Elite school ‘not trying to bankrupt parents’
A CATHOLIC school that launched a court bid to bankrupt parents of a former student, now says it does not wish to bankrupt them and claims the parents wouldn't discuss their overdue fees.
The trustee of Edmund Rice Education Australia, trading as St Patricks College Shorncliffe, was in the Federal Circuit Court yesterday where their lawyer Brendan Long, from Celtic Legal in Toowong, asked Registrar Michael Buckingham if St Patricks could skip personal service of bankruptcy documents on the parents from Caloundra.
Court documents show the school obtained a bankruptcy notice BN 230166 on April 18 in relation to the mother and father of the ex-student.
The bankruptcy notice was signed by the official receiver, court documents filed by the school in court state.
Court documents state that the pair were ordered to pay Edmund Rice Education Australia $24,225.35 by the Magistrates Court in Brisbane on September 11 last year.
In court yesterday Mr Long asked Registrar Buckingham if he would consent to the school serving the pair with the bankruptcy notices via substituted service, rather than in person using a process server.
Registrar Buckingham dismissed the application telling Mr Long that Netta Pouniu could be served via email and Misi could be served at his work address in Burpengary, rather than his home address.
The fees owed relate to three years of fees, and the student is now at university.
The parents are understood to have wanted to send their son to a good school, but were then struck by unemployment.
In a statement from St Patrick's College, Shorncliffe, the school defended the legal action and said it was not attempting to bankrupt the parents.
"St Patrick's College has not applied to bankrupt parents of a former student over non-payment of school fees," the statement read.
"The matter reported by The Courier-Mail relates to an application to the Federal Circuit Court to help to gain permission to engage with the party which has so far refused to discuss the matter with the school," the statement read.
"This was not a hearing relating to bankrupting parents," the statement says.
Lawyer Brendan Long, from Celtic Legal in Toowong, declined to respond to several requests for comment.
Mr Long told The Courier Mail "an individual can only be bankrupted on the filing of a creditor's petition. This has not occurred".
A bankruptcy notice is a formal demand for payment after a final court judgment.
It gives a person 21 days to come to an agreement to pay or if agreement is not made, the creditor can then make a person bankrupt in court.
The Courier Mail has also contacted both of the parents for comment.