News & Insights
Our latest news and insights
A collection of case studies and articles highlighting the latest in legal news.
Privacy and data protection concerns the management of personal information. The definition of personal information is broad and captures most information about an identified or identifiable individual. This includes for example names, photographs, basic contact information, credit card details, health or genetic information and information about a person’s location at a specific point in time.
Since the launch of Bitcoin in 2009, more and more people have become aware of blockchain technology, and its potential to revolutionise payments systems. However, blockchain has many applications beyond cryptocurrency. ‘Smart contracts’ – computer code which execute the terms of an agreement have the potential to revolutionise commercial transactions.
In recent times, the legalisation of ‘euthanasia’ has been hotly debated within our homes, schools and parliaments. Whilst positions may remain conflicted, the State Government of Victoria has passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) (VAD Act) which is due to commence on 19 June 2019.
It is often said that the one constant in life is change. Employers in the health and welfare industry are well aware of that fact of life, given the frequency of regulatory change. One of the consequences of those sorts of changes for employers is that they often result in the need to modify or reshape the skills or qualification mix or working hours of the workforce.
The Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) requires that heavy vehicles, their components and their loads meet mass requirements including mass limits. The Heavy Vehicle (Mass, Dimension and Loading) National Regulation sets out, among other things, the mass requirements, mass limits and exemptions applicable to heavy vehicles.
Changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) took effect on 1 October 2018. These changes relate to new inclusions to Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws, and resemble the current risk-based approach that is applied in workplace health and safety law.
Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP 11) to start on 30 December 2018
Good news for all – six countries have ratified the commencement of TPP 11, which is the magic number to allow the agreement to commence (for those countries which have ratified the Agreement)
On Thursday 1 November 2018, the Long Service Leave Act 2018 (Vic) (LSL Act 2018) took effect.
Although the rate at which long service leave (LSL) accrues (0.8667 weeks per year) will not change, there are other significant changes that businesses operating in Victoria need to ensure they comply with to avoid exposure to penalties which have tripled under the new law.
In September 2018, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) published a new model award term to supplement the flexible work provisions in s65 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). In another decision, when arbitrating a dispute under an enterprise agreement, it found that the employer had not demonstrated that it had “reasonable business grounds” for refusing an employee’s flexible work request.
On 2 October 2018, a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission, headed by Ross J, partially overturned a decision of Deputy President Colman, regarding the cases of Mr Gelagotis and Mr Hatwell which received media coverage because of the industrial context that the dismissals arose.
The recent decision of the Supreme Court in Estate of Elzow  VSC 498 highlights the importance of validly executing a Will.
While most of the Australian population (and its media) are fixated on the Royal visit or the AFL player trade, those in the industry have had a similar level of interest in the movement towards Australian domestic ratification of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) (aka the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and its possible commencement date.
The prevalence of mental health issues and its impact on individuals and the workplace is now well-known and accepted by employers. Around 45% of Australians between 16-85 experience a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime. In a given 12-month period, one in 5 Australians will have experienced a mental health condition.
The process of making an enterprise agreement and having it approved by the Fair Work Commission (Commission) is becoming ever more pedantically complicated.
A recent decision of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) provides insight into the meaning of “acceptable” alternative employment and when the FWC will use its discretion to reduce a redundancy payment in circumstances where an employee, whose position has become redundant, has declined an offer of alternative employment.
Readers will be aware from our previous articles (available here, here and here) that the new Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) will come into force on 1 October 2018.
Privacy and data protection concerns the management of personal information. The definition of personal information is broad and captures most information about an identified or identifiable individual. This includes for example names, photographs, basic contact information, credit card details and information about a person’s location at a specific point in time.
This article was first published in AirCargo magazine, September 2018.
Notwithstanding the issues associated with changes in the Australian Federal Government (including a new prime minister and new ministers for both Foreign Affairs and Trade), the process of approval of new Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and parliamentary reviews of FTAs before enabling legislation is introduced to Parliament has continued.
