Business, Commercial & Company Law

If you are in business, you need a lawyer with sound commercial law experience who understands your legal needs and the implications for your business.

At Craddock Murray Neumann we pride ourselves on the skills and knowledge of our staff. Headed by Julian Van Leer in conjunction with our Special Counsel, Nick Houen, we have a team of highly experienced commercial lawyers offering clients advice that is practical, honest, innovative, prompt, and cost effective. Many of our existing commercial clients were previously clients of the big city law firms who appreciate the savings as well as the personal attention and commitment to quality a mid-sized firm can offer.

Over the years, we have assisted a diverse range of commercial clients, from small-medium enterprises right through to major multi-national corporations and government departments. It is our aim to establish long-term relationships and our lawyers work with clients to develop a sound understanding of their businesses – something which is essential to providing effective representation and advice.

We provide a full range of commercial legal services including:
  • business structures
  • company incorporations
  • company reconstructions
  • formation and dissolution of partnerships
  • purchase and sale of business
  • contract drafting, including commercial, joint venture and partnership agreements
  • drafting guarantees, mortgages, charges and other security documentation
  • documenting company administrations
  • trusts - unit and discretionary trusts
  • asset protection advice
  • due diligence assessments
  • advice on corporate governance.

Click here for more information about assets, business structures and risk analysis/advice.

Further information

Contact Craddock Murray Neumann Lawyers on (02) 8268 4000 for friendly professional service.

Setting aside sequestration order - Trustee’s costs
Date: Nov 16, 2015

Quite often, a sequestration order is made by the Registrar of the Court in the absence of the debtor. As a result of the sequestration order, a trustee is appointed to the Bankrupt Estate of the debtor.

Trusts and family law disputes
Date: Jul 06, 2015

Many family law disputes involve issues relating to various trusts. Family lawyers are often approached by clients who are either trustees and/or beneficiaries of a trust. Often their children and other family members are beneficiaries as well.

Can a family law dispute affect your company?
Date: Jun 17, 2015

Often family lawyers have to provide advice to their clients with respect to property disputes involving a business, whether a family company or a company owned with fellow shareholders. Such a dispute may have an impact not only on the interests of the client, but on the interests of third parties as well.

Contract: the rules of the game
Date: Jun 15, 2015

The traditionally accepted view of law is that it is an independent set of rules governing society routinely applied by reference to existing precedent. The law is considered autonomous and distinct from custom, morality, religion and politics. In western civilisations, legal systems are built on liberal foundations.

Private contractual arrangements and government intervention
Date: Jun 12, 2015

The law was not constructed on a bare canvas, but on value-laden foundations. Ordinarily, when a house is built on a sloping block, the nature of that slope determines the type of structure erected upon it. The structure is changed to suit the conditions of the landscape, not vice-versa. It is no different with the law.

Religious officers, contracts and legal relations
Date: Jun 11, 2015

In commercial transactions, the onus of proving (on the balance of probabilities) that a contract does not exist rests with the party disputing what courts presume to be an agreement intended to have legal force. For disputes concerning family members, courts take the viewpoint that “each house is a domain into which the King's writ does not seek to run, and to which his officers do not seek to be admitted”.

Consideration in contract law
Date: Jun 10, 2015

The doctrine of Consideration is concerned with the price paid for a promise. Consideration is something of legal value given in exchange for a promise.

A contract that is not a contract
Date: Jun 09, 2015

Equitable Estoppel is a cause of action that protects parties’ reliance on promises which have the appearance of a contract, but which do not satisfy the elements needed to create binding legal relations, that result in detriment to one party. The case of Waltons Stores (Interstate) Ltd v Maher is a landmark case which has greatly affected the common law of contract.

Penniless partner: bankruptcy and family law property disputes
Date: Jun 08, 2015

In certain circumstances in the past, a situation could arise where a spouse facing family law property proceedings would file for bankruptcy or be declared bankrupt (the Bankrupt), with the result of becoming a “penniless partner” of a non-bankrupt spouse (the Spouse), whose claim might then be defeated in the Family Court property settlement proceedings. The only salvation for the Spouse was to apply to the Federal Court for annulment of bankruptcy on the grounds of some abuse of process.

