Lodestar Legal https://lodestarlegal.com.au Affordable legal services for startups and businesses Thu, 25 Feb 2021 10:26:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.6.2 https://lodestarlegal.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/cropped-3-1-32x32.png Lodestar Legal https://lodestarlegal.com.au 32 32 Healthcare Professionals Look After You and Your Health Secrets Too – Their 3 Main Obligations https://lodestarlegal.com.au/healthcare-professionals-3-obligations?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=healthcare-professionals-3-obligations https://lodestarlegal.com.au/healthcare-professionals-3-obligations#respond Mon, 22 Feb 2021 22:05:36 +0000 https://lodestarlegal.com.au/?p=3773 Healthcare Professionals Look After You and Your Health Secrets Too – Their 3 Main Obligations Read More »

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Healthcare professionals (let’s call them ‘HP’s’) often live on a knife edge as they are required to deal with both simple and complex needs of their patients. It is not all negative as there are the rewards such as when a patient returns home happy and healthy. HP’s have an obligation to not gossip to others about patients and to protect the privacy and confidentiality of a patient’s information. There are laws in place which inform HP’s about their obligations.

Obligations of a Healthcare Professional

Accuracy of information

HP’s must ensure that patient information is always correct and updated. Amendments can be made if the HP believes some information is incorrect or the patient asks for corrections to be made.

Information is incorrect if it is any of the following:

  • inaccurate,

  • out-of-date,

  • incomplete,

  • irrelevant

  • misleading.

If any corrections are made, the HP must verify the identity of the patient and record any changes, just in case they are required at a later date if a dispute takes place.

Consent

A patient’s unique health information should be treated in a confidential manner and should not be shared with 3rd parties without consent. A HP must, in most situations, also get consent from the patient prior to delivering treatment.

Consent may be ignored in the following situations:

  • notification of births and deaths;

  • reasonable suspicion of child sexual abuse;

  • notification by doctors to a coroner of a death in certain circumstances;

  • taking a blood sample when a patient presents for treatment with motor vehicle accident injuries;

  • taking blood tests which are required for a needle stick injury for a health worker;

  • notification of the relevant authority for positive test results for certain diseases (e.g. Covid-19, HIV/AIDS, cholera, smallpox).

Patients’ rights to privacy and confidentiality

A. The right to access information

Patients have a right to access any information held about themselves. The information must be supplied within 30 calendar days of the request and in the right format. There may be a charge for providing this information. A responsible person may request this information on a patient’s behalf. This could be any one of the following:

  • close relatives;

  • those with an intimate relationship with the patient;

  • a person nominated to be contacted in the case of an emergency.

but generally a signed authority is required.

A HP can refuse access if:

  • there are reasonable grounds to suggest that it would pose a serious threat to the life, health or safety of the patient or another person, or to public health or safety;

  • it contains another person’s confidential information, and disclosing the information would have an unreasonable impact on that individual’s privacy.

The HP must give written notice stating the grounds for refusal and the steps to follow if the patient wishes to file a complaint.

B. The right to a privacy notice

Patients have the right to a privacy notice when engaging a HP. The privacy notice must include the following things, and can be either oral or written:

  • the healthcare provider’s organization’s identity and contact details;

  • the facts regarding the collection of the information and its circumstances;

  • the fact that the collection is required or authorised by law if this is relevant;

  • the purpose/s of collection;

  • any consequences for the patient if the health information is not collected;.

  • the usual disclosures of the health information collected.

C. The right to confidentiality

All personal information collected when providing a health service is considered health information under the Privacy Act. Since health information is ‘sensitive information’, a HP may only disclose it for the primary purpose for which it was collected it, or a secondary purpose in some circumstances.

