Forum Law News - Issue #4 November-December 2010
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At Forum Law we know that it's vital to stay up to date with the latest legal developments that are relevant to your industry, workplace or personal circumstances. In our Forum Law News we describe some of the recent cases that may be of interest, and link to the full outlines of the cases and how their decisions affect the relevant laws, on our website.

Our News takes a break for January/February so the next one will be in March/April.

  Construction Law News  

Consequences of supplying non-compliant goods

Be aware of the suitability of the materials you use and supply – or the consequences can be far-reaching

Various industry codes in Australia establish standards required in use of certain materials. The Trade Practices Act 1974 sets out the penalties for breaches, however it's not the only law concerning those who use, supply or manufacture non-compliant materials. Criminal charges can be laid in cases of injury or death.

Read article >


Impact of rising material costs on contracts

Builders should ensure that their tenders and contracts have sufficient provision for the rising costs of materials

Current increases to costs of materials, particularly steel, should alter the way in which tendering and quoting is approached in contracts. We list some steps that should help to reduce your liability for increases to costs for steel and other materials when entering tenders, quotes and contracts for construction.

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# Contract Law News  

The new Personal Property Securities Act 2009 ["PPSA"]

Let's get prepared for the new regime for the registration of securities for goods – don't get caught out in May 2011

As foreshadowed in our last edition, the PPSA will come into effect in May 2011, replacing 70 current pieces of legislation Australia-wide. These include mortgages over goods and chattels, company fixed and floating charges, pledges, hire purchases, trust receipts, and conditional agreements for sale or agreements including a Romalpa [retention of title] clause. The internet-based PPS Register will allow for up-to-date searching of existing or prospective security interests.

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Recent legislative developments in consumer contracts and consumer credit law

The Commonwealth and State Governments move to consolidate consumer protection

A number of key legislative changes in this area have recently come into force, or will come into force in early 2011. The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) will overhaul the Trade Practices act 1974 (Cth). The new national consumer law will introduce a number of reforms, including a national "unfair contractual terms regime" applying to standard form consumer contracts, backed up by a raft of new enforcement measures and penalties. The new consumer law regime will be fully in place by January 2011. Know the definition of terms such as "consumer contracts", "consumer goods", and contract terms deemed unfair.

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  Property Law News  

Strata schemes and the duties of managing agents

To what extent can an owners corporation or other parties delegate their responsibilities to avoid being left "holding the baby"?

Can an owner of a strata title property delegate its duty of care as an occupier to another party? In what circumstances will the delegate effectively assume the occupier's "duty of care" to third parties? The questions were recently considered in Laresu Pty Ltd v Clark [2010] NSWCA 180 in respect of a property management agreement.

Managing agents and owners corporations may consider it prudent to revise their management agreements from time to time to check the adequacy of the delegated functions between them.

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Neighbourhood disputes: Access to Neighbouring Land Act 2000

Do you need to obtain access to your neighbour's property but you're not sure what your rights are?

The Access to Neighbouring Land Act 2000 regulates lawful access to private property for practical purposes, and allows for such access without the need for a temporary easement to be applied for. The Act provides an alternative to the often complicated or more expensive avenues available to parties seeking access to a neighbouring property under other older Acts. Local courts may make access orders under specific circumstances.

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  Company Law News  

The ATO has changed the rules with Directors Penalty Notices (DPNs)

Directors need to be on their guard to act quickly to avoid personal exposure

Notices issued under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 [ITAA] may render a company director personally liable for any unpaid corporate withholding tax owed by their company unless that director makes certain specific arrangements. A number of recent amendments to the ITAA have recently come into force.

The reforms broadly heighten the responsibilities of directors with respect to the payment of their company's tax liabilities. Company directors cannot presume that they may escape this liability and they should be aware of their responsibilities.

Read article >

  Have a wonderful festive season!  

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phone 02 9560 3388 | fax 02 9569 5423 | Forum Law website