With tourism figures reaching new heights and migration to Melbourne soaring, developments that offer multi-purpose utility, provide a much-needed solution to accommodate the increasing influx of people in the nation’s cultural capital.
Infringement Notices (INs) were once a relatively minor nuisance in industry, largely associated with speeding or parking fines. However, since the introduction of the Infringement Notice Scheme (INS) to the Customs Act 1901 (Customs Act), INs have taken on much greater significance. That significance may escalate again following a recent media release by the Australian Border Force and the release by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources of its notice of intention to implement its broadly-based INS under the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Biosecurity Act).
There have long been allegations that importers and their service providers here and overseas have been engaged (knowingly or innocently) in “circumventing” existing measures otherwise payable on imported goods.
Fleur came into see one of our lawyers on behalf of her friend, Norma, who was distressed and unhappy with her accommodation arrangements at an Aged Care Facility and wanted out. This was not a situation where the resident had lost the ability to make decisions for herself, but rather it was a situation where an elderly woman with no family was being taken advantage of.
Some readers will recall the final scenes of the original Jaws movie when the captain of the shark hunting vessel (Robert Shaw) finally sees the size of the monster shark and loudly announces “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” (and is then eaten by the shark).
On 26 June 2018 the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 (Act) was assented to after it passed the Victorian Parliament on 20 June 2018. The Act legislates a scheme to regulate labour hire providers and labour hire users in Victoria (Labour Hire Participants).
Every four years the Fair Work Commission (FWC) reviews the Modern Awards that apply to a significant portion of Australia’s workforce. In 2017, the ACTU made a submission to the FWC as part of that process proposing that Family and Domestic Violence leave (FDV leave) be included in the Awards. Research indicates that family or domestic violence had a negative impact on their work for nearly 60% of women experiencing family or domestic violence.
This article was updated on 29 August 2018 and provides an update to our previous coverage on this matter.
Slavery is thought of as something from a past era. However, legislators across the world have passed laws this decade to combat modern slavery, for example, in 2010 California passed the Transparency in Supply Chains Act. In 2015, the UK followed with the Modern Slavery Act.
The National Employment Standards (NES) in the Fair Work Act provide that employees are entitled to accrue 10 days of personal leave per 12 months of continuous service. Where employees regularly work a standard 7.6 hour day in a 76 hour fortnight, this is not problematic. However, problems can arise where an employee works a non-standard or varying work pattern.
From taking “reasonable steps” to manage risk, to the imposition of a Primary Duty.
The Chain of Responsibility (CoR) regime is intended to ensure that responsibility for preventing breaches of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) are shared by each member of the supply chain.
There has been a recent focus on breaches of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) in the lead up to the implementation on 1 October 2018 of the primary duty obligations under the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions of the HVNL.
The Modern Slavery Bill was promoted to prompt businesses to consider how they do business on a global scale, including within their supply chain, and take steps to eradicate any risk of modern slavery.
The idea of facilitating secure and compliant trade underpins many international agreements such as the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and WCO Safe Framework of Standards (SAFE) and is reflected in many “Authorised Economic Operator” programmes such as our own Australian Trusted Trader Programme (ATTP).
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) recently considered whether a dismissal for incapacity was “harsh, unjust or unreasonable” in the following decisions.
This is the story of a worker who sent an offensive text message to his co-workers, and the legal battle that ensued. The key message… context is key.
This quote is taken from an online platform dedicated to employees expressing their anonymous opinions about their employers.
Many readers would be aware of the ongoing debate on what constitutes Hollow Structural Sections (HSS) steel or iron which is subject to dumping or countervailing duties. That has included debate on whether the alleged HSS is, in fact, another type of product (scaffolding for example) or whether the HSS is actually only part of a larger structure and should be classified on that basis.
Australia passes espionage, foreign interference, foreign influence and critical infrastructure security laws.
Readers would be aware that as and from 1 July 2017, all Australian air cargo exports to the United States were required to undergo new “piece level” screening to accommodate the requirements of the US Transportation Security Administration.
Rigby Cooke Lawyers is proud to acknowledge the exceptional work of our legal staff by announcing three Senior Associate promotions across our Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Planning & Environment and Wills & Estates teams.