Why It Pays to be a Stickler for Service of Court Documents
Date: Jun 04, 2015

Natural justice requires that a person be made aware of the claim or charge brought against him or her, and be given an opportunity to defend such a claim. For this reason, the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW) (UCPR) set out precise guidelines for service of court documents.

Statutory Demands, Winding Up Applications and the Issue of Solvency: why a company served with a Statutory Demand should raise any dispute within 21 days of service of the Demand
Date: Jun 03, 2015

Insolvency law, in particular that part of insolvency law covered by Part 5.4 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (the Act), demands strict compliance with specific timeframes and legislative provisions.

PPSA Protection and Perfection
Date: May 25, 2015

Despite the transitional periods having expired last year, the requirements (and existence) of the Personal Property Security Register (PPSR), created pursuant to the Personal Property Security Act 2009 (Cth) (PPSA), remain unknown to many consumers and suppliers. If you are involved in business or personal transactions regarding the provision of goods on any terms other than a cash on delivery basis, or you have a line of credit with suppliers, or provide a line of credit to others, you should familiarise yourself with the PPSR and PPSA.

Declarations of Intention to Present Debtor’s Petition – Are They Worth It?
Date: May 21, 2015

For debtors who need a little breathing space to consider their options – voluntary bankruptcy? payment arrangements? defended proceedings? - section 54A of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) (the Act) gives certain debtors the opportunity essentially to freeze unsecured debts for 21 days. But are the potential benefits worth it? Or does filing a declaration of intention simply prolong the inevitable?

Offsetting Claims in Statutory Demands: Time is of the Essence
Date: May 18, 2015

Opening the mail to find a creditor’s statutory demand, threatening to wind up your company if a debt is not paid within 21 days, is not a pleasant occurrence for any director. The task becomes even more repugnant if the creditor listed in the demand actually owes your company money too. This is known as an offsetting claim, and is dealt with in section 459H of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (the Act).

The authority of an agent to enter into contracts on behalf of a corporation
Date: Nov 14, 2014

Corporations are a separate legal entity, distinct from the people that manage or operate the company. The ability to insulate corporate wealth and assets from the personal wealth of those involved in the company is what makes the corporation such an attractive business model. Due to the separate legal entity status, the corporation has the legal capacity and powers of an individual, including the ability to enter into contracts on its own behalf. One way the company can exercise its legal capacity is through an agent to whom it grants authority.

What is a guarantee?
Date: Nov 10, 2014

When a creditor provides a party with a loan or the provision of goods or services on credit, a sincere promise by the debtor to repay the loan is rarely satisfactory. Such a promise will be no good to a creditor if the debtor goes bankrupt, no matter how much they wanted to honour their obligations. Therefore it is normal for a creditor to require some other source of repayment they can look to if the worst should happen. This is known as a guarantee.

A recent example of construing commercial contracts - Visy Paper Pty Ltd v Glass Granulates Pty Ltd [2014] NSWSC 1387 (10 October 2014)
Date: Nov 06, 2014

In this recent case of the NSW Supreme Court decided by Sackar J, the construction of a commercial contract was in dispute. The plaintiff, Visy Paper Pty Ltd (‘Visy’), runs a recycling service, picking up waste products from around Sydney and processing them at their recycling plant. They entered into a Supply Agreement with Glass Granulates Pty Ltd (‘Granulates’) which runs a glass recycling plant, to supply them with glass. A condition of the Supply Agreement is that Granulates agrees to deal with ‘rubbish’ which might be mixed in with the glass so long as it doesn’t exceed 7% of the load. The definition of ‘rubbish’ in the Supply Agreement is ‘paper, plastic, cardboard and other contaminants in the glass fines, which are not recoverable by Granulates and must be disposed of at a licensed waste facility.’

