Presenter Doug Constable on Call for a Royal Commission Intimidation and Bullying Bankrupts and Company Directors into Complying

By March 11, 2019Doug Constable

So the reason we need to have a royal commission is that all these things can come out. What’s at all of the restrictions on the wire table and the intimidation tactics that are used and you’ve got trustees, where the 80% of banks insolvency work in Melbourne goes to one trustee. Now if we’re looking at fairness, what chances that trustee got of being independent? If so much of history at work has relied on this one creditor, so if this one creditor want something done; Is he impartial in helping the bankrupt and work through the issues? No, he goes after the bankrupt.

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And unless we have a Royal Commission and expose all these things of what goes on and not just listen to the trustees or not just listen to the lawyers, not just listen to the accounts, but listen to the pre-insolvency people and listen to the bankrupts and the company directors that have caught in this situation and understand what goes on, then we can’t have any growth in developing the industry. The biggest reason to have a royal commission into the insolvency industry is the same as the banking industry.

That the individual suffers the most that have the emotional traumas and the upset and some of them even commit suicide. And half of them, their voice is heard that there is independence where can be looked at and said yes, the banks did the wrong thing in this area; yes, the trustees and the liquidator’s and the regulator’s start treating the clients just as the employment agency did start treating the clients as individuals in the respect that they deserve. They are not criminals; just the same as the person who took out their own loan from the bank they couldn’t pay it back isn’t necessarily always in the wrong. The company director and the bankrupt isn’t always in the wrong and unless we start doing listen and developing fairness then we will continue to struggle as an industry.

One of the things I find in the industry is that what we have got as liquidator’s and trustee’s that can arbitrarily make a decision, not an independent decision and can arbitrarily make a decision that they are entitled to X amount of dollars from the bankrupt or from the company director and that’s just how it is whether it’s correct or not they say it’s not up to them to make a defence it’s up to the bankrupt hasn’t got the money to make it. So the liquidator’s or the trustee’s gets away with it and yet if it was in the court system the person making that decision being the magistrate or the judge would remove himself if the got financial advantage from the decision he would remove himself in place somebody else and yet we are putting so much emphasis on the private sector of trustees and bankruptcies to do it and it’s very easy to say “Oh yes, well they can object”, these people are out there trying to make a living trying to build their lives again with no money, what opportunities of they got to seek advice to know that they’ve only got thirty days or sixty days to object and then it’s too late.

The reality of it is that they are just trying to put food in their mouth. One of the things that may come out fo the Royal Commission and certainly should come out  is that there is a shift from helping people to reconstruct their life, so and they live from a Royal Commission and would hope to come out of it was instead of people and trustee’s and liquidator’s and regulator’s devastating people’s lives that they can reconstruct them, their lives and that’s the reason for a royal commission this reconstruction the emphasis. Undoubtedly up to now is being on the devastation and emphasis is being on regardless of a person, and regardless of their situation. How can we get every cent they have got whether we’re entitled to it or not. Every cent that they’ve got to pay our fees and pay the creditors back.

The reason there should be a Royal Commission is that there’s an emphasis on intimidation and bullying bankrupts, company directors into complying. The reason there should be Royal Commission is that trustees and liquidators ultimately making the decision on whether they pursue money or don’t pursue money, not on whether it’s right or wrong. The reason there should be a Royal Commission is the trustee’s and liquidator’s chase money and quite often the only beneficiary is their fees are paid not for creditors getting any money back. The reason there should be a Royal Commission is that has an emphasis on compliance with the trustee’s and make it impossible to make money as an individual. The reason there should be a Royal Commission is the system is basically fraud in that, you have officers of the court being trustee’s and liquidator’s making decisions on financial returns to them as opposed to making decisions on financial returns for creditors. The reason there should be a Royal Commission there are an Overemphasis pre-insolvency people referring to trustees and liquidators when it’s acceptable for trustees and liquidators to refer work from one to another and build a relationship.

The reason there should be a Royal Commission is that solicitors do work for particular trustees and liquidator on a pro bono basis in the hope of there is a reward. The reason there should be a Royal Commission is that the tactics used in letters and in the correspondence aren’t reconciliatory yo a bankrupt who is emotionally upset and his family’s going through a hard time. Is the point where if they don’t comply with all the things that will happen. A the reason there should be a Royal Commission is because the trustees and liquidators spend time pointing out the penalties involved if they don’t comply, but they don’t feel that they need to point out that they got defence or got an opportunity, the fairness, in keeping some of the assets they just take them because that’s up to the bankrupt or the company director to know what he can keep and yet the same principle doesn’t apply in the intimately tactics that are used.