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Sending an innocent emoji in a text message could land you in court, because the law could see it as a threat or an acceptance of a contract.
30 Nov 2023

How an emoji can land you in court

We often add an emoji to our emails and text messages to bring a bit of levity to otherwise dull communications, but beware – icons such as the thumbs up, smiley face or gun could land you in trouble with the law. Legal impact of using emojis An emoji is an image used in texting […]
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misfeasance, tort, public office, public official, robodebt, Royal Commission, Criminal Code Act, criminal charges, civil charges, malice, harm
28 Nov 2023

Misfeasance in public office and the robodebt debacle

What is misfeasance in public office? The tort of misfeasance – it sounds like an evil spell in Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, and in a way it’s similar. Misfeasance is a legal term relating to the abuse of power by a person holding public office. Misfeasance and the robodebt scandal The term […]
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bank of mum and dad, BOMAD, bank of dad, loan, gift, family loan, financial support, property, mortgage, cost of living, Centrelink, age pension, guarantor, borrowing capacity, credit score, security, documented, divorce, Deed, verbal agreement
19 Oct 2023

Trouble at the bank of mum and dad – the horror story edition on family loans

Unaffordable housing leads to reliance on bank of mum and dad As Australia continues to rank among the least affordable markets for housing globally, it is becoming increasingly difficult for young people and other aspiring first-home owners to buy a property. Consequently, the “bank of mum and dad” is as popular as ever. However, there […]
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identity theft, ID theft, stolen identity, damages, trademark, infringement, cybersquatting, PayPal, Adidas, NBA, Medibank, password, hacking, debtor, jurisdiction, enforce, seizure, counterfeit
22 Sep 2023

Australian victim of identity theft receives US$1.2 million damages bill from US court

An Australian woman who was a victim of identity theft was shocked when she received a legal notice from the United States ordering her to pay Adidas and the US National Basketball Association a total of US$1.2 million in damages. Identify theft victim told to pay US$1.2m in damages Without her being present or even […]
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21 Apr 2023

Guilty or not guilty – could computers replace judges in a court of law?

Weighing up the pros and cons of a case, discarding irrelevancies, assessing the likelihood of statements being the truth or a lie… it’s all in a day’s work for a judge in a court. But could computers replace judges, if programmed correctly? Could a computer weigh the evidence and decide whether the defendant is guilty […]
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declared dead, legally dead, deceased, missing person, missing, body, assets, will, remarry, presumed dead, presumed alive, natural disaster, mudslide, avalanche, disappearance, murder, misadventure, vanish
21 Feb 2023

Someone vanishes – how long before they can be declared dead?

Someone disappears. Years go by and they are still missing. There is no message, no letter, nothing to indicate whether they are still alive. No body is found. Families are in limbo. Can their partner legally remarry? When can the missing person legally be declared dead, their will enacted and their assets distributed? Can someone […]
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dying without a will, testator, intestate, beneficiary, de facto, Succession Act, inherit, inheritance, superannuation, death benefit, CPI
12 Oct 2022

Your baby, your de facto, your ex – why dying without a will is a very bad idea

Dying without a will can lead to many problems for your loved ones in dealing with your estate and distributing your assets. It can be especially problematic if the person who dies without a will had a de facto, as well as children from a previous relationship. What is a will? A will is a […]
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superannuation assets, superannuation, super, fund, account, family law, divorce, separation, property settlement, asset, Tax Office, Family Court, legal settlement, proceedings, splitting super, flagging agreement
30 Mar 2022

Superannuation assets can no longer be kept secret in family law property settlements

From 1 April 2022 changes to superannuation laws mean that superannuation assets can no longer be hidden during a family law property settlement. Under amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 and the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, it will be harder for a person involved in property settlement proceedings as part of divorce or […]
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corporate veil, company, director, corporate, regulator, liability, limited liability, debt, separate entity, legal action, personally liable, investor, shareholder, safe harbour, administration, phoenix activity
17 Mar 2022

Lifting the corporate veil

The term “corporate veil” is a legal phrase that refers to a company being treated by the law as a separate entity to its owners. The corporate veil enables companies to conduct business activities such as buying and selling property or assets, taking legal action, acquiring debt and signing contracts. What is the purpose of […]
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director ID number, director ID, phoenix company, illegal phoenix activity, creditor, debtor, debt, unpaid taxes, unpaid creditors, unpaid suppliers, employee entitlements, worker entitlements, deadline, company restructure
05 Nov 2021

