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Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Binding Financial Agreement, Binding Financial Agreement, Contract, Divorce, Dowry, Pre-Nuptial Agreement, Property, Sharia Law
Judges:  Harrison AsJ


Background: The plaintiff and defendant had been married under Islamic law but not under Australian Law. A pre-marital contract signed by both contained a clause whereby the plaintiff was to pay defendant $50,000 in the event that the plaintiff initiated "separation and/or divorce". The Magistrate found that the contract was enforceable. This Local Court decision was appealed to the Supreme Court.  
 
  [Legal Issue]This decision from the Local Court was appealed to the Supreme Court to determine whether there was an error of law, a jurisdictional error, and whether the pre-marital contract against public policy.    [Court Orders]The appeal against the original decision of the Local Court, which found that the contract was enforceable, was dismissed.     


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Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Contributions from Parents, Loan, Proceedings to Alter Property Interests, Property Settlement
Judges:  Burchardt FM


Background: The husband’s father had given the parties $240,000 towards the cost of buying acreage and building a house on the land. After the parties’ separation the father intervened in the proceedings and sought repayment of what he argued had been a loan. The husband agreed but the wife denied any loan, alleging that the payment had been a gift. 
 
  [Legal Issue]In one sense, the informal nature of these arrangements denies legal analysis. However, I do not think the contribution by the father was a gift. If someone gives you over a quarter of a million dollars, you tell the world about it. It is clear the wife never told her own parents or anyone else. Likewise, she never wrote a note of thanks, which an outright and clearly expressed gift would have been highly likely to have engendered. To the contrary effect, however, I do not think that the arrangements can properly be described as a loan in the ordinary sense. Loans, if nothing else, have terms as to repayment. ‘Loan’ is defined by the Butterworth’s Australian Legal Dictionary as: ‘The temporary transfer of an asset, usually funds, from a lender who controls the funds to a borr   [Court Orders]Money from husband’s father held to be neither gift nor compellably repayable loan but a contribution on husband’s behalf. As such the Federal Magistrate concluded that the $240,000 is not repayable.     


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Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: De Facto Relationship, De Facto Relationships, Domestic Partner Declaration, Domestic relationship, Estate Planning, Failure of testatrix to make provision, Family Provision, Intestate, Substantial Relationship, Succession, Succession, Wills
Judges:  Gzell J


Background: This case considered the issue of family provisions and whether or not a young student who was living in a domestic relationship with an elderly woman was entitled to claim against the estate. Michael Ye, the plaintiff, came to Australia from China to study. Frances Lan Fong Fung (the deceased) was separated (but not divorced) from her husband, and invited Mr Ye to move into her unit where he lived in a non-sexual relationship with her. She was 37 years his senior. Frances Lan Fong Fung died on 21 June 2001. In her Will, Frances Lan Fong Fung made no provision for Mr Ye. Mr Ye made a claim against the estate, claiming that he was in a non-sexual de facto relationship with the deceased. 
 
  [Legal Issue]It was submitted that de facto is to be contrasted with de jure and the relationship determined by reference to the facts rather than a relationship between parties recognised at law. But that approach fails to give due regard to the requirement that the individuals in question live together as a couple. It was submitted that the word “couple” was one of wide import and required only that there be two unmarried adults. But the definition specifically requires two adult persons who are not married or related by family. To construe the word “couple” in that general sense, adds nothing further to the definition and renders the Property (Relationships) Act 1984, s 4(1)(a) otiose. It was submitted that the difference in age of 37 years was not, of itself, significant. The parties    [Court Orders]The Court found that Mr Ye was not the de facto spouse of the deceased within the meaning of the Wills, Probate and Administration Act 1898, s 32G. As such, the plaintiff, Mr Ye, could not claim any relief against her estate on this basis. However, in separate but related proceedings, the plaintiff also claimed to be in a domestic relationship to the deceased, having considered her to be his "honorary auntie". These related proceedings were held subsequently to this hearing, and would be      


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