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This Practice Note was issued on 28 May 2021 and commences on 28 May 2021 and will apply to relevant proceedings commenced in the Supreme Court concerning cross-border insolvency and/or cooperation with foreign courts or foreign representatives.

SC CC 6 Cross-Border Insolvency: Cooperation with Foreign Courts or Representatives and Coordination Agreements

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 The Chief Justice has authorised the issue of the following Practice Note.

1.2 The purpose of this Practice Note is to describe the procedures to be followed for proceedings regarding cross-border insolvency and cooperation with foreign courts or foreign representatives.

2. COMMENCEMENT

2.1 This Practice Note was issued on 28 May 2021 and commences on 28 May 2021 and will apply to relevant proceedings commenced in the Supreme Court concerning cross-border insolvency and/or cooperation with foreign courts or foreign representatives.

3. FILING PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE ACT

3.1 All proceedings under the Cross-Border Insolvency Act 2008 (Cth) (“Cross-Border Insolvency Act”) should be filed in the Commercial Court within the Corporations List and in accordance with order 15A of the Supreme Court (Corporations) Rules 2013.

4. CROSS-BORDER INSOLVENCY1

4.1 The Cross-Border Insolvency Act provides in s 6 that, subject to the Act, the Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (“UNCITRAL”) (“Model Law”), with the modifications set out in Part 2 of the Cross-Border Insolvency Act, has the force of law in Australia. The English text of the Model Law is set out in Schedule 1 to the Cross-Border Insolvency Act.

4.2 Chapter IV of the Model Law, comprising Articles 25 – 27, provides for cooperation with foreign courts and foreign representatives in the cross-border insolvency matters that are referred to in Article 1 of the Model Law.

4.3 Articles 25 and 27 of the Model Law, as modified by s 11 of the Cross-Border Insolvency Act, and as presently relevant, provide:

Article 25
Cooperation and direct communication between [Supreme Court of Victoria] and foreign courts or foreign representatives

1. In matters referred to in article 1, the court shall cooperate to the maximum extent possible with foreign courts or foreign representatives, either directly or through the trustee (within the meaning of subsection 5(1) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966) or a registered liquidator (within the meaning of section 9 of the Corporations Act 2001).

2. The court is entitled to communicate directly with, or to request information or assistance directly from, foreign courts or foreign representatives.

Article 27
Forms of cooperation

Cooperation referred to in [Article 25] may be implemented by any appropriate means, including:

(a) Appointment of a person or body to act at the direction of the court;

(b) Communication of information by any means considered appropriate by the court;

(c) Coordination of the administration and supervision of the debtor’s assets and affairs;

(d) Approval or implementation by courts of agreements concerning the coordination of proceedings;

(e) Coordination of concurrent proceedings regarding the same debtor;

(f) [The enacting State may wish to list additional forms or examples of cooperation].2

 

4.4 The manner of cooperation appropriate to each particular case will depend on the circumstances of that case.

4.5 Cooperation between the Court and a foreign court or foreign representative under Article 25 will generally occur under a co-ordination agreement that has previously been approved by the Court, and is known to the parties, in the particular proceeding. Ordinarily it will be the parties who will draft the co-ordination agreement. In doing so, the parties should be guided by the Guidelines for Communication and Co-operation between Courts in Cross-Border Insolvency Matters (‘the JIN Guidelines’) and the Modalities of Court-to-Court Communication (‘the Modalities’) both published by the Judicial Insolvency Network3 and the Practice Guide on Cross-Border Insolvency Co-operation 2009 (‘the Practice Guide’) published by UNCITRAL.4 Other useful international guidance as to cross-border insolvency can be found at:

4.6 The publications referred to above are not intended to, and do not (a) encroach on substantive Australian law; or (b) interfere with or impact upon the exercise by any Court of its ordinary jurisdiction .

4.7 In drafting a co-ordination agreement for the approval of the Court, the parties should have regard to the above and may find the practical guidance in the Practice Guide useful.

4.8 Parties should have regard to the aspects of the JIN Guidelines, the Modalities and the Global Guidelines designed to provide transparency and accord procedural fairness to all parties including:

  • communications being subject to ex parte communication rules;
  • communications between courts being notified in advance to counsel;
  • advance notice of telephone or video conference communications between courts, or between the court and a court representative or foreign insolvency administrator and the ability of counsel to participate; and
  • the development of service lists.

4.9 A co-ordination agreement should generally address the processes for coordination of:

  • notifications of creditors;
  • submission of creditor claims;
  • the administration of claims; and
  • the hearing of appeals where claims are rejected.

5. APPLICATIONS RELATING TO A SHIP OWNER

5.1 Where an application under the Cross-Border Insolvency Act relates to an owner of a ship or ships engaged in any commercial trade, that matter must be brought to the Court’s attention before, or at the time, the application is filed.

6. OTHER APPLICABLE PRACTICE NOTES

6.1 Practitioners should also follow the procedures outlined in other Supreme Court of Victoria Practice Notes, including Practice Note SC CC 1 – Commercial Court, which contains information about case management processes, transcript requirements and urgent applications.

AMENDMENT HISTORY

28 May 2021: This Practice Note was issued on 28 May 2021 and replaced former Practice Note SC CC 6.

VIVIENNE MACGILLIVRAY
Executive Associate to the Chief Justice
28 May 2021


[1] This Practice Note is harmonised in accordance with the advice of the Council of Chief Justices’ Rules Harmonisation Committee.

[2] Section 18 of the Cross-Border Insolvency Act provides that no additional forms or examples of cooperation are added.

[3] The Judicial Insolvency Network includes representatives of a group of courts which first met in Singapore on 10-11 October 2016 to draft the JIN Guidelines.  The Courts represented at that meeting were those of Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Delaware (USA), England and Wales, Singapore, the Southern District of New York (USA), Ontario, New South Wales and the Federal Court of Australia.  More information is available at http://jin-global.org/index.html

[4] The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)

Author
Supreme Court of Victoria
Publisher
Supreme Court of Victoria
Date of publication