The respondent in this matter, Mr Culleton, owed
Macquarie Leasing Pty Limited (Macquarie) a debt arising out of two
chattel mortgage agreements.
Macquarie obtained judgment against Mr Culleton in the amount of
$94,304. The judgment debt was not paid and Macquarie petitioned
for a sequestration order to be made against Mr Culleton's
Macquarie served the Bankruptcy Notice on Mr Culleton by
affixing it to a padlocked gate at his last known address.
Mr Culleton, an unrepresented litigant, opposed the petition on
the basis that the Bankruptcy Notice had not been served on him
because the property at which the Bankruptcy Notice was affixed was
not his last known address.
The cases have considered service at a "last known
address" and formulated (among others) the following
It does not matter whether the debtor actually resides at the
particular address or not;
"last known address" does not expressly refer to the
debtor's residence or place of abode;
The expression refers to the address that has been made known
by the debtor to the world at large at the time closest to the date
in question; and
A business address can be a debtor's last known
Mr Culleton deposed to the fact that he no longer lived at the
property where the Bankruptcy Notice was served but continued to
run a business from there.
The court found that at the time of service:
Mr Culleton was not living at the property where the Bankruptcy
Notice was served, but visited the property various times in the
year preceding the date of service;
Nevertheless, he conducted a business from that property;
He did not inform Macquarie of where he was in fact
When all the evidence is viewed objectively, the information
that Mr Culleton conveyed to the world at large was that his
business address at the property in question was his last known
address for the purpose of service under the Bankruptcy
All reasonably available public records indicate that the
address in question was Mr Culleton's last known address.
Having regard to all the evidence, the court was satisfied that
there had been service in accordance with the requirements of the
legislation and granted the sequestration orders sought by
THE COURT'S DUTY TO UNREPRESENTED LITIGANTS
Judge Altobelli quoted from the recent decision of the Full
Federal Court in SZRUR v Minister for Immigration and Border
Protection  FCAFC 146 in affirming the court's duty
to ensure 'fairness' for an unrepresented litigant.
However, the cases note that the court's duty is not solely to
the unrepresented litigant. The obligation is to ensure fairness
for all parties.
In applying the duty of fairness to the unrepresented litigant
in this case, His Honour noted that Mr Culleton 'was given the
benefit of the doubt with all of his evidence being subjected only
to weight assessment'.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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This was an interlocutory decision about the appointment of a tutor for the child appellant, to carry on his proceedings.
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