Are some bank fees unenforceable? - Paciocco v ANZ [2014] FCA 35
Date: Oct 06, 2014

Bank customers in Australia are eagerly awaiting the outcome of ANZ’s appeal to the High Court after the Federal Court’s decision in February 2014 decided that the fees ANZ charge for the late payment of credit cards are unenforceable. The decision will have a huge impact on the banking industry. If the Federal Court’s decision prevails on appeal, it is likely that many of the fees charged by all the big banks will be challenged.

Application of the rule in Flight v Booth for ‘off the plan’ contracts
Date: Sep 14, 2014

Following on from Kannane v Demian Developments, the case of Higgins v Statewide Developments Pty Ltd [2010] NSW 183 presents a more recent attempt at applying the rule in Flight v Booth to ‘off the plan’ property sales.

Are some contracts unenforceable? Illegality and public policy
Date: Sep 14, 2014

Even if you have complied with all the formalities and requirements of a valid contract, the law may still refuse to enforce an illegal contract. A contract may be illegal because it is prohibited by statute or because it infringes a rule of public policy.

Changes to the Credit Reporting System in Australia
Date: Sep 14, 2014

The move towards a more comprehensive credit reporting system was finally realised by the commencement of the long-awaited reforms to the Privacy Act on 12 March 2014. As well increasing the amount of information available for use in credit reports, the reforms will have an impact on the way such information is collected, used and disclosed by imposing significant new privacy responsibilities on credit providers and credit reporting agencies.

Contracts – intention to enter into a legally enforceable relationship
Date: Sep 14, 2014

As noted in earlier article ‘what is a contract’ a contract is a legally binding promise. The requirements for a valid and enforceable contract are.

Rescinding ‘off the plan’ contracts - the Rule in Flight v Booth
Date: Sep 14, 2014

Purchasing a property before it is built, also known as purchasing ‘off the plan’, can be a rewarding yet risky enterprise, especially if the finished product isn’t the same as what you contracted to buy. The contract may provide for certain limited circumstances which allow you to rescind (revoke) the contract. There is, however, also some legal rules which may be able to help. One such rule is called ‘the rule in Flight v Booth’. The NSW case of Kannane and Ors v Demian Developments P/L [2005] NSWSC 1193 sets out when the rule in Flight v Booth will apply.

Voidable transactions due to insolvency – uncommercial transactions
Date: Sep 14, 2014

When a company becomes insolvent, the liquidator is entitled to all of the assets that belonged to the company at the commencement of the winding up, so they can manage and distribute that property equally amongst the company’s creditors.

What is a managed investment scheme?
Date: Sep 14, 2014

Wading through the quagmire of financial services can be daunting, but being fully informed about, and understanding, your options will ensure you are choosing the best financial arrangement for your circumstances.

What is consideration?
Date: Sep 14, 2014

Consideration is one of the key elements of creating a contract, along with having a settled agreement between two or more parties and an intention to enter into legal relations . Basically, consideration means ‘value’. The provision of consideration in the creation of a contract involves the passing of value between the contracting parties. This is the essential nature of a contract, namely a bargain involving quid pro quo. Consideration is of particular importance, as it distinguishes between those contracts that should be enforced by the courts and those that are merely gratuitous, such as a promise to make a gift.

What is the difference between a retail client and a wholesale client?
Date: Sep 14, 2014

In considering managed financial schemes, you may have noticed a distinction between retail and wholesale clients. This distinction is important as a great deal of obligations and compliance requirements for managed investment schemes are dependent on whether they cater to retail or wholesale clients. For more information about managed investment schemes please refer to ‘What is a managed investment scheme?’.

What recommendations should be made to a retail client and how should they be made?
Date: Sep 14, 2014

There are two types of clients which participate in managed investment schemes; wholesale and retail clients. In a general sense, wholesale clients are more likely to be experienced and well-resourced investors, whereas retail investors likely have limited knowledge of the financial markets and limited funds. For more information on the distinction between retail and wholesale clients, please refer to our earlier articles. In recognition of the potential vulnerability of retail clients, there a number of safeguards and disclosure requirements to ensure that they are as well-informed as possible.