The primary purpose is the main reason for collecting information which is most often given by the patient to the HP when it comes to reaching a diagnosis or deciding on treatment options. The secondary purpose is one that directly arises from the primary purpose, such as when a HP refers a patient’s case to a specialist. Other cases where disclosure of confidential information is allowed are the following:

  • patient consented to it;

  • it is required by law (e.g. by a subpoena);

  • there is a serious threat to the life, health or safety of any individual, or to public health or safety.

If you are a healthcare professional and receive a request for access to Personal Information that you intend to reject, or a patient that has had a request for access denied, let us know. We may be able to assist. There’s lots of examples and legal cases on these issues.

We regularly post relevant articles with regards to businesses, rights, current issues and other topics you might benefit from. Check out our other articles here.

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What Pokémon and the Hells Angels have in common: importance of trademarks https://lodestarlegal.com.au/importance-of-trademarks?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=importance-of-trademarks https://lodestarlegal.com.au/importance-of-trademarks#respond Fri, 18 Sep 2020 05:34:03 +0000 https://lodestarlegal.com.au/?p=3302 What Pokémon and the Hells Angels have in common: importance of trademarks Read More »

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I choose you, trademark protection What does Pokémon and the Hells Angels have in common? 

On the list of people you don’t want to pick a fight with, Pikachu has to be top of the list, surely.  Or could it be the Hells Angels?  

Redbubble is an online marketplace where artists and designers upload their creative works to Redbubble’s website.  Customers then buy t-shirts, mugs, phone cases and other random stuff and have their favourite image from the website printed on them.  Redbubble takes payment, prints the articles and delivers them to the customer.  It pays the designers a % of the sale price.  

What could go wrong I hear you say?  The answer is, quite a lot really!  

Motorcycle enthusiasts, Hells Angels Australia, sued Redbubble for trademark infringement after discovering Redbubble was selling T-shirts and other items showcasing the Hells Angels Crest, and three of its other distinctive logos For anyone that’s read the Hells Angels website you’ll know that it says that branded clothing “is only for members of our club.  No one else but us is allowed to produce, sell or buy any items with the words HELLS ANGELS and our logo with our DEATH HEAD.”  Seems clear to us.    

Although Redbubble removed the items from its website when politely asked to do so by the Hells Angels, this didn’t stop the group from suing for damages, including the money Redbubble made from the sale of the items.   

The Federal Court looked at this last year and agreed with the Hells Angels, and found that Redbubble had in fact infringed a number of Hells Angels’ trademarks.  The Court said that Redbubble had used the trade marks as it was the supplier of the relevant goods as it exercised management, control and power over the supply chain, enabling the transactions to occur.  

This decision was along the lines of an earlier decision when RedBubble lost a gym battle against the Japanese company, The Pokémon Company International, who had sued them for using the images of approximately 29 of the 800 Pokemon characters on items.  

In that casePokémon commenced proceedings in the Federal Court faster than a whip from Pikachu’s tail alleging copyright and trademark infringement, and seeking substantial damages for profits made from selling the Pokemon-related products on Redbubble’s website. Redbubble lost that case also, and no amount of help from Nurse Joy could stop the order that they pay damages. 

Importance of Trademarks

What are the key takeaways?

Ah, don’t p**s off a motorcycle gang or a global gaming company by stealing their designs is probably the key one. Oh, and iyou’re operating an online marketplace: 

  • Give careful consideration to your business model, structure and operations; 
  • make sure you have clear terms and conditions governing the upload of information to your website; 
  • have an effective ‘notify and takedown policy’ dealing with potentially infringing material. It is not a defence to IP infringement that a business is merely a marketplace acting as agent for artists or third parties. 
  • storing content and hosting your website overseas, will not protect you from infringement where you communicate infringing content to users located in Australia.

If you have IP to protect, or believe that someone is infringing your trademark or copyright, give our IP lawyers a call.  You can also book a consultation online.

