Publications

Affinity Lawyers

Gold Coast Lawyers Publications – Gold Coast Lawyers / Northern Gold Coast Lawyers

trademark copyright stamp

WHAT IS A TRADE MARK?

Following on from last months article which raised issues which may arise in the social media arena, we thought that a quick overview on what a trade mark is, and how these can affect a business in the e-commerce world or through social media. So what is a trade mark? A trade mark is essentially…

00November 8, 2019November 12, 2019
keys on settlement day

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS ON SETTLEMENT DAY?

While our Gold Coast Conveyancing and Property team settle hundreds of conveyancing transactions each month, and know all of the ins and outs of the process, we understand that buying or selling a house is not an every day occurrence for our clients and often, our clients don’t know what actually happens on settlement day….

00November 8, 2019November 12, 2019
don't die without a will

THE PITFALLS OF INTESTACY – WHAT HAPPENS IF I DIE WITHOUT A WILL

Affinity Lawyers experienced Wills & Estate Lawyers have written many articles on the importance of having a current Will, however we are still finding many people don’t properly understand the pitfalls and ramifications that can occur if they were to die without a Will. What happens if I die without a Will? Essentially, if you…

00November 8, 2019November 12, 2019

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW IF SELLING/BUYING A BUSINESS WHICH OPERATES UNDER A RETAIL SHOP LEASE

When you are considering buying or selling a business which is currently operating under a retail shop lease, it makes sense that the transaction would necessarily include the assignment or transfer of the retail shop lease from the existing business owner to the incoming purchaser. Our lawyers have previously written an article on the difference…

0September 10, 2019October 22, 2019

SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE LAW

With the ever-increasing reach of social media and the rise of ‘’influencers’’, it is unsurprising that there is also a large number of disputes about the ownership of content (written work, photography, images, graphics etc) and many people are unaware of copyright and/or trademark issues, including the possibility of being on the receiving end of…

0September 10, 2019October 22, 2019

IF YOU DIE BEFORE YOUR SPOUSE – IS YOUR CHILDREN’S INHERITANCE PROTECTED?

Following on from last month’s article regarding mutual/mirror wills, our Gold Coast lawyers wanted to drill down and provide some further information in this area, so that our clients have a better understanding of the process, and what can (and often does) go wrong when proper and thorough estate planning is not carried out. There…

0September 10, 2019October 22, 2019

MIRROR WILLS & MUTUAL WILLS – WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

Many people are proactive when it comes to their estate planning matters, and make sure that they have a current and valid will which documents their intentions upon their passing.  Couples who are in a relationship and who have children often choose to have their wills drafted to leave everything to each other, and if…

0July 25, 2019October 22, 2019

THE PROPERTY SETTLEMENT PROCESS IN AUSTRALIA

At Affinity Family Lawyers, we are all too aware that separation from a husband/wife or long term de facto partner can be one of the most stressful and traumatic events in a person’s life. It can also be one of the most confusing times in a person’s life, especially if the only experience someone has…

0July 25, 2019October 22, 2019

WINNING LOTTO…AND THEN HAVING TO SHARE IT WITH YOUR EX-SPOUSE

A recent American case has made headlines with a Court determining that a man’s $30 million lottery win was to be split, and $15 million was to be paid to his ex-wife, despite the parties having been separated for over two years prior to his win. Although they had been separated for over two years,…

0July 25, 2019October 22, 2019

THE END OF PAPER CERTIFICATES OF TITLE

The paper certificate of title is the latest casualty in the slow shift towards become a paperless society thanks to the passing of the Land, explosives and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (‘OLAA’) last month. While this will likely be a positive change for those who deal with conveyancing matters regularly, it is a move…

0June 20, 2019October 22, 2019

SEEKING AN EXTENSION TO FILE AN UNFAIR DISMISSAL APPLICATION

At Affinity Lawyers, we provide both employers and employees with legal advice in relation to many matters which fall under the general umbrella of ‘Employment Law’, such as employment agreements, employment contracts, unfair dismissals, general protections claims and more. Following on from our recent article in relation to Unfair Dismissal applications and the strict time…

0June 20, 2019October 22, 2019

THE IMPORTANCE OF A CURRENT WILL

A recent decision of the Supreme Court of Queensland has highlighted the importance of firstly, having a valid will, and secondly, understanding the correct way to have your will updated if you change your mind about the contents of your will, including changes to any beneficiaries. THE CASE In this case, a gentleman ‘Mr M’…

0June 20, 2019October 22, 2019

IF I NEED TO LOOK AFTER MY SICK CHILD CAN MY EMPLOYER REFUSE?

As a result of the dreaded drop in temperature on the Gold Coast, you may have noticed that the health of your family has also taken a turn for the worst, and that colds and sniffles abound.   Unfortunately, an increase in illness often means that busy parents need to take time off work in…

0June 19, 2019October 22, 2019

JOINT TENANTS OR TENANTS IN COMMON – DOES THIS AFFECT MY WILL?

We have had a number of matters in recent months whereby clients who own properties with another person (for example, married partners) are unsure or unaware of whether they are holding the property as ‘joint tenants’ or ‘tenants in common’. Further, it appears that many are in fact holding property as ‘joint tenants’, despite not…

0June 19, 2019October 22, 2019

AFFINITY LAWYERS RELOCATION

We are pleased to announce that Affinity Lawyers have relocated our office, a short distance, to larger premises, being Suite 8/465 Oxley Drive, Runaway Bay Gold Coast. The paramount consideration in the relocation decision, was the ability to remain up on the Northern Gold Coast, thereby enabling convenience and exceptional service levels, while continuing our…

0May 13, 2019October 22, 2019

INTERNATIONAL WILLS

As we become an increasingly globalised society, it is becoming more common for people’s Estates to include foreign assets.  If you have assets located overseas, whether it be real property (like a house or land) or personal property (such as bank accounts, vehicles, boats and household items), advice should be sought and careful consideration given…

0May 13, 2019October 22, 2019

INJUNCTIONS

An injunction can be described as a court order by which one party is required to perform, or is restrained from performing, a particular act. An example is a breach of confidential information from an employer, such as a client list that is being used by a former employee to build a business in competition…

0May 13, 2019October 22, 2019

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COMMERCIAL LEASES AND RETAIL SHOP LEASES?

We have many clients based on the Gold Coast and State-wide who are expanding into or starting a commercial enterprise and although it’s an exciting time when you are starting a business and seeking commercial premises, or when you purchase commercial premises and are looking for your first retail tenant, there are some important things…

0April 1, 2019October 22, 2019

WHAT IS A TESTAMENTARY TRUST?

Considered and strategic estate planning is a crucial part of any successful wealth protection strategy, and Affinity Lawyers have an experienced and professional wills and estate team in place to provide you with legal advice tailored to your individual circumstances. Our Wills & Estate lawyers, based on the Gold Coast, can prepare a premium Affinity…

0April 1, 2019October 22, 2019

The family law solicitors based in our Gold Coast office have noticed lately that the terms ‘separation’, ‘property settlement’ and ‘divorce’ are often used in the incorrect circumstances, especially when someone going through a separation is chatting to family and friends, and the incorrect use of these terms can lead to confusion.   To clear up…

0April 1, 2019October 22, 2019

UNFAIR DISMISSAL APPLICATIONS – STRICT TIME LIMITS APPLY

Affinity Lawyers on the Gold Coast regularly provides advice to both employers and employees in relation to a range of employment law matters, including (but not limited to) applications for unfair dismissals. An issue which commonly arises in matters of this type, is that people are unaware of the strict time limits involved in filing…

0February 8, 2019October 22, 2019

FAMILY PROVISION APPLICATIONS – WHO IS A ‘CHILD’?

Following on from our previous articles highlighting the importance of having a current Will and up-to-date estate planning in place, a query that can crop up when providing clients with advice in relation to making a Will is how they can reduce the possibility of a claim being made on an estate after they have…

0February 8, 2019October 22, 2019

WHO PAYS PRIVATE SCHOOL FEES AFTER SEPARATION?

One of the biggest areas of contention we see in Gold Coast Family Law matters after parties have separated, is who is going to pay for the children’s private school fees. The Department of Human Services (DHS) typically uses a specific formula to assess the amount of child support required to support a child on…

0February 8, 2019October 22, 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!   We trust that all of our valued clients, colleagues and associates have had a wonderful break, and are ready to charge into the new year full speed ahead. Affinity Lawyers would like to extend well wishes to you all for a happy, safe and prosperous 2019, and we look forward to…

0January 11, 2019October 22, 2019

NEW YEAR, A FRESH START FOR YOUR ESTATE PLANNING

At Affinity Lawyers, we like to take the start of a fresh new year to remind you that it’s a great time to take stock of your circumstances, and get some of those pesky tasks that you never seem to have time to do – done. For many tasks, including getting an up-to-date will drafted,…

0January 11, 2019October 22, 2019

SEPERATED FROM YOUR SPOUSE OVER THE CHRISTMAS BREAK? WHAT TO DO NEXT

At Affinity Family Lawyers, we understand that separation from a husband/wife or long term de facto partner can be one of the most stressful and traumatic events in a person’s life. Unfortunately, during/shortly after the annual Christmas/New Years break we generally see an increase in the rate of separations.  Whether its due to families spending…

0January 11, 2019October 22, 2019

PPSR CHARGES – ARE YOURS ABOUT TO EXPIRE?

Personal property is considered to be any form of property other than land, buildings or fixtures which form a part of that land. This can include cars, boats, caravans, art, machinery and crops as well as intangibles such as intellectual property and contract rights.  The Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR took over from the REVS…

0December 11, 2018October 22, 2019

AIRBNB AND BODY CORPORATES

The ability for unit owners to rent out their units for short term accommodation via sites such as ‘Airbnb’ or ‘Stayz’ has long been a grey area, with many body corporates attempting to stop these types of rentals from happening by attempting to enforce by-laws which have been explicitly drafted to exclude short term rentals….

0December 11, 2018October 22, 2019

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS

It is that time of the year again when people are starting to relax, and are getting ready to enjoy the Christmas/New Year break after the busy working year and start looking forward to 2019. Therefore, we would like to extend to you some carefully drafted Christmas wishes, with an abundance of lawyer humour: Please…

0December 11, 2018October 22, 2019

SETTING UP A NEW COMPANY OR BUSINESS?

With the year drawing to a close, it is the perfect time for an assessment of our life, health and career choices. It is unsurprising then that we often see a significant increase in the number of new companies and business endeavours which are launched at the start of a new year. At Affinity Lawyers,…

0November 9, 2018October 22, 2019

CRYPTOCURRENCY AND YOUR WILL

Although acquiring digital currency is increasingly common in this day and age, it is also an area which, due to its relatively recent surge in popularity, is often overlooked when people are having a new Will drafted. Cryptocurrency or digital currency (such as Bitcoins) is big business, with a very large (and unquantifiable) number of…

0November 9, 2018October 22, 2019

INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION

Note: This is a very broad and complex area and this article is in no way intended to provide a complete overview of this area of law.  If you require advice in relation to this area of law you should contact one of our professional and experienced Gold Coast lawyers to seek advice tailored to…

0November 9, 2018October 22, 2019

DO YOU NEED A TESTAMENTARY TRUST?

