2021 - articles & insights

Click here to subscribe to our emailed publications.

Subscribe

Government introduces the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 (Cth)

This week the Morrison Government has introduced into Parliament the Religious Discrimination Bill 2021 (Cth) (Bill) . The Bill seeks to make it unlawful to discriminate against a person on the ground of religious belief or activity in various areas of public life, including work, education, access to premises and the provision of goods, services …
view more

More Than A (Bare) Pleading – The Implications of the Supreme Court’s First Decision on the Statutory Duty of Care under the DBPA

The New South Wales Supreme Court has issued its first decision concerning the statutory duty of care in section 37 of the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (NSW) (DBPA), which carried important implications in relation to the operation of the statutory duty of care in defects disputes. Vincent Young has previously reviewed the operation …
view more

Charging clauses in residential home building contracts

This article considers whether a licensed contractor can insert a charging clause in a residential home building contract. This question is important because it determines whether a licensed contractor can secure their entitlement to receive payment from a residential homeowner.  A secured entitlement helps mitigate the risk of non-payment. Charging clauses In the past, it …
view more

Webinar: Key themes for workplaces as 2021 comes to an end

In this recent webinar, Erin Lynch, Employment Partner, discussed the key themes for workplaces as we return back to “normal” and 2021 comes to an end. Erin addressed the following topics: vaccinations; returning to the “workplace”; key workplace decisions; changes to sexual harassment laws; casual conversion terms in modern awards; and changes to superannuation. Donwload …
view more

National Security Actions: the new foreign investment review framework

Earlier in January 2021, the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) introduced a new national security test. Many investments and acquisitions which were previously not ‘notifiable actions’ or ‘significant actions’ under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth) (FATA) are now subject to compulsory or voluntary notifications. Under the new changes, the Treasurer is also …
view more

Have you got a contract or are you still negotiating?

Imagine this. You’ve spent months negotiating a deal.  Today, you and your counterparty agreed the last of the important terms.  Your lawyers still need to finalise the written document but you and your counterparty shook hands on the deal at the end of a meeting. Have you got a contract? The answer is “depends”.  There …
view more

Privity of Contract: The role of statutory warranties for third parties to construction agreements

Increasingly, we are reviewing contracts whereby developers seek to provide benefits to third parties by increasing who the contractor owes its obligations to under a contract. For example, a developer may amend all the indemnities in a contract to benefit “Indemnified Parties”. These “Indemnified Parties” are ordinarily third parties which have an interest in the …
view more

Webinar: Dealing with absent employees in the workplace

In this recent webinar, Erin Lynch, Employment Partner, discussed how to manage absent employees, best practice in dealing with unfit employees and potential legal risks. Erin addressed the following topics: Absent employees; Employees unfit for work; Making reasonable accommodations and adjustments; Independent medical examination; Termination of employment; Legal risks; and Practical tips. Download the slides …
view more

Contracting Out of Statutory Limitation Periods

Recently the High Court of Australia (Court) held that parties may validly contract out of statutory limitation periods. This decision will likely have broad application and impact on clauses in contracts moving forward. Care should still be taken when drafting contractual clauses that seek to exclude statutory limitation periods as the decision may not apply …
view more

Promissory estoppel

Commercial parties tend to operate in fluid and fast paced environments. Frequently formal contracts are entered into or amended late or possibly not at all. Time constrains, cost constraints or simply oversight are often to blame. Failing to record deals in contracts puts commercial parties at risk. One party may decide to walk away from …
view more

Webinar: A Roadmap for Respect – The Key Legislative Change and the Respect@Work Report

Erin Lynch, Employment Partner at Vincent Young Lawyers recently presented a webinar on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. Erin, covered the following topics: The definition of sexual harassment. Statistics. Key recommendations for employers. Legislative changes including the Fair Work Act and Sex Discrimination Act. The impact for employers and the workplace. Download the slides here: …
view more

What’s your age again? The AHRC has released a report on ageism in Australia

Discrimination takes many forms. When we think about “age discrimination”, discrimination against “older” workers is generally the first thing that comes to our mind. However, the reality is that young people are also subject to this type of discrimination. In the workplace, older and younger workers experience ageism and discrimination of different kinds, which has …
view more

Residential builders and their claims under the Security of Payment Act

Effective from 1 March 2021, the operation of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW) has been expanded due to an amendment made to the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Regulation 2020 (NSW) (collectively, ‘Security of Payment Laws’). The Security of Payment Laws now apply to ‘Owner occupier construction …
view more

Signing Documents in the Digital Age

With the current lockdown forcing many offices to close, we have seen an increase in the number of queries from clients regarding the remote execution of documents. This article provides a “how to” guide for valid electronic execution of documents if you are signing a document on behalf of a company in NSW. Deed or …
view more

Activating development consents

In NSW, a development may or may not require consent, depending on the conditions in an environmental planning instrument. Developments which do not require consents are usually very low impact developments and are referred to as exempt developments. This article focuses on developments which require consents and that include complying developments, state-significant developments as well …
view more

Webinar: Workplace Engagement – Employee, Contractor or Something Else

Erin Lynch, Employment Partner at Vincent Young Lawyers recently presented a webinar on Employees and Independent Contractors. Erin, covered the following topics: What’s the difference between an employee and contractor? The impact on modern workplace relationships What happens if you get it wrong Practical tips for navigating these issues Download the slides here:

Caveats – who, what, why?

