Litigation

QBCC Home Warranty Insurance claim exclusions

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 basic assistance to consumers of residential construction work for loss associated with work that is defective or incomplete. [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…]

Evidence from the Wayback Machine

The utility of evidence relating to the existence of websites on the internet and their contents sourced from the Wayback Machine is increasingly being considered by Australian Courts.   The question is whether or not the Courts will accept reports from the Wayback Machine in practice and if so what will they allow? [Read more…]

Building disputes and arbitration clauses

Building dispute litigation before a Court or tribunal, like any other form of commercial litigation, can be a stressful, time-consuming and costly process.  Commercial building contracts commonly include alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as arbitration, as an option to formal litigation in anticipation it will more efficiently resolve any dispute. [Read more…]

BIF payment claims and the QBCC ACT – part 1

Two of the most important pieces of Queensland legislation impacting upon the building and construction industry are the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (QBCC Act) and the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 (BIF). [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…]

Software litigation – how much evidence is enough?

Litigation involving software commonly involves allegations of copyright infringement and breaches of contractual obligations of confidence.  However, without an “anton pillar” style order, it can be challenging to substantiate the extent of any alleged breach due to the technological nuances involved with properly analysing available evidence.   This make it difficult for the plaintiff to decide whether or not to initiate legal proceedings against an infringing party.  In circumstances where a prospective applicant does not have complete access to the source code, it may be desirable to make an application for discovery prior to the start of proceedings pursuant to Rule 7.23 of the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) (Rules). [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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Restraint of trade clauses in commercial contracts

A restraint of trade occurs where one party (Covenantor) agrees with another party (Covenantee) to restrict their liberty in the future to carry on trade with other persons who are not parties to the contract see: Petrofina (Gt Britain) Ltd v Martin [1966] Ch 146 at 180.

Restraints of trade clauses are prima facie void, however, the presumption can be rebutted if the restraint is justified because it is reasonable in the circumstances.    Note that there is a significant divide between restraints in commercial contracts and those in employment contract with the latter being widely accepted as only being enforceable for a far shorter period of time. [Read more…]

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