dataline Net AU Pty Ltd (2006) 236 ALR 665,  FCA 1427 at ; Yeo v Damos Earthmoving Pty Ltd, Re Beachwood Developments Pty Ltd (in liq)  FCA 1129 at .
 However, the applicant must demonstrate, on the face of the statement of claim:
a. a claim for relief sought; and
b. that the court has jurisdiction to grant that relief.
See Luna Park Sydney Pty Ltd v Bose  FCA 94 at .
 An applicant will appear to be entitled to the relief sought in the statement of claim if each element of the relevant civil wrong is properly and discretely pleaded: Macquarie Bank Ltd v Seagle  FCA 1239; (2005) 146 FCR 400 at ; Macquarie Bank Ltd v Seagle (2008) 79 IPR 7,  FCA 1417 at .
 The Court may permit recourse to further limited evidence but cannot admit evidence that would alter the case as pleaded: Speedo Holdings BV v Evans (No 2)  FCA 1227 at  (“Speedo”).
 If an order for relief under rule 5.23(2)(c) is made, it gives the applicant a special privilege to gain judgment without proof of the applicant’s claim – a severe disadvantage to the respondent. As a result, the rules governing default judgment are strictly construed and the discretion must be exercised cautiously: Clayton v Thomas C Denton & Co Pty Ltd  VicRp 5;  VR 46 at 49; Speedo at .
Are the respondents in default?
12 Spice Chest contended that the respondents are in default of each of rr 5.01, 5.02 and 16.32.
13 Dealing with r 16.32 first, in order to demonstrate default, Spice Chest is first required to demonstrate service of the statement of claim.
14 The statement of claim was served on the second respondent (VPG) on 21 March 2019, as evidenced by Ms Hastie’s 29 March 2019 affidavit.
15 On 11 April 2019, I made an order pursuant to r 10.24 of the Rules, relevantly that the originating process dated 8 March 2019 (comprising the application, the statement of claim and the genuine steps statement, all filed on 15 March 2019) be served on the first respondent (Mr MacDonald) by way of an email to a specified address and by post to two postal addresses.
16 The statement of claim was served on Mr MacDonald by letters dated 12 April 2019 and by an email sent on 12 April 2019 in accordance with the 11 April 2019 order.
17 The 11 April 2019 order did not specify when the documents would be taken to be served: cf. r 10.24(c). By r 10.32, a document that is served on a person under r 10.31 is taken to be served on the person, relevantly:
(a) if the document was sent by pre-paid post—on the fourth business day after the document was sent; or
(c) if the document was sent by electronic communication—on the next business day after the document was sent.
18 Rule 10.31 provides for service of a document “that is not required to be served personally”. In this case, the statement of claim was not required to be served personally on Mr MacDonald by reason of the 11 April 2019 order.
19 Accordingly, the statement of claim is taken to be served on Mr MacDonald on 15 April 2019 in respect of its communication by way of email and 18 April 2019 in respect of its service by post.
20 Taking the later date (in Mr MacDonald’s favour), it follows that Mr MacDonald was required by r 16.32 to file a defence to the statement of claim by 16 May 2019 and VPG was similarly required to file its defence by 18 April 2019.
21 Neither respondent has filed a defence.
22 At the time that Spice Chest filed its default judgment application, VPG was in default within the meaning of r 5.22(a) by reason of its non-compliance with r 16.32. In addition, VPG was in default within the meaning of r 5.22(a) and r 5.22(c) by reason of its non-compliance with r 5.01 and r 5.02 set out above because it did not attend the Court on the return date fixed in the originating application, which was 11 April 2019 and, having been served with the originating application, it did not file a notice of address for service, in accordance with Form 10, before 11 April 2019.
23 At the time that Spice Chest filed its default judgment application, Mr MacDonald was in default within the meaning of r 5.22(c) by reason of his non-compliance with r 5.01 because of his failure to attend the return date fixed in the origination application. That non-compliance occurred in the context of Spice Chest’s failure to serve the originating documents prior to the return date, as required by r 8.06, which in turn occurred because of Spice Chest’s inability to locate Mr MacDonald. Rule 5.02 has no relevant application because Mr MacDonald was not served with the originating application prior to 11 April 2019.