A Testamentary Trust is a trust created under a Will that comes into effect following the death of the testator. A Testamentary Trust may offer a higher degree of protection for your beneficiaries over your assets and superannuation against claims being made by estranged spouses/relatives and creditors than a usual Will. The drafting of a…

0September 27, 2018October 22, 2019

IF I GOT MARRIED OVERSEAS CAN I GET DIVORCED IN AUSTRALIA?

If your marriage occurred overseas, you can still apply for divorce in Australia if either you or your spouse: regard Australia as your home and are an Australian citizen or resident; or are an Australia citizen by birth; or are an Australia citizen by grant of an Australian citizenship; or ordinarily live in Australia and…

0September 27, 2018October 22, 2019

CAN WHAT YOU PUT IN YOUR RESUME COME BACK TO HAUNT YOU?

Most people would concur that it is a common occurrence or perception that people will have, at least some, incorrect facts, inconsistencies, exaggerations or untruths in amongst the true working and education history detailed in their resumes.   These types of ‘white lies’, or inconsistencies, are often brushed off as acceptable, and rarely are the…

0September 27, 2018October 22, 2019

FRANCHISING

Franchising is essentially the relationship between two parties/business entities where one party is owner of a business who supplies goods and services, and grants a right for the other party to market and distribute the business’s product in the marketplace. The legal framework concerning franchises and franchising is highly complex, and our experienced and professional…

0August 3, 2018October 22, 2019

LEASING BUSINESS PREMISES

If you are running a business, chances are you are doing so from leased commercial premises, or if you are in the process of establishing a business, then you may be seeking to lease commercial premises upon commencement of your business. Commercial property generally includes offices, workshops, warehouses, industrial units, retail shops, storage premises and…

0August 3, 2018October 22, 2019

ARE YOU SELLING A BUSINESS? WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

If you are selling your business or are in the process of same, there are many things to consider to ensure that the transaction is smooth and hassle-free. Obtaining professional legal advice in relation to the sale is crucial to maximise the prospects of a worry free transaction. It may be beneficial to obtain legal…

0August 3, 2018October 22, 2019

DO WE NEED TO INVOLVE THE COURT IN RELATION TO OUR PARENTING PLAN?

During a separation many couples are able to put aside their differences to focus on the best interests of the children, despite the common misconception that ‘separation often turns ugly’. If this sounds like you and your former spouse, you do not necessarily need to go to Court to finalise orders in relation to your…

0July 4, 2018October 22, 2019

PROPERTY TRANSACTION CHANGES FROM 1 JULY 2018

We have previously written about the numerous changes to the Additional Foreign Acquirers Duty for property purchases in Australia by foreigners, and several of the major changes stemming from the 2017 budget have come into effect on 1 July 2018. As a result of the mid-year fiscal economic review, it is expected that the foreign…

0July 4, 2018October 22, 2019

PURCHASING A BUSINESS – WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW?

If you are looking at purchasing a business or are in the process of same, there are a few things you should consider: are there any specific terms that you wish to include in the Contract/offer, or are there terms already in the Contract/Offer which you need clarification on before signing; what is the most…

0July 4, 2018October 22, 2019

WHY SPECIAL CONDITIONS ARE SO IMPORTANT IN YOUR CONVEYANCING CONTRACT

Buying or selling a property is one of the biggest financial transactions you will undertake in your lifetime, and it is important to ensure that the contract is drafted correctly, takes into consideration your individual circumstances and accurately reflects the agreement reached between the parties. Affinity Lawyers recommends that you should always have your contract…

0May 30, 2018October 22, 2019

WHAT HAPPENS TO MY PET AFTER I DIE?

Although it is not something we want to contemplate, the truth is it is better to be prepared for our passing than to bury our heads in the sand and hope it all works out when the time comes. Apart from making your families life easier during a difficult time, having a comprehensive and well…

0May 30, 2018October 22, 2019

BUSINESS SUCCESSION & ESTATE PLANNING

Clients are often unsure of why they need to consider business succession and estate planning matters pertaining to their business. The analogy we often use is, why spend all of your life working hard to save and build up your assets, only to leave them completely unprotected and at the mercy of third parties or…

0May 30, 2018October 22, 2019

ADVANCE HEALTH DIRECTIVES

An Advance Health Directive, also known as a Living Will, allows you to give instructions about your future health care. It is a legal document which only comes into effect if you are unable to make decisions for yourself due to incapacity and further, will cease to operate if you regain capacity. An Advance Health…

0May 16, 2018October 22, 2019

CHANGING YOUR WILL AND POA AFTER SEPARATION

Separation is a tumultuous time for all involved, usually requiring parties to navigate logistical issues such as living arrangements, finances and working together to provide a stable environment for any children and pets, and at the same time as continuing to work and attempt to process emotions, feelings and to grieve for the loss of…

0May 16, 2018October 22, 2019

HAPPY EASTER!

It’s that time of year again! Although it feels like we just had Christmas and welcomed in the New Year – Easter is upon us. We wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Easter and to remind you to take some time to relax, spend time with loved ones and…

0March 29, 2018October 22, 2019

TIPS WHEN PURCHASING PROPERTY AT AUCTION

Buying a property at auction can be an exciting, nerve-wracking time and sometimes emotions can get the better of us so it is vitally important that you understand the process, and your rights and obligations before bidding on a property to ensure you don’t end up in a sticky situation that could end up costing…

0March 29, 2018October 22, 2019

WHAT HAPPENS IN A PROPERTY SETTLEMENT WHEN MY SUPER IS SPLIT?

After the family home, superannuation is generally the second largest asset of many families, and as a result, it becomes very important when parties are splitting their property after separation. The Family Court has had jurisdiction to deal with superannuation entitlements for over 10 years, and amongst other things, can make a splitting order which…

0February 27, 2018October 22, 2019

COMMON TRAPS AFTER SEPARATION

At Affinity Family Lawyers, we understand that separation from a husband/wife or long term de facto partner can be one of the most stressful and traumatic events in a person’s life. Most people do not know where to begin, and often delay taking any steps towards obtaining legal advice, and consequently, do many things which…

0February 20, 2018October 22, 2019

WHAT CAN GO WRONG WHEN SELLING YOUR PROPERTY?

Often, people assume that the transaction process for selling real property is simple, and many are hesitant to engage a professional lawyer to undertake the work on their behalf, believing that they can do it themselves to save money. We see many files after the seller has attempted to finalise the transaction on their own,…

0February 20, 2018October 22, 2019

SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE

Unless you have missed the major news headlines in the past year, you would be aware of the downfall of Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein due to sexual harassment allegations, and the subsequent opening of the floodgates for many sexual assault claims being made against high profile figures. As a result of these allegations, hundreds of…

0February 20, 2018October 22, 2019

HOW DO I GET A DIVORCE?

You can apply to the Court either jointly or solely to obtain a Divorce, if you satisfy the following requirements: 1. You have been separated for at least 12 months and there is no prospect of reconciliation; and 2. There is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.   12 MONTHS SEPARATION In order to apply for a…

0January 12, 2018October 22, 2019

LOOKING AT BUYING A QUEENSLAND PROPERTY IN THE NEW YEAR?

The start of a new year seems to be a popular time for people to decide they want a fresh start, sometimes with finding the house of their dreams. With the current market, there are hordes of interstate buyers, particularly from Sydney, who are ready to buy Queensland properties with cash. It is important to…

0January 12, 2018October 22, 2019

ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO GET ORGANISED

The start of a new year is the perfect time to sit down and take stock of your present circumstances. Are you happy with your job, relationship and current living arrangements? Do you have a dream of undertaking further study, starting a new sport or hobby or simply taking more time out to relax? More…

0January 12, 2018October 22, 2019

SEPARATED PARTIES & CHILDREN AT CHRISTMAS

As Christmas is fast approaching (again!) we thought it was timely to discuss one of the queries that we are often asked by our clients in the lead up to the Christmas/New Year break relating to children, namely, how is time with the children organised between separated parties over the break? We have visited this…

0December 1, 2017October 22, 2019

AUSTRALIANS SAID ‘I DO’ TO SAME SEX MARRIAGE

In a landmark decision by the Australian public, the ‘Yes’ vote to change the Marriage Act 1961 to legalise same-sex marriage trumped those against the proposed amendments with a 61.6%/38.4% result, announced on 15 November 2017. While many were rejoicing at the outcome of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, the scope and extent of…

0December 1, 2017October 22, 2019

AFFINITY LAWYERS HAS HELPED TO MAKE HISTORY BY PARTICIPATING IN THE FIRST EVER SETTLEMENT OF A TRUSTEE TRANSFER THROUGH PEXA

Read the article here: https://community.pexa.com.au/t5/Share-your-Experiences/Making-History-in-QLD-Affinity-Lawyers-amp-Astill-Legal-Group/td-p/6585 Conveyancing transactions are moving forward into the digital age and the introduction of PEXA means that e-conveyancing transactions will allow the entire process to become more streamlined, efficient, reduce errors, and allow for an immediate reconciliation of funds. PEXA is the only electronic lodgement network in Australia at present, and…

0December 1, 2017October 22, 2019

IF YOU ARE SELLING A HOUSE – HOW MUCH ABOUT THE HOUSE’S HISTORY DO YOU NEED TO TELL THE BUYER?

A question that pops up every so often is what are the obligations of the seller when selling a house which has a somewhat murky or mysterious past? It goes without saying that properties hold many stories within their walls, hence the colloquial “if the walls could speak’, however as a buyer in Queensland there…

0November 9, 2017October 22, 2019

SOCIAL MEDA AND DEFAMATION – BEWARE – THE LINE CAN EASILY BE CROSSED

The recent high profile case heard by the Supreme Court in Victoria between actress Rebel Wilson and German media giant Bauer Media has come to a dramatic conclusion, with Justice Dixon finding that Bauer Media had maliciously defamed Ms Wilson. Ms Wilson was awarded a large sum of $4.5 million dollars in damages, resulting in…

0November 9, 2017October 22, 2019

MUSIC FESTIVALS – DO I GET A REFUND IF THE FESTIVAL IS CANCELLED?

