Citigroup v Stonehouse [2012] WASC 160

Stonehouse argued that the trustee of his family trust was the borrower and not him. The judge rejected this noting:

A cursory reading of the security documents shows that not to be the case. The terms of the agreement make it plain he and the family trustee are primarily liable for the loan. It is not a question of his being liable under a guarantee or a situation where he is only liable if payment is not made by the family trustee. Stonehouse is liable to the lender in exactly the same way as the family trustee is liable.

The borrower next argued that the lender breached his External Dispute Resolution requirements by obtaining judgement against the family trustee when there was a complaint on foot. However the judge noted:

Stonehouse made a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). This complaint was made in his name, not in the name of the Trustee. The lodgement of the notice of dispute had the effect of prohibiting the plaintiff from pursuing legal proceedings or enforcement action while the dispute was being investigated. The ombudsman then sent a letter to the Stonehouse advising the file had been closed. Judgment had in the meantime been obtained against the Trustee. I am unable to see any grounds for suggesting the lender has not complied with proper practice so far as the complaint to the ombudsman is concerned.

His Honour accordingly awarded summary judgement.

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