When should a warning be given?
Date: Sep 14, 2014

Understandably the investment of money in any type of financial product comes with its risks. In order to educate clients, and make them aware of the potential dangers of investing in particular financial products, statute requires a number of general and specific warnings to be given. It is hoped that, combined with the documents that must be provided (for more information about the recommendations given to clients please see earlier articles ), the warnings will encourage clients to thoroughly consider the suitability of products and seek sufficient professional advice.

When will a court enforce an unwritten contract in relation to land?
Date: Sep 14, 2014

As discussed in the earlier article ‘Does a contract need to be in writing’, some contracts, such as those dealing with land, must be in writing to be enforceable. Despite this seemingly strict requirement there are some narrow circumstances in which a court will enforce oral contracts relating to land in order to avoid injustices. This exception is known as the doctrine of ‘part performance’.

Can I use extrinsic evidence to interpret a contract? – The application of the ‘parol evidence rule’
Date: Sep 10, 2014

Some of the most common disputes about contracts relate to how they are to be interpreted. Words are malleable and can mean different things to different people depending on their perspective, values and intention at the time of creating the contract. For example, if you have a written contract with someone to cut down ‘three trees’ on your property, you may assume the other party knows the particular trees you’re referring to due to your previous discussions. However, unless it’s specified in the written contract, they may be able to argue they have contracted to cut down any three trees on your property.

Costs orders - who pays the costs of legal proceedings?
Date: Aug 25, 2014

The Court has power under Section 98 of the Civil Procedure Act 2005 to determine by whom, to whom and to what extent the costs of the proceedings are to be paid.

Caveats, interests in property and contracts – does my contract give me a caveatable interest?
Date: Aug 18, 2014

Section 74F of the Real Property Act 1900 (NSW) permits a person who claims to be entitled to a “legal or equitable estate or interest in land” to lodge with the Registrar-General a caveat, prohibiting the recording of any dealing affecting the estate or interest to which the person claims to be entitled.

What are the requirements to be a licenced credit provider?
Date: Aug 15, 2014

The recent introduction of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 and related National Credit Code, have increased the regulation of credit providers in Australia. If your business engages in credit activities for personal, household or domestic purposes such as directly providing credit, making related suggestions or acting as an intermediary between a lender and a consumer, then you will probably need an Australian credit license to carry on your business. The licenses are administered and enforced by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Voidable transactions due to insolvency - unfair loans
Date: Jun 04, 2014

When a company becomes insolvent, the liquidator is entitled to all of the assets that belonged to the company at the commencement of the winding up, so they can manage and distribute that property equally amongst the company’s creditors.

Voidable transactions due to insolvency - unfair preferences
Date: Jun 03, 2014

When a company becomes insolvent, the liquidator is entitled to all of the assets that belonged to the company at the commencement of the winding up, so they can manage and distribute that property equally amongst the company’s creditors.

Director’s Duties – Duty not to trade whilst insolvent
Date: May 16, 2014

As a director of a company, you have many duties and obligations arising from common law and statute. It is important to be aware of these duties regardless of how large the company is or how much involvement you have in the company.

What duties do the company secretary and general counsel have? Implications of the James Hardie litigation
Date: May 14, 2014

Even if you are not a director of a company, you may still have to comply with the some of the same duties. Most of the statutory director’s duties also extend to ‘officers’ of the corporation, such as the company secretary. In Shafron v ASIC [2012] HCA 18 the High Court considered the scope of the duty for company officers, in particular those with a dual function which is not an officer.

Shareholder remedies – minority oppression rules
Date: May 12, 2014

As one shareholder among many, you may often feel powerless and without influence in the decision making process of a company. This most often occurs when conduct or decisions advantage a large group of members to the detriment of a group of minority shareholders. In certain circumstances minority shareholders can seek a remedy for treatment which is regarded as ‘unfair’ or ‘oppressive’.

Hiding in the shadows – Shadow directors
Date: May 09, 2014

Directors of companies do not only consist of those who are appointed to the position of director. If a third party has the requisite degree of control over a company, they can be regarded as a ‘shadow director’ which can have serious implications.

Director’s Duties – Duty not to improperly use your position or information
Date: May 07, 2014

As a director of a company, you have many duties and obligations arising from common law and statute. It is important to be aware of these duties regardless of how large the company is or how much involvement you have in the company.

