Freedom of Information – your right to know
Business Law
Have you ever wanted to know what goes on behind the closed doors of Government agencies and a Minister's office? You might be surprised to realise that the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (the Act) grants you a fundamental legal (and democratic) right to access that information, subject to certain exemptions such as confidentiality or national interest considerations. Equivalent...
Small business to benefit from the unfair contract terms regime
Business Law
Small businesses will soon enjoy the benefits of protection against unfair contract terms in their dealings with other businesses. Currently, only consumers who enter into standard form contracts can claim protection from unfair contract terms under the Competition & Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (the Act). However, small business can be just as vulnerable, often lacking the bargaining power to negotiate...
Sitting pretty? – can you caveat your debtors property?
Business Law
It's a common scenario: you're owed money and your debtor is refusing to pay. Surely the next step is to protect your debt by lodging a caveat over the land they're sitting on, right? Wrong. The mere existence of a debt is no basis for lodging a caveat. If you lodge a caveat without reasonable cause, then you could end...
PPSR – PPS huh?
Business Law
It has now been over four years since the Personal Properties Securities Act 2009 (Cth) (PPSA) took substantive effect on 30 January 2012.However, many businesses remain oblivious to the PPSA and the serious consequences that can follow its oversight. So what is the PPSA and what is the risk in ignoring it? The PPSA established a new, national system for...
Credit risk in focus: the national innovation agenda
Business Law
'The statutory regime that governs the realm of corporate insolvency and personal bankruptcy has long been a point of contention between the business community and regulators, a balancing act that each side felt too often erred in favour of the other. The recently published recommended changes to Insolvency Laws, introduced as part of the Commonwealth's National Innovation & Science Agenda,...
Highway to the Danger Zone (Director Liability)
Business Law
'The key benefit of a company structure is the separate legal personality that the company has from its controllers (directors) and its owners (shareholders) and the protection given to those individuals if the worst occurs and the business goes bust; but if you think that a director therefore has no liability, you are mistaken. We often hear about instances of...
Evergreen: Christmas comes early for contract renewals
Business Law
Evergreen contracts; often called automatic renewal clauses,they operate to automatically extend existing contracts for additional time,with silence or inaction deemed to be consent. Often appearing in the service industry, what once seemed a convenience can turn into a hidden liability for small businesses when they look to negotiate a new contract or terminate their existing agreement. So how do they...
Verbal Agreements: what’s your word worth?
Business Law
In the everyday hustle and bustle of business, you could be forgiven for assuming that whatever sale you're negotiating or venture you're collaborating on, the deal isn't done until the contract is signed - wrong. The recent case of Yulema Pty Ltd & Anor v Simmons & Anor NSWSC 640 is a timely reminder that a verbal agreement can...
The dangers of “Good Faith”
Business Law
Consumer protection has long been part of our law, shielding the unwary from sharp practices. Perceptions that such aspects of legal and policy development have by-passed the jungle of the commercial world might be misplaced. In recent times commentators have observed a judicial tendency to imply into contractual relationships an obligation to deal "in good faith". This implication will not...
The risks of using images off the internet: Copy and paste, right?
August 2015 Issue 107
The internet has become one of the primary means by which businesses can connect with their customers; but when creating or updating your website, the law of copyright should always be a primary consideration if you want to avoid the risk of unexpected liability. Photographs, for example, can very easily be searched and viewed online. However by law, the exclusive...
Update your Privacy Policy to ensure your customers/suppliers feel more secure
Business Law
We have been forced to come to terms with a world in which privacy concerns are less about keeping your personal information from others (a near impossible feat in the Digital Age) - but more about limiting its use and dissemination without our consent.1 The Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) were developed to deal with that precise concern through compelling all...
The risks of using images off the internet: Copy and paste, right?
Business Law
The internet has become one of the primary means by which businesses can connect with their customers; but when creating or updating your website, the law of copyright should always be a primary consideration if you want to avoid the risk of unexpected liability. Photographs, for example, can very easily be searched and viewed online. However by law, the exclusive...
It’s time to go… bringing business relationships to an end
Business Law
Business relationships; when they're good, they're great, reaping financial rewards and mutual benefits for all parties involved. But what about when they're sour, and what was once a productive working relationship becomes a burden? As we approach the end of the financial year, now is the time to take stock of your existing contracts and consider how do you go...
Crowdfunding
Business Law
Traditionally, there have only been two methods by which start-up businesses could raise the funds for their project. Business owners will be familiar with "debt" and "equity" - either take out a loan, or sell a share of your business. In this sphere, the internet is threatening to disturb the status quo. Here it takes the form of "crowdfunding", which...
New Year, make it clear! Update your Terms & Conditions
Business Law
2015 has well and truly arrived. Hopefully the holiday period gave you the opportunity to regroup and recharge before another busy year. Now is the perfect time to refresh your business, by paying some much deserved attention to your Terms and Conditions. Your Terms and Conditions form the contract between your business and your customers; they lay down what your...
The importance of having an IP management system
Business Law
For most businesses their intellectual property (IP) make up a significant proportion of their goodwill and ultimate value. It is therefore imperative that proper safeguards are in place to allow you to identify what IP is yours and to protect it. Every business should have an IP management system to ensure that any (relevant) IP relating to / created in...
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