We are fast approaching the warmer months here in Australia, and music festivals and outdoor events are always a popular choice for many during this time of the year. However, what happens if the festival you have purchased tickets for is cancelled due tounforeseen circumstances? When purchasing  a ticket for a festival, you are entering…

0November 9, 2017October 22, 2019

AFAD � ADDITIONAL FOREIGN AQUIRERS DUTY � WHAT THIS MEANS FOR NEW ZEALANDERS PURCHASING PROPERTY IN AUSTRALIA

Since the 1st October 2016 residential conveyancing transactions for which the liability for transfer duty (stamp duty) has arisen, and where the subject property is classed as ‘Additional foreign acquirer duty’ (‘AFAD’) residential land’, then if the purchaser falls within the meaning prescribed in the Duties Act 2001 as a ‘foreign acquirer’, then it is…

0September 8, 2017October 22, 2019

WHY YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED LAW FIRM TO DO YOUR CONVEYANCING

Following on from a recent article we published regarding cheap ‘will kits’, we often find that clients are also compromising one of the largest purchases they will make in their lifetime, being the purchase of their first home or real estate, all for the sake of saving a small amount of money. We find that…

0September 8, 2017October 22, 2019

MINIMUM WAGE RISE IN AUSTRALIA AFTER ANNUAL WAGE REVIEW

On 6 June 2017, the Fair Work Commission (‘the Commission’) handed down its decision in relation to the annual wage review., As a result, from 1 July 2017, the minimum annual wage in Australia has risen from $672.70 p/w ($17.70 p/h) to $694.90 p/w ($18.29 p/h).  Modern award minimum rates of pay will also increase…

0August 14, 2017October 22, 2019

LICENCED VENUES NOW REQUIRING ID SCANNING

Following on from the implementation of the Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Act 2016 and to last year’s article regarding the change to trading hours (https://www.affinitylawyers.com.au/blog-view/reducing-alcohol-fuelled-violence-will-this-179), a new piece of legislation named the Liquor and Other Legislation Act 2017 was introduced in March 2017 and as a result, all premises that fall within the definition…

0August 14, 2017October 22, 2019

RECENTLY SEPARATED OR CONSIDERING SEPARATING? WILL YOU BE REQUIRED TO GO TO COURT?

One of the most common myths when it comes to separation is that “all family disputes go to the Court”. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth as a vast majority of cases are resolved without the need of going to Court, and of those matters that do end up in the Court room,…

0August 14, 2017October 22, 2019

RELATIONSHIP BREAKDOWN – DO YOU NEED TO LODGE A CAVEAT?

Where there has been a relationship breakdown and there is real property involved (for example the matrimonial home or an investment property), then depending on how the property is held by the parties, a caveat may need to be lodged over the property to protect your rights and interests in it before your ex has…

0July 4, 2017October 22, 2019

YOUR CHEAP WILL KIT MAY END UP CAUSING AN EXPENSIVE PROBLEM FOR YOUR ESTATE

One of the questions that we are posed by many of our clients, time and time again, is ‘why can’t we just use one of those $20 will kits from the newsagent?”.  In fact, in our experience many people are hesitant to pay for a lawyer to prepare their will properly, instead preferring just to…

0July 4, 2017October 22, 2019

2017 BUDGET TARGETS ALL PROPERTY TRANSACTIONS OVER $750,000

Further to our recent article regarding the shakeup to conveyancing transactions as a result of the 2017 budget, a new piece of legislation has come into effect on 1 July 2017 which directly affects all real estate agents and buyers/sellers, where the market value of a property is over $750,000. Although the aim of the…

0July 4, 2017October 22, 2019

ADULT CHILD MAINTENANCE

Generally, if there is a child support assessment in place pursuant to the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (CSA) or if the parents of a child have come to their own private arrangements in respect of child support, these payments usually cease upon the child reaching the age of eighteen. However, child support can continue…

0June 1, 2017October 22, 2019

GST ON PROPERTY SALES – WHAT THE 2017 BUDGET MEANS FOR PROPERTY SALES IN 2018

As a result of the 2017 budget, it would appear that from 1 July 2018, any buyers purchasing new residential property or land within a subdivision will have the onus placed on them to collect the GST from the purchaser and pay it to the ATO.  This change will necessarily require developers to amend their…

0June 1, 2017October 22, 2019

FAMILY PROVISION CLAIMS

Affinity Lawyers first discussed the Western Australian case of Lemon v Mead back in April 2015, (you can read the article here).   In essence, the case deals with the estate of a wealthy mining magnate who left two of his surviving children approximately $400 million each in his will, while the remaining surviving child…

0June 1, 2017October 22, 2019

INTERESTING! AMERICAN CO-PARENTING PHOTO GOES VIRAL

As blended families become more and more common in today’s society, a photo released by a family made up of a mother, father, step-mother, step-father and child has gone viral in the news for all of the right reasons. Promoting the belief that co-parenting is completely do-able, and most definitely in the best interests of…

0April 26, 2017October 22, 2019

BUYING OR SELLING A HOUSE? WHAT HAPPENS IF THE HOUSE IS DAMAGED IN THE PERIOD BETWEEN THE CONTRACT DATE AND SETTLEMENT?

As one of the leading Gold Coast law firms, our property and conveyancing team at Affinity Lawyers deal with many transactions, and a common question asked is ‘what happens if the house is damaged after the contract has been signed, prior to settlement occurring?’.   As most of you would be aware, Queensland has been suffering…

0April 26, 2017October 22, 2019

UPCOMING SUPERANNUATION CHANGES – ARE YOU READY?

There are significant changes to the way superannuation funds can be built and how retirement wealth can accumulated from 1 July 2017, and it may severely impact on many Australian’s ability to accumulate enough funds to retire without having to rely also on the aged pension. For those of us over the age of 49,…

0March 15, 2017October 22, 2019

QUEENSLAND FIRST HOME OWNERS GRANT – $20,000 UNTIL 30 JUNE 2017

Don’t forget that the Queensland First Home Owner’s Grant is expiring on 30 June 2017 for New Homes. In a bid to boost the Queensland property market, the Queensland Government boosted the First Home Owner’s Grant (‘FHOG’) from $15,000.00 to $20,000 – but only until 30 June 2017. The FHOG is designed to assist first…

0March 15, 2017October 22, 2019

ELDER ABUSE – RISK FACTORS AND HOW YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF

Unfortunately, ‘elder abuse’ is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society, and accordingly it is important to be aware of the signs that elder abuse may be occurring.  The Australian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse defines elder abuse as “any act occurring within a relationship where there is an implication of trust,…

0March 15, 2017October 22, 2019

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS OF FAMILY LAW

ASSUMPTION — IT WILL BE A 50/50 SPLIT Most people presume that their assets will be split straight down the middle, however there is no hard and fast rule that this will occur (see pages 12 to 13 for more details).   ASSUMPTION — What I put in, I get back A person may not…

0March 15, 2017October 22, 2019

OVERDUE REFORM TO ADOPTION LEGISLATION IN QUEENSLAND

The recent review of the Adoption Act 2009 has seen the most significant overhaul of the adoption system in Queensland come to fruition in the form of the Adoption and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (‘the Bill’) being passed by Parliament in November 2016. As a result of the Bill, the Adoption Act 2009 has…

0February 1, 2017October 22, 2019

IS YOUR SMOKE ALARM COMPLIANT

The Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016 which came into effect on 1 January 2017, has resulted in various amendments being made to the principal legislation dealing with fire safety in Queensland, namely, the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 (‘Act’).  The amendments to the present legislation have been made as…

0February 1, 2017October 22, 2019

MICHAEL ‘THE GREAT’ KATSIDIS – OLYMPIAN AND 3 TIME WORLD BOXING CHAMPION

We are pleased to announce that Affinity Lawyers are proud supporters of Olympian and 3 time world boxing champion Michael “The Great” Katsidis. A Queensland-born boxing champion, who has three world titles under his belt, Michael has represented Australia at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and continues to compete in, and dominate, boxing events…

0February 1, 2017October 22, 2019

NEW YEAR TO DO LIST

At Affinity Lawyers, we see many clients who do not have a current will, and know that they should have one – but have not found the time to complete it. The start of a new year is a great time to take stock of your circumstances and arrange the unattended tasks from 2016 to…

0December 13, 2016October 22, 2019

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM THE TEAM AT AFFINITY LAWYERS

We cannot believe that yet another year has passed by, it feels like only yesterday we were wishing all of our clients, associates, friends and families a happy and prosperous 2016.  We hope that 2016 was indeed a happy and prosperous year for you all, and that 2017 also brings those qualities with it, together…

0December 13, 2016October 22, 2019

SEPARATION AND ARRANGEMENTS FOR CHILDREN AT CHRISTMAS

The end of the year is upon us, and while Christmas and holidays are often a happy and joyous occasion, where families spend some quality time together, this isn’t always the case for those who have recently separated with children involved. While adults are capable of understanding separation, the accompanying emotions, processes and procedures that…

0December 13, 2016October 22, 2019

YOU HAVE JUST SEPARATED FROM YOUR SPOUSE – NOW WHAT?

At Affinity Family Lawyers, we understand that separation from a husband/wife or long term de facto partner can be one of the most stressful and traumatic events in a person’s life.   While we strongly recommend obtaining legal advice at the earliest opportunity, there are practical steps you can take in the interim to protect…

0November 18, 2016October 22, 2019

CONSIDERING BUYING A HOME AT AUCTION? MAKE SURE YOU READ THIS

The purchase of property is often one of the biggest outlays in your life, so it makes sense to protect yourself as much as possible when it comes to such a big purchase. While many Australians may be familiar with the process of buying a property the more ‘traditional’ way, where the buyer and seller…

0November 18, 2016October 22, 2019

FOREIGN BUYERS HIT WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF STEEP APPLICATION FEES FOR THE PURCHASE OF AUSTRALIAN PROPERTY

It seems the Australian Government has foreign investors at the forefront of its agenda with the recent introduction of steep application fees, with individual applications for the acquisition of property (including previously exempted commercial properties) commencing at $5,000.00 per lot (if the purchase price is under $1Million), and increasing to $10,000.00 for properties over $1Million…

0October 28, 2016October 22, 2019

TIMELY REMINDER TO UPDATE YOUR WILL AFTER YOUR DIVORCE HAS BEEN FINALISED

At Affinity Lawyers, we know that when a separation occurs it can be a stressful, emotional time for parties and the period of time in which a property settlement is being finalised can often pass by in a blur, leaving parties at the end of the process feeling emotionally drained and with little recollection of…

0August 22, 2016October 22, 2019

THE LAW SCRAMBLES TO CATCH UP – WHAT IS THE POSITION ON DRONE USAGE

Drones have been gathering momentum and their use in day-to-day society is only increasing as time goes on.  Of course, with the rapid rise in popularity in these devices, legislation relating to privacy issues has not had time to ‘catch-up’ and accordingly, we are seeing many cases where people don’t know where they stand in…

0August 22, 2016October 22, 2019

FOREIGN RESIDENT CAPITAL GAINS WITHHOLDING REGIME – WILL IT AFFECT YOU?

