Corporate Law

What is a section 293 direction?

There are several reasons why a shareholder may require financial information, primarily they are denied access to the ‘accounts’ so as to make informed decision about the company.  The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act) provides various mechanisms for shareholders to obtain financial and accounting information about a company, to allow them to access full and complete information about the financial circumstances of the company that they hold shares in.  One such mechanism is referred to as a section 293 shareholder direction, which compels companies to provide requested financial reports as defined by section 293. [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…]

Electronic execution of documents by directors

Note: this regulatory relief has expired.  Please see Dundas Lawyers article: Covid imposed e-signing to remain.

Because of the current COVID-19 restrictions, it has been inconvenient and even impossible (in some cases) for directors to sign documents in what’s known as “wet-ink”.  In order to address this issue the Corporations (Coronavirus Economic Response) Determination (No. 1) 2020 (Cth) (Determination) has been published by the Federal Government.  The Determination modifies the operation of section 127 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act) and other legislation in relation to the conduct of meetings and the execution of documents by companies.  The meaning of “Document” has been amended to include a document’ in electronic form. [Read more…]

Relief for companies during COVID-19

On 24 March 2020, the Federal Government passed the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 (Cth) (Act).  As a part of the Act, insolvency and corporations laws have been temporarily amended in light of the financial challenges businesses are facing in the wake of COVID-19.  The changes made are intended to avoid unnecessary insolvencies and bankruptcies by providing a safety net for companies and their directors during the pandemic.  This article will discuss the key changes. [Read more…]

The new business as usual in 2020 and beyond!

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 and beyond! [Read more…]

New Fair Work information statement

In December 2019, the Fair Work Ombudsman updated the Fair Work Information Statement (FWIS).  The new FWIS sets out information for businesses about the conditions of employment for new employees.  Businesses must issue a copy of the FWIS to all new employees before, or as soon as possible after, they commence employment.  This article discusses the FWIS key changes for 2020. [Read more…]

Insolvent trading – prison for former Kleenmaid director

Founded in 1980, whitegoods importer and distributor Kleenmaid (Company) fell into administration in 2009 with debts amounting to approximately $96 million, including $26 million in customer deposits that had been paid for appliances yet to be delivered.  After an extensive investigation and 59-day trial by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), founder and former director Mr. Andrew Young (Mr. Young) was sentenced to nine years in jail for offences arising from the Company’s collapse. [Read more…]

Compilations from the public domain – confidential or not?

In the case of Ezystay Systems Pty Ltd v Link 2 Pty Ltd [2014] NSWSC 180 (Ezystay) it was held that the plaintiff’s business manuals were confidential despite having been compiled from the documents in “public domain”.  On Appeal, the Court had to re-visit the test for confidential information to determine whether or not the respondents’ software, business manuals and other documents collated from the public domain were in fact capable of being protected as confidential information.

[Read more…]

Shareholder oppression – valuation issues

Shareholder oppression or minority shareholder oppression can occur when the majority (shareholder(s)) in an entity misuse their majority to oppress or control the minority shareholders.  There are is not a limited number or combination of activities which the majority may engage in to oppress the minority, sometimes referred to as “sharp practice” or “board room tactics”, the possibilities are almost infinite. [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…]

Send this to a friend