Director’s Duties – Duty to Avoid Conflicts of Interest
Date: May 05, 2014

As a director of a company, you have many duties and obligations arising from common law and statute. It is important to be aware of these duties regardless of how large the company is or the extent of your involvement in the company.

Director’s Duties – Duty of Care, Diligence and Skill
Date: May 01, 2014

As a director of a company, you have many duties and obligations arising from common law and statute. It is important to be aware of these duties regardless of how large the company is or the extent of your involvement in the company.

Director’s Duties – Duty of Good Faith
Date: Apr 30, 2014

As a director of a company, you have many duties and obligations to the company arising from common law and statute. It is important to be aware of these duties regardless of how large the company is or the extent of your involvement in the company.

Considering debt with estate planning
Date: Feb 13, 2013

Debts do not just disappear when you die. Effective estate planning includes ensuring you are debt free when you die or alternatively leaving enough money behind so that your family are not left dealing with your debts.

LITIGATION - Frequently Asked Questions
Date: Dec 04, 2012

Deciding how to settle a dispute - Choosing a process - Commencing litigation - Pre-trial procedures - Discontinuance or withdrawal - Enforcement of judgments - Costs of Litigation - Time limits - Lawyers

Things to be aware of regarding food labelling laws
Date: Dec 01, 2012

The interest in all things food related has taken off in the past few years and many people may wish to venture out on their own and start some food related business of their own. Some will take the restaurant route while others who are adept at making a particular product, may find themselves mass producing something that may wind up being sold in a major supermarket chain. That’s when things get interesting because all of the sudden, the product will need to have a label, not to mention whether or not it will have a ‘best before’ or a ‘use by’ date. The body, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) have Codes in place that states that labels must be accurate and not misleading.

Guarantees, goods and small businesses: What every supplier of goods should be aware of
Date: Nov 01, 2012

t’s every small business owners’ worst nightmare when a product sold to a member of the public suffers from a ‘major failure’. All retailers want to stand behind their product and hope that their wares live up to what is guaranteed. However, there may be instances where a good suffers from a ‘major failure’, therefore, it is useful for small business owners to understand what exactly constitutes a ‘major failure’ under the provisions of the Australian Consumer Law (the ACL).

Goods Shipping and the Law
Date: Oct 01, 2012

With many businesses beginning to take advantage of online trading, sending goods by consignment (a legal term for having them carried by someone else) is becoming much more common for smaller businesses. The advantages of online trading are clear, especially for higher-value items that would be costly to maintain in a traditional brick and mortar retail outlet. Shipping, however, is well-established area of law with practices that date back several hundred years, and has found new everyday exposure through consumer demand for convenience, specialisation and speedy delivery.

Commercial leases: Why important terms should always be in writing
Date: Aug 01, 2012

Anyone who has made the decision to start a business will have a myriad of considerations to take into account, and perhaps one of the most important concerns, is in relation to a commercial lease. Just like residential leases, the basic framework and approach when signing a residential lease can also be applied to commercial leases. However, there are understandably also significant distinctions as well when discussing commercial leases, and a party who is intent on entering into a commercial lease, should always aim to put important terms in writing during the negotiation period.

Colleges, Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and the Australian Skills Quality Authority
Date: May 29, 2012

On 30 June 2011 the Vocation Training and Accreditation Board (VETAB) which regulated the operation of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) ceased operations and was replaced with a new national regulator – ASQA (the Australian Skills Quality Authority).

GST and ABN Issues - Its more than just your BAS
Date: Mar 02, 2012

The Commonwealth Government implemented a value-added tax (known universally as the GST) in 2000 and terms such as ABN (Australian Business Number) and BAS (business activity statement) have become synonymous with small business accounting and tax. One interesting issue surrounding the GST system in Australia is that many small businesses are generally unaware of the depth of GST as a distinct area of taxation law. While most small business owners are capable of arranging their BAS filings (whether through a tax agent or on their own) a number of very complicated issues can arise when your business changes and takes a new direction.