24 In the end, I am satisfied that Spice Chest was entitled to make its default judgment application pursuant to r 5.32(2) because each of the respondents was in default of r 5.22(a) and r 5.22(c) at the time that the application was made.
Spice Chest’s claim
25 The originating application claims the following relief, on the grounds stated in the statement of claim:
(1) $1,130,067 due and payable as a debt, or alternatively in damages or in equitable damages, or in damages under s 12GF of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth) (ASIC Act).
(2) Damages for economic loss under s 12GF of the ASIC Act.
(3) Damages for unjust enrichment.
(4) Damages for monies had and received.
(5) A guarantee in a form to be settled by the Court and executed by the “respondent” in favour of Spice Chest.
26 The statement of claim refers to the following relevant parties:
(1) The applicant, Spice Chest, which is alleged to be the trustee of the “Chilli Asset Trust No 1” (Trust) pursuant to a trust deed dated 3 February 2016, and which allegedly undertook the pleaded conduct in its capacity as trustee of the Trust. The sole director and secretary of Spice Chest is Marcus Nicholls.
(2) The first respondent, Mr MacDonald, who was allegedly a residential property investor and developer and who had an agent named Blair Harding.
(3) The second respondent, VPG, a company of which Mr MacDonald was allegedly sole director, company secretary, shareholder and agent, and Mr Harding was an agent.
(4) Pine056 Pty Ltd (company A), another company of which Mr MacDonald was allegedly sole director, company secretary, shareholder and agent. Company A was deregistered on 23 March 2018 pursuant to s 601AB of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
(5) Rich132Pty Ltd (company B), also a company of which Mr MacDonald was allegedly sole director, company secretary, shareholder and agent. Company B was deregistered voluntarily on 25 January 2017, on the application of Mr MacDonald under s 601AB.
(6) Lot 49 Pinelands Street Pty Ltd (company C), a company of which Mr MacDonald is the sole shareholder, formerly the sole director and company secretary and the son of the current sole director and company secretary. Company C allegedly undertook and completed the subdivision and property development of 49 Pinelands Street Loganlea, Queensland (49 Pinelands development).
27 The statement of claim alleges that Mr MacDonald and Mr Nicholls made an oral agreement on 6 April 2016 to the effect that:
(1) Spice Chest would advance funds, by way of a loan, to one or more of the companies used by Mr MacDonald as vehicles for property developments (defined as the “Loan”);
(2) the security for the loan would include Mr MacDonald giving to Spice Chest a personal guarantee, by which he guaranteed the repayment of funds advanced by Spice Chest (guarantee representation); and
(3) in consideration for the loan, Spice Chest would receive an “agreed percentage” of the net profits made on the property developments towards which funds advanced under the loan were applied.
(1) a false representation that company A and company B had property developments underway on the land comprising lot 133 on RP112930 (lot 33 development) and lot 57 on RP112929 (lot 57 development);
(2) that funds advanced by Spice Chest would be used to finance these developments; and
(3) that, in consideration for financing these developments, Spice Chest would receive a 20% share in the net profit of these developments and would be allocated a corresponding 20% shareholding in company A and company B.
29 It is not clear why the “agreed percentage” is not identified as 20% in the pleading of the oral agreement but, rather, as a separate representation.
30 It is alleged that the oral agreement was “reduced to a written contract” dated 14 April 2016 and titled “Acknowledgement of Terms” in the following terms, annexed to the statement of claim:
On behalf of Pine056 Pty Ltd ACN 609 040 780 and Rich132 Pty Ltd ACN 608 768 430 (the Companies), I confirm the following terms:
1. The Companies are currently undertaking two developments at 13 - 17 Pinelands Street Loganlea and 77 - 81 Richards Street Loganlea respectively (the Developments);
2. The trustee of the Chilli Asset Trust No. 1 will invest the sum of $1,180,067.00 in the developments as follows: (a) $140,000.00 - 7 days after the date of this letter; and (b) $1,040,067.00 - 21 days after the date of this letter.