Company directors on a deadline to get their director ID number

Company directors have been given 12 months to apply for a director identification number (known as a director ID number) or risk facing fines of up to $1.1 million. The directive was recently issued by the government as part of its crackdown on phoenix activities. This is where directors running businesses through companies repeatedly declare […]
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modern day slavery, modern slavery, slavery, slave, enslave, forced labour, domestic servitude, human trafficking, Criminal Code
04 Nov 2021

Australians charged with modern-day slavery and jailed

A Sydney couple was recently charged with modern-day slavery and sentenced to several years jail for holding a Filipina woman as a slave. For three years, the couple forced the woman to work in their home and business without pay. The woman was invited to Australia by the wife to work as a nanny and […]
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reverse mortgage, mortgage, home loan, debt, repayment, interest, principal, equity, retirement, retiree, self funded, asset, home equity, compound interest, loan, aged care
23 Sep 2021

The reverse mortgage – one of life’s gambles?

With the government encouraging self-funded retirees to tap into their home’s equity to fund their existence, it is timely to explore the pros and cons of taking out a reverse mortgage. During the 2020 budget debate, the then Assistant Minister for Superannuation Jane Hume told parliament that self-funded retirees who are struggling to stay afloat […]
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lottery winnings, lotto, divorce, separate, separation, property settlement, assets, property pool, relationship, de facto, marriage, married, windfall, relationship, finances, Family Law Act
15 Sep 2021

Can my ex claim part of my lottery winnings?

If a couple separates and one of them wins lotto, can that person be legally required to share their lottery winnings with their ex-partner? As a family lawyer, I am sometimes asked whether lottery winnings form part of a couple’s assets that are to be divided in their property settlement. A typical question sounds like […]
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business email compromise, payment redirection, BEC scams, cybercriminal, cyberthieves, victim, email, bank account, scammers, Electronic Transactions Act, intercept, legitimate
04 Aug 2021

Business email compromise scams conning Australians out of millions

According to the Australian Federal Police, more than $79 million has been lost to cybercriminals in the past 12 months through business email compromise, also known as BEC scams or payment redirection scams. In such scams, cybercriminals trick victims by getting them to redirect their legitimate fund transfers, which victims think they are making to […]
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exit strategy, business, exit planning, business succession, farm succession, succession planning, business partner, employee, family member, outside buyer, director, documentation
20 Jul 2021

The vital importance of a business exit strategy

We are often asked by clients when is the right time to start planning their exit from their small business. Our answer is – the day you open. Starting, leaving and transferring a business is complex and there are many things to consider in formulating an exit strategy. In this article, we focus on something […]
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revoking a Power of Attorney, revoke, revocation, Enduring Guardian, guardianship, Irrevocable, legally binding, POA, Supreme Court, registration number, incapacitated, mental capacity, Management Order, NCAT, NSW, Trustee and Guardian
24 Jun 2021

Revoking a Power of Attorney or Enduring Guardian in NSW

Sometimes circumstances change and you may find yourself having to consider revoking a Power of Attorney or Enduring Guardian which you have made previously. This article outlines why you might consider revoking a Power of Attorney or Enduring Guardianship and how you go about doing so in NSW. What is a Power of Attorney? When […]
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granny flat, capital gains tax, CGT, exemption, written agreement, contract, pension, mortgage, default, higher level of care, elder abuse
16 Feb 2021

Federal government announces capital gains tax relief for granny flat accommodation

You have ageing parents who don’t want to move into aged care. There is room to extend your home or build out the back. The prospect of having mum and dad living close by is heartening. It’s also mutually advantageous: you can help care for them, while they can help care for your young kids. […]
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directions hearing, legal dispute, court, appearance, Supreme Court, judge, registrar, mediation, out of court, settlement, short minutes of orders, Statement of Claim, affidavit, expert report
02 Dec 2020

What is a directions hearing and how should I prepare for it?

If you are involved in a legal dispute, you may be called before a court for a directions hearing. This is a short court appearance where a judge or registrar will make orders outlining the next steps that need to be taken to resolve the dispute. In the NSW Supreme Court, a first directions hearing […]
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