Monday, 7 August 2017

Business Law....Duties and obligations

Are you looking to set up a new business, buy or sell a business? The law puts a tremendous amount of responsibilities upon Business owners and employers.

Starting in business can be an exciting time. You can’t wait to put your ideas into action and a lot of hard work. However, there are a range of Business Law issues you must take into account:
Will you be employing staff to help run the business?
Will you have contracts will your customers or clients?
How will you deal with leases, insurance, debt recovery?
Do you have finance in place?
What tax implications are there in your business?
Do you understand the fair trading regulations?

Before you commit to a lease, employ people or start  work for clients, you need to be sure that you are not putting yourself in legal jeopardy or risking criminal or financial penalties.

Running your business may involve a range of Business Law issues:
Guarantees and security documents;
Confidentiality agreements;
Copyright and intellectual property law;
Partnership and shareholder disputes;
Customer disputes;
Supplier and contractor agreements;
Terms and conditions of trade;
Bankruptcy and Insolvency;
Work Health and Safety requirements.

Selling your business has a range of issues you need to think through before signing a contract. In particular, the negotiation for the sale of the business. Many factors come into play when deciding on a sale price for your business. Issues that arise include whether GST is applicable in the sale price and liabilities, responsibility for employees, and trading restrictions that may apply.....just to name a few.
Rushing the sale of a business may devalue your life’s work.

If you have questions on Business Law or anything else, please contact any of our Solicitors at Matthews Williams.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

WHY ARE MINUTES OF YOUR MEETINGS ESSENTIAL?

The answer is that they are required by Section 50 the Associations Incorporation Act, 2009 and must be kept by the Secretary.  Similarly corporations are required to keep minutes of meetings too.  Members may at all reasonable times inspect the minutes although Shareholders of corporations have only limited ability to view minutes of Directors meetings.

There are no absolute rules about how minutes of meetings should be set out other than they need to be in English and be reasonably understood.

To minimize controversy (and possible litigation), we suggest that minutes have included in it a list of those attending, those who apologise, incoming /outgoing correspondence (including emails and other web based messaging) and most importantly a Treasurer’s (or Finance report).

Also there should always be a motion to confirm the previous minutes with or without amendments. The Chairperson should sign the minutes and date them to certify they are correct. We find that circulating minutes of the previous meeting and reports (particularly via Email) to be helpful in reducing time in having minutes read out at subsequent meetings.

Motions need to be accurately set out by the Secretary in the minutes and he or she should indicate in some many that they were carried or lost or amended and carried.  The Chairperson should always ask for either a show of hands or may even pass the motion on the voices.  Too often the Chairperson fails to declare the motion as past and that can lead to controversy.  Some motions require either by Law or by the Rules to have secret ballots and those rules must be strictly adhered to avoid litigation.

All Chairperson, the Executive and members should read articles on the internet about meeting procedure.

We also find that so many Secretaries fail to an essential in Minutes being the meeting date and where it was held.  It is also helpful to put in start and finish times of the meeting.

If you have questions on Minutes, Meeting Procedure or anything else, please contact any of our Solicitors at Matthews Williams.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

New MOTOR ACCIDENTS STATUTE

The NSW Parliament has passed the Motor Accident Injuries Act, 2017 which changes and limits what claims maybe made on your green slip insurance policy.

The new Statute will commence on or about 1st December, 2017 and will apply to motor vehicle accidents occurring after its commencement. The existing Statute applies until then.

For those sustaining a personal injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident will now only have access to statutory benefits regardless of fault unless they have been charged with or convicted of a serious driving offence.

No common law damages will be recoverable for so called minor injuries and a new Disputes Resolution Service will be established. Serious injuries may still enable some common law claims but they are limited.

The time for making and serving a claim will be reduced from 6 months to 3 months and if you are losing income and do not serve a claim within 28 days of the accident you may lose your right to back claim lost wages.

Statutory benefits for minor injuries and those at fault may cease after 26 weeks.

In short most claims benefits will be limited and green slip costs will no doubt increase the profitability of the Insurers to the detriment of benefits.

If you have a Personal Injury claim are very complex but then we can assist in this or any other legal problem. Please contact any of our Solicitors at Matthews Williams.

Friday, 19 May 2017

What is Civil Litigation?

Litigation is the term used to describe proceedings initiated between two opposing parties to enforce or defend a legal right. It is not a Criminal prosecution but rather a Civil matter.  Civil Litigation is typically settled by agreement between the parties, but may also be heard and decided by a magistrate or judge in court or an arbitrator in some instances.

Contrary to popular belief, litigation is not simply another name for a lawsuit. Litigation includes any number of activities before, during, and after a lawsuit to enforce a legal right. In addition to the actual lawsuit, pre-suit negotiations, arbitrations, facilitations and appeals may also be part of the litigation process.