3. In return for the investment set out above, the trustee of the Chilli Asset Trust No.1 will receive upon finalisation of Developments a 20% share of profit as set out in item 5 below;
4. The trustee of the Chilli Asset Trust No. 1 will be provided with the following security: (c) [sic] issue to the trustee of the Chilli Asset Trust No 1 of 3 shares in each of the Companies representing a 20% interest in each of the Companies; and (d) Personal guarantee of Troy Scott MacDonald. Our accountant has been instructed to commence the process of issuing the shares.
5. Profit will be calculated and paid as follows:
(a) As determined by the director(s) (acting reasonably on the advice of the Companies’ accountant) after the final lot in the development(s) is sold, all debts relating to the developments are paid; and (b) Method of payment will be in accordance with how the Companies’ accountant advises is best for the Companies (e.g. shareholder dividend or otherwise).
Please accept this letter as confirmation and undertaking on behalf of the Companies of the terms agreed between us.
Yours faithfully [signed] Troy Scott MacDonald Sole Director of Pine056 Pty Ltd ACN 609 040 780 and Rich132 Pty Ltd ACN 608 768 430
Please confirm your agreement with these terms by signing below: [signed] Marcus Nicholls[.]
31 I note that this document refers to “investing” funds, rather than lending, and does not refer to repayment of a loan. Nevertheless, the pleading continues with repeated references to the alleged loan of funds by Spice Chest, apparently pursuant to the oral agreement by use of the term “Loan” referred to above.
32 It is next alleged that Mr MacDonald knew that, in deciding to advance funds, Spice Chest (through Mr Nicholls) would, and did, rely on the guarantee representation and the terms of the written contract; and that Mr MacDonald directed Spice Chest to pay the advance under the Loan to the bank account of VPG.
33 It is then alleged that, relying on the guarantee representation and the terms of the written contract, Spice Chest advanced $1,180,067 “under the Loan” to VPG “on behalf of Mr MacDonald” by bank transfers of $140,000 on 15 April 2016 and $1,040,967 on 17 May 2016.
34 Spice Chest alleges that it agreed to a recommendation that property development to be financed by the “Loan” would instead be “a project a few doors down”, that is, the 49 Pinelands development, rather than the lot 133 development and the lot 57 development, with the return due to Spice Chest to increase from 20% to 27% of net profit.
35 However, it is alleged, at no time did Mr MacDonald (or Mr Harding, on behalf of Mr MacDonald or any relevant company) inform Spice Chest that neither company A nor company B had a role in developing the 49 Pinelands development, but that the funds advanced “under the Loan” were instead “allocated by” Mr MacDonald to company C.
36 Further, it is alleged, at no time has Mr MacDonald performed the guarantee representation by providing the applicant with a written guarantee.
37 Based on these alleged facts, the statement of claim contends that:
(1) Mr MacDonald is estopped from denying there exists between him and Spice Chest a binding agreement in the terms of the guarantee representation.
(2) In the alternative, para 4 of the written contract amounts to a “memorandum or a note of a promise” within the meaning of s 56(2) of the Property Law Act 1974 (Qld) made in writing by Mr MacDonald, and in the premises is enforceable as a contract of guarantee against Mr MacDonald.
38 Next, the statement of claim pleads the following additional facts.
39 On 3 April 2018, Mr MacDonald caused $50,000 to be paid to Spice Chest by bank transfer, in part repayment of the Loan.
40 By letter of demand to Mr MacDonald dated 2 October 2018, Spice Chest demanded, inter alia, the repayment “under his guarantee” of the amount advanced “under the Loan”.
41 Mr MacDonald has not responded to Spice Chest’s letter of demand, and nor have company C nor VPG responded to “that letter of demand”.
42 Based on these alleged facts, the statement of claim contends that the amount of $1,130,067 is due and payable to the applicant by Mr MacDonald as a debt “under the guarantee”.