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The ABCDs of Disclaimers | 4 things to know about them https://lodestarlegal.com.au/4-things-to-know-about-disclaimers?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=4-things-to-know-about-disclaimers https://lodestarlegal.com.au/4-things-to-know-about-disclaimers#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2020 09:03:36 +0000 https://lodestarlegal.com.au/?p=3137 The ABCDs of Disclaimers | 4 things to know about them Read More »

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What is a disclaimer?

Disclaimers have become a standard feature in contracts and even simple everyday transactions. They generally refer to statements that are intended to limit (or exclude completely) liability in the event of loss or damage.

Disclaimers are everywhere – on fast food menus, coffee cups, websites, emails, receipts, medicines and standard form contracts.  They operate for the benefit of the party who provides services or offers goods to others.

Are they enforceable or not?

Generally, disclaimers will only be binding if they are fair, not unreasonable and users have the benefit of reviewing and agreeing to them before they acquire the goods/services.

As with any contract, a party will only be bound by it if they were given notice of its terms at time the agreement is made.   Notice can be in two ways – in writing and with confirmation of acceptance (eg. ‘I Agree’ button) or by doing all that’s reasonably necessary to bring it to the party’s attention (eg. ‘Click here for our T’s & C’s’ or ‘Sales subject to our T’s & C’s on our website’).

The ABC and D’s of Disclaimers

disclaimers

Availability – Disclaimers should be available for viewing before the customer agrees to proceed with acquiring goods / services. Notice can be made through an asterisk and a note referring to the transaction being subject to terms and conditions, provided they can be found.

Be Fair – There’s a grey area when it comes to ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ disclaimers – what’s unreasonable will depend on the circumstances.

Clarity – The terms of a disclaimer should be clear.  Don’t bury it in lots of text or in multiple hyperlinks, and don’t write it in a teeny tiny font.  That’s not to say that you need to write it so Mr McGoo can read it – the disclaimer just needs to be visible, clear and in a reasonable size font relative to the other text.

Defamation – and other breaches of legislation can’t be swept away or fixed with a disclaimer – the disclaimer should go no further than to protect the legitimate and lawful interests of the provider of the goods/services.

Need more information about disclaimers? Book a consultation with us.

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Binding Agreement | Learn about 4 Types of Contract Breach Now https://lodestarlegal.com.au/binding-agreement-4-types-of-contract-breach?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=binding-agreement-4-types-of-contract-breach https://lodestarlegal.com.au/binding-agreement-4-types-of-contract-breach#respond Tue, 16 Jun 2020 02:50:00 +0000 https://lodestarlegal.com.au/?p=2990 Binding Agreement | Learn about 4 Types of Contract Breach Now Read More »

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Binding Agreement – A clear contract is good business 

What do I need to know about contracts? 

Contracts are a key element in doing business, which is why it is important to know and understand the terms and legal consequences of entering into an arrangement with a supplier, customer, or key stakeholder.   

Contractual disputes can be stressful,  costly, and time-consuming. The time and money that it will take can otherwise be spent on other aspects of your business.   

Knowing the basics of contract law can help to set up your business with robust rights (where all parties know what is expected of them), provide the basis for long-lasting business relationships, and prevent disputes down the track. 

What is a Contract? 

A contract is a binding agreement between parties.  It must have the following essential elements to be effective: 

  • an offer;
  • an acceptance;
  • an intention to create a legal relationship; and
  • a consideration (usually money, but not necessarily)

Furthermore, for it to be enforceable, the agreement between the parties must be sufficiently certain and complete. 

What makes a contract

Generally, a contract requires no specific form. It can be verbal, in writing, implied, or a combination thereof. However, it is important to note that some binding agreements are more acknowledged than others.

For obvious reasons, a written binding agreement is the most preferred for enforceability and protection. With written binding agreements, it will be clear what each party has agreed to since (as the name suggests) it will be written down.  