Civil litigation includes matters before the Supreme Court, the District Court, the Local Court, the Land & Environment Court, the Family Court, the Federal Court, the Motor Accidents Authority Tribunals, the Workers Compensation Commission and even the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).  Solicitors have a right of appearance in all Courts and most Tribunals.  Appearances in NCAT in most matters requires leave of the Tribunal to appear for a client.

Litigation begins the moment someone decides to formally enforce or defend his or her legal rights. In most cases, this happens the moment a party engages a Solicitor to represent their interests. Most Solicitors engage in a variety of “pre-suit” litigation activities. These can include many things, from writing a letter on a client’s behalf called a demand letter, to demand compensation. However, there are several different steps in litigation that occur in nearly every case.  For further information contact us.

Monday, 24 April 2017

What is Compensation Law?

Compensation may be defined as: ‘A monetary remedy that is awarded to a person who has sustained damages or an injury and it is given in order to replace the loss caused by the damage done or injury sustained.’ 

The most common injury claims are related to Workers injuring themselves at work or travelling to and from work and motor accidents. Motor Accident claims revolve around negligence and can be claims made on Green Slip Insurers or motor vehicle Comprehensive Insurers. 

However, it may also be for compensation when your land is compulsorily acquired by the Government. It maybe that compensation is awarded when there is a breach of contract and someone suffers loss. 

Compensation for damages or loss originally devolved from the Common Law but in a lot of cases the Common Law has been modified by our various Parliaments over the years, such as the Workers Compensation Acts, the Motor Vehicle Accidents Act, Civil Aviation (Carriers' Liability) Act, the Civil Liability Act and many more. 

Some of these Acts only allow you to make a claim within limited times. Three years is the normal time but it can be more or less. For example, in Air Accidents claims have to be brought within 2 years of the accident. In Motor Accident claims for personal injury must be made within 6 months from the date of the accident but in claims for damage to your car, the period is 6 years. Breach of contract claims are 6 years in most cases. 

Some of the legislation that has been brought in now prevents claims being made and other legislation extends times for bring a claim. 

Complicated and confusing......well you may need to consult with one of our Solicitors to get some advice because any claims for compensation can be a minefield. 

 For further information contact us.

Friday, 3 March 2017

The Consumer Credit Code - Protection for Borrowers

Most credit arrangements, or contracts, are covered by the Consumer Credit Code (CCC). Before a credit contract is offered the borrower must be given a statement by the credit provider which is document that sets out the borrowers rights and obligations must also be provided.
Some of the items which must be disclosed under the code are:
  • the amount of the credit
  • the interest rate, and how it is to be calculated. If it is a variable rate, you must be told how you can check this
  • all charges and fees must be disclosed, including and ongoing loan maintenance fees and default costs and fees. This must include any government fees and charges, including any stamp duty.
  • Commissions paid to or by the credit provider
Details of any required security, such as a mortgage or a guarantee, and of any required insurance.

The contract must clearly set out what terms of the contract may be changed by the credit provider during the term of the contract, and the notice that must be given by the credit provider. These may include changes to the interest rate and changes to the repayment instalments. Where the contract sets out pegged interest changes and repayment instalments, a separate notice need not be given.

So be careful. Fully investigate any proposed credit arrangement and, if the terms are not fully understood, get professional advice before signing up.

For further information contact us.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Crime?

What is a Crime?  There are many Crimes or Offences. A lot are contained in the Crimes Act but many more are contained in other Statutes both of the State and Federal Parliaments.  The range of Offences vary from Murder down to Parking.

Most criminal matters are commenced by the Police or the Director of Public Prosecutions by way of Court Attendance Notices (formerly known as Police Charges/Summonses) and those charged with an Offence will appear firstly before a Magistrate sitting in a Local Court.  In some cases issues of Bail may need to be considered.

Magistrates deal with over 90% of criminal matters summarily but the more serious offences are committed to the District Court or Supreme Court for Trial before a Judge and/or Jury.

Unlike Civil Matters, Criminal matters must be proved ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ having regard to the elements of the Offence.  This is when a Solicitor’s professional knowledge becomes essential for the client (i.e. the person charged with an Offence).

Police will normally have a fact sheet (which is not evidence but outlines the Police case) on the occasion of the first appearance before the Court. With the fact sheet and instructions from the client, this will help the Solicitor in deciding whether to advise the client to plead guilty or not guilty having regard to the elements of the Offence. Sometimes an adjournment is necessary to obtain further information.

Once a plea is entered, then the Magistrate may adjourn the matter for hearing, sentence the client, commit the client for Trial in a higher Court or other options which may  depend on the seriousness of the Offence and the previous criminal history of the client.

For further information contact us.

Business Law....Duties and obligations

Are you looking to set up a new business, buy or sell a business? The law puts a tremendous amount of responsibilities upon Business owners ...