Beware of placing all your Assets at Risk

Beware of placing all your Assets at Risk as an Employee signing a Statutory Declaration – Contractors and Subcontractors
A recent Federal Court case, 470 St Kilda Road Pty Ltd v Robinson [2017] FCA 597 (30 May 2017). found a person giving a statutory declaration, to be liable for the amount outstanding under a construction contract.
Generally for contractors or subcontractors to obtain payment under a construction contract a Statutory Declaration is required to accompany a progress claim or mile stone claim. The declaration usually states that all reasonable enquires have been made in relation to payments to subcontractors engaged for work under your contract. 
The Federal Court found a declarant, who was an employee of the construction company that went into liquidation, to be liable for payment of $1.4 million, an outstanding claim by a subcontractor that was not paid. In this case the Chief operations officer of the construction company in LIQ, signed the declaration. The Federal Court viewed on the evidence presented, that he not undertake reasonable enquiries in relation to subcontractor payments.
Section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law was pleaded in that the declarants conduct amounted to misleading or deceptive conduct or was likely to mislead or deceive.
Previously the courts seemed reluctant to make adverse findings against declarants such as NSW Supreme Court decision in J Hutchinson Pty Ltd v Glavcom Pty Ltd2  however 470 St Kilda Road Pty Ltd v Robinson demonstrates that declarants should no longer take statutory declarations lightly.
A person signing these statutory declarations should undertake reasonable enquiries as declared and further keep notes on the specific enquires.

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Authored by

Raea Khan

Director Lawyer

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Raea Khan Circle
Director Lawyer
Raea Khan

Raea is Managing Director and Principal Lawyer for PBl Law Group. Raea assists clients with major projects, property developments, construction and strata law.

He has worked in Western Australia and Queensland assisting with expansion projects in the energy and resource sector and now predominately advises clients in Strata and Community Association matters.

He is a member of the Australian College of Strata Lawyers where majority of his work is advising developers and owners corporations with dispute related minor and major defects, strata governance and common property litigation. He is proficient at leading negotiations and meetings.

Raea has a particular interest in the commercial aspect of any dispute and always tries to weigh up the risk, reward and benefit of legal proceedings at each different stage.

Raea enjoys all forms of competitive sport, including Crossfit and actively participates in Triathlons, representing Australia as an age group athlete. He was a member of Red Head Surf Lifesaving club.

  • Strata Law
  • Construction & Major Projects
  • Commercial and Business Law
  • Planning & Environment Law