VIC Defamation judgements

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River83

Member
20 May 2020
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Hi.
Are judgements which are made in a defamation case, cleared by bankruptcy?
Would a lawyer even represent someone, (the plantiff),knowing that the person they are sueing for defamation is only on centerlink payments and has no assets?
 

Rob Legat - SBPL

Lawyer
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16 February 2017
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Judgment debts for civil matters don't get any special treatment in bankruptcy (i.e. yes, they're cleared).
Yes, but they'd likely try to dissuade the plaintiff. However, there are other things than damages up for offer: retraction, apology, and injunction, mainly.
 

Squirt

Member
27 May 2020
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Judgment debts for civil matters don't get any special treatment in bankruptcy (i.e. yes, they're cleared).
Yes, but they'd likely try to dissuade the plaintiff. However, there are other things than damages up for offer: retraction, apology, and injunction, mainly.
Rob, I have a family member looking at potentially ending up in court as a result of defamation but they have good defence and lots of proof but worst case scenario they lose are all possible judgements wiped by going bankrupt? Is there any judgements that can't be? They dont own a home or anything of real value and the defendant is a stay at home mum. She isn't too worried about bankruptcy as she lives the simple life
 

Rob Legat - SBPL

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
16 February 2017
2,355
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Gold Coast, Queensland
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'All possible judgments?' - No. What is and isn't extinguished in bankruptcy can be a technical exercise to determine. Then there's also whether they are provable debts (i.e. the creditor partakes in dividends from the bankrupt estate) and non-provable (i.e. they don't, and can take action to recover).

Note that debts which extinguish do so at the end of bankruptcy - if the bankruptcy is terminated then the debts are valid.

Simply, as relevant:
- Secured debts: not extinguished, not provable (to the extent of the security value)
- Liquidated award of damages: extinguished, provable
- Court fines: not extinguished, and not provable
- Unliquidated damages not fixed by court/agreement before bankruptcy: not extinguished, not provable
- Debts incurred by fraud: not extinguished, provable
- Debts incurred after date of bankruptcy: not extinguished, not provable