Forum Law News - Issue #15 January-February 2013
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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.

  Insolvency Law News  

Liquidators' powers to "disclaim" leases

Tenants be warned if your landlord appoints a liquidator

A liquidator appointed to oversee the winding-up of a failed company is entitled in certain circumstances to "disclaim" an existing Lease (i.e. terminate the company's responsibilities under the Lease) that was entered into by the company prior to the liquidation. This applies where the insolvent company is a landlord or a tenant.

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Safeguarding employee entitlements

The Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) has replaced GEERS

From 5 December 2012, the Commonwealth's new "Fair Entitlements Guarantee" ["FEG"] replaced the former General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme ["GEERS"]. FEG is designed to safeguard the outstanding wages and other entitlements of employees of failed companies and businesses. The scheme allows employees to recover outstanding entitlements ahead of other creditors of the failed employer. Unlike GEERS, the FEG arrangements allow employees to claim entitlements right up to the end of their employment, and not just up to the date of appointment of a liquidator or trustee.

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  Administrative Law News  

A new "super-tribunal" for New South Wales

NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)

A new multi-divisional tribunal having jurisdiction in a vast array of civil matters promises to streamline and simplify dispute resolution and the management and regulation of professionals and trades across New South Wales. Pursuant to the Civil and Administrative Tribunal Bill 2012 (NSW), currently before the NSW Parliament, NCAT is expected to commence operations on 1 January 2014.

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  PPSA Law News  

The brave new world of the Personal Property Securities Register

Twelve months of some frustrating, but not unexpected, results

Where an owner of personal property parts with possession of that property to a third party for whatever reason, unless that "owner" has perfected their security interest in the personal property by registering that interest on the PPSR, their "ownership" of the property is "trumped" by the possession of the property by that third party. The practical effect is that, if the third party goes bankrupt or enters into liquidation, the trustee or liquidator of that third party is able to seize, sell or otherwise deal with the personal property without recourse to the putative "owner" of that property.

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  Contract Law News  

Taking banks to task on fees

Penalties and the law of contract

A decision of the High Court in Andrews v ANZ [2012] HCA 30 last year has potentially far-reaching consequences for parties to contracts in a range of commercial settings and arrangements.

Until the decision in Andrews, the law held that, as a general rule, any "fee" payable upon breach of the contract could only be found to be a "penalty" and was therefore void and unenforceable. The decision in Andrews concerned a class action brought by a number of ANZ customers, who claimed that a range of fees imposed by the bank were void and could not be enforced, as they were "penalties" and were therefore contrary to the law of contract. The case reached the High Court, which found that a fee or charge under a contract can be a penalty even where it is not payable on breach of the contract.

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If you would like to discuss any of these issues or if you require any legal advice or assistance please contact us at Forum Law on +61 2 9560 3388 or email us.


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