43 Further, the statement of claim contends that, by reason of Mr MacDonald’s refusal to make payment under the guarantee, Spice Chest has suffered loss and damage in the amount of $1,130,067, being the full amount of the loan less the part repayment already made. In support of this contention, the statement of claim states that Spice Chest cannot recover from company A or company B since they are both deregistered.
44 Next, the statement of claim pleads the following facts in support of a claim for damages under s 12GF of the ASIC Act:
(1) Mr MacDonald’s conduct pleaded in the statement of claim was conduct undertaken by him in trade or commerce.
(2) The written contract was a facility through which Mr MacDonald (which I take to be a mistake, the intended reference being Spice Chest) made a financial investment intended to generate a financial return to Mr MacDonald and was thus both a financial product within the meaning of s 12BAA of the ASIC Act and a financial service under s 12BAB(1AA) of the ASIC Act.
(3) Mr MacDonald’s conduct was misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive, in contravention of s 12DA of the ASIC Act in that:
(a) Mr MacDonald made the guarantee representation but did not provide the guarantee;
(b) Mr MacDonald made the three representations set out at  above, but did not cause any shares to be allocated as required by para 4 of the written contract;
(c) Mr MacDonald omitted to inform Spice Chest that the funds advanced under the loan were “allocated away” from company A and company B to company C.
(d) In contravention of s 12DA of the ASIC Act, VPG:
(i) aided, abetted, counselled or procured Mr MacDonald’s contravention at (a);
(ii) was otherwise, directly or indirectly, knowingly concerned in, or party to, Mr MacDonald’s contravention at (a); or
(iii) otherwise conspired with Mr MacDonald to contravene s 12DA of the ASIC Act.
(By way of particulars to this contention, Spice Chest refers to Mr MacDonald’s positions as VPG’s director, company secretary, and shareholder, and also its agent, and contends that Mr MacDonald’s knowledge is to be imputed to VPG.)
(4) The conduct pleaded has caused the applicant loss and damage in an amount comprising:
(a) $1,130,067; and
(b) further damages corresponding to the loss of a share of profits.
(5) By reason of these matters and s 12GF of the ASIC Act, Mr MacDonald and VPG are jointly and severally liable to the applicant for loss and damage.
45 Further, the statement of claim contends that, in the circumstances, VPG has been unjustly enriched by the receipt of the loan or, alternatively, the loan is money had and received by VPG to the benefit of Spice Chest.
46 The statement of claim includes a claim under the ASIC Act. I accept that, where the Court has jurisdiction to determine a matter of a particular kind, it has accrued jurisdiction to determine the whole of the controversy: Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Edensor Nominees Pty Ltd  HCA 1; (2001) 204 CLR 559. Accordingly, I am satisfied that the Court has jurisdiction to determine the whole of the controversy the subject of the statement of claim.
Is Spice chest entitled to default judgment Against Mr MacDonald?
47 On the face of the statement of claim, Spice Chest transferred $1,180,067 to VPG “on behalf of Mr MacDonald” and at his direction, and in reliance on the guarantee representation and the terms of the written contract which refers to developments being undertaken by company A and company B. Rather than providing the loan funds to company A and company B, Mr MacDonald caused the loan funds to be used for the development of the 49 Pinelands development, which was a project owned by company C.
48 Ultimately, counsel for the applicant, Gilbert Tsang, did not rely on the claim in debt based on a guarantee given by Mr MacDonald, in the absence of any written guarantee of the kind required by s 56 of the Property Law Act and the allegation that Mr MacDonald did not provide a written guarantee.
49 Further, there is no pleading of consideration to support a guarantee. In this regard, there is an alleged representation that, in consideration for financing the relevant developments, Spice Chest would receive a 20% share in the net profit of these developments but no reference is made to the guarantee as consideration for the advance of loan funds.
