Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Groves' wife sues for $77million

Dr Le Neave Groves, co-founder of ABC Learning Centres and former wife of Eddy Groves, is suing him for $44 million and all up is suing Eddy and a group of banks for $77 million, according to the Australian.

The claim is alleged to have arisen in part when her shares were sold at the time of the collapse in ABC's shareprice. Dr Groves asserts that the sales were without her permission.

It is very rare for cases of this kind to appear in the public eye. There are four notable features about this claim:
  1. unlike most property claims against a former spouse, it's not in the Family Court or the Federal Magistrates Court. This dispute is therefore not dealt with in secret because of s.121 of the Family Law Act, but very much in the public eye. It is rare for a claim to be brought between ex-spouses other than under the Family Law Act because of the real possibility that there may be an adjustment in any case afterwards under s.79 of the Family Law Act.
  2. because it's in the Supreme Court presumably the basis of the claim is under common law or some statute, and not under s.79 of the Family Law Act. This case illustrates s.119 of the Family Law Act- husbands and wives can sue each other in contract or tort and are not limited to claims under the Family Law Act.
  3. the size of the claim. It's for big bikkies.
  4. the number of parties. In reality because it is a commercial dispute involving a number of banks, the most appropriate jurisdiction would be a court that handles commercial disputes as its daily bread and butter- such as the Supreme Court, which is where the dispute is being handled, rather than a court that specialises in family (not primarily commercial) disputes, such as the Family Court.

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