My PPSA Pedigree
My penchant for the personal property security legislation (PPSA) came early in my career. I received a Juris Doctor from the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. The curriculum at my law school had a commercial law concentration. Whereas many law schools offer a single elective unit relating to commercial law, my law school offered five commercial law units. I took all 5 units and my grounding in commercial law began. The units were Sale of Goods; Debtor-Creditor Law; Bankruptcy, Insolvency & Receiverships; Secured Transactions and Negotiable Instruments; and Advanced Secured Transactions.
The latter two units dealt primarily with the PPSA. I like to think I have a PPSA pedigree because my professor for these units was Professor RCC Cuming who was the draftsperson of the original PPSA that was adopted as the model for the PPSA in my home province of Saskatchewan and ultimately in 7 other jurisdictions in Canada. Professor Cuming’s PPSA also formed the basis for New Zealand’s PPSA, and then Australia’s PPSA was modelled on both the New Zealand and the Saskatchewan PPSA.
The principal of my articles was Donald Layh, now a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Saskatchewan, but then one of Canada’s foremost experts on the PPSA. My first two years of practice dealt extensively with the PPSA acting for financial institutions in commercial lending matters.
Shortly after that, I relocated to New Zealand where I was employed by national law firm, Russell McVeagh, where my primary occupation was assisting the firm and its clients when the PPSA was first enacted in New Zealand. One of my first tasks was to brief the partners of the firm on how the PPSA applied to various commercial transactions and how it altered the general law. These briefs ultimately became my book which was published by LexisNexis and now in its fourth edition as: Personal Property Securities Act: Concepts in Practice. Importantly I learned in finer detail the abundance of pre-PPSA law when writing these briefs and more fully grew to understand how the PPSA addresses the inadequacies of the old law.
After four years in New Zealand, I returned to Canada where I became a partner of MacPherson, Leslie & Tyerman LLP (now MLT Aikins LLP), a significant Western Canadian firm. In Canada, I continued to develop my PPSA specialty while practicing across a wide-range of commercial law areas predominantly in the financial services, mining and agri-business sections.
Several years later, I relocated to Australia. I was initially employed by Ashurst (then Blake Dawson) in Perth and then by Jackson McDonald, also in Perth. My practice again focused primarily on PPSA matters in the lead up to and beyond the PPSA’s enactment in Australia. I subsequently became a lecturer at Curtin Law School and then started my PPSA consultancy. My current practice focuses on providing specialist advice on the PPSA. I continue to develop my expertise on the PPSA by keeping abreast of the PPSA developments in Australia including writing articles on issues that arise and providing seminars to industry groups.
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