While verbal agreements (such as handshake deals) are just as binding, they are more difficult to enforce if someone doesn’t follow through on the deal (or if the interpretation of the arrangement differs from the other party) because it is not always clear what people have agreed to do/pay – the terms will generally be what has occurred based on the actions of the parties, and it can be very painful (without evidence such as emails, notes, etc.) to prove the agreed terms if they are different to what happened. A written binding agreement – a contract – holds up better legally compared to other types of agreements.

If the matter goes to Court, Judges may impose a term into an agreement if it is necessary to give life to the rights and obligations as envisaged between the parties. They may also include a term or interpret a term into an arrangement if it has become an industry-standard through time and/or constant use. 

Construction of terms 

The first rule of contracts is to use words and sentences that clear the intention of the parties.

A contract doesn’t have to be in English, but both parties need to understand the terms of the binding agreement. If both parties speak the same language, a contract in that language is acceptable. If parties speak different languages, an accurate translation on one half of the page (say, in English), with a foreign language on the other half of the page, will also work.  

Words and phrases will be understood according to their plain and ordinary meaning if there is nothing in the agreement to give them a different meaning. If words or phrases have more than one meaning, a Court looks at the context in which the words have been used, and the surrounding circumstances to determine what each party meant (or at least what the Court believes each party intended) at the time of making the contract. For example, the court may look into the personal background of the parties at the time of signing to determine how they commonly use a specific term in question.

binding agreement

Breach of Contract 

No one likes talking about when a binding agreement doesn’t go as planned but unfortunately, it is common. A breach of contract by one party may give the innocent party a right to claim damages, such as money, against the party that breached the agreement. The consequences vary depending on the seriousness and effect of the breach of the binding agreement. It could range from reduction of the contract price, the remedy of the defect, compensation for damages, and/or interest for delay up to rescission if the breach is fundamental. 

There are generally four kinds of breach of contract: 

1. Material Breach – If it goes against the very reason why the other party entered into the contract. If the breach can’t be fixed or fixed within a short period, it could lead to the cancellation of the contract. An example might be selling a defective and unusable car.

2. Minor Breach – As the name suggests, these are breaches of the contract which are small. As in the previous example, a minor breach may be delivering a working vehicle without the tires. This breach can be fixed by the selling party. If, however, it is not fixed, it could lead to the cancellation of the contract or a reduction in the purchase price so the purchaser can buy new tires.  

3. Anticipatory Breach – Also known as repudiation, happens when a party refuses to perform an obligation before the obligation becomes due.  Upon demonstrating that the naughty party was seriously unable or unwilling to perform the obligation, the other party may be able to commence legal proceedings for damages or force the party to perform the obligation.  

4. Actual Breach – Consists of the non-performance of the obligation when it is due. As to whether this will be a minor or major breach is a question to be considered in the circumstances.    

Drafting clear, concise and enforcement contracts is good business. A contract is a binding agreement that is well-acknowledged legally. This is why adds value to your business, and reduces the risk of breach and litigation. Our contract lawyers can assist you prepare precedent or bespoke terms and conditions or agreements for your business.

Questions? Let us give you a quote or book some time with us online. 

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Esports – kicking Covid-19 in a Battle Royale https://lodestarlegal.com.au/esports-kicking-covid-19-in-a-battle-royale?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=esports-kicking-covid-19-in-a-battle-royale https://lodestarlegal.com.au/esports-kicking-covid-19-in-a-battle-royale#respond Tue, 28 Apr 2020 02:28:46 +0000 https://lodestarlegal.com.au/?p=2921 Esports – kicking Covid-19 in a Battle Royale Read More »

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It’s not just kids’ weekend sports that have taken a hit this year due to COVID-19, we’ve seen the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games postponed and the suspension/postponement of all major (and minor) sporting events across Australia  

In these times of social distancingwe’d like to welcome to the ring one of the only sports that is still thriving, with revenue expected to hit over $1bn this year – esports!  If you’re only just hearing about esports (seriously, it’s been around for years!), you might want to check out our previous articles on the topic.

