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…]

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…]

Workplace Bullying by a Body Corporate

Section 789FA of the Fair Work Act 2009 (the FWA) enables a worker who has been bullied at work to apply to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for an order to stop the bullying.  For the purposes of the FWA, reasonable management action taken in a reasonable way will not constitute workplace bullying.

A body corporate rarely directly employs workers.  Usually, an onsite care-taking service contractor is engaged (typically a company) to perform on-site duties such as grounds maintenance and the like, those duties normally being discharged by the company’s directors or employees engaged by the company. [Read more…]

A director’s duty to act in the best interests of the company: MG Corrosion Consultants Pty Ltd v Gilmour

The case of MG Corrosion Consultants Pty Ltd v Gilmour [2014] FCA 990 involved allegations of a director authorising unnecessary and excessive payments that caused detriment to a company and its shareholders.  This case serves as a reminder to directors of the importance of adhering to their duties under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act).

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Can a third party be made to account for a breach of director’s duties?

It is an unfortunate reality that some directors of companies of all sizes engage in conduct that breaches their legal responsibilities.  In circumstances where a Court finds that the conduct of the director breached the standard of care that they owed, the Court has the power to award damages.  What happens, however, where a third party has received a benefit (knowingly or unknowingly) as a result of the director’s breach – can that third party be held accountable? [Read more…]

Electronic service of documents

Last updated 25/08/2015

The use of email communication in everyday businesses must be, by now, almost standard. With the increasing size of email attachments, business and particularly those exchanging large documents with their clients or B2B businesses are now increasingly using cloud technology or third party document exchange systems such as Dropbox.

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Shareholders’ agreements and inconsistency clauses

The case of Cody v Live Board Holdings Limited [2014] NSWSC 78 (Cody) highlights the need for careful drafting of Shareholders’ Agreements to ensure that there is no duplication of clauses in company constitutions. Shareholders’ agreements usually contain what’s known as an “inconsistency clause”. Such inconsistency clauses attempt to resolve ambiguity between overlapping or conflicting clauses in Constitutions and Shareholders Agreement in favour of the Shareholders’ Agreement. Cody provides guidance on the applicability of inconsistency clauses.

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Shareholder oppression

What is shareholder oppression?

Shareholder oppression can occur when the majority shareholders in a company misuse their power to oppress the minority shareholders.

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Prohibition on the acquisition of a relevant interest

Section 606 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corps Act) contains a prima facie prohibition against the acquisition of relevant interests in voting shares.

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