On Thursday (10 April 2014) the High Court of Australia refused special leave to appeal to the Timbercorp investors from last October’s Victorian Court of Appeal decision.
For those who would like a more detailed understanding of the case, I wrote a detailed review last October discussing the first instance judgment of his Honour Justice Judd and the appeal judgment of the Victorian Court of Appeal – link.
Broadly, the Court of Appeal had held that Judd J had not erred in any of his challenged findings. One of those was that the Timbercorp directors did not have actual knowledge of a significant risk to viability until bank support wavered. This was well after publication of the last PDS, and after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in late 2008, which was swiftly followed by the sudden termination of negotiations Timbercorp had been engaged in for the sale and leaseback of certain of its properties and forestry assets. Even then the directors were able to manage those set-backs and address them opening new negotiations with other parties, keeping the banks onside, until their support was withdrawn shortly before Timbercorp’s collapse in mid-April 2009.
The transcript of the special leave application is not yet up on Austlii. However reports are starting to appear in the press – an article appearing in Saturday’s Age is here.