Litigation and disputes

The tort of passing off

The tort of passing off occurs where one trader (Defendant) has wrongly represented that its goods or services are related to those of another (Plaintiff) by imitating the latters get-up, or look and feel of their product or service.[1]  A passing off action is designed to provide a remedy when this situation results in damage to the Plaintiff’s business reputation.  It is usually pleaded as an alternative cause of action to misleading and deceptive conduct pursuant to the Australian Consumer Law, contained inside schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth).   [Read more…]

Can legal privilege be waived by using cloud based document hosting?

It is very common nowadays for businesses to store documents online using document hosting applications such as Dropbox or Google Documents that allow multiple parties to read, open and modify documents from any location in the world.  While using these cloud storage facilities is very convenient, it may pose a problem where a person wants to claim legal professional privilege over the documents they contain. [Read more…]

Subpoenas to produce documents – Federal Court

In litigious matters, it is often the case that a third party has documents which may go towards proving (or disproving) a fact in issue in the proceedings.  When this arises, the question becomes whether you can subpoena the documents, what form should the subpoena take and at what stage in the proceedings this is best done. [Read more…]

Categories of discovery – Federal Court

On 1 August 2011 the Federal Court of Australia (Federal Court) adopted the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) (Rules) and its revised regime for discovery.  The Federal Court does not require parties to provide disclosure as a matter of course.  Instead, if a party wishes to receive documents from another party (or a third party), they must seek the Court’s permission.  This process in the Federal Court of Australia is known as discovery.  The Rules are to be read in conjunction with the relevant Federal Court practice notes, particularly Central Practice Note: National Court Framework and Case Management (CPN-1) and Intellectual Property Practice Note (IP-1).  In this article, we consider the process of seeking discovery of documents by categories in a matter before the Federal Court. [Read more…]

When to complain about defective domestic building work

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (Qld) (Act) provides key requirements and time limitations for dealing with or rectifying defective domestic building work.  The recent decision of MacFarlane v Queensland Building and Construction Commission [2019] QCAT 408 (MacFarlane) illustrates the impact of failing to comply with the time frames as they apply to defective building work. [Read more…]

Directions to rectify defective domestic building work – part 1

Under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (Act) the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) is empowered to issue to a builder a notice to rectify defective domestic building work.  If a notice is issued to a builder to rectify defective domestic building work, that event is listed on the builder’s licence history.  If the builder fails to comply with the notice, the QBCC may take disciplinary action against the builder and the home owner may be able to make a claim upon the QBCC Home Warranty Insurance scheme. [Read more…]

s115A Copyright Act – infringement outside Australia

Section 115A of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) came into effect on 27 June 2015 and was amended on 11 December 2018 pursuant to the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2018 (no. 157, 2018) (Online Infringement Act).  The effect of the amendments as described in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill were to amend the threshold test from ‘primary purpose’ to ‘primary effect’, add a rebuttable presumption that an alleged ‘online location’ is located outside Australia, to extend the scope to online search engines (Deindexing Orders) and allow the Court to make “more responsive” orders in terms of injunctive relief. [Read more…]

Interpreting release clauses in settlement agreements

Using a settlement agreement to extinguish a legal claim is common practice among most lawyers involved in litigation. These agreements have the benefit of providing certainty to parties and avoiding the costs and risks associated with litigation.  However, the decision in IBM Australia Ltd v State of Queensland [2015] QSC 342 (IBM v Queensland) is a reminder that lawyers need to exercise caution when drafting settlement agreements, and in particular compromise terms such as release clauses. [Read more…]

Terminating a domestic building contract

Entering into a domestic building work contract is like getting married – if both parties do not act in good faith the ensuing divorce can be very messy.  While Part 5 of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (Act) establishes a statutory insurance scheme, the purpose of which is in certain situations to provide assistance to consumers of domestic building work, earlier articles by Dundas Lawyers have illustrated the pitfalls associated with trying to get out of a domestic building work marriage. [Read more…]

Claiming delay due to COVID-19? Think again.

In the current pandemic parties to legal proceedings may be tempted to apply for an adjournment or further time, citing COVID-19 as the reason for the delay.  Certainly the Federal Court of Australia has been quick to respond to the pandemic by changing its procedures and has even conducted entire trials using Microsoft Teams.  This article discusses the circumstances where COVID-19 has been used as justification for a delay in proceeding and the Court’s view on granting stays for this reason. [Read more…]

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