50 There is an alternative pleading that para 4 of the written contract is enforceable as a contract of guarantee against Mr MacDonald. Section 56(2) of the Property Law Act provides:
(2) A promise, or memorandum or note of a promise, in writing shall not be treated as insufficient for the purpose of this section merely because the consideration for such promise does not appear in writing or by necessary inference from a written document.
51 In the written contract, the promise is to provide the trustee with the “following security … personal guarantee of Troy Scott MacDonald”. The obligation secured, or to be secured by the guarantee is not clearly specified in the written contract. As noted above, the written contract does not refer to the sum of $1,180,067.00 as a loan, or mention its repayment. Rather, the written contract referred to a 20% share of profit as the “return for the investment”. Accordingly, I am not satisfied on the face of the statement of claim (supplemented by the written contract) that the written contract contains an enforceable guarantee by Mr MacDonald of a principal obligation owed by company A and company B to repay the sum of $1,180,067.00.
52 The second claim against Mr MacDonald is for damages pursuant to s 12GF of the ASIC Act.
53 Section 12GF provides relevantly:
(1) A person who suffers loss or damage by conduct of another person that contravenes a provision of Subdivision C (sections 12CA to 12CC) or Subdivision D (sections 12DA to 12DN) may recover the amount of the loss or damage by action against that other person or against any person involved in the contravention.
(1B) Despite subsection (1), if:
(a) a person (the claimant ) makes a claim under subsection (1) in relation to:
(i) economic loss; or
(ii) damage to property;
caused by conduct of another person (the defendant ) that was done in contravention of section 12DA; and
(b) the claimant suffered the loss or damage:
(i) as a result partly of the claimant’s failure to take reasonable care; and
(ii) as a result partly of the conduct referred to in paragraph (a); and
(c) the defendant:
(i) did not intend to cause the loss or damage; and
(ii) did not fraudulently cause the loss or damage;
the damages that the claimant may recover in relation to the loss or damage are to be reduced to the extent to which the court thinks just and equitable having regard to the claimant’s share in the responsibility for the loss or damage.
Note: Subdivision GA also applies proportionate liability to a claim for damages under this section for a contravention of section 12DA.
54 Section 12GF applies where a person who suffers loss or damage by conduct of another person that contravenes, relevantly s 12DA of the ASIC Act.
55 Section 12DA(1) provides that a person must not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct in relation to financial services that is misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive.
56 Section 12BAB(1)(b) provides relevantly that a person provides a “financial service” if they deal in a financial product.
57 Section 12BAA(1)(a) provides that relevantly, subject to s 12BAA(8), a “financial product” is a facility through which, or through the acquisition of which, a person makes a financial investment. Section 12BAA(4) provides, for the purposes of s 12BAA, that a person “makes a financial investment” in certain circumstances. A note to s 12BAA(4) gives the following example of an action that constitutes making a financial investment under s 12BAA(4):
(a) A person paying money to a company for the issue to the person of shares in the company (the company uses the money to generate dividends for the person and the person, as a shareholders, does not have control over the day-to-day affairs of the company).
58 Paragraph 29 of the statement of claim pleads:
The Contract was a facility through which the first respondent [Mr MacDonald] made a financial investment intended to generate a financial return to the first respondent and was thus both a financial product within the meaning of section 12BAA of the [ASIC Act] and a financial service under section 12BAB(1AA) of the ASIC Act.
59 As noted earlier, I assume that para 29 was intended to plead that the written contract was a facility through which Spice Chest made a financial investment etc. This allegation is inconsistent with the earlier pleading which, on three occasions, alleges that the relevant funds were advanced “under the Loan”. By r 16.06, a party must not plead inconsistent allegations of fact or inconsistent grounds of claims except as alternatives. As Spice Chest has not pleaded para 29 in the alternative, I do not consider that it is entitled to default judgment on the basis that the funds advanced were a financial investment within the meaning of s 12BAA, rather than a loan.