Regardless of whether you are a foreign person or an Australian resident, the new withholding tax legislation (‘tax legislation’) may affect you if you are involved in a transaction relating to the sale or purchase of Australian real property, with a purchase price of more than $2 Million.  There are also several other methods of…

0August 22, 2016October 22, 2019

DIAL BEFORE YOU DIG – OR BEWARE OF THE CONSEQUENCES

We recently had a client seeking advice when they were faced with a whopping bill from Telstra for almost $15,000.00 after they accidently cut a Telstra cable while undertaking some home renovations. We thought it was a good time to provide you all with a reminder – if you are doing any works on your…

0August 11, 2016October 22, 2019

PROPERTY SETTLEMENTS – APPLICATIONS MADE OUT OF TIME

It is vitally important that separating parties are aware of the statutory time limits in relation to formalising their property settlements. For married parties, property proceedings must be commenced within 12 months from the date the divorce is granted, and for de facto parties, they must be commenced within 2 years from the date of…

0August 11, 2016October 22, 2019

SUPERANNUATION & ESTATE PLANNING – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Sitting down with your solicitor for an estate planning consultation is an important task that many of us put off due to time constraints. We understand that discussing your wishes after your death is an uncomfortable and sometimes unpleasant task, however, it is also one of the most important tasks you will undertake in your…

0August 11, 2016October 22, 2019

JOINT TENANTS OR TENANTS IN COMMON?

When purchasing real property with another person (or several others), you will need to instruct your solicitor how you wish to hold the property after settlement. Broadly, you can hold the property either as ‘Joint Tenants’ or as ‘Tenants in Common’, however within these two options, there are many different configurations which can be tailored…

0April 13, 2016October 22, 2019

ELDER AND DOMESTIC ABUSE AND ITS POSSIBLE EFFECT ON FAMILY PROVISION CLAIMS

With a growing aging population, the issue of elder abuse is becoming more prevalent in our society, and while domestic violence issues between spouse and de facto couples are often highlighted in the media, elder abuse has remained somewhat ‘under the radar’. However, in the past year there has been a particular focus on this…

0April 13, 2016October 22, 2019

REGISTERING A CIVIL PARTNERSHIP – APRIL 2016

Since March 2016, when the Civil Partnerships Act 2011 (the Act) commenced, couples (including same sex couples) who meet certain eligibility requirements are able to register a civil partnership. The definition of a ‘civil partnership’ under the Act is ‘a legally recognised relationship that, subject to this Act, may be entered into by any 2…

0April 13, 2016October 22, 2019

DO YOU OWN ASSETS IN MULTIPLE JURISDICTIONS? IF SO, YOU MAY NEED TO LOOK VERY CLOSELY AT YOUR EXISTING WILL AND ESTATE PLANNING ARRANGEMENTS

If you own assets in multiple jurisdictions then it would be prudent to make sure that your estate planning is as thorough as possible to ensure that all of your assets can be dealt with as smoothly as possible upon your passing. We are seeing an increasing number of clients who hold property in multiple…

0March 16, 2016October 22, 2019

RECENT COURT DECISIONS MAY AFFECT YOUR BINDING DEATH BENEFIT NOMINATIONS UNDER YOUR SUPERANNUATION

If you have a superannuation interest, it is important that you consider who will receive the benefit of the fund and any associated insurance benefit when you pass away. A binding death benefit nomination (BDBN) allows you to nominate the person or persons who you wish to receive your benefits after your death (provided they…

0March 16, 2016October 22, 2019

LAND OWNERS – HAVE YOU RECENTLY RECEIVED YOUR UPDATED LAND VALUATION NOTICE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND MINES?

Land valuations are issued annually by the Valuer-General in accordance with the Land Valuation Act 2010, and cover all rateable properties in Queensland.  Issued prior to 31st March each year, the valuations are chiefly used to assess and calculate the council rates applicable for the property, however they are also used for the calculation of…

0March 16, 2016October 22, 2019

ENFORCING FOREIGN FAMILY COURT ORDERS PERTAINING TO PROPERTY IN AUSTRALIA

With the increase of Gold Coast residents moving overseas, particularly after a relationship breakdown, the question often arises in the practice of Family Law of, ‘how can we deal with Australian property whilst residing overseas?’ Australia is not privy to any international agreements or conventions recognising and/or enforcing foreign Family Court orders in Australia in…

0January 11, 2016October 22, 2019

MAKING A LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT – WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

Making a Will without the assistance of a professional is not advised. The main goal in creating a Will is to ensure that your wishes are fulfilled after death. Even the most simple or self-explanatory do-it-yourself kit can leave errors or gaps, which will mean that the executor of your Will won’t be able to…

0January 11, 2016October 22, 2019

CHECK BEFORE YOU SEND A CHEQUE

Sending cheques for ‘Full and Final Settlement’ In the past, a cunning way to settle a matter was to send a cheque to a debtor for a reduced amount with an enclosing letter expressing that the cheque was tendered on a full and final settlement basis. In cashing the cheque the debtor accepted these terms…

0January 11, 2016October 22, 2019

CAN I RELOCATE WITH MY CHILD WITHOUT THE OTHER PARENT’S CONSENT?

Divorce and separation is difficult in any case, but when a child is involved it often becomes more of a case of protecting the interests of your children as opposed to yourself. Emotions run high during the breakdown of a relationship, and getting through the simplest day-to-day chores such as shopping and cooking, can sometimes…

0December 22, 2015October 22, 2019

DISMISSED BEFORE CHRISTMAS

It is hard to believe that while most of us are preparing for Christmas or holidays or spending time with the family, some businesses use this time to dismiss employees in preparation for a fresh start to the New Year. Being dismissed from your employment can be a difficult experience filled with much uncertainty. It…

0December 22, 2015October 22, 2019

AFFINITY LAWYERS LEGALLY MINDED CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

  We are pleased to pass on the below legally minded holiday message:   Please accept without obligation, express or implied, these best wishes for an environmentally safe, socially responsible, low stress, non addictive, and gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday as practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of…

0December 22, 2015October 22, 2019

RETIREMENT VILLAGE CONTRACTS

The property team at Affinity Lawyers have noticed an increasing number of clients enquiring about, or entering into contracts for the ‘purchase’ of property in retirement villages. While the purchase of a unit in a retirement village may seem like a simple, straight-forward process, in reality it is quite complex.  These types of transactions are…

0November 19, 2015October 22, 2019

WHO DECIDES WHERE A CHILD LIVES AFTER SEPARATION?

A family breakdown and subsequent separation is a tumultuous time for families, and even more so when there are children involved.  Family lawyers are often asked who decides where the child or children live after separation, and what weight is given to the child or children’s wishes about which parent they would like to live…

0November 19, 2015October 22, 2019

STRICT POOL SAFETY STANDARDS MUST BE COMPLIED WITH BY 30 NOVEMBER 2015 – IS YOUR POOL COMPLIANT?

All of us realise the importance of pool safety, especially given that drowning is the lead cause of deaths for children aged between one to four years.  Accordingly, all pool owners in Queensland will be required to comply with the current pool safety standard (QDC MP 3.4 and the Australian Standard (AS) 1926-2007 Parts 1…

0November 19, 2015October 22, 2019

THE FUTURE OF PAID PARENTAL LEAVE

In recent times, there has been a large focus in the media of politician’s commitment to increase paid parental leave. However, with the introduction of the newly proposed Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill 2015 (‘the Bill’), Australian carers may be faced with quite the opposite outcome.   What are the current entitlements? The current Paid…

0September 16, 2015October 22, 2019

RECENT INTERNET PRIVACY HACK AND SPIKE IN FAMILY LAW MATTERS

As many of you would be aware, a highly publicised hack occurred recently of private data and details of the users of an online dating website which encourages people to cheat on their spouses. We do not have ‘at-fault’ divorces under the Family Law Act 1975, and thereby, the general position is that any evidence…

0September 16, 2015October 22, 2019

THE EFFECTIVE USE OF A CAVEAT

There is a common misconception that caveats are a tool to secure the repayment of a debt. Client’s often state to lawyers, “person A owes me money, I will put a caveat over his property and get my money back”. However, it is important to note that the lodgement of a caveat by a person…

0September 16, 2015October 22, 2019

AM I ENTITLED TO TIME OFF WORK IF MY CHILD IS SICK?

As a result of the sudden drop in temperature on the Gold Coast, you may have noticed that the health of your family has also taken a turn for the worst. Unfortunately, this often means that busy parents need to take time off work in order to care for their sick child. You may find…

0July 16, 2015October 22, 2019

WEALTHY DEVELOPER/ INTERNET BRIDE – WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?

The recent decision of Thorne & Kennedy [2015] FCCA 484, involved a 67 year old multimillionaire property developer, who met, (his now former) 36 year old wife over the internet. When they met, the wife lived overseas, had minimal English speaking skills, a previous divorce and no real assets. They fell in love and were…

0July 8, 2015October 22, 2019

LANDMARK DECISION REGARDING ILLEGAL MOVIE DOWNLOADS IN AUSTRALIA

Justice Nye Perram of the Federal Court has today handed down a decision in the case of Dallas Buyers Club LLC And Voltage Pictures LLC v iinet Limited, Internode Pty Ltd, Amnet Broadband Pty Ltd, Dodo Services Pty Ltd, Adam Internet Pty Ltd And Wideband Networks Pty Ltd which could have a significant impact on…

0April 8, 2015October 22, 2019

SELLING OR TRANSFERRING YOUR BUSINESS? WHAT HAPPENS TO THE EMPLOYEES?

Section 311 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (‘FWA’) sets out some of the circumstances in which a ‘transfer of business’ can occur, and with it, a transfer of liability in respect of employee entitlements (including redundancy entitlements) from the old employer to the new employer. These factors are important to be aware of if…

0April 8, 2015October 22, 2019

ESTATE MATTERS – FAMILY PROVISION CLAIMS

Another interesting decision regarding Estate matters which was handed down recently is the Western Australian case of Mead –v- Lemon. In this case, the deceased was a very wealthy individual who was survived by four children at his death (three of whom were born as a result of one of his earlier marriages and one…

0April 8, 2015October 22, 2019

DO YOU HAVE BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP OF A HOUSE?

If you believe you have beneficial ownership of a house (or part of a house), or you are contemplating providing funds to a family member for the purchase of a house (without becoming a registered owner on title) it is a good idea to obtain legal advice in respect of your position and to ensure…

0March 9, 2015October 22, 2019

GUARANTORS – DO YOU KNOW THE RISKS?

Agreeing to act as guarantor for someone is a significant responsibility, and one that should not be entered into without a thorough understanding of the implications and risks associated with signing on the dotted line. Essentially, when a person is acting as guarantor, they have contractually agreed to pay the borrowers loan repayments (and ultimately,…

0March 9, 2015October 22, 2019

SOCIAL MEDIA AND BULLYING ‘AT WORK’ – IS YOUR COMPANIES SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY STRINGENT ENOUGH?

A recent decision handed down by the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has confirmed that comments made on the social networking site ‘Facebook’ can amount to bullying at work, within the meaning prescribed by the Fair Work Act. For the Fair Work Commission to make an order regarding bullying, the applicant must satisfy…

0March 9, 2015October 22, 2019

ATO TARGETING SELF MANAGED SUPER FUNDS – IS YOUR FUND COMPLIANT?