How does contract law apply to businesses in Australia, and internationally?
Date: Jan 03, 2012

In an increasingly interdependent world, it’s no longer a surprise that many Australian businesses conduct transactions with other businesses located internationally. Despite the fact that the sale of goods is conducted between businesses in different countries, the law of contracts still apply, but which laws?

Why business owners must supply goods of acceptable quality and fit for a disclosed purpose
Date: Dec 01, 2011

Small businesses should be aware, that with the introduction of the Australian Consumer Law (the ACL) affords the public a broader range of protections, as well as requiring both corporations and “persons” to provide goods and services which are of a requisite standard. The ACL has replaced the Trade Practices Act 1974 (the TPA), and although the new Act mirrors many of the provisions under the TPA, the ACL has also included implied conditions of quality and fitness in relation to consumer transactions and now enjoy statutory guarantees under the ACL.

The requirements for creating a valid e-commerce contract
Date: Nov 02, 2011

In recent years, online shopping has exploded in popularity, with many Australians taking advantage of the strong local dollar and the ease of making purchases online. As a result of consumers doing more shopping on the internet, small businesses may have begun to consider the viability of establishing an e-commerce presence. And as new technologies change the way people purchase products, it is essential that the law adapts to the changing environment by enacting legislation that both encourages businesses to adopt an e-commerce strategy, whilst still protecting consumers. As a result, a uniform legislative regime operates across all Australian states and territories, which applies to both electronic and face-to-face commercial transactions, equally.

Privacy Exemptions for Small Business
Date: Oct 05, 2011

Recent events regarding the abuse of privacy in the UK, namely the News of the World scandal and its subsequent closure, have prompted a wider debate about privacy and privacy legislation in Australia. To date, The Privacy Act exempts businesses with an annual turnover of $3 million or less. Telecommunications service providers, however, do have obligations under the Telecommunications Act, with regards to the use and disclosure of information, but this does not address issues such as collection and storage of personal information. In general, small businesses, are exempt.

You do not have to be rude or violent to collect a debt
Date: Sep 19, 2011

People often think of debt collectors as professional bullies or “stand-over” men who break debtor’s arms to make them pay. Whilst these methods might occasionally be effective, they are usually highly illegal, and no self-respecting business would ever want to be associated with these sorts of tactics.

Buying a property: the Australian Dream
Date: Sep 15, 2011

Claiming your piece of the ‘Australian Dream’ is becoming harder and, with more at stake than ever, buyers should be aware that it will not be always easy nor problem free. Your best defence in keeping the dream from becoming a nightmare is to simply arm yourself with the best possible information and advice.

Privacy Exemptions for Small Business
Date: Sep 05, 2011

Recent events regarding the abuse of privacy in the UK, namely the News of the World scandal and its subsequent closure, have prompted a wider debate about privacy and privacy legislation in Australia. To date, The Privacy Act exempts businesses with an annual turnover of $3 million or less. Telecommunications service providers, however, do have obligations under the Telecommunications Act, with regards to the use and disclosure of information, but this does not address issues such as collection and storage of personal information. In general, small businesses, are exempt.

The modern approach to contract interpretation
Date: Aug 31, 2011

Jireh International Pty Ltd v Western Export Services [2011] NSWCA 137.

Privacy Exemptions for Small Business
Date: Aug 02, 2011

Recent events regarding the abuse of privacy in the UK, namely the News of the World scandal and its subsequent closure, have prompted a wider debate about privacy and privacy legislation in Australia. To date, The Privacy Act exempts businesses with an annual turnover of $3 million or less. Telecommunications service providers, however, do have obligations under the Telecommunications Act, with regards to the use and disclosure of information, but this does not address issues such as collection and storage of personal information. In general, small businesses, are exempt.

Social Networking in Business
Date: Jul 05, 2011

Many businesses including small businesses have embraced social networking sites as a way to market their products and services. Facebook fan pages are often a popular choice, enabling members of the public to post comments about a product or service.

