Keeping up with the drones

May 17, 2019

Most people will have noticed that remote controlled Drones are becoming more prevalent in the air. For most people they are little more than a nuisance or a noisy irritant but there are some positive uses and nascent regulations have taken force. At this stage, there are three main uses for drones: Commercial – such as […]

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Failed merger of the Family and Federal Circuit Courts

May 17, 2019

Previously we have written about the Government’s proposal to merge the Family and Federal Circuit Courts of Australia in what many practitioners consider to be a misguided and rash attempt to address the issues of unacceptable delay and mounting costs that cripple the family law system.   On 4 April 2019, on the Senate’s lasting […]

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Strata law update – Baxter barks back

May 17, 2019

The ever-present sight of cranes overhead reminds us that apartment living is now very much part of normal life in Newcastle in 2019 . A strata scheme is essentially a property where there is a division between an individual or private unit and common property. There are two relatively new pieces of legislation that govern […]

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McDonald Johnson Lawyers appear in High Court of Australia

May 17, 2019

McDonald Johnson Lawyers were the legal representatives for the First and Second Respondents in a case that was heard by the High Court of Australia last month in Canberra. The decision, which is yet to be delivered, will represent a landmark decision in Australian law. The Respondents, known by their pseudonyms as Susan and Margaret […]

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New laws reduce cost risk for small businesses

May 17, 2019

Small business face huge challenges when they are involved in a legal dispute with a large business.  It can be a David and Goliath type battle. The challenges include: The time and costs involved; The imbalance of power and the fear of losing future business for the smaller business; The risk of an adverse cost […]

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Are ‘make good’ provisions enforceable in commercial leases?

May 17, 2019

Commercial leases usually contain provisions requiring the tenant to leave the premises in a certain state at the end of the lease. These provisions are usually divided in to three groups: Obligations to hand back premises in good repair; Obligations to reinstate premises to the same condition as at the start of the lease; and […]

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Electronic witnessing of signatures – what is valid?

May 17, 2019

There is still plenty of confusion around the use of technology for signing documents and witnessing signatures. The Law Society of NSW has recently put out a memo on the topic of witnessing signatures to provide some guidance on this. Some comments are: You cannot witness the signing of document over Skype or FaceTime; and  […]

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Changes to off-the-plan contracts and E-Conveyancing

February 15, 2019

On 13 November 2018, Parliament passed the Conveyancing (Legislation) Amendment Act 2018, heralding a suite of extra protections for purchasers of off the plan contracts and providing greater flexibility to parties that chose to use electronic contracts.   Major changes to off the plan contracts include: A mandatory disclosure regime whereby vendors must disclose important […]

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Setting aside Family Law Property Consent Orders in circumstances of fraud or duress

February 15, 2019

Under section 79A(1)(a) of the Family Law Act any person affected by an Order made by a Court under section 79 of the Family Law Act may apply to have that Order varied or set aside where there has been a miscarriage of justice by reason of fraud, duress, suppression of evidence (including failure to […]

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Video Wills: Will they ever be an accepted method in Probate practice?

November 22, 2018

As technology advances, so must the law and the way it is applied. Recent cases have highlighted that in exceptional circumstances, some Australian Courts are willing to accept a Will made by video.    In order to be considered valid, a Will must be written, signed by the Testator and witnessed by two or more […]

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Blockchain: challenges and opportunities for the law

November 22, 2018

Our Principal Lawyer, Craig Doyle, recently attended a progressive legal conference in Singapore where he learned about blockchain.   Blockchain is a self-maintaining database that is used as an operating system for technological links.  The blockchain structure forms a public ledger allowing verification and accuracy and it can act as a secure way to track […]

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NSW introduces Stamp Duty Reform

November 22, 2018

From July 2019, the seven Stamp Duty brackets that determine how much stamp duty is paid will be indexed in line with the Consumer Price Index.   The current rates were set in and have not been reviewed since 1986, when the average price of a property in Sydney was $100,000.00.   The indexation will […]

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Unapproved Building Works

October 11, 2018

Recently, the Supreme Court had to decide whether a vendor who had made unapproved works to his unit could force a purchaser to proceed with the purchase of the unit.   The unit was constructed in 2012 on a development approval for a two-bedroom unit. When the purchasers inspected the unit in 2016 it contained […]

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Reform to the Bankruptcy Act

October 11, 2018

On 27 September 2018, the Senate passed the Bankruptcy Amendment (Debt Agreement Reform) Bill 2018 to reform the Bankruptcy Act 1966 insofar as it relates to Debt Agreements.  A Debt Agreement is an arrangement which is an alternative to enter into bankruptcy as an individual can enter into an agreement with their creditors concerning arrangements […]

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Evils in Probate Practice

October 11, 2018

Lawyers come across numerous difficulties when helping clients administer estates.   Three common difficulties involve: Homemade Wills;    Intestacies (when there is no Will at all); and   When there has been a change in personal circumstances without updating the testamentary instrument.  The recent case of (Sloan Executor) -v- Baldrey in the Supreme Court of WA […]

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