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Smart contracts in Australia: just how clever are they? - Aug 2017

Lawyers in practice today live in a world of ongoing disruption. As automation,  artificial intelligence and blockchain technology assists in reducing the costs of business transactions and increases the reliability of record keeping, the adoption of smart  contracts is an opportunity for lawyers to help their clients improve efficiency and to reduce the scope for disputes, and a challenge for lawyers who do not stay abreast of this area.

When a franchisee sells – what franchisors need to look out for - Jul 2017

As a franchisor, there are a number of pitfalls to look out for when a franchisee sells.  Some have always been there whilst others have arisen as a result of the introduction of the current Franchising Code of Conduct (Code) at the start of 2015. Andrea Pane, Partner discuss.

Franchising – Recent Actions by the ACCC - May 2017

Recent action by the ACCC against Domino’s and Ultra Tune signals a clear warning to franchisors that the ACCC is intent on enforcing compliance with the Franchising Code of Conduct  (‘Code’). In both cases, the ACCC has emphasised the importance of franchisors providing franchisees with accurate and timely information. Andrea Pane, Partner and Jamin Li, Law Graduate discuss.

Could you be personally liable for your involvement in the business decisions of a company? Shadow and De facto Directors explained - Apr 2017

Shadow and De facto Directors are legitimate types of Directors subject to the same duties, responsibilities and therefore, liabilities, as any company Director. Anyone in a position to make, influence, or guide company or board decisions (with some exceptions) is at risk of being found to be a Shadow Director or De Facto Director and could be subject to fiduciary, common law and statutory Director’s duties. Tim Capelin, Partner and Laura Spalding, Lawyer seek to clarify these concepts and provide some guidance in approaching this issue.

Bank Guarantees and Insurance Bonds in Construction Contracts: What’s the difference? Are they as good as cash? - Apr 2017

Yes, if the judge says so, but it depends upon which judge is allocated to make the decision and on subtleties of language in the underlying contract and whether the judge thinks the beneficiary is acting unfairly.” [1] 

This article covers the practical differences between these different forms of security and explores circumstances by which a call on security may be prevented. Ted Williams, Partner and Marya Atmeh, Lawyer discuss.

New tax for foreign retailers supplying goods to Australian customers - Feb 2017

Last week legislation was introduced into Parliament which if passed will see many offshore retailers now liable for GST in Australia. Under the proposed measures, GST will be levied against foreign suppliers who sell low value goods (being goods with a customs value of AUD$1,000 or less) into Australia.

The measures are intended to provide competitive neutrality for domestic retailers who have historically been at a disadvantage against foreign retailers selling equivalent goods online to Australian customers exclusive of GST.

If passed, the new measures will take effect from 1 July 2017. The amendments will coincide with the introduction of GST on inbound intangibles (i.e. the ‘Netflix tax’) also due to commence on 1 July 2017. 

Will Fennell, Special Counsel, provides a summary of the proposed measures.

‘Unfair Contracts’ – How will the new law affect your Business? - Oct 2016

The Australian Consumer Law contained within the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (ACL) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act) provide protection to consumers from unfair contract terms in certain business-to-consumer transactions.

The Federal Government has now extended such protection to small businesses in certain business-to-business transactions through the Treasury Legislation Amendment (Small Business and Unfair Contract Terms) Act 2015 which amends the ACL and the ASIC Act.

Bulk Water Rights - What do they entail? - Sep 2016

20 years ago, water rights was not a topic commonly contemplated as being something  people would have taken seriously from a transactional and trading point of view.  As water law in Australia is becoming significantly more complicated, it is a necessary evil that people appoint the correct advisors to review documentation and provide advice on water law. Senior Associate, Kara Pennisi provides some insight.

Companies take note - Australia raises its Anti-Bribery Compliance & Enforcement Game - Mar 2016

After broad international and domestic criticism of its efforts, the Australian Government is now showing an appetite for significant reform in the area of foreign bribery. The recent resignation of ASX Chief Executive Elmer Funke Kupper highlights reputational risks arising from allegations of questionable transactions off-shore. With proposed changes to the law the subject of a discussion paper issued by Justice Minister Keenan last week, those risks look set to escalate. Partner, Ted Williams discusses.

Taxation Bill to encourage innovation and investment in early stage companies released - Mar 2016

On Wednesday 16 March 2016, the Tax Laws Amendment (Tax Incentives for Innovation) Bill 2016 (Bill) was introduced into Parliament. The Bill is part of the Government’s $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda, containing proposed tax incentives for early stage investors and for venture capital investment.

The Government has consulted widely with investors, industry bodies, universities and the start-up community during the development of the Bill through the Tax Incentives for Early Stage Investors Policy Discussion Paper (see article: Defining criteria for tax incentives for early stage investors). However, notably, there was no public consultation process on exposure draft legislation. The acceleration echoes the intention to implement the measures with effect from 1 July 2016. 

Partner, David Cornwell, Partner, Alan Jessup, and Senior Associate, Kimberley Levi discuss the key aspects of the Bill.

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