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Commercial Property Law: Effect on Real Estate Owned by a Deregistered Company

It is well known what happens to property when the owner dies. However, when a company becomes deregistered, it is less known what happens thereafter. 

Who owns the property in cases of company deregistration? Let’s look at a commercial law case study from Butler McDermott’s commercial property and business lawyers.

Hillman vs ASIC

In the case of Hillman v Australian Securities and Investments Commission [2020] QSC 129, a company registered in 1956 bought some property in 1967 and intended to transfer the property to a director and his wife in 1984. However, that transfer of land never registered. The director subsequently passed away and, in 2004, the company became voluntarily deregistered. 

who owns the property now?

Under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), a company’s property vests in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (‘ASIC’) upon deregistration of a company. This means that the property of a de-registered company becomes owned by the Commonwealth of Australia.  This is what happened to the property owned by Hillman Property & Investment Co. Pty Ltd.

However, in certain circumstances, there are provisions under Queensland Legislation for an interested party to have land registered by their solicitors in their name.  The unreported Supreme Court case of Re Jackson showed that some form of advertising may be required to bring true ownership of the land into the public’s knowledge, if an interested party applies to the Court. 

The interested party’s property lawyers will also need to show proof of an interest in the property. However, if there is a long-standing undisputed owner of land, then advertising may not be necessary.

In the Hillman case, a notice of change of ownership and memorandum of transfer from 1984 was submitted to Court by their property lawyers, showing the company’s intention to transfer the property to its director and his wife.  Crow J made orders to transfer the property to the wife of the deceased director, it being clear that she had an interest in the property, despite it now vesting in the Commonwealth of Australia.

Contact the Commercial Law & Property law experts

Disputes about the ownership of land are more common than you would like to think. If you have any concerns about your ownership of property, please feel free to call our commercial lawyers in Sunshine Coast.  

This commercial law article is not intended to advise you in relation to your specific circumstances and should be used as a general guide only.


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Peter Boyce


Peter has been practising as a Nambour Solicitor since 1977 and joined Butler McDermott Lawyers the same year.

With over 40 years practicing as a Sunshine Coast lawyer, Peter has extensive knowledge of various facets of law.

He has practised in all areas of litigation and has special interests in:

  • Criminal law
  • Civil and Commercial litigation
  • Retirement Village matters
  • Sports law
  • Resumption of land and compensation claims


Peter has specialised knowledge of and experience with resumption matters as a result of the Traveston Dam project, road corridors, Main Roads and water pipeline. He is renowned for his professional approach and is an experienced and determined advocate.

Brent King


Brent works as a litigation lawyer, providing litigation legal advice in relation to both civil and criminal law matters, including:
  • Defamation Claims
  • Contract and Debt Disputes
  • Building and Construction Disputes
  • Planning Matters
  • Criminal Law and Traffic Legal Matters
Having grown up on the Sunshine Coast and joining Butler McDermott after the completion of his studies, Brent appreciates the needs of our clients, and brings a particularly commercial approach to litigation. Brent is a member of the Queensland Law Society and the Sunshine Coast Law Association, and has litigated a wide variety of matters in the Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts.

Al Upton


After arriving at Butler McDermott Lawyers in 2016, Al quickly progressed to running our Wills and Estates section and has successfully litigated disputes in the Supreme and District Courts of Queensland in the early stages of his career.

In the years that followed Al has now moved to assist our clients with commercial and property matters having achieved positive outcomes in that area as well as general litigation. Al’s experience has him uniquely placed to provide quality advice in the areas of property, commercial, wills and estates and general litigation.

Al is involved in giving back to the community, sitting on the board for the Daniel Morcombe Foundation and Sundale Community Foundation. He otherwise became a director of Butler McDermott Lawyers in November 2021.