Transport companies often have people working for them, or providing services to them, in a number of different capacities.
The first question many clients ask when we raise the issue of digital assets is…‘What are they?’
Digital assets can be as basic as your Facebook page and as complicated as cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. In the middle, we have many different types of assets such as an online share portfolio, subscription to online newspapers, iTunes accounts or Kindle books.
Transporting goods by road can be a risky and expensive process.
The risk of damage to or loss of goods transported by road is a real concern for not only the seller and buyer of those goods but also the private carrier responsible for transporting the goods.
In follow up to our recent article titled Independent Contractors or Employees, while it’s one thing to know the difference between employees and independent contractors, an important issue to consider is the consequences for getting the classification wrong.
Transport companies often have people working for them, or providing services to them, in a number of different capacities. In addition to full-time, part-time and casual employees, transport companies may engage drivers or other workers who are described as independent contractors and who may rely exclusively on the transport company for work and income and be subject to significant control of their activities by the transport company.
The following tables detail the new minimum rates of pay for part-time and full-time employees under various modern awards, applicable to employees in the transport industry.
Incorrectly assuming that an employee is a casual, rather than a full time or part time employee can be a very costly mistake, as a recent Federal Circuit Court decision has again highlighted.
An employee’s contract reaches its expiry date and the employment ends. Can the employee claim that they were unfairly dismissed?
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has announced that the new Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) will be implemented from 1 October 2018.
The Australian Federal Budget for the 2018/2019 year was announced in Parliament on 8 May 2018. Individual summaries for portfolios can be found at the relevant websites for the portfolio agencies.
On 2 April 2018 significant changes to the Real Estate Industry Award 2010 (Real Estate Award) made by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) came into effect.
Mandatory data breach reporting requirements commenced on 22 February 2018. Organisations that are bound by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) need to report certain data breaches to the affected individual(s) and the Australian Information Commissioner.
Those operating premises licensed for the handling and retention of goods ‘under customs control’ face a number of significant challenges:
How to prepare to comply
From 1 July 2018 food businesses must comply with labelling requirements set out by the Australian Government which aim to provide consumers with greater transparency on the origin of their food.
This article was first published by AirCargo Magazine.
The renowned journalist Alistair Cooke famously wrote and broadcast ‘Letter from America’ from the US for a period of 58 years. It was a concise and learned spoken piece, around 15 minutes in length in which Mr Cooke delivered observations on developments in the US over the preceding week to a BBC audience in a manner intended to educate the listener and remove some of the confusion usually associated with the US.
We congratulate our client, Melbourne investment company and fund manager PE Capital, who revealed their plans to build an eight-storey, 200-key hotel, at yesterday’s (2 May) annual Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE).
New laws have been passed affecting the GST obligations of property developers. These laws take effect from 1 July 2018, but may affect contracts entered into prior to this date.
Employees might assert they have a ‘right’ to have a support person present during certain processes, for example during performance management, investigations and disciplinary procedures.
Understanding the role of a support person, and how far an employer can go to control what they can do, is an important element of successfully and lawfully managing employees.
Managing the relationship with your WorkCover Agent and the Return to Work Inspector.
Whether you operate in an office or a warehouse, workplace injuries can happen to any business!
If an accident happens, as an employer, you must understand the obligation for returning an injured employee to work, in circumstances, where a WorkCover claim has been accepted. The Victorian WorkCover Authority (VCA) has a central role in overseeing this process.
Earlier this month in MWP Transport Pty Ltd & Ors v Kent & Ors  NSWSC 300, the Supreme Court of New South Wales granted a transport company a freezing order over the assets of its group’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and a number of his companies after he admitted to theft of more than $5 million over an extended period.
This article was originally published by Daily Cargo News.
There has been significant commentary on the proposal for the introduction of a processing charge on certain low-value import transactions (LVT) which are transacted through a Self-Assessed Clearance Declaration (SAC).
The development and operation of commercial accommodation raises complex regulatory, contractual, commercial and taxation issues.