Although a few physical esports tournaments have been cancelled, the industry has been able to go back to its online roots. Yup, esports is BOOMing At its core, esports doesn’t require players to be in the same venue or even on the same continent for that matter. Esports tournaments can easily comply with social distancing norms.  

Twitch and Steam, both major esports platforms, have reported a massive increase in subscribers. Even ‘traditional sports like Formula 1 and NASCAR have started virtual tournaments featuring big name drivers and schedules that mirror the cancelled races.

What are some legal challenges associated with eSports during times of isolation (and beyond)? 

    1. Ensuring proper contracts are in place. Player contracts, venue contracts, streaming/broadcasting contracts, sponsorship contracts, merchandising contracts, we can go on and on. Ensuring that these contracts are properly drafted is key to ensuring that everyone is clear on their rights, obligations and the expectations being placed on them.  And, most importantly, ensuring that payment occurs following an agreed trigger date, such as the last fixture of a particular tournament.  Contracts also need to keep in mind local and international laws, as esports tournaments often attract gamers from across the world.

 

    1. Immigration laws.  For tournaments that require players to travel (which is difficult at the moment), consideration needs to be given to whether players can cross State borders, whether a period of self-isolation is required after travel, or if a visa for entry into Australia (or the relevant country in which the tournament is being held) is required and, if so, what type of visa.  If a player is receiving money for participation in a tournament, a tourist visa won’t work! 

 

    1. Betting on esports An increasing number of Australian sportsbooks are starting to offer competitive esports betting markets for both Australian and international esports events. It’s important you find a reputable and authorised sports book that offers a wide range of esports betting markets as well as competitive odds, and one which will pay out and not run off with your money 1 minute after you’ve placed your bet.  Also, if you’re a player, bear in mind that esports competitors are treated in the same way as competitors in traditional sports, with match-fixing considered a criminal offence in Australia and elsewhere around the world  

 

    1. Familiarise yourself with the competition rules.  If you’re entering an esports tournament, make sure you read, and follow, the terms and conditions of entry.  In Australia, the t’s & c’s of esports tournaments must comply with our national consumer law and they govern how the tournament will be run, and any sanctions that can be applied to players who breach the terms after entry, including during the tournament  

 

    1. Respecting IP Protection Laws. Most esports tournaments are built around popular games. The intellectual property rights of these games reside with developers who control how these rights can be used. This can lead to tricky situations where the tournament organisers have to contact multiple license holders, and secure licences, to host a tournament and seek certification for the use of the games in the tournament.

 

Questions? We love esports, so Give us a call or book some time with us online. 

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E-Sports – A sport or a competitive gaming competition? https://lodestarlegal.com.au/e-sports-a-sport-or-a-competitive-gaming-competition?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=e-sports-a-sport-or-a-competitive-gaming-competition https://lodestarlegal.com.au/e-sports-a-sport-or-a-competitive-gaming-competition#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2020 09:48:29 +0000 https://lodestarlegal.com.au/?p=2912 E-Sports – A sport or a competitive gaming competition? Read More »

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Whatever you want to call it, gone are the days where professional sport is played only in stadiums, on sports grounds and the like, and computer games are played by socially awkward teenagers in their bedroom.  

Welcome to the era of electronic sports or, if you’re cool, eSports!  

To understand why this phenomenon has taken the world by storm, it’s helpful to understand what eSports is While the definition can vary from person to person, most people would agree that it refers to playing video games competitively on gaming consoles or computers, with competitions held online or in person  

Players compete against one another in popular games, whether they are a part of a league or a team and large tournaments welcome thousands of players and millions of viewers through coverage on video streaming platforms like Twitch (which was purchased by Amazon in 2014 for $970 million), Mixer (owned by Microsoft), Facebook Gaming and YouTube Gaming.  

