Forum Law News - Issue #18 July-August 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.

  PPSA Law News  

Make sure the PPSA works for you, not against you

The NSW Supreme Court sends out a warning

We have seen the first Supreme Court of NSW decision on the question of priorities between competing security interests under the PPSA. It highlights the unique role of the PPSA in contradicting the age-old belief that you cannot deal with property that you don't own. This case provides a valuable lesson to businesses who lease goods or lose possession of their goods to a lessee or in a bailment.

Read more about the lessons to be learned >

  Construction Law News  

A wake up call for contractors who receive a payment claim under SOPA

Liability for the full amount of a payment claim is difficult to avoid

The Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act (SOPA) is designed to safeguard the rights of builders and subcontractors to be paid for stages of work completed during a job to maintain cash-flow on the job. Under the SOPA if a payment claim is made in the required form, the recipient must provide the builder with a payment schedule within 10 business days unless stipulated otherwise under the contract.

In the recent case of State Asphalt Services Pty Ltd v Leighton Contractors Pty Limited [2013] NSWSC 528 the Supreme Court of NSW reinforced the fact that liability for the full amount of the payment claim is extremely difficult to avoid, even where a subsequent payment claim for the same amount has been made.

Read how the Supreme Court reinforced recipient liability >

  Property Law News  

Sometimes it's difficult to "love thy neighbour"!

A recent case highlights easements and disputes between neighbours

In the recent case of Hare v Van Brugge [2013] NSWCA 74, neighbours on Sydney's northern beaches had adjoining properties on a steep slope that ran down to Middle Harbour. Both properties could both be accessed from the street by way of either stairs or an inclinator, which had been installed on an easement in 1980.

Read how the Court clarified the details of this easement >

  Employment Law News  

Beware the bullies!

New laws combat bullying in the workplace

Recent changes to the Fair Work Act were made in the last sittings of the Gillard government in June 2013 relating to the issue of bullying in the workplace. The changes take effect from 1 January 2014. A landmark decision was been provided by the Supreme Court of Victoria in the case of Swan v Monash Law Book Co-op, with extremely serious consequences for the employer in that case.

Read more including Elizabeth Devine's excellent paper on these changes >

  Company Law News  

Shifting shareholder preferences in smaller family-based companies receives High Court attention

All companies should ensure the shareholding and the classes of shares issues reflect a just and equitable share of the assets

A small furniture company in liquidation, operated by two families, has recently been receiving its fair share of attention from the High Court of Australia. In Beck v. Weinstock [2013] 93 ACSR 251 the High Court was required to consider whether the shareholders of the company were entitled to receive the surplus assets of the company once the liquidation was completed. The distinguishing feature of this company was the only shareholders which remained on the company's share register held redeemable preference shares.

Read how the High Court settled this dispute between the families >


Silent directors must be both seen and heard

The recent Centro decision confirms the obligations of all company directors

It is relatively common for a director of a company to assume the role of a so-called "silent" director – that is, relatively "hands off", remaining in the background. Silent directors must, however, take heed of the manifold duties and obligations that are imposed by law, which apply equally to all company directors – silent or not – particularly the Corporations Act.

Read more about the legal obligations of all company directors >


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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