On 12 March 2018, the existing legal framework for medical treatment decision-making, the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016, changed in an attempt to provide greater autonomy to potential patients by enabling them to give advance care directives that are legally enforceable.
A Supreme Court order which saw a financial services firm pay $423,445 to a former accountant provides a reminder of how repudiation of employment contracts can be used by employees to obtain significant damages awards and prevent employers from enforcing otherwise valid post-employment restraints.
This article was first published by Daily Cargo News.
After several months of uncertainty and speculation, President Trump has finally announced his intention for the US to introduce additional tariffs on steel and aluminium imported into the US. To adapt a famous comment from former US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, it’s time to work out what we know we know, what we think we know and what we know we would like to know.
Changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) are due to take effect in mid-2018. These changes relate to new inclusions to Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws, and resemble the current risk-based approach that is applied in workplace health and safety law.
The Export Council of Australia (ECA) has released its 2018 Trade Policy Recommendations. The release comes with a clear message that there are not enough small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) exporting and that this is an issue that those in government and industry need to address.
Rigby Cooke Lawyers’ Workplace Relations team continues our strong presence in the market, with the expertise of partners Sam Eichenbaum and Rob Jackson recognised by independent survey and review source Doyle’s Guide, in their 2018 Employment (Employer Representation) and Workplace Health & Safety lists.
This article was first published on the 20 February 2018 in Air Cargo Asia-Pacific Magazine. and has been updated on 22 February 2018 to reflect the release of the CPTPP text.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was an ambitious 12 nation free trade agreement (FTA) which was entered into some time ago but had never been formally implemented even though its entry into force had been approved by New Zealand and Australia.
St Kilda’s Royce Hotel has changed hands, with Melbourne pub owner Mazen Tabet and the Tabet Investment Group purchasing the freehold and business for a $55 million purchase price.
Rigby Cooke Lawyers is proud to welcome its Wills & Estates practice lead and accredited specialist Rachael Grabovic to the firm’s partnership
Many of you would be aware of the tradition from Papal elections where white smoke from the Vatican indicates the election of a new Pope.
The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Act) is currently undergoing a significant review as part of the Victorian Government’s extensive Fairer Safer Housing initiative. The proposed amendments contained within the review will have an impact on both caravan and residential park residents and operators.
This article was first published by Daily Cargo News.
On 17 January 2018 a series of media stories announced that Australia had initiated the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ‘disputes’ process against Canada in relation to measures maintained by the Canadian Government and a number of Canadian provinces governing the retail sale of wine.
Rigby Cooke Lawyers has appointed Special Counsel, Daryl Lim to their Corporate & Commercial team, continuing the growth of its transaction capability.
The reconstitution of a general law partnership or a tax law partnership may have different income tax, capital gains tax (CGT) and goods and services tax (GST) consequences that should be addressed in preparing a Partnership Reconstitution Deed.
A general law partnership may be reconstituted without the tax consequences associated with reconstituting a tax law partnership, a joint venture or co-ownership.
Rigby Cooke’s trade & customs expertise recognised as one of Australia’s ‘true leaders in the field’
Rigby Cooke Lawyers’ Partner, Andrew Hudson has been recognised as one of Australia’s top five ‘true leaders in the field’ by independent research resource, Who’s Who Legal, in their global Trade & Customs list, 2017.
Solicitors and other professionals who act as executors of deceased estates need to be aware of recent law changes which clarify when commissions can be charged for administering an estate.
An appeal to a claim involving a love child, a substantial estate and a diamond encrusted guitar, has reached its conclusion in a decision which sets a precedent for all estates to be treated the same regardless of their size.
Following a nation-wide postal survey and many months of debate, the passage of the same-sex marriage legislation came into effect on 9 December 2017. With many same-sex couples organising their weddings, it is essential to understand how marriage can affect your estate planning.
If you have been appointed as a financial attorney or administrator, whether by the individual or by VCAT, it is essential to understand what is involved in this role. A breach of your legal duties can result in suspension of the role or an order of compensation if brought forth by an interested party.