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  On 13 September 2019 section 51(3) of the CCA was been repealed removing the exception which applied to the licensing and assignment of IP.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…]

The doctrine of repudiation – when good deals go bad

Contracting in business can get complicated, particularly if one party appears unwilling or unable to hold up their side of the bargain.   The common law doctrine of repudiation is one basis for terminating a contract and seeking appropriate damages for the other party’s ‘repudiatory’ conduct. [Read more…]

Changes to ACL – suppliers of services to use compulsory wording

On 9 June 2019, amendments to Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Australian Consumer Law Review) Regulations 2018 (Cth) (Amendments) came into effect.  The Amendments require suppliers of goods and services to use a mandatory wording if they provide a “warranty against defects”.  Mandatory wording of such warranties were previously required only for the supply of goods.  However, these changes extend the prescribed warranties to situations where there is a supply of services or a supply of both goods and services. [Read more…]

Confusing marks – Sensis v Senses

In the recent case of Sensis Pty Ltd v Senses Direct Mail and Fulfillment Pty Ltd [2019] FCA 719 (24 May 2019) (Sensis v Senses) the moral of the story might be that if your brand name is so similar to another company that your customers could confuse or are confusing their name with yours… you might be in trouble.  This was the case in Sensis v Senses where Senses Direct Mail and Fulfillment Pty Ltd (Respondent) was held to have infringed the registered marks of Sensis Pty Ltd (Applicant) owner of well-known directory brands, including the Yellow Pages and White Pages. [Read more…]

Unfair preferences and the set-off defence

Under section 588FA of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act) an unfair preference is defined as a transaction, such as payment of an outstanding debt, between a company and an unsecured creditor which results in that unsecured creditor receiving more than it would have received if it had to prove in the winding up of the debtor company.  It is unfair because the payment results in the net value of the assets of the debtor company being reduced, to the detriment of the body of unsecured creditors as a whole.  One of the rarer defences is the Set-Off to an unfair preference claim. [Read more…]

Contractual terms can be misleading – Jetstar under fire

Businesses often make broad sweeping statements, in their agreements and particularly in the terms and conditions of sale presented on their websites purporting to exclude consumer’s rights to warranties, guarantees or remedies.  In reality, such declarations can amount to a breach of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) which recently occurred in relation to Jetstar. [Read more…]

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