Contracting Principles for Small Business
Date: Jun 06, 2011

Contracts are a fundamental part of operating a small business. Selling goods, purchasing materials, leasing premises and employing workers all involve entering into legally binding contracts. It is important to understand the essential elements of a contract so that you can develop solid business arrangements. A solicitor can assist your business develop best practices. It is highly recommended that you consult a solicitor prior to signing any contracts so that you understand both your legal rights and your legal obligations. This is particularly the case with respect to long term agreements or where the contract involves the payment or receipt of large sums of money.

Australian Consumer Law
Date: Apr 01, 2011

Since 1 January 2011, all Australian businesses have been operating under a new, national consumer law. The Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) has been renamed the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth). Schedule 2 of that statute sets out the new Australian Consumer Law (ACL). The ACL replaced provisions in 20 national, state and territorial consumer laws dealing with the obligations of business and the rights of consumers when selling goods and services. There is now a single, national set of rules.

Working with Contracts
Date: Mar 02, 2011

For most small businesses, contracts are part of everyday life. Whether selling goods, purchasing materials, employing staff, negotiating and signing on arrangements with customers, clients and providers, it is important to understand contracts and their implications for establishing best practice and solid business agreements. It is imperative to become familiar with the essentials of contracts, and to consult your solicitor before signing anything.

Insurance Basics
Date: Feb 03, 2011

Recent flooding in Queensland and other parts of Australia has highlighted the critical need for businesses to have adequate insurance coverage. Many small business owners have lost everything and will have an extremely difficult time rebuilding their operations. While assistance from the State and Commonwealth governments may help, it remains unclear if financial institutions will be lenient in enforcing their rights under finance agreements and lines of credit. In addition, many businesses have been caught out in not having sufficiently wide coverage for natural disasters and loss of stock.

Being Sued
Date: Nov 02, 2010

Litigation is an unpleasant and stressful experience for a small business to go through. Most small business owners prefer to focus on what actually makes their business grow and operate, rather than dwelling on past mistakes or analysing small administrative details. Unfortunately, being sued can often be about very little details that happened in the heat of the moment.

Debt Collection Letters of Demand
Date: Oct 07, 2010

For small businesses, it may be either too time consuming to pursue outstanding debts or impractical to employ a collection agency (owing the size or circumstances of the debt). However, a simple strategy is to issue a formal letter of demand, which serves as both a final notice and a precursor to taking the matter to court.

Strata Levies: Options for Recovery
Date: Sep 20, 2010

Each lot owner in a strata plan is required to pay levies (usually due quarterly) which make up the administrative fund and sinking fund of the strata scheme.

Applying for Business Loans
Date: Sep 02, 2010

This article considers the legal basics of getting a small business loan. For this discussion, it will be assumed that the loan is to either start a new business or to buy an existing one. A business loan should also be distinguished from a "line of credit" or an "overdraft", which are generally used to address liquidity issues for an existing business.

Security for Costs
Date: Aug 08, 2010

The general rule is that everyone should be able to enforce their rights in the Courts – poverty should be no bar to justice.

Tax Time Record Keeping
Date: Aug 03, 2010

With the end of the financial year, now is the time for many people to start afresh and get their businesses in order. As part of completing an end of year return, it is timely to consider your record keeping obligations under Australia's tax laws.

When is the Price Right: Predatory Pricing and Small Businesses
Date: Jul 02, 2010

Predatory pricing is unlawful under s 46(1) of the Trade Practices Act 1974. This prohibits businesses that have substantial market power from using that power to eliminate or damage a competitor. It also prohibits preventing a person from entering a market, or deterring or preventing a person from engaging in competitive conduct in a market.

Small Business and the 2010 Budget
Date: Jun 04, 2010

Several proposed legislative changes from the 2010 budget will have an impact on small businesses. Proposed changes are expected to come into effect on 1 July 2010.

Company Identity: Why It Matters
Date: May 02, 2010

Many people assume that one company is readily interchangeable with another when they are owned by the same person. However, this is not the case and can prove downright dangerous if you assume that this flexibility will hold in times of financial stress. This article outlines some basics of the effects of incorporation and provides an example of why it pays to be precise.

