Linda Reynolds’ eye-watering legal bills could end in bankruptcy for David Sharaz

David Sharaz and Brittany Higgins could face new restrictions on their ability to leave the country if they are forced into bankruptcy over their legal battle with former Liberal minister Linda Reynolds.

The happy couple tied the knot at the weekend with Mrs Higgins wearing a fabulous couture gown by Australian designer Paolo Sebastian.

Friends and family share new intimate photos and videos of the glamorous wedding on social media.

But legal sources warned that the honeymoon could soon be over if Senator Reynolds’ legal challenge next month is successful.

Senator Reynolds is suing Ms Higgins and Mr Sharaz over their social media posts, which she claims have damaged her reputation.

Legal sources say the costs of handling the two defamation cases and the trial of Ms Higgins’ former boss are expected to cost about $1 million more.

The legal battle will be aimed at paying out $2.4 million

If Senator Reynolds is successful, she will seek to recoup some of these costs and will also seek substantial damages.

That could wipe out a significant portion of Ms. Higgins’ personal finances, despite her receiving $2.4 million in a confidential settlement from the Albanian government.

Ms Higgins told the Federal Court she received $1.9 million after taxes and legal fees and has since bought a $700,000 house in France and paid for a wedding said to have cost more than $100,000.

Attorneys for Senator Reynolds are trying to get more information about the trust to determine if it is accessible as creditors if it is successful.

The former Liberal leader claims social media posts by Ms Higgins and Mr Sharaz suggested she was involved in covering up allegations Ms Higgins was raped in the senator’s office by colleague Bruce Lehrmann, which he has always denied.

Fear of bankruptcy

Mr and Mrs Sharaz, as the bride described the couple in an Instagram post, could face new restrictions on international travel if Senator Reynolds’ case is successful and a WA Supreme Court action forces one or both into bankruptcy.

The couple plan to return to France this week, where they moved in December 2023, before flying back to Australia next month for the WA Supreme Court trial.

They had previously flown to Australia in March for a failed intervention with Senator Reynolds, before Ms Higgins and Mr Sharaz returned to France later this month. They then returned to Australia in May, ahead of their June 1 wedding.

They are due to return to France later this week.

Mr. Sharaz has already revealed that he plans to raise the white flag because he cannot fund the trial, and his lawyer, Jason MacLaurin, said that Mr. Sharaz will not contest liability, but may want to be questioned about compensation.

David Sharaz will not contest the case

At the beginning of this year, Mr. Sharaz issued a statement on social media that he would no longer contest the case as he could not afford an ongoing legal battle with the senator.

His lawyer stated that he did not want to “buy a ticket to the Titanic”.

Federal Court Judge Michael Lee has already ruled that under the civil standard – which is different from the criminal standard – he was satisfied on a balance of probabilities that Ms Higgins had been raped.

Judge Lee also found a political cover-up involving Senator Reynolds and others to be untrue, which Senator Reynolds, who was not called to testify during the libel trial, said was her justification.

Could David Sharaz travel abroad if forced into bankruptcy?

During bankruptcy, you must ask your bankruptcy trustee for permission to leave Australia.

This would not ban Mr Sharaz from leaving Australia, but it would impose restrictions he would have to abide by.

The Bankruptcy Advice Center said it usually receives questions about international travel and rules of engagement when an insolvent client requests international travel.

“Clients will often ask if they will be allowed to travel abroad during the bankruptcy process. The answer is simple: yes, you can. However, there are certain restrictions when traveling abroad,” the advice reads.

“You must write a travel request to your nominated trustee and confirm any travel arrangements you have discussed with your trustee.

“Bankruptcy is legally prescribed and all parties must follow the prescribed procedure at all times. This will also include not creating hostility.

“Remember that the appointed guardian is there to work within the law and expected protocol,” the advisory states.

“Your guardian will always try to be fair, but they can decide what may prevent you from traveling abroad. The trustee is therefore an objective outsider who is appointed to perform one function: complying with the law by handling the bankruptcy process in the most efficient way possible, including the aspect related to traveling abroad in the event of bankruptcy.

“If the guardian wants you to stay in the country for whatever reason, you have to accommodate that as much as possible. Failure to do so could call into question your credibility as an insolvent party protected by bankruptcy law.”

Mr and Mrs Sharaz celebrated on Saturday with a small group of close friends and family only in Queensland.

Former Gender Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, who led ground-breaking reforms to ensure safe and respectful working environments in Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces following Brittany Higgins’ campaign for reform, was invited.

TV producer Judi McCrossin, who bought the rights to Ms Higgins’ unpublished memoirs to make a TV movie, was also in attendance with her husband Stephen Hall, a regular cast member in Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell, who plays political representative Darius. Horsham.

“Join us in creating unforgettable memories,” reads the invitation. “Come for the love, stay for the fun.”

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