The use of Self managed super funds (SMSF’s) in Australia has been growing in popularity over the past several years due to the many potential tax benefits associated with an SMSF.   In early 2014, there were approximately 528,701 SMSF’s in existence, and according to the latest statistics released by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO),…

0February 17, 2015October 22, 2019

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN 2015 – FOR EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES ON THE GOLD COAST

Employees covered by the national system are generally entitled to take public holidays off work in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). The eight recognised public holidays for 2015 are: New Years Day – 1 January 2015; Australia Day – 26 January 2015; Good Friday – 3 April 2015; Easter Monday – 6…

0February 17, 2015October 22, 2019

GOLD COAST FAMILY LAW – SEPARATION AND CHILDREN – IMPORTANT THINGS TO CONSIDER

Separation from a husband/wife or long term de facto partner can be one of the most stressful and traumatic events in a person’s life, and this stress and trauma can be compounded or amplified if there are children involved. When there are children involved, it is extremely important that parties remain child focused and do…

0February 17, 2015October 22, 2019

CAN A FINANCIAL AGREEMENT ENTERED INTO JUST BEFORE A WEDDING BE SET ASIDE?

We have previously canvassed the importance of having a Financial Agreement drafted correctly to ensure that it complies with the requirements of the Family Law Act 1975 and is thus binding on the parties.  However, in light of the 2014 case of Parker v Parker, we thought it prudent to highlight that the timing for…

0February 2, 2015October 22, 2019

GOLD COAST AUCTION TIME – BUYER BEWARE

The Gold Coast is abuzz with start of year auction activity, launching this weekend.  While there will be many bargains to be had, it is important that common sense and caution are still applied to purchases at auction. While purchasing residential property at an auction is a common way for property to be purchased in…

0January 21, 2015October 22, 2019

NEW YEAR – TIME FOR A WILL HEALTH CHECK?

The start of a new year is the perfect time to sit down and take stock of your present circumstances. Are you happy with your job, relationship and current living arrangements? Do you have a dream of undertaking further study, starting a new sport or hobby or simply taking more time out to relax? More…

0January 21, 2015October 22, 2019

FAMILY LAW DILEMMA – GETTING CHILDREN READY TO START SCHOOL FOR THE FIRST TIME

The start of the year is often a very busy and stressful time for separated families as children are returning to the primary caretaker, usually after spending significant time with the other parent over the holidays, and young children are often due to be enrolled in school for the first time. At Affinity Lawyers, we…

0January 21, 2015October 22, 2019

SOCIAL NETWORKING – IT CAN AFFECT YOUR FAMILY LAW PROCEEDINGS

We have previously highlighted the detrimental affect social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter can have on your family law matter when it comes before the Court, but thought it was time for a reminder to ensure that you are aware of the dangers. Family law matters, including separation, divorce and children’s issues are…

0November 10, 2014October 22, 2019

TRAVELLING OVERSEAS WITH CHILDREN

We are only weeks away from Christmas and this is usually the time that families enjoy a holiday away at the end of a busy year.  Whether it be a local beach getaway or an extravagant overseas holiday, when there has been a separation or divorce and there are children involved, it is important to…

0November 10, 2014October 22, 2019

PAMDA REPEAL – COMMENCEMENT OF THE PROPERTY OCCUPATIONS ACT 2014 ON 1 DECEMBER 2014

After much speculation about a commencement date, it has now been announced that the Property Occupations Act 2014 will come into force on the 1st December 2014. The introduction of the Property Occupations Act 2014 (‘POA’) is an effort to simplify the often complicated process of residential conveyancing and attempt to reduce the red-tape associated…

0November 10, 2014October 22, 2019

GOLD COAST FAMILY LAW FINANCIAL SETTLEMENTS

Separating parties who come to an agreement about how they will divide their assets post-separation often decide that they do not want to formally document their agreement and instead, have their ‘agreement’ documented in a statutory declaration signed by both parties in front of a witness. Presumably this is often done to save money, however…

0October 14, 2014October 22, 2019

ESTATE PLANNING & WEALTH PROTECTION – IMPORTANT THINGS TO CONSIDER

Wills are obviously an important part of Estate Planning; however to maximise wealth building, tax minimisation and family protection strategies, a proper Estate Planning review should also involve consideration and review of such matters as:   (a) Life Estates and Asset Structures;   (b) Superannuation structures and nominations;   (c) The legal effect of how…

0October 14, 2014October 22, 2019

NOMINAL ASSETS – DO YOU STILL NEED A WILL?

If you are an existing client of our firm, you would have recently received an important letter in the mail regarding Estate Planning and Wealth Protection. This letter highlighted the importance of obtaining legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances to ensure that your loved ones are protected and your wishes are adhered to after…

0October 14, 2014October 22, 2019

MARRIAGE OR DE FACTO SEPARATION – CAN YOU CHANGE THE LOCKS TO THE HOUSE?

A question which is often asked by parties who have separated is whether they can change the locks to the house to stop the other party having access to the property. This is an area not without its complexity as it will depend on numerous factors as to whether one party has the legal right…

0September 9, 2014October 22, 2019

BUYER BEWARE OR SELLER BEWARE?

The term ‘Buyer Beware’ is well known in the conveyancing world, but how often have you heard the term ‘Seller Beware’ being raised? It is a warning that perhaps should be considered more often by Real Estate agents when acting for sellers. In relation to the sale of land, the modern position reflects the historical…

0September 9, 2014October 22, 2019

DELAYING A FINANCIAL SETTLEMENT – THE RISKS

There are no hard and fast rules regarding finalising a property settlement immediately after separation, however it is important to remember that the Family Law Act 1975 does impose time limits for the commencement of property settlement proceedings in the Family Law Court or Federal Circuit Court. These include a time limit of 12 months…

0September 9, 2014October 22, 2019

GOLD COAST PROBATE AND ESTATES

Generally, before a deceased person’s final wishes are able to be performed, a procedure known as a Grant of Probate of a Will is required. This is a sealed document that is issued by the Supreme Court Registry which affirms that the executor has proven that the Will is the last valid Will/Codicil of the…

0July 30, 2014October 22, 2019

GOLD COAST LAW CLOUD COMPUTING

It is trite to say that the advancement in I.T. technologies are rapidly growing and encompassing every aspect of our day to day life. Cloud based technology is becoming the  norm in business operations, and is now often being used to disclose documents in litigious/adversarial matters through such tools as Dropbox.  The recent Queensland Supreme…

0July 30, 2014October 22, 2019

FAMILY VIOLENCE- CUT THE RED TAPE

The Chief Justice of the Family Court (Federal Circuit Court) John Pascoe, has demanded greater access to information in respect of matters pertaining to family violence. The Chief Justice has highlighted that the Commonwealth/State Privacy legislation, and the lack of resources and funding being granted to the Family Court system is crippling judicial administration, to…

0July 30, 2014October 22, 2019

FAMILY PROVISION APPLICATIONS

Perhaps you’ve been left out of a Will, or you think that the Will of the deceased is unfair. In Queensland, the Succession Act 1981 (Qld) (‘The Act’), confers rights to specifically defined dependants, (see below) to bring a Family Provision Application. What is a Family Provision Application? A Family Provision Application is an application…

0June 25, 2014October 22, 2019

PROPERTY UPDATE- CHANGES TO PAMDA

Major changes are set to begin later this year in respect of property transactions in Queensland.  On 7 May 2014, the Queensland Parliament passed The Property Occupations Act 2014 (‘The Act’), which will replace current legislation, The Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act (commonly referred to as ‘PAMDA’). The new Act aims to achieve an…

0June 25, 2014October 22, 2019

TESTAMENTARY TRUST WILLS

Our firm has previously highlighted the importance of preparing a Will, however, there are some situations where a standard Will may not be the most effective way to distribute your estate. In matters that involve large estates, a number of beneficiaries, or where the beneficiaries are in risky occupations, testators should consider making a Testamentary…

0June 25, 2014October 22, 2019

FAIR WORK ACT 2009 – ANTI-BULLYING PROVISIONS

From the beginning of 2014, the new anti-bullying provisions under the Fair Work Act 2009 (‘FWA’) came into effect in an attempt to stamp out workplace bullying, and although the Fair Work Commission is unable to make compensation or damages orders, it can make a ‘stop-bullying order’ and a contravention of that order can give…

0May 21, 2014October 22, 2019

SOCIAL MEDIA HAZARD – CAN YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE AFFECT FAMILY LAW PROCEEDINGS?

We take the opportunity to remind you all of the serious implications your social media accounts, in particular Facebook, can have on any court proceedings to which you may be a party. The Family Court has shown an increasing inclination in recent months to accept evidence obtained from Facebook when deciding cases about: where/whom the…

0May 21, 2014October 22, 2019

PROTECTION OF PRIVACY

Misunderstandings over the obligation to protect people’s privacy can often lead to legal action when businesses make the wrong decision about their use of people’s personal information. The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) establishes National Privacy Principles that apply to all private sector organisations with an annual turnover of more than $3 million, health service providers,…

0May 21, 2014October 22, 2019

EMPLOYERS BEWARE – YOU CAN BE LIABLE FOR CONDUCT BY YOUR CONTRACTORS AS WELL AS EMPLOYEES

In a recent Federal Court case, an employee brought an action for discrimination and sexual harassment against a contractor (who was engaged by her employer and allegedly sexually harassed her), the contractor’s employer and her own employer. When discussing the matter, the Court found that even though the contractor and the applicant were not ‘fellow…

0April 3, 2014October 22, 2019

POTENTIAL PROBLEM WITH ‘MIRROR WILLS’

It is quite common for spouses to enter into what is known as a ‘mirror will’, which essentially provides that their estate will go to each other when they die, and when the remaining spouse passes away, it will go to their children. However, what many people don’t realise is if they do not put…

0April 3, 2014October 22, 2019

COMPREHENSIVE CREDIT REPORTING – ARE YOU READY?

Legislative amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 came into effect last month, and with a focus on changing the ‘negative credit reporting’ system previously implemented in 1991, the legislative amendments have introduced what is known as ‘comprehensive credit reporting’. Prior to the amendments, a copy of your credit report would have shown a list of…

0April 3, 2014October 22, 2019

CONSUMER GUARANTEES

As a consumer, you are covered by a range of basic guarantees when you acquire or purchase goods or services from suppliers, manufacturers or importers within Australia (if they were purchased on or after 1 January 2011). The Australian Consumer Law outlines nine (9) guarantees that apply to goods, including that: they are of acceptable…

0March 5, 2014October 22, 2019

JOINT TENANTS OR TENANTS IN COMMON

Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common When ‘real property’ is owned by more than one person, it is surprising that many people are not aware of how that property is held by the them, for example, if there is more than one property owner, the property can be held as either Joint Tenants or Tenants…

0March 5, 2014October 22, 2019

DO YOU NEED TO LODGE A CAVEAT?

