In 2019 Hammerschlag J ordered the winding up of a (badly in need of repairs and maintenance) company title apartment block at Point Piper. His Honour didn’t disguise his frustration with the parties in his judgment in O’Ryan v Golding [2019] NSWSC 1229. He noted that “the animosity between the parties in Court was palpable”, ‘the dispute…goes back years” and “the deadlock between them is manifest and appears irresolvable to the naked eye”.

His frustration was also apparent from the transcript which included:

“HIS HONOUR: … You want to fight about it, you have been fighting since 2015, you can have it your own way. Mr Corsaro doesn’t want me to wind it up either, I sense, reading between the lines, so his clients will be as equally unhappy as you, but this is entirely unworkable. If you people can’t get on and you can’t actually work something out to behave, all of you – and this is not directed at you; it is directed at everybody. If they can’t behave like sensible and civilised human beings, the liquidator will just sell the property. The time has come. Finished. Over.

FIRST DEFENDANT: My submission to your Honour would be that it would not be a just outcome.

HIS HONOUR: What would be a just outcome; just to leave it as it is?

FIRST DEFENDANT: For the parties to cooperate with each other and to have the work done.

HIS HONOUR: I propose to wind this company up and I propose to stay the winding up until 2 o’clock today. And you can come to an arrangement between yourselves between now and 2 o’clock; and if you don’t, the company is wound up.

HIS HONOUR: Is there anything else that you want to say?

FIRST DEFENDANT: Yes, your Honour. I submit that that would not be a just outcome.


FIRST DEFENDANT: Because it would materially prejudice our interests as shareholders in the company by forcing a liquidation of the company at a–

HIS HONOUR: But you are in deadlock. It is unworkable. You obviously hate each other. Everybody hates everybody else’s guts.

FIRST DEFENDANT: I think that’s–

HIS HONOUR: You can’t live like this. It is a company title. It is old-fashioned. How long does it take to get a conversion through to strata? A day?

FIRST DEFENDANT: Your Honour, I can take you to the evidence as to the fact that the parties have been cooperating–

HIS HONOUR: But this must happen every single day in the Eastern Suburbs. Luckily I don’t live there.

You have got the opportunity now. You can work it out with Mr Corsaro’s clients. You can work it out. You can give proper undertakings that are agreed between the parties or I am going to wind it up. You can take your chances with the Court of Appeal if you want to.

No agreement was reached by 2pm. The winding up order was stayed for another couple of days to no avail. The parties did appeal (see Golding v O’Ryan [2019] NSWCA 259 ). The appeal didn’t go any better for them either!

Creative commons acknowledgement for the photograph.

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