Here’s 7 things you should know about eSports:  

  • It’s massive, and is gaining momentum faster than you can say ‘Stop sweating on the noobs!’, with events being held across the world (including Australia) on a weekly basis. 
  • Like ‘traditional’ sports, eSports’ players can attract sponsorship, endorsement and advertising deals (think, Nike, Red Bull, Cloud9 and Samsung, all of which have sponsored players or teams) so the need for properly drafted agreements that set out each party’s right, obligations and expectations is key.  
  • Merchandise associated with eSports players (like those of traditional sportspeople) is huge.  If you want to sell merchandise or commercialise your brand, we recommend obtaining trademark protection for your intellectual property, such as your image, name, a key catchphrase you use, a distinctive element you market yourself by or your logo 
  • E-sports players can make lots of money through online ad, streaming and subscription arrangements. Just remember: Whatever the arrangement, read your contract carefully. What might seem like a good deal now because someone is actually paying you to do what you love, may not be in 12 months’ time when you’re locked into an arrangement where you’re doing all the work for 4% of the revenue. 
  • The industry is still grappling with PEDs in eSports and is working with the World Anti-Doping Agency to introduce anti-doping regulations and testing into its tournaments. Details of banned PEDs can be found on the website of the relevant authority/tournament.   
  • If you’re thinking of organising/promoting a tournament, remember that you have a duty of care to provide a safe location and event. Also, depending on where you hold the event, you may also need to notify the local Council; obtain a licence/permit and the relevant approvals to hold the event; take out insurance; develop emergency, crowd control and other plans and arrange for medical personnel to attend.  
  • If organisers/promoters are considering using volunteers to assist at events, the Fair Work Act mandates that employers pay employees a minimum wage.  

Questions? Give us a call or book some time with us online.

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COVID-19 | Social Distancing or Distant Socialising? https://lodestarlegal.com.au/covid-social-distancing?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=covid-social-distancing https://lodestarlegal.com.au/covid-social-distancing#respond Wed, 01 Apr 2020 03:28:55 +0000 https://lodestarlegal.com.au/?p=2678 COVID-19 | Social Distancing or Distant Socialising? Read More »

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The National Cabinet Statement (Statement) was released on 29 March 2020 in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Statement, amongst other things: 

  1. Limits indoor and outdoor gatherings to 2 people, with exceptions for funerals, weddings and family units/households; and 
  2. Advises Australians to stay home unless they’re getting food, essential supplies or accessing essential services; attending to medical or compassionate care needs; exercising or its required for work / study.  

The States and Territories were then asked to go away and determine how they would each legislate and enforce, as well as explain, the restrictions contained in the Statement to their residents. 

Quicker than you could say ‘but can I still go away at Easter?’, State/Territory legislation was amended, new legislation was enacted and directives were issued to give effect to the Statement.   

When can I leave home? 

It is different in each State / Territory, but NSW has provided some guidance on what is considered a reasonable excuse for being outside your home in NSW. There’s 16 in total and they are:  

  1. Obtaining food or other goods or services for the personal needs of the household or other household purposes (including for pets) and for vulnerable persons; 
  2. Travelling for the purposes of work if the person cannot work from the person’s place of residence;
  3. Travelling for the purposes of attending childcare (including picking up or dropping another person at childcare);
  4. Travelling for the purposes of facilitating attendance at a school or other educational institution if the person attending the school or institution cannot learn from the person’s place of residence;
  5. Exercising;
  6. Obtaining medical care or supplies or health supplies or fulfilling carer’s responsibilities;
  7. Attending a wedding or a funeral(but note the limits on attendees);
  8. Moving to a new place of residence (including a business moving to new premises) or between different places of residence of the person or inspecting a potential new place of residence;
  9. Providing care or assistance (including personal care) to a vulnerable person or providing emergency assistance;
  10. Donating blood;
  11. Undertaking any legal obligations;
  12. Accessing public services (whether provided by Government, a private provider or a non-Government organisation), including social services, employment services, domestic violence services, mental health services, and services provided to victims (including as victims of crime);
  13. For children who do not live in the same household as their parents or siblings or one of their parents or siblings — continuing existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children or siblings;
  14. For a person who is a priest, minister of religion or member of a religious order going to the person’s place of worship or providing pastoral care to another person;
  15. Avoiding injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm; or
  16. For emergencies or compassionate reasons.