60 In any event, I do not accept that any of the three alleged contraventions of s 12DA are capable of constituting misleading or deceptive conduct on the facts pleaded. As to the first alleged contravention, the guarantee representation is a representation about a future matter. The statement of claim does not plead facts from which it could be concluded that Mr MacDonald did not have reasonable grounds for making the representation. As to the second alleged contravention, any omission by Mr McDonald to cause the allocation of shares is not capable of being characterised as misleading or deceptive. To the extent that it is suggested that the representation to cause the allocation of shares was misleading or deceptive, the pleading is insufficient for the same reason as for the first alleged contravention. As to the third alleged contravention, the pleading is insufficient to support a finding that the alleged loss was “by” Mr MacDonald’s omission to inform Spice Chest that the funds advanced under the loan were “allocated away” to company C.
61 Accordingly, I am not satisfied that Spice Chest is entitled to default judgment against Mr MacDonald. In any event, where Mr McDonald’s only default prior to the filing of the interlocutory notice was to fail to comply with r 5.01 in circumstances in which he had not yet been served with the originating process, I would been very reluctant to exercise the discretion in favour of default judgment against him.
62 After judgment was reserved, Spice Chest’s lawyers sent to the Court a Notice of Declaration of Intention to Present a Debtor’s Petition (Suspension of Creditor Enforcement) issued by the Australian Financial Security Authority in respect of Mr MacDonald pursuant to s 54C of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth). Spice Chest’s lawyers confirmed that, if default judgment was granted, Spice Chest would not seek to enforce that judgment during the stay period set out in the notice.
63 Spice Chest’s lawyers also noted that the notice attached a summary of financial affairs of Mr MacDonald which identified an unsecured liability to Spice Chest in the amount of $1,130,067.00. Spice Chest did not seek leave to re-open the application for default judgment to tender the summary of financial affairs, or suggest that this apparent admission by Mr MacDonald provided a further basis for the default judgment sought.
64 Subsequently, Spice Chest’s lawyers also informed the Court that, as at 1 July 2019, Mr MacDonald had not presented a debtor’s petition.
is Spice chest entitled to default judgment against VPG?
65 On the facts pleaded, I accept that VPG has been unjustly enriched by receipt of funds from Spice Chest. On the oral agreement, as pleaded, the amounts were to be advanced to company A and company B. On the written contract, Spice Chest agreed to invest the funds paid to VPG in developments then being undertaken by company A and company B. Spice Chest subsequently agreed that its funds would be used to finance the 49 Pinelands development but on the basis that its investment was in company A and company B.
66 On the facts pleaded, VPG applied Spice Chest’s funds to its own use, without the consent of Spice Chest. Thus, Spice Chest’s funds were advanced to VPG for a consideration which failed (Spangaro v Corporate Investment Australia Funds Management Ltd  FCA 1025; (2003) 47 ACSR 285 at ) and VPG was unjustly enriched by the amount of the funds paid to it at Spice Chest’s expense.
67 I am satisfied that the following three elements of the restitutionary claim was properly and discretely pleaded, namely:
(1) The enrichment of VPG (statement of claim para 16);
(2) The enrichment was at Spice Chest’s expense (also statement of claim para 16);
(3) The enrichment was unjust because the money paid by Spice Chest was for the purpose of investing in company A and company B but was used by company C in relation to which Spice Chest had no contractual relationship (statement of claim paras 9, 10, 16, 18 and 19).
68 Accordingly, I am satisfied that Spice Chest is entitled to an order that VPG pay to Spice Chest the amount claimed and, consequently, to default judgment in that sum.
69 As noted above, Spice Chest makes an alternative claim for relief paid on “money had and received by [VPG] to the benefit of” Spice Chest. This is a “common count”, permitted in New South Wales by r 14.12(1)(f) of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW). There is no analogous rule in the Rules. I am not satisfied that Spice Chest is entitled to default judgment on the basis of this claim.
70 I will make an order giving judgment in Spice Chest’s favour against VPG in the sum of $1,130,067.00. Costs should follow the event. Otherwise, the application for default judgment will be dismissed. Spice Chest’s lawyers may approach my associate for a further case management hearing to be held not later than 30 September 2019.