A new N-2,3,4-trifluorophenyl-3,5-di-tert-butylsalicylaldimine (1) complexes with Cu(II) (2) and Pd(II) (3) have been synthesized and characterized by X-ray crystallography, UV-Vis, IR, H-1 NMR and EPR spectroscopic techniques. The X-ray crystal structure of complex 2 reveals tetrahedrally distorted square-planar coordination geometry around Cu(II). The UV/Vis and EPR results indicate that the solid state geometry of 2 remains unchanged in solutions. Chemical oxidation of 3 with Ce(IV) in CHCl3 generates relatively stable Pd(II)-phenoxyl radical complex (g = 2.0073). The results related with the chemical oxidation of 2 and 3 as well as the catalytic activity of 3 in the hydrogenation of PhNO2 are presented. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.