 Fines 

The following is not exhaustive (principally because it’s changing daily!) but here’s our take on the fines for not complying with the requirements in your State

 

State  Maximum Penalties for non-compliance 
NSW  • Individuals: $11,000 fine plus a further fine of $5,500 for each day it continues and up to six months’ jail time. 

• Body corporate: $55,000 fine plus a further fine of $27,500 for each day it continues  

Qld   Individuals: $13,345 
Vic  • Individuals: $19,826.40  

• Body corporate: $99,132  

SA  • Individuals: $20,000  

• Body corporate: $75,000  

WA  • Individuals: $20,000  

• Body corporate, $100,000  

NT  • Individuals: $62,800  
Tas  • Individuals: $16,800 or up to six months’ jail time 

Take care and continue social distancing as much as possible.

Questions? Give us a call.


As the number of COVID-19 cases increases, make sure that you are safe. Check this WHO article to protect you and your family from COVID-19.

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3 things to consider when using electronic signature https://lodestarlegal.com.au/3-things-about-electronic-signature?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=3-things-about-electronic-signature https://lodestarlegal.com.au/3-things-about-electronic-signature#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2020 03:22:55 +0000 https://lodestarlegal.com.au/?p=2676 3 things to consider when using electronic signature Read More »

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Is using electronic signature the new norm for signing documents?

You’ve spent weeks, maybe months, negotiating an agreement. But how do you sign it when everyone is working remotely, and social distancing is the new norm?  

There are several ways to execute an agreement. The ‘gold standard’ is signing a document in line with section 127 of the Corporations Act 2001,  

which includes any of the following methods in signing the document:  

  • any 2 directors;  
  • a director and a company secretary; or  
  • a sole director who is also the sole company secretary.  

There are other ways, of course, but when a document is signed this way, each party has the right to assume that the document has been duly executed and is therefore binding on and enforceable against the other company.  This applies even in the event of fraud or forgery by the company’s officers (unless, of course, one party knew or suspected something was off at the time).

Using Electronic Signature For Contracts

For the most part, an electronically-signed contract will be valid if your contract is properly drafted and someone with the right level of authority from the other party has signed or accepted your contract.  Software programs such as DocusignPandaDoc and Adobe can help facilitate the process.

electronic signature

We appreciate that in these unusual times, business needs to continue and contracts need to be signed so here’s some things to think about:  

  1. If you’re proposing to sign or accept a contract containing an electronic signature, first check with your lawyer to ensure it can be executed this way.  Affix your signature using a recognised program, and insist the other party does the same.
  2. Also consider asking the other party to send you an email to confirm that they have authority to sign the document with electronic signature.  They may ask the same of you.   We suggest a covering email (attaching the executed contract) along the following lines:
    “I / We have electronically signed the attached agreement / deed with the intention of entering into a binding contract with you, and I / We represent and warrant that I / We have actual authority to bind the party named in the attached agreement / deed.”
  3. You may prefer a handwritten signature in the following instances:  
    • If the document is a Deed, such that a witness is required, and it should be in physical form; 
    • If you’re taking part in large transactions with significant risk; or 
    • If you want to rely on the assumptions relating to proper execution in sections 127 of the Corporations Act 2010 (Cth), which appear to require a written signature. 

In these circumstances, execute the document with the electronic signature and then scan and send a copy to the other party.  The original agreement can be posted when it is permissible to do so.  

Questions? Give us a call.

