Unconscionable conduct and the ‘bookup’ system of credit provided to the Indigenous community in the remote APY lands in South Australia: ASIC v Kobelt

Evening Lecture

Evening Lecture co-hosted with the Centre for Corporate Law

Speakers:   Mr Nathan Boyle (CEO, Icon), Mr Gerard Brody (CEO, Consumer Action Law Centre), Dr Michelle Sharpe (Barrister, Victorian Bar) and Professor Jeannie Paterson and Professor Ian Ramsay (Melbourne Law School)

In the decision of ASIC v Kobelt [2019] HCA 18, the High Court held that an informal, expensive and largely undocumented credit scheme known as ‘book-up’ provided by Mr Kobelt to the indigenous residents of the remote South Australian APY Lands, the Anangu people, was not unconscionable under the ASIC Act. The expert panel of speakers considered the decision and its legal and policy consequences.

Professor Ian Ramsay

Ian Ramsay is the Harold Ford Professor of Commercial Law and Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor. He is also Director of the Law School's Centre for Corporate Law. Ian practised law in New York and Sydney and is a member of the Corporations Law Committee of the Law Council of Australia. Former positions he has held include Head of the Federal Government inquiry on auditor independence, chair of the independent panel to review the financial system’s external dispute resolution and complaints framework, member of the Takeovers Panel, member of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's External Advisory Panel, member of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission Enforcement Review Taskforce, member of the Australian Government's Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee, member of the Audit Quality Review Board, member of the Australian Government's Auditors and Liquidators Disciplinary Board, member of the Law Committee of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and member of the International Federation of Accountants taskforce on rebuilding confidence in financial reporting.

Professor Jeannie Paterson

Jeannie Marie Paterson teaches and researches in the areas of contracts, consumer protection and consumer credit law, as well as the role of technological change in these contexts.

Jeannie’s research covers three inter-related themes:

  • Support for consumers experiencing hardship, marginalisation or vulnerability
  • The impact and potential of AI and automation on consumer decision making and choice, and
  • Legislative design, including the relationship between general law and statutory standards and soft law and co-regulation options.

Jeannie completed her BA/LLB (Hons) at ANU and her PhD at Monash University. She previously lectured at the Faculty of Law at Monash University and, prior to that time, was a solicitor at Mallesons Stephen Jaques (now King & Wood Mallesons).

Jeannie is the co-author (with Andrew Robertson and Arlen Duke) of Principles of Contract Law (5th ed, 2015) and has written extensively on contract and consumer law. She currently co-teaches New Technology Law (with Cam Whittfield) in the JD and Australian Consumer Law (with Hal Bolitho) in the MLM, along with Legal Method & Reasoning in the JD.

With Elise Bant, Jeannie holds ARC Discovery Grants for projects on 'Remedies in Common Law and Under Statute for Misleading Conduct' and on 'A Coherent Law of Misleading Conduct'.

Jeannie is also involved with several ongoing research and advocacy projects on consumer rights, including with the Melbourne Social Equity Institute, the Networked Society Institute, the Australian Communications Consumers Action Network, the Consumer Action Law Centre and West Justice.

Jeannie is the co-coordinator of the Digital Citizens Research Network at MLS and, with Dr Andrea Cook, leads the Universal Access and Design Research Program at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute.

Dr Michelle Sharpe

Dr Michelle Sharpe practices primarily in the area of general commercial and regulatory law specialising in contract and consumer protection law and disciplinary hearings. She regularly appears in all jurisdictions either led or on her own.

Michelle is the author of Unconscionable Conduct in Australian Commercial and Consumer Contracts published by LexisNexis in August 2018. Michelle has also published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters in the areas of consumer protection and legal ethics.

In November 2018 Michelle was named 'Barrister of the Year' in the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards.

Michelle has a Bachelor of Laws with first class honours from the University of Adelaide and a Doctorate from the University of Melbourne. Michelle’s doctoral thesis examined the doctrines of duress, undue influence, unconscionable conduct and statutory unconscionable conduct.

Gerard Brody

Gerard began in consumer advocacy as a policy officer and solicitor with Consumer Law Centre Victoria, before working as a Senior Policy Officer with Consumer Action. Gerard then worked with the Brotherhood of St Laurence as Senior Manager Financial Inclusion, leading the national rollout of the Saver Plus program. Gerard returned to Consumer Action in 2011 to lead the Centre’s policy and campaigns work. Gerard has represented consumers on a number of bodies, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Consumer Consultative Committee, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s Consumer Advisory Panel and the Australian Energy Regulator’s Customer Consultative Group. Gerard has a Masters in Public Policy and Management, Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of Melbourne.

Nathan Boyle

Nathan Boyle is the Senior Analyst - Indigenous Outreach Program at the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.