Forum Law News - Issue #20 January-February 2014
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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

We are well settled into the New Year after a good break over the Christmas period. During the break Annette attended the Australian Lawyers Accountants and Company Directors Conference in Aspen, Colorado and gleaned updates on the state of the law in the areas of corporate governance, environmental responsibilities of company directors, shareholder agreements, personal property security law, protecting loans and advances to children and other fascinating areas relating to our work at Forum Law (as well as some excellent skiing!).

31 January 2014 brought to an end the two years of protection provided to the holders of transitional security interests (TSIs) under the Personal Properties Security Act, so if you have retention of title clauses in contracts and other forms of TSIs on which you rely to secure your ownership of goods and payment of money owed to you, then you must ensure these clauses are updated and you comply with the requirements of the Act to protect your interests.

During the break Annette was also busy assisting with the drafting of amendments to the proposed new Home Building Act and the new Strata Scheme Management Act. Being involved at the coalface of the drafting of new laws provides our firm with additional depth of knowledge of the areas in which can advise and assist our clients.

We are looking forward to talking with you and discussing any legal needs or concerns you may have in the coming months. We hope you enjoy our regular menu of legal morsels of intrigue …

 
  Contract Law News  
 

When is a fee a penalty?

If your fees for late payment or other terms of contract aren't relative to loss resulting from them, they may be deemed penalties and thus unenforceable

Recent decisions of the High Court and the Federal Court have caused a significant upset in the banking industry and are a big win for bank customers. The consequences of these decisions extend beyond banking to all suppliers of goods and services who try to claim a "penalty" for late payment of invoices or other charges and fees that cannot be properly characterised as a reasonable estimate of the actual loss or damage suffered due to the late payment or other conduct by the debtor.

Read how these judgements differentiate fees and penalties >

 
     
 

Amendments to the Privacy Act

All business owners and operators should be aware of the effect of the new Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012

Amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) come into force in March. Businesses should review their privacy policies and procedures to ensure that they comply with the new stricter Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), new credit reporting regime and the new powers of the Australian Information Commissioner.

Read how these important changes could affect your business >

 
  Property Law News  
 

New obligations under the Swimming Pools Act

Do you occupy a property with a swimming pool? If so you must ensure you comply with new obligations to register your pool

The Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2012 commenced on 29 October 2012 and made a number of amendments to the Swimming Pools Act 1992.

Read about how you must administer the ownership of your pool >

 
  Construction Law News  
 

Amendments to the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW) to improve cash flow

Builders, architects and tradespeople and suppliers now have a better opportunity to improve their cash flow with amendments to this act to be introduced in April

The proposed amendments include: removal of the mandatory endorsement referring to the Act on payment claims; a new requirement to provide a statement concerning payment of subcontractors; and mandatory time frames for payment to override contractual provisions which allow for time extensions.

Read more about the possible advantages to your cash flow >

 
     
 

Do you need calm, constructive mediation of workplace disputes?

Juanita Winks has been an accredited mediator since 2008, specialising in workplaces disputes. She is a member of LEADR Association of Dispute Resolvers.

As well as a registered psychologist, Juanita has extensive experience in senior management roles in the human and community services sector, both in the public sector and not-for-profit sectors. Her rates are reasonable and negotiable.

tel 0499 181 385 | mstwinkle@bigpond.com

 
     
 

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