Do you need to lodge a Caveat? It is important to understand that when you separate, whether you were married or in a de facto relationship, if there is ‘real property’ involved, such as the marital home or an investment property, then you may need to act quickly to protect your interests in that property if…

0March 5, 2014October 22, 2019

RIGHTS OF EMPLOYEES UNDER EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS

Our Gold Coast Lawyers have recently had a large amount of enquiries concerning the rights of employees following dismissal. Our previous publications have discussed employee actions under the Fair Work Act 2009 (‘the Act’), such as unfair dismissal, genuine redundancy and general protections claims, however, there are circumstances where employees cannot bring these actions against…

0February 11, 2014October 22, 2019

THE IMPORTANCE OF WILLS

Do I really need a Will? If you die without a Will, the law dictates who receives your property in accordance with a pre-determined formula. There is no guarantee that your assets will be distributed in the way you would have preferred and in some circumstances your assets can end up being passed onto the…

0February 11, 2014October 22, 2019

PURCHASING PROPERTY IN QUEENSLAND – ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR A STAMP DUTY CONCESSION?

When purchasing property in Queensland, unless you are eligible to obtain a first home concession (and the purchase price of the property is less than $500,000.00 for an existing property or $400,000.00 for vacant land) there will be Stamp Duty payable on the purchase of the property. Often, purchasers can overlook the inclusion of their…

0December 4, 2013October 22, 2019

LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS WHEN A BINDING FINANCIAL AGREEMENT IS DRAFTED INCORRECTLY

A Binding Financial Agreement (‘BFA’) can be used by parties to reflect their agreement in respect of the division of property and assets in the event of a future separation.  There are strict requirements laid out in the Family Law Act 1975 (‘FLA’) which must be met for the BFA to comply with the Act…

0December 4, 2013October 22, 2019

FAMILY ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE FESTIVE SEASON 2013

It is important to remember that families come in many different shapes and sizes, and while Christmas should be a happy time where a family spends quality time with each other, where parents are separated or have recently separated, it could be a time of disappointment, confusion and loneliness. As adults, it is the parent’s…

0December 4, 2013October 22, 2019

EMPLOYEE’S USE OF LINKEDIN RESULTING IN DISMISSAL

A recent decision by the Fair Work Commission has reinforced the oft-repeated warning – that private use of social media can adversely affect your employment. In this case, the Applicant had been employed by a company on a full-time basis, but was operating his own company on the side. The Applicant sent a mass email…

0October 4, 2013October 22, 2019

DE FACTO RELATIONSHIP – APPLICATION MADE OUT OF TIME?

The applicant filed an application with the Court, which amongst other things, sought a declaration of the existence of a ‘de facto’ relationship with the respondent between September 1992 and 18 February 2010. The respondent denied that a defacto relationship existed, and if in fact it was found that it had existed, he argued that the relationship…

0October 4, 2013October 22, 2019

GENDER EQUALITY TOUGHENS UP

On the 6th of December 2012 the Workplace Gender Equality Act received royal assent, and will be phased in over the coming two years. Gender equality reporting requirements will undergo significant changes as a result of the Act for large private sector employers who have over 100 employees. The requirement for employer’s to develop equal…

0October 4, 2013October 22, 2019

STRICT COMPLIANCE WITH PAMDA REQUIRED

Last week the Queensland Court of Appeal confirmed that a contract was able to be terminated on the grounds that a covering letter sent by the seller’s solicitor did not properly direct the buyer’s attention to the 30C Warning Statement, Contract of Sale and Information Statement. Following execution of the contract, the seller’s solicitor returned…

0September 11, 2013October 22, 2019

FAMILY LAW-OVERVIEW OF RECENT CASES AND DECISIONS

Mother –v- Non-Parent Interestingly, in the recent decision in the case of Withall, Richardson and Powles, where the matter at hand was determining with whom the children should live, Walters J ordered that the children live with Ms Powles, the father’s former de facto partner, instead of their mother. His Honour discussed the weight that…

0September 11, 2013October 22, 2019

CHANGES TO FAIR WORK ACT 2009

Parental Leave From 29 December 2013, parents will be entitled to take concurrent parental leave of 8 weeks, a large increase from the previous entitlement of 3 weeks. Furthermore, any employee’s entitlement to unpaid parental leave will not be reduced by any amount of unpaid special maternity leave taken by an eligible employee. Flexible Working…

0September 11, 2013October 22, 2019

JUSTICE OF THE PEACE (QUALIFIED) PILOT PROGRAM IN THE QCAT

A recent introduction in Queensland Parliament allows specifically selected and trained Justice of the Peace (Qualified) to sit as adjudicator as make orders in relation to minor civil dispute matters in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) up to $5,000.00. The pilot program, which has been enacted under the auspices of the Queensland Civil…

0August 6, 2013October 22, 2019

E-CONVEYANCING – REVOLUTIONISING PROPERTY SETTLEMENTS

Queenslanders are expected to enjoy the benefits of new technology when it comes to buying or selling property, with the introduction of the new national electronic conveyancing system expected to be in operation later this year. The Electronic Conveyancing National Law (Queensland) Bill 2012 will permit solicitors to electronically sign documents on their client’s behalf,…

0August 6, 2013October 22, 2019

ENDURING POWER OF ATTORNEY – ARE YOU PROTECTED?

A concerning issue which has been highlighted in the media recently is the fraudulent use of Enduring Power of Attorney’s or ‘EPA’s’, with a shocking statistic that at least one EPA a week is being revoked by courts or tribunals after being presented with evidence of significant fraud. An ‘Enduring Power of Attorney’, or ‘EPA’…

0August 6, 2013October 22, 2019

ALCOHOL BANS UPHELD IN QUEENSLAND

An interesting appeal case which recently came before the High Court in relation to whether the restriction on the purchase and possession of alcohol in Northern Queensland communities was in breach of racial discrimination laws, was dismissed last week. The appellant, an indigenous Queensland resident, Joan Maloney, argued that the present laws which restrict residents…

0June 27, 2013October 22, 2019

CHANGES TO WORKCOVER QUEENSLAND – ARE YOU COVERED?

In an effort to ensure that the benefits applicable to both employees or independent contractors under the Worker’s Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 are clear and easy to understand, from 1 July 2013, the present definition of ‘worker’ under the Worker’s Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 will be amended to define a ‘worker’ as ‘a…

0June 27, 2013October 22, 2019

RETAIL SHOP LEASES – GENERAL OVERVIEW

If you are considering entering into a Retail shop lease in Queensland, it is important that you obtain professional legal advice to ensure your rights are protected, and that you understand the nature of a retail shop lease and your obligations under the lease. Retail shop leases in Queensland must comply with minimum standards which…

0June 27, 2013October 22, 2019

PROBATE

Probate is an official document obtained from the Supreme Court as recognition that the Will of a deceased person is legally valid. Probate need not be obtained in all estate matters, however, there are particular circumstances where a grant of probate may be required, such as when the executor is required to distribute proceeds of…

0April 9, 2013October 22, 2019

FAMILY LAW & SUPERANNUATION SPLITS

Often after separation when parties are determining their property pool and deciding how the pool may be distributed between the parties, they do not realise that their superannuation interests are classed as ‘property’, and form a part of the parties’ property pool which can be available for distribution. In this article we will provide you…

0April 9, 2013October 22, 2019

FAIR WORK GENERAL PROTECTION CLAIMS

Recently our local Gold Coast Lawyers have noticed a significant increase in the rise of Fair Work disputes and specifically, general protection claims. Likely an effect of the unstable economy a general protection claim can be a costly claim against an employer commonly brought following dismissal of an employee. Under the Fair Work Act 2009…

0April 9, 2013October 22, 2019

UNFAIR DISMISSAL – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

1. Have you been dismissed from employment? If you have been dismissed you may have a claim against your employer, if your employer has breached your contract of employment or broken the law in dismissing you. If your employer has broken the law in dismissing you, you may be able to make a claim under…

0January 30, 2013October 22, 2019

IMPORTANT FINANCIAL/PERSONAL MATTERS TO CONSIDER AFTER SEPARATION

 At Affinity Lawyers, we know that when a separation occurs it can be a stressful, emotional time for parties and often during this time, parties are not aware, or fail to consider important financial or personal matters which require consideration and urgent action to protect their interests. While we strongly recommend obtaining legal advice…

0January 30, 2013October 22, 2019

RENT-TO-BUY

As Australian property prices remain some of the most unaffordable in the world, sellers are finding alternate ways to entice buyers into contracts. Recently, Rent-to-Buy has been one of these methods.   Generally attractive to buyers without a solid credit or savings history, a lease is entered into with an option to purchase after X…

0January 30, 2013October 22, 2019

ANTI MONEY LAUNDERING AND COUNTER TERRORISM FINANCING

The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act), regulates a wide range of “reporting entities”, including businesses in the financial services sector, the gambling sector and bullion dealers. These reporting entities are regulated to the extent that they provide “designated services” under the Act. Section 6 of the Act defines a “designated service”…

0December 11, 2012October 22, 2019

PRIVILEGE AND IN-HOUSE LAWYERS- A VEXING QUESTION

Under the common law, ‘legal professional privilege’ is the ability to retain confidences and resist the compulsion and admission into evidence of communications passing between a party and a legal advisors, without the clients consent, for the dominant purpose ‘of either obtaining legal advice or assistance from a legal practitioner’, or ‘for use in actual,…

0December 5, 2012October 22, 2019

General Overview of the Law Relating to Privacy

Legislative safeguards exist for the protection of individuals regarding the content, use and disclosure of credit reports under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), and regulating how credit providers handle information about individuals. The legislation is aimed at protecting information relating to the consumer’s credit-worthiness and ensuring that use of this information is restricted primarily to…

0December 5, 2012October 22, 2019

The Courts Approach to Loans/Gifts From One Parties Parents During a Relationship

When a couple separates, often the Court will need to determine whether funds provided to the parties during their relationship by their respective parents were ‘loans’ or ‘gifts’. This determination is important in a property settlement matter, because if it is found that the funds were a ‘loan’, then this is found to be a…

0November 14, 2012October 22, 2019

Companies not a fan of Facebook Comments

As social media continues to play a dominant role in advertising and promotion, a recent decision involving Fosters and the Advertising Standards Boards (ABS) has prompted fear into the boardrooms of Australian businesses. The win by the ABS held that the Facebook site of an advertiser is by definition a ‘marketing communication tool’ due to…

0November 14, 2012October 22, 2019

Strata Changes in Queensland

Strata Community Australia is pushing the Queensland Government to look into ways to reform Strata law so that developers won’t need 100% of property owners to agree to a redevelopment. Current Strata laws in Queensland are such that all owners of strata property, must agree to sell their land to developers. This requires a resolution…

0November 14, 2012October 22, 2019
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0October 16, 2012October 22, 2019

