Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited v Grahame [2020] VSC 86

In Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited v Grahame [2020] VSC 86, the defendant sought to draw a legal distinction between herself (whom she refers to as the living person, ‘Heather Jean Grahame’ on the one hand, and the named defendant in the proceeding, whom she refers to as the corporate entity ‘HEATHER JEAN GRAHAME’ (in capital letters) on the other. In reference to a loan agreement, the defendant contends that the Bank engaged in unconscionable conduct by requiring her name to be spelt in all-capital letters, claiming it is “referring to a corporate entity debtor that is a creation of the government.” She describes what she understands to be the process by which the government creates and issue a birth certificate bond in the name of a living baby and the creditors would give the government a “loan” in exchange for the bond.

She contends that by an ‘administrative commercial legal process’ she ‘gained control of the legal title to the property by completing the Uniform Commercial Code financing statement, and insists that she now has sole and private use of the land and equitable title, and by performing an ‘acceptance for value’ the defendant directed the Treasury to pay $166,381.53 to the plaintiff thereby offsetting the alleged debt. Further, the defendant sought pecuniary penalties and injunctive relief, restitution for emotional distress arising from the banks alleged unconscionable, misleading and deceptive conduct of unjust enrichment to procure financial gain.

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(a) Deputy Commissioner of Taxation v Casley [2017] WASC 161; in this matter Casley effectively argued that an individual has two personas, one of himself as a real flesh and blood human being and the other, a separate legal personality who is the straw man. His contention was that an individual’s debts, liabilities, taxes and legal responsibilities belong to the straw man rather than the physical individual who incurred those obligations. Le Miere J dismissed those arguments as ‘gobbledygook’.

(b) In both Rural Bank Limited v Lloyd [2013] NSWSC 1214 and Commonwealth Bank of Australia v Roskott [2014] NSWSC 146 the Court dismissed the claims of the borrower who drew their own worthless bill of exchange.

(c) Bertola v Australian and New Zealand Banking Corporation [2014] FCA 609; in this matter, Mr Bertola sought, having created his own documentation with the bank, to rely on its delivery to create an accord and satisfaction. His arguments were dismissed.

(d) In Smadu v Stone [2016] WASC 80 Le Miere J held, in considering an application for leave to appeal against sentence and conviction for driving offences, at [5]: “The appeal is grounded primarily on the notion that the appellant has separate legal personalities.  It appears the appellant asserts that one such personality owned the motor vehicle and another held the appellant’s driver’s licence and drove the vehicle.  The appellant says that the wrong legal person was charged and raises various arguments which appear to be based on the separate legal personality fiction.  This is all nonsense.  It would be a waste of judicial resources and an affront to the dignity of this court to answer the pseudolegal arguments raised by the appeal in anything but a summary way.”

(e) The ‘strawman theory’ was otherwise comprehensively addressed, including claims of ‘acceptance for value’ in Meads v Meads (2012) ABQB 571a 188 page judgment of Rooke ACJ, whereby the many types of arguments of pseudo-legal litigants was traversed.


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