By mistake, the applicant caused the ATO to pay a GST refund to a related party’s bank account instead of its own. The related party was the respondent’s judgment debtor of the respondent. Before the mistake was identified, the related party’s bank (responding to a debt appropriation order made pursuant to the judgment enforcement provisions of the Civil Judgments Enforcement Act (WA)) paid the money to the respondent.
The applicant asked the respondent to return the funds, the respondent refused, on the basis that it had not received the funds by reason of mistake, but by reason of the debt appropriation order, and that the related party had available to it a change of position defence, such that the funds should be sought to be returned from the related party. The applicant brought a claim for money had and received, against the respondent.
Flanagan J ordered the respondent to repay the funds.
Matthew Hickey OAM appeared (with S M Derrington of Counsel) for the respondent, instructed by CDI Lawyers as town agent for Jackson McDonald (Perth).