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Is Covid-19 interrupting your business? https://lodestarlegal.com.au/is-covid-19-interrupting-your-business?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=is-covid-19-interrupting-your-business https://lodestarlegal.com.au/is-covid-19-interrupting-your-business#respond Tue, 17 Mar 2020 09:39:40 +0000 https://lodestarlegal.com.au/?p=2585 Is Covid-19 interrupting your business? Read More »

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Let’s look at business interruption insurance

As businesses around the world are starting to feel the effects of a slowdown, a reduction in revenue, the cancellation of events and the unavailability of staff due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, they are turning to their insurance policies to determine if business interruption claims can be filed to recover the losses resulting from the public health crisis.

Business interruption cover is usually provided in combination with property insurance. It is generally designed to protect against lost income following a specific incident or physical damage, which adversely affects the business. This is typically theft, fire, wind, falling objects or lightning, although recent policies have expanded the coverage to include cyber-attacks.

So, dust off your business interruption policy and read it. You might want to grab yourself a cup of coffee beforehand as business interruption policies are among the most complex and controversial types of insurance coverage, primarily because they are designed to reimburse a business for something that never happened – an estimate of the profit that the business would have earned had its operations not been disrupted.

Unsurprisingly, there’s usually a number of exclusions in business interruption policies. For example, you may see an exclusion for communicable diseases. However, depending on the policy, it might only refer to certain previous global disease events (e.g. SARS, Avian Flu, etc) and COVID-19 may not be captured.

With the full impact of the pandemic still unknown, businesses must keep the lines of communication with their insurance brokers / company, lawyers and accountants open, and plan ahead.

Get overly familiar with the wording of your business interruption policy. If you may have a claim under your policy, ensure you are accumulating the information needed to submit a claim at the appropriate time.

Questions? Give us a call.


As the number of COVID-19 cases increases, make sure that you are safe. Check this WHO article to protect you and your family from COVID-19.

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Covid-19 and your employees https://lodestarlegal.com.au/covid-19-and-your-employees?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=covid-19-and-your-employees https://lodestarlegal.com.au/covid-19-and-your-employees#respond Tue, 17 Mar 2020 09:16:11 +0000 https://lodestarlegal.com.au/?p=2574 Covid-19 and your employees Read More »

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Our Top 5 Tips for managing your workforce

As the World Health Organisation declares coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic, employers are grappling with how best to protect and manage their employees, while keeping their business running.
Here’s our Top 5 tips on managing your workforce during COVID-19:

  1. Monitor the latest health information being provided by the relevant health departments, provide up-to-date information to your workers and promptly implement any directives
  2. Check your sick leave, annual leave and flexible work policies. Are they sufficient to cover COVID-19? How will you deal with leave required by sick or quarantined employees? Decide now. See our earlier updates on these issues.
  3. Continue to assess the hazards and risks relevant to your business and do what is reasonably practicable to eliminate those risks, or where this is not reasonably practicable, to minimise those risks. This includes:
    • providing clear direction and guidance on what’s expected of workers;
    • ensure workers know what action to take if they become unwell;
    • enhancing cleaning practices in and around the office;
    • requiring workers to practice good hygiene; limit contact with others, including through shaking hands and to cover their mouths while coughing or sneezing;
    • requiring workers to stay away from the workplace if they are unwell and not fit for work, and encourage them to seek medical advice as appropriate;
    • seeking advice from health authorities immediately if there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 in your workplace; and
    • limit third party access to your workplace, unless necessary.
  4. Be careful not to breach any anti-discrimination laws or unfair dismissal laws when making decisions or putting any plans into effect.
  5. Be clear on your expectations of employees regarding travel. It is reasonable for employers to ask employees to exercise caution when making personal travel plans and to seek medical advice if they feel unwell when returning from travel. You should carefully consider the need for employees to undertake work-related travel, rather than hold meetings via telephone or video conference.all.e

Questions? Give us a call.

Questions? Give us a call.

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