Pay Nil Stamp Duty

Separated couples, (married or defacto) can avoid stamp duty payments when transferring property between themselves (whether it is for a house or investment property) if their property settlement is properly documented. Which means that getting this paperwork right can represent savings of tens of thousands of dollars. To meet this requirement, the transfer of property involved…

0August 6, 2012October 22, 2019

Registration under the Registered Relationships Act

The Queensland Civil Partnerships and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 came into effect on 27 June 2012, and, amongst other amendments, has renamed the former Civil Partnerships Act 2011 to the Relationships Act 2011. In order to formally recognise a committed relationship between a couple, regardless of their sex, couples can now register their relationships…

0August 6, 2012October 22, 2019

Retention of Title Clauses and the PPSA

Following on from our previous article in relation to the enactment of the Personal Properties Securities Register on 30 January 2012, we remind our clients that if you or your business provide goods to customers in the course of your business, and you have previously relied on consignment/lease terms or ‘retention of title’ clauses to…

0June 28, 2012October 22, 2019

New National Business Register

With the enactment of the Business Registration Services Act 2011, as of 28 May 2012 the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (‘ASIC’) took over the registration of business names from the States and Territory departments such as the Office of Fair Trading, which previously provided these services. There is now a single national register which…

0June 28, 2012October 22, 2019

Reinstatement of Home Concession and Amendments to First Home Concession

From 1 July 2012, the principal place of residence concession will be re-introduced and the applicable concession rates will be those which were in place prior to the 1 August 2011 amendments. There have also been amendments to the first home owner concession. For contracts entered into after 1 July 2012, there will be no…

0June 28, 2012October 22, 2019

Jayant Patel case continues

Jayant Patel submitted an application in the High Court of Australia seeking special leave to appeal a decision of the Queensland Court of Appeal. Mr Patel was convicted on three counts of manslaughter and one of unlawful grievous bodily harm for deciding to operate on a patient whose health was precarious. The patient suffered bleeding…

0April 29, 2012October 22, 2019

Importance of Advanced Health Directives

If you become seriously ill or unconscious or are no longer able to make decisions, you may be unable to communicate your healthcare decisions. An advance health directive allows you to plan what medical treatment or health care you would like in the event that you cannot make decisions for yourself. You can even appoint…

0April 29, 2012October 22, 2019

Assistance measures activated following storms and flooding

Joint State and Federal Government-funded assistance measures have been activated for the Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast, Gympie and Moreton Bay council areas following recent storms and flooding. Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts said the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements would help the four councils cover the cost of their counter disaster operations. Assistance for…

0April 29, 2012October 22, 2019

Introduction of Personal Properties Securities Register

On 30 January 2012, a national scheme governing security interests over most types of personal property commenced. The new national Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) consolidates security registers previously operated by the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments into a single register. Broadly, a personal property security interest occurs when a person or company takes an…

0April 29, 2012October 22, 2019

QLD Building Boost Grant Extended

Building Boost Grant The $10,000 Queensland Government Building Boost Grant has been extended until 30 April 2012. It is available to buy or build a new home in Queensland. Whether you are buying a new home, buying or building your first home ($17,000 available in this instance) or buying a new investment property you may…

0April 2, 2012October 22, 2019

Fraud Week – 19 – 25 March 2012

Fraud and scams can strike a business at any time, and Fraud Week served as an opportunity for everyone to review personal and business financial security procedures. An initiative of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce (ACFT), it also raises awareness on new types of fraud and scams which have recently surfaced. Slam scams! Press delete,…

0April 2, 2012October 22, 2019

Duplex Management Simplified

New rules for duplex owners will simplify the day-to-day management of their properties. The regulation, which commenced on 28 February 2012, allows decisions regarding the management of a duplex to be made by agreement between the owners of the two lots in the duplex, instead of having to go through a formal body corporate meeting…

0April 2, 2012October 22, 2019

Criminal Treatment of Mental Health Issues

In the run up to the recent State Election the Queensland Law Society called for the major political parties to commit to better treatment of people in the criminal justice system who suffer from mental health issues. In a State election issues paper, the Society highlighted the need for programs to identify mental health issues…

0April 2, 2012October 22, 2019

Review of games censorship and classification

In March the Attorney-General tasked the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) with the job of conducting public consultation across the community and industry on the National Classification Scheme. The review was to take into consideration the rapid pace of technological change, the need to improve classification information available to the community, the effect of media…

0February 29, 2012October 22, 2019

New animal laws introduced

A number of bills have recently been submitted to Queensland Parliament relating to the treatment of animals with the introduction of amendments to create a new offence of serious animal cruelty under the Criminal Code. Anyone convicted of this offence will be automatically banned from owning animals of the same type for a minimum of…

0February 29, 2012October 22, 2019

Unaccompanied learners to lose

Learner drivers found driving unaccompanied will lose their licence under proposed new road safety rules. Under current rules, learner drivers are issued with four demerit points when successfully gaining their learner plates. If they are found driving solo they are issued a $160 fine and lose one demerit point. In the period May 2010 to…

0February 29, 2012October 22, 2019

Lifting the standards on early childhood education

Queensland Parliament aims to improve early childhood education with the passage of the Education and Care Services National Law (Queensland) Bill 2011. The new Act will apply to more than 2600 early childhood services in Queensland with the new National Quality Framework which commenced on 1 January 2012. The framework includes a quality rating system for…

0February 29, 2012October 22, 2019

Caring for the Carers

A new Carer Action Plan 2011-14 has been announced for 500,000 Queensland carers. In 2010 the estimated replacement value of informal care provided across Australia was $40.9 billion, although the true value and contribution of carers is irreplaceable. Launched by the Queensland Government this plan will provide a blueprint to ensure Queensland carers get the…

0February 5, 2012October 22, 2019

Student Union Fees back in 2012

The Federal Government has reintroduced student amenities fees with the passing of the Higher Education Support Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill recently. These fees were scrapped under the Howard government in 2005. With the fees now reintroduced the student services and amenities fee will provide universities with more than $250 million over four years. Under…

0February 5, 2012October 22, 2019

Family Violence – Just a Phone Call Away

The Queensland Government recently introduced legislation to parliament which will represent the first major overhaul of Queensland’s domestic and family violence legislation in over 20 years. The Domestic Violence and Family Violence Protection Bill 2011 included proposed changes to improve the safety and protection of people affected by domestic and family violence and to reduce…

0February 5, 2012October 22, 2019

Community Urged to Get Ready

Queensland Emergency Services has just launched a $3.8 million public education campaign aiming at ensuring Queenslanders are fully prepared for this year’s wet season.  The campaign was developed in response to interim recommendations from the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry and from the Bureau of Meteorology’s prediction of another possible busy storm and cyclone season….

0February 5, 2012October 22, 2019

Holiday Shake-Up for Queensland

There will be an extra day off for Queensland workers in 2012 following the passage of laws through State Parliament recently. In a proposal to spread public holidays more evenly throughout the year the Queensland Government asked for community consultation on their paper titled ‘Getting the balance right: A proposal on holidays in Queensland’. Feedback…

0January 8, 2012October 22, 2019

Neighbourhood Disputes legislation now in effect

New legislation making it easier for neighbours to resolve their disputes over trees and fences is now in effect.  The new Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act  now places the onus on the proper care and maintenance of a tree with the tree keeper, and provides greater choices for neighbours about trees affecting their property.  The Act…

0January 7, 2012October 22, 2019

Combatting Crime in the Community

According to the Australian Crime Commission, serious and organised crime is estimated to cost Australia $10 to $15 million dollars every year. With organised crime frequently crossing borders there are many law enforcement agencies collecting intelligence on their activities. Queensland police will now be able to use criminal intelligence obtained from other law informant agencies…

0January 7, 2012October 22, 2019

Home and Hosed for our Senior Citizens

Selling the family home to pay huge accommodation bonds for residential care places will soon be a thing of the past under the government’s sweeping changes proposed for new consumer credit reform. Older people will now be able to use the equity in their home to fund an aged-care place through a form of federal…

0December 4, 2011October 22, 2019

Legislating Against Cyber Crime

Australia’s Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland recently reported that cybercrime has overtaken the drug trade as the most profitable form of crime in the world. Indeed, authorities worldwide now recognise that law reform and international cooperation will be essential to combat cybercrime and cyber security threats. In June 2011, a new Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2011…

0December 4, 2011October 22, 2019

Practical Driving Tested and Graduated Licensing System

Practical Driving Tested Queenslanders are being called on to give feedback and ideas for improving Queensland’s practical driving test, known as Q-SAFE. Q-SAFE is designed to evaluate a person’s ability to drive safely and correctly in different situations, however the driving test has not been reviewed in more than a decade. Recommendations to date included:…

0December 4, 2011October 22, 2019

Banned tobacco advertising in shops

Recent amendments to the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998 now severely restrict smoking displays and advertising at retail outlets. These new laws banning point of sale tobacco displays are aimed at reducing cigarette uptake, particularly among younger Queenslanders. Smoking kills an estimated 3,400 Queenslanders every year and more than 30,450 people are admitted…

0December 4, 2011October 22, 2019

Property Owners Pay Thousands More

As many of you would be aware, since 1st August 2011 Queenslanders are no longer able to apply for the ‘principle place of residence’ stamp duty concession after the State Government cancelled the concession for transfer duties. Since 1st August 2011, consumers have had to pay up to 30 percent more in transfer duties, equating to…

0October 25, 2011October 22, 2019

New Initiatives For the Coming Wet Season

The Commission of Inquiry has conducted hearings during the months of September and October which have followed on from the August Commission Enquiry into to 2010/2011 Queensland floods.  Its interim report provides 175 recommendations focused on changes to be implemented before the next wet season. More than 660 written public submissions were received and sworn statements…

0October 25, 2011October 22, 2019

Navigating the New Boating Safety Reforms

New recreational boating safety reforms will come into effect from January 2012. The reforms include enhanced night and electronic navigation training incorporated into the existing BoatSafe course, extending the number of coastal bars where personal floatation devices must be worn, additional safety equipment requirements for personal watercraft operating offshore, and higher standards for new large…

0October 25, 2011October 22, 2019

Defeating Hoons and Dangerous Drivers

Hoons and repeat dangerous drivers will lose their vehicles for seven days – which is up from the current period of two days – for their first offence (type 1 offence) under changes to be made to the State’s vehicle impoundment laws. Those caught for a second time (type 2 offence) will lose their vehicle for…

0October 25, 2011October 22, 2019

Corrective Advertising on YouTube

The Court has ordered respondents to publish a corrective video on YouTube and other video-streaming websites to counter false and misleading representations.  This is the first occurrence of its kind for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The proceedings against Newlife Publishing and Marketing Pty Ltd, Renew You Centre for Wellbeing and Longevity Pty…

0October 4, 2011October 22, 2019

Concerns Mounting Over Statutory Privacy Tort

Lawyers, academics and journalists raised fresh doubts this week about federal government plans to encourage people to use a statutory privacy tort for lawsuits. The government’s plans to encourage people to sue each other using a statutory privacy tort have been denounced by The Rule of Law Institute as so uncertain as to undermine the…