What is a caveat? A caveat is a form of warning with respect to land.  A caveat alerts others that the person who lodged the caveat (caveator) has an unregistered interest in the land against which the caveat is lodged (although at times it may not be an eligible interest in which case it is …
view more

Changes to Company Electronic Execution

Background The most common method by which a company may execute a document is that prescribed by s127 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act). By doing so, parties dealing with the company can be protected by relying on the assumptions listed in s129 of the Corporations Act when dealing with the company, including …
view more

Introduction to the PPSA

Most businesses and many individuals will be asked to either give a security interest over their personal property or will want to benefit from a security interest over another’s personal property.  Personal property is any property which is not land. The Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) (PPSA) provides a uniform system of registration for …
view more

Webinar: Performance Management – What you need to know

Join Erin Lynch as she discusses how to manage employees’ performance and, if appropriate, termination of employment. Erin will be addressing the following topics: performance management vs performance reviews; performance management and bullying; performance management in a remote context; the responsibilities of managers; termination of employment; legal risks; and practical tips.

Settlement agreements in building disputes – a cautionary tale

A recent decision of the New South Wales Supreme Court in The Owners – Strata Plan No 85561 v Omaya Holdings Pty Ltd [2021] NSWSC 918 (Omaya) examined and enforced a settlement agreement executed as between an Owners Corporation (OC), a builder (Builder) and a developer (Developer). The decision of the Court in Omaya represents a …
view more

The Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) and retention of title

If you supply goods under retention of title arrangements, you need to know about the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) (PPSA). Registering your interest in goods supplied under retention of title arrangements on the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) is essential to protect suppliers in the event of purchaser insolvency. Retention of title Retention …
view more

Interior Designers and the Application of the Design and Building Practitioners Act

  Interior Designers and Registration “Interior Architects” who make designs concerning Building Work would need to be registered as an Architect or Building Designer (Low/Mid-rise) to make compliance declarations. Building Work refers to: the construction; alteration or addition; repair or renovation; or protective treatment, of a Class 2 Building Element. For this scheme, Building Element …
view more

New levy, penalties and prohibitions to the RAB Act and the DBP Act.

On 8 June 2021, the NSW Parliament passed the Building Legislation Amendment Act 2021 (Amending Act) which made several key amendments to the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 (NSW) (RAB Act), and the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (NSW) (DBP Act). The Amending Act focuses on enhancing the compliance and enforcement powers of …
view more

CPB held to its DEAL

A recent decision of the New South Wales Supreme Court in CPB Contractors Pty Ltd v DEAL S.R.L. [2021] NSWSC 820 confirmed the pro-arbitration approach of the Supreme Court and examined interesting issues concerning: the breadth of the kompetenz-kompetenz principle, and whether the Court or an arbitrator should determine if a “matter” falls within the …
view more

Morrison Government proposes changes to sexual harassment and sex discrimination laws in the workplace

The Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021 (Cth) (Bill) was introduced into the Senate last week. The intent of the legislation is to amend the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act), the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth) (AHRC Act) and Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (SD Act) …
view more

Construction company wins case on exception to redundancy payments

A Full Federal Court has found, in a case involving a construction company and the CEPU, that the “ordinary and customary turnover” exception to redundancy pay in section 119 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) applied to employees employed for a specific construction project. At first instance, the primary judge found that the employees …
view more

National Minimum Wage and Modern Award Minimum Wages to increase by 2.5%

Yesterday, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) handed down its decision as part of its annual wage review announcing an increase of 2.5% to the national minimum wage and the minimum wage rates in modern awards. From the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2021, the national minimum wage will be $772.60 per …
view more

Webinar: Workplace predictions for 2021-2022

Join, Erin Lynch, where she will discuss the hot topics for the next 12 months in the workplace. Erin will address the following topics: Changes to minimum wages; Employees and contractors; Sexual harassment; Workplace flexibility; and Changes to modern awards.

When a piccolo café latte might cost you your job

The Applicant, Ms Ajax, made an application to the Fair Work Commission (Commission) for an unfair dismissal remedy. Prior to being dismissed on 1 July 2020, she worked on a full-time basis for the Respondent, Credit Union Australia Ltd (CUA), as a Customer Service Specialist. As part of her position, Ms Ajax was required to offer …
view more

Webinar: Changes to casual employment – what you need to know

Erin Lynch, Vincent Young Employment Partner, recently presented a webinar where she discussed the legislative changes to casual employees and the impact on organisations. Erin addressed the following topics: who is a casual employee? casual employment under modern awards; casual conversion; casual loading and “double dipping”; the Casual Employment Information Statement; and practical tips for …
view more

Get the “jab” – mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for employees?

With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout starting in Australia, organisations are considering whether or not they are able to mandate that their employees get vaccinated. The answer…it depends (noting that there is yet to be a decision by the Courts on this question). Employers, in directing employees to get vaccinated, will need to assess each case …
view more

IR Reforms: Stripped back to amendments to casual employment

Yesterday, the amended Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2021 (the “Bill”) passed Parliament, after the House of Representatives accepted the Senate’s amendments. The Bill, as introduced in Parliament in December 2020, has been reduced to include only changes to casual employment. These changes include: a definition of casual employee based …
view more