Commercial Law

Division 7A ITTA 1936 (Cth) – compliance & consequences

Division 7 (sections 102V to 109ZE) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth) (Tax Act) contains specific requirements for advances of moneys and loans between private companies and its shareholders or associates.  Section 109B of the Act describes three (3) classes of payments which will be deemed to be dividends: [Read more…]

Director misappropriating funds found to be oppressive

Shareholder oppression usually occurs when a majority shareholder(s) misuses their power to oppress the minority shareholder(s).   The test for “oppression” is an objective one and is contained in Section 232 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act).   For instance, where a director is found to have breached their fiduciary duty because they have misappropriated funds or assets this can be considered as being oppressive conduct.  This was the case in Martin v Australian Squash Club Pty Ltd (1996) 14 ACLC 452 (Martin) when an executive director misappropriated and misused company funds and assets and was held to have breached his fiduciary duties. [Read more…]

The new business as usual in 2020!

It’s perhaps an understatement to say that the last few for Australian business has been unprecedented.  How can any business plan adequately consider and cater for a global pandemic and mass business shutdowns?  Extraordinary seems to be the new business as usual (BAU) in 2020! [Read more…]

$750k damages for fake online reviews

The recent case of Cheng v Lok [2020] SASC 14  (Cheng v Lok) should serve as a warning about the potential severe consequences of posting fake reviews out of spite or to harm a competitor.   This was clear in the recent case of Cheng v Lok [2020] SASC 14 where the Supreme Court of South Australia awarded $A750,000 in damages to a lawyer whose business was defamed through fake and negative online. [Read more…]

Sophisticated investors: precisely what are they?

Section 708 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act) contains what’s known as the small scale offerings exception to the obligation to issue a disclosure document.  This is more commonly known as the “20/12 rule”.  Subsection 708(8) provides an exception to ‘sophisticated investors’ where a qualified accountant provides a certificate dated not more than 6 months before the date that the offer (of securities) is made attesting that the person is ‘sophisticated’. [Read more…]

e-Signatures – legally binding on companies?

The rise of e-signing software such as docuSign (e-signature) has become commonplace for the execution of contracts electronically.  Each state of Australia and the Commonwealth has its own equivalent to the Electronic Transactions Act 2001 (Qld) (ETA).  The use of E-signatures has streamlined the contract execution process, however a recent case in the Supreme Court of South Australia has highlighted their vulnerability.  The decision of Stanley J in Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited v Kenneth Ross Pickard [2019] SASC 123 (Adelaide Bank) is illustrative of this. [Read more…]

Risks of making financial forecasts

When a business is seeking to raise capital or advertise as being for sale financial forecasts are often made in a way so as to appeal to the target audience – investors or potential buyers.  In some cases however, the forecasts made do not translate into reality giving rise to potential legal consequences.  As forecasts are indicators often relied used by investors to make decisions on whether or not to invest, statements that are incorrect may amount to misleading and deceptive conduct under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) (being Schedule 2 to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)) and have potentially serious legal consequences. [Read more…]

IP contracts now subject to restrictive trade practice provisions

Agreements providing for the conditional licensing or assignment of intellectual property (IP) rights are now subject to the restrictive trade practice provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA).  On 13 September 2019 section 51(3) of the CCA was been repealed removing the exception which applied to the licensing and assignment of IP.   This means commercial transactions involving the assignment of IP rights will be subject to the anti-competitive prohibitions, as are other transactions involving property. [Read more…]

What is a risk management framework?

A risk management framework is a key component of an overall governance framework.   As the name suggests it focuses on risks faced by the business.  Typically, a governance framework will document the approach an organisation takes to managing risks and include details of:

  • Risk appetite – being a measure of the level of risk an organisation is willing to assume;
  • Risk tolerance – being a measure of the amount of risk an organisation is capable of absorbing; and
  • Risks – being details of the types of risk which the organisation faces and seeks to avoid, mitigate or accept.

In developing a risk management framework an organisation should refer to AS ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management Guidelines which sets out the process principles and framework for risk management.

[Read more…]

A bet or a game? The Lottoland case

On 16 August 2019, the Supreme Court of New South Wales (Supreme Court) ruled in favour of the plaintiff, Lottoland Australia Pty Ltd ACN 602 590 429 (Lottoland), in its action against the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for their investigative findings against them stating their online products were in contravention of the relevant legislation: Lottoland Australia Pty Ltd v Australian Communications and Media Authority [2019] NSWSC 1041. [Read more…]

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