0September 20, 2011October 22, 2019

Proposed Changes to the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997

The Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 calls for equal contributions to the running costs of a building through lot entitlements unless it is ‘just and equitable’. Effectively, if a unit owner does not believe they are being charged body corporate fees fairly they can apply to the Queensland Commercial and Consumer Tribunal for…

0September 20, 2011October 22, 2019

Resolving Fence and Tree Disputes

The Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Bill 2010 was introduced to Parliament in November 2010. A proposed new law to solve neighbourhood disputes about trees and fences will provide clear and practical ways to resolve neighbourhood disputes informally. If disputes cannot be informally resolved, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) will be able to deal with…

0August 1, 2011October 22, 2019

Act wields power over weapons

There are now tougher controls and strict penalties for weapons-related offences. Currently Queensland laws require the registration of weapons and licensing of persons in possession of them. Weapons covered in the legislation include firearms, laser pointers, possession of bladed weapons such as a ballistic knife or butterfly knife in a public place or school, and…

0August 1, 2011October 22, 2019

Cracking Down on Drink Driving

In a major drink driving crack down the Government has made major changes to transport and law to catch and penalise offenders. Amendments have been made by the State Government to the Transport and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 in response to its Drink Driving in Queensland discussion paper. There are three major reforms which…

0August 1, 2011October 22, 2019

Protecting the Disabled

Promoting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Queensland Forensic Disability Bill 2011 was introduced into Queensland Parliament on 7 April 2011 to provide a framework to support Queensland’s Forensic Disability Service.  This service is a purpose built therapeutic environment for people with an intellectual or cognitive disability (and no…

0August 1, 2011October 22, 2019

Queensland leads the way in workplace safety reforms

  Queensland will be the first state to adopt the new Work Health and Safety Act 2011 on Monday 6 July with other States and Territories soon to follow. The new Act is a result of a three-year national reform and will replace the Workplace Health & Safety Act 1995. In July 2008, the Council…

0June 26, 2011October 22, 2019

Sustainable planning now in place

  High infrastructure charges that stall new projects, cost jobs and push up the price of housing in Queensland are now a thing of the past following the passing of the Sustainable Planning (Housing Affordability and Infrastructure Charges Reform) Amendment Bill on 25 May 2011. The Bill aims to establish, through State planning regulations, a…

0June 26, 2011October 22, 2019

Greater Protection from Body Corporate Increases

  The new Body Corporate and Community Management and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2010 (Qld) (BCCM) was given Royal Assent on 14 April 2011. This legislation changes the way body corporate fees are proportioned between lot owners and can be amended. New disclosure obligations for sellers Sellers will now need to provide additional disclosure when…

0June 26, 2011October 22, 2019

Pool Registration and Safety Standards

    The Queensland Government has introduced new pool safety laws that that amend the Building Act 1975 (Qld). The laws affect both new and existing pools and have significant impact on sellers, buyers, landlords, tenants and real estate agents. All pools must comply with the new pool safety rules by 30 November 2015 (or…

0June 26, 2011October 22, 2019

Internet Service Providers off the Hook?

A landmark decision may have potentially absolved Internet Service Providers of any responsibility to stop illegal file-sharing amongst their users, but media companies are still looking for a solution. Perth-based Internet service provider (ISP) iiNet, the third largest ISP in Australia, has defended proceedings brought against it by 34 media companies, including Village Roadshow, Universal…

0June 5, 2011October 22, 2019

Buying a Used Car?

The Office of Fair Trading has warned consumers to beware of discrepancies between what they are promised by salespeople and what is stipulated in the contract. A story was reported by a man who decided to buy a second-hand car at a dealership and was told by the salesman that a new car stereo would…

0June 5, 2011October 22, 2019

Refund and Warranty Obligations

A recent study found less than 20 percent of Australians know their legal rights when they buy goods or services. The study, by the National Education and Investigation Advisory Taskforce, also found that consumers are spending, on average, almost six hours trying to resolve problems with purchased goods and services. Many businesses are also unsure…

0June 5, 2011October 22, 2019

No Copyright in Yellow and White Pages

In a landmark decision handed down in the Federal Court, Justice Gordon held that Telstra had failed to establish that copyright subsists in the contents of the Yellow Pages and White Pages telephone directories. Telstra and Sensis had alleged the publishers of ‘Local Directories’, which had been distributed in Queensland, Northern Territory and New South…

0June 5, 2011October 22, 2019

Shared Parenting Laws

Recent reviews of the Federal Government’s family law reforms in 2006 have revealed a misinterpretation of the laws in practice. Professor Alan Hayes, director of the Institute of Family Studies, said that the developmental implications of the new laws were problematic, particularly in relation to the equal shared parent responsibility. “For about four to five…

0June 5, 2011October 22, 2019

Voluntary Administration: What About The Employee?

In the instance of a company going bankrupt, insolvent or into receivership, what are the rights of an employee? The Australian Government protects employees through the implementation of regulation and legislation such as the Corporations Act 2001, as well as through schemes such as the General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS).   GEERS is a…

0May 3, 2011October 22, 2019

Update: Queensland Pool Fencing Laws

As you are aware, new laws for pool safety, including spas, came into effect on 1 December 2010 for Queensland pool owners in the aim of reducing incidents of drowning and serious immersion injuries among young children in swimming pools. Previously, pool owners were required to ensure a pool was enclosed with compliant fencing regardless…

0May 3, 2011October 22, 2019

Law Leverages Social Networking

This article takes a look at the emerging issue of social-networking in the legal space. Social-networking has become part of everyday life with new uses and applications continuing to emerge. The use of social networking continues to grow with Facebook, MySpace and Twitter boasting a combined membership of 730 million people. At the same time,…

0May 3, 2011October 22, 2019

Neighbourhood Dispute Resolutions Bill 2010

In October 2010, a man from Morayfield, north of Brisbane, was charged with the assault of his neighbour, telling police “…he wouldn’t trim the hedges”. In Queensland, issues relating to trees and fences are the most common form of neighbourhood dispute – there is currently no statutory law in Queensland that provides for disputes relating…

0May 3, 2011October 22, 2019

Establishment of New Queensland Reconstruction Authority

A new authority has been set up by the State Government armed with the task of rebuilding and getting Queensland back on its feet after more than three quarters of the State was affected by floods  and cyclone damage. With legislated powers, the Queensland Reconstruction Authority will  coordinate the mammoth task of rebuild and recovery….

0March 30, 2011October 22, 2019

Family Law Reform – Second Inquiry Now Underway

In November 2010 two Commissions, the Australian Legal Reform Committee (ALRC) and the NSW Law Reform Commission, completed their first inquiry into family violence with the release of a report, Family Violence: A National Legal Response (ALRC Report 114, 2010) containing 187 recommendations for reform. This report was a product of the year-long joint inquiry…

0March 30, 2011October 22, 2019

New Personal Property Securities Register in October 2011

A new Personal Property Security (PPS) Register will be introduced from October 2011. Currently the States, Territories and the Commonwealth Government all have different registers with different rules for personal property. Personal property is considered to be any form of property other than land, buildings or fixtures which form a part of that land. It…

0March 30, 2011October 22, 2019

New Electronic Transactions Legislation

Australia is currently updating its laws governing e-commerce. In February 2011 the Attorney-General the Hon Robert McClelland MP, introduced the Electronic Transactions Amendment Bill to ensure Australia’s electronic transactions legislation will be brought into line with recent advances in technology. This was preceeded by extensive consultation dating back to 2008.  Queensland is set to soon…

0March 30, 2011October 22, 2019

Queensland Surrogacy Laws Most Liberal in Australia

Surrogacy laws have been repealed after a heated debate in State Parliament.  After almost 20 hours of bitter, divisive and emotional debate, with parties accusing each other of “social engineering”, the laws were passed in State Parliament on 11 February 2010. The new Surrogacy Act 2010 takes Queensland laws from the most conservative – it…

0March 22, 2011October 22, 2019

New Consumer Laws Apply From Jan 1

On 1 January 2011, a single, national consumer protection and fair-trading law commenced across Australia.  The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 replaces the Trade Practices Act 1974 and large sections of Queensland’s Fair Trading Act 1989.  The new legislation aims to give businesses a fair and competitive operating environment.  The Act creates the Australian Consumer…

0March 22, 2011October 22, 2019

Law Firms Make Their Mark in Green Business Era

The business of “going green” has numerous benefits for law firms beyond reducing its environmental footprint. Growing awareness amongst the Australian legal sector to create a sustainable future has law firms across the country improving their energy practices and focusing on clean and renewable resources. But jumping on the sustainability bandwagon is not just an…

0March 22, 2011October 22, 2019

Decision Finally Made on Water Rebates

In the continuing saga over water rates, the Queensland Government has declared that the Gold Coast City Council can easily fund water rebates to households.  AllConnex Water, the council-owned water distributor, stands to profit $94 million this year alone.  Mayor Ron Clarke announced that a $50 rebate will be provided to Gold Coast home owners…

0March 22, 2011October 22, 2019

Wikileaker Could Face Death Penalty

A United States Army Private could be facing the death penalty after leaking documents to Wikileaks. The whistle-blowing website publishes submissions of secret and classified media from anonymous news sources. Private Bradley Manning has now been charged with an additional 22 counts, including the capital offence of “aiding the enemy”. Among Private Bradley Manning’s offences…

0March 22, 2011October 22, 2019

CSR Decision’s Impact on Asbestos Victims

CSR was given a green light to proceed with the demerger of its sugar business on 23 April in a successful full bench appeal of a February decision that had refused the demerger. The Court of Appeal allowed CSR to present the demerger proposal to its shareholders. The shareholders’ decision then must still go before…

00September 9, 2010October 24, 2019

CSR Decision’s Impact on Asbestos Victims

CSR was given a green light to proceed with the demerger of its sugar business on 23 April in a successful full bench appeal of a February decision that had refused the demerger. The Court of Appeal allowed CSR to present the demerger proposal to its shareholders. The shareholders’ decision then must still go before…

00September 9, 2010September 9, 2010

Can I Adopt?

Adoption is an important issue for the people in our society desperate, but unable, to become parents, but to many the adoption process remains clouded in mystery. Recently, the State Government passed the long-anticipated Adoption Act 2009.  This new Act repeals the Adoption of Children Act 1964, and brings Queensland into line with other Australian…

0September 9, 2010October 22, 2019

Protection for Whistleblowers in Queensland

The Queensland Ombudsman, together with the Crime and Misconduct Commission and the Public Service Commission, has produced a brochure which explains the Whistleblowers Protection Act 1994 (Qld). The Act was introduced to provide protection for those who speak out about any wrongdoing in the public sector, commonly known as ‘blowing the whistle’. This whistleblowing is…

0September 9, 2010October 22, 2019