Forum Law News - Issue #19 September-October 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.

What's happening at Forum Law

It is with some sadness that we say goodbye to our esteemed colleague Gareth Hipwell who commenced with us as a law student six years ago and then became a distinguished young lawyer. Gareth has left to pursue a career in writing, so look out for his work!

Earlier this year we welcomed Aaron Church to our team, and we congratulate him on his recent admission as a solicitor. With a combined degree in arts and law, Aaron is keen to make his mark as a great property and commercial lawyer.

Annette Fontana completed a master class in negotiation at Harvard University in September following on from her studies there in 2008, and this month Karen Schmitzer completed the first part of a course in mediation. We are seeking to add value to our client services by continually upgrading our qualifications.

This News issue raises some recurring concerns from our clients regarding unfair terms and unconscionable conduct by larger companies on smaller businesses and consumers. We also look at an insolvency decision and a strata law matter. Enjoy these morsels of legal counsel!

 
  Consumer Law News  
 

A test for the Australian Consumer Law

Who is the ACL actually protecting?

The Australian Consumer Law as recently tested in the decision of the Federal Court in the case ACCC v. Lux Distributors Pty Ltd [2013] FCA FC 90. In this case the ACCC commenced proceedings against Lux. Five door-to-door sales personnel from Lux obtained entry into the homes of five elderly women customers and after testing the customers own vacuum cleaners and comparing these cleaners with the Lux model, persuaded the customers to purchase the new Lux cleaner.

Read how this and another case were decided by the courts >

 
     
 

When is a contract "unfair"?

Can you seek to have a standard form contract set aside if its terms are judged to be "unfair"?

Small business owners are often provided with "standard contracts" by the "big end of town", namely large corporations. The small business owner may feel powerless to ask for changes to that contract where the terms seem unfair. The ACCC is targeting these kinds of contracts for their blitz on enforcing the unfair terms provisions in the ACL. The first test case for the new laws was the case of ACCC v Bytecard Pty Ltd FCA VID301/2013.

Read how Bytecard's terms of contract were deemed unfair >

 
  Property Law News  
 

When can an individual lot owner make claims on the owners corporation for facilities in a commercial building?

A warning for individual owners wanting their owners corporation to upgrade the common property to meet the increased demands of individual lot owners

The recent decision of the Court of Appeal in The Owners – Strata Plan 50276 v Thoo has provided some guidance on the rights and obligations of Owners Corporations ("the Owners") in respect of the common property in a strata plan. Dr Thoo, a lot owner in a commercial strata plan sought to subdivide his lot into three shops which would cook and sell food to the public. To meet council requirements, Dr Thoo requested that the owners corporation bear the cost of upgrading the existing mechanical ventilation system to cope with the demand of the shops.

Read how the Court of Appeal decided against Dr Thoo >

 
  Insolvency Law News  
 

Don't think you can get away with it!

A company director's personal liability can be extended to their dealings with related companies of a liquidated company

Donna Gee, a sole director of a company AJG Capital Pty Limited paid money to the ATO from AJG's account, for the outstanding tax liability of a related company. AJG then went into liquidation. The liquidator of AJG sought to claw back the amount paid by Ms. Gee to the ATO as an "unreasonable director related transaction".

Read how this case was resolved against Ms Gee >

 
     
 
 
 

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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Sent by Forum Law (Aust) Pty Ltd | Suite 44, 23 Norton Street (The Forum), Leichhardt NSW 2040
phone 02 9560 3388 | fax 02 9569 5423 | Forum Law website