Hsiao v Fazarri [2020] HCA 35 (14 October 2020) (Kiefel CJ, Bell, Keane, Nettle and Gordon JJ)


Catchwords:


Family law – Property settlements – Where respondent husband made gift to appellant wife of ten per cent interest in residential dwelling (“the property”) – Where respondent subsequently signed transfer of land giving appellant further 40 per cent interest in the property – Where parties registered as joint tenants then executed deed of gift providing for payment to appellant’s siblings if appellant predeceased respondent while they remained joint tenants – Where parties subsequently married then separated after 23 days – Where each party sought orders under s 79(1) of Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) altering interests in property of marriage (“property settlement orders”) – Where appellant did not appear at trial so matter proceeded as undefended hearing – Whether primary judge failed to take existing legal and equitable interests of parties into account for purposes of s 79(1) of Family Law Act – Whether primary judge’s approach to deed of gift amounted to failure to take material consideration into account – Whether open to primary judge to determine that making of property settlement orders was just and equitable – Whether open to primary judge to assess that appellant made ten per cent financial contribution to acquisition of the property – Whether Full Court of the Family Court of Australia erred in refusing to exercise discretion conferred by s 93A(2) of Family Law Act to receive further evidence on appeal.

Words and phrases – “affirmation”, “deed of gift”, “demands of justice”, “duress”, “finality”, “financial contribution”, “further evidence on appeal”, “joint tenants”, “just and equitable”, “malpractice”, “pressure”, “property settlement order”, “ratification”, “unconscionable conduct”, “undue influence”, “voidable”.