Social Media and your Employees
Date: Apr 03, 2010

This article focuses on the potential risks (and benefits) of social media. The law in this field is unclear, although this article attempts to present social media as merely a more developed form of communication over the Internet.

New Australian Credit Licensing Regime
Date: Mar 01, 2010

In July 2010, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will assume responsibility for regulation of consumer credit under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth) (NCCPA). This initiative removes the States' jurisdiction over consumer credit and attempts to create a licensing system that broadly mirrors similar ASIC licensing regimes (such as Australian financial services licences).

Closing your Company
Date: Feb 02, 2010

This article considers how you can close your company. There are two ways of doing this, applying to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to voluntarily deregister the company; or a members' voluntary "winding up" (closing down) of a solvent company.

Parental Leave and Small Businesses
Date: Jan 02, 2010

Parental leave, whether paid or unpaid, maternity or paternity, is an important issue within small businesses. Especially in light of the Government Paid Parental Leave 2010 scheme.

Small Business and The Fair Work Act (2009)
Date: Dec 02, 2009

Replacing "Work Choices", The Fair Work Act 2009 came into effect on 1 July 2009. Provisions relating to the National Employment Standards and Modern Awards will come into effect on 1 January 2010.

Running a Small Business – Why good advice pays for itself
Date: Nov 01, 2009

As a small business owner, it’s not unusual to encounter situations when the burden of a legal problem or paperwork creates stress and a desire to quickly remove the issue. However, there are important benefits or savings you may be missing out on in seeing these situations as mere annoyances.

Government Responds to Crisis with Resources for Small Business
Date: Oct 03, 2009

The Federal government has responded to the current global financial crisis in a variety of ways. Several of these measures are aimed at small business.

Is your business True Blue?
Date: Sep 02, 2009

"Made in Australia". "Product of Australia". "Australian Made". Does your business make these claims, and more importantly, can your business legally make these claims?

Making a Strategic Entry into Small Business
Date: Aug 03, 2009

In these difficult economic times, potential small business owners can face greater problems and barriers to starting their dream. From raising capital to securing customers, 2009 has been a challenging year. In this context it is important to make the most strategic and practical entry into the small business world.

Reforms Ensure the Price is Right
Date: Jul 02, 2009

The ACCC is urging businesses to make customers aware of the total cost of goods and services, following amendments to section 53C of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

Compete for your small business rights
Date: Jun 02, 2009

Competition is seen as a necessity in business - almost a necessary evil - but what happens when the "necessary" becomes obsolete? There is a fine balance between competition and unfair business practices to obtain competitive advantage. Small businesses can arm themselves with information on trade practices and the rights and obligations of business to ensure they are not the targets for unconscionable conduct or misuse of market power by larger companies.

Small business and the Privacy Act
Date: May 02, 2009

The month of May marks the start of Privacy Awareness Week, a program to promote awareness of privacy rights and responsibilities in the workplace. So how do privacy and the Privacy Act affect your small business?

Heavy penalties warn business against resale price maintenance
Date: Apr 02, 2009

A recent court decision to penalise a business over $200,000 serves as a grave warning against engaging in resale price maintenance.

Commerce gives small businesses a leg up
Date: Mar 02, 2009

The Chambers of Commerce have greatly assisted small businesses around the country in the last month to help them cope in the global economic crisis.

Small business squeezed in credit crunch
Date: Feb 02, 2009

As the global financial crisis continues to take its toll, The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) expressed concern at the availability of credit to small businesses.

Small business breathe a $440 million tax relief
Date: Jan 03, 2009

Up to 1.3 million small businesses will get relief on their tax bills with the Federal Government cutting the December quarter tax instalment by 20 per cent.

A Brief Summary Of The Retail Leases ACT
Date: Mar 31, 2008

This article provides a summary overview of the main provisions of the Retail Leases Act (NSW) 1994 as they apply to commercial retail tenants and landlords.

Why Choose Bankruptcy?
Date: Dec 14, 2007

A brief list of advantages and disadvantages for both Debtors and Creditors.

Debt Recovery, Bankruptcy, Company Insolvency and Director's Duties
Date: Nov 29, 2007

Information and basic questions and answers.

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