vLex Australia

  • Doing Business in Australia

    Our comprehensive Guide to Doing Business in Australia, developed from the experience of our lawyers across our four key markets in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, explores the many legal and regulatory factors to consider when entering or working in the market Down Under. Please see full publication below for more information. (See Article)

    Dec 5, 2019 7:32 PM

  • Industrial manslaughter progresses in the Northern Territory and Western Australia

    Following our recent updates regarding the introduction of workplace manslaughter laws in Victoria (see our blog article here) and proposed legislative changes in New South Wales (see our blog article here), there have now been further developments, with industrial manslaughter laws being passed in the Northern Territory (NT) and proposed in Western Australia as part... (See Article)

    Dec 4, 2019 7:33 AM

  • Protecting Your Corporate Keys

    In an era of online banks and ASIC Corporate Keys, the management of access to your company's digital platforms, which are often critical to your operations, is an essential element of good governance practices. (See Article)

    Dec 4, 2019 7:32 AM

  • What Is a Director to Do About "Culture"?

    The Situation: Directors and executives are largely responsible for the culture of companies, and regulators are seeking to hold them accountable for misconduct that can be traced to poor culture. The Key Message: Culture can and should be assessed on a regular basis. In meeting their duties, directors should consider whether they need to have in place tools and systems that enable them to assess and monitor culture. This is not just a compliance step required in order to meet legal obligations; a strong culture is an opportunity to create sustainable high performance and returns. (See Article)

    Dec 3, 2019 7:32 AM

  • Westpac Banking Corporation Faces Money Laundering Scandal in the Land Down Under

    Bank Accused of Being Asleep at the AML-CTF Switch On November 20, 2019, AUSTRAC, Australia’s anti money-laundering (“AML”) and counter-terrorism financing (“CTF”) regulator, initiated an action in the Federal Court of Australia seeking civil penalty orders against Westpac Banking Corporation (“Westpac”), Australia’s second largest retail bank, alleging systemic failures to comply with Australia’s AML-CTF laws.  Specifically,... (See Article)

    Dec 2, 2019 7:33 AM

  • Don’t be so reckless – Employer convicted in first successful safety prosecution for bullying under the harmonised WHS Act

    Safe Work Australia has recently revealed that the number of serious workplace injuries related to bullying and harassment has nearly doubled in Australia since 2009.  Mental health-related  claims that involve workplace harassment or bullying are skyrocketing, with about a quarter of all psychological claims based on allegations of workplace harassment or bullying.  In the 2019/20... (See Article)

    Dec 2, 2019 7:33 AM

  • Wrong interpretation of industrial agreement leads to successful underpayment claim for 150 workers

    The Federal Court of Australia recently decided in favour of a representative proceeding (more commonly known as a ‘class action’) brought on behalf of approximately 150 workers, and backed by the Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Maritime Employees Union against Thiess Pty Ltd, on the question of payment for travel time at the end of a... (See Article)

    Nov 29, 2019 7:33 AM

  • Authorised use or something fishy? – Implications for trade mark ‘use’ in Australia in the inter-company context

    Trade mark licensing arrangements can often offer significant benefits for trade mark owners by increasing brand exposure and royalty revenue streams. However, as we have previously reported, recent Australian cases (such as Lodestar Anstalt v Campari America LLC [2016] FCAFC 92 (Lodestar)) demonstrated that licensing arrangements may expose trade mark owners to the risk of... (See Article)

    Nov 29, 2019 7:33 AM

  • Australian Taxation Office Increases Scrutiny of Australian Inbound Investments

    The Situation: The Australian Taxation Office ("ATO") has broadened its role in the process for reviewing foreign investment proposals, through closer engagement with foreign investors pursuing acquisitions, mergers and restructures in Australia. The Result: The ATO's new approach—which is in place now—aims to centralise monitoring of tax compliance issues for implemented transactions. Even though a foreign investment may have been approved by the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board ("FIRB") and therefore been through an initial screening by the ATO, inbound investors should now expect that the ATO will conduct a post-implementation review of the tax issues associated with the investment. The main benefit of this is to allow any tax issues to be identified and dealt with by the ATO and taxpayers as soon as possible after a transaction has been implemented. (See Article)

    Nov 29, 2019 7:32 AM

  • Ready or not – changes to the ASX Listing Rules come into effect on 1 December 2019

    There are 171 pages of ASX Listing Rules changes, five amended Appendix Forms, six new Guidance Notes and 12 updated Guidance Notes which largely come into effect on 1 December 2019. Please refer to our earlier articles Proposed changes to the ASX Listing Rules, and Amendments to ASX Listing Rules to take effect 1 December 2019 for more background information on the amendments to the ASX Listing Rules. (See Article)

    Nov 25, 2019 9:32 AM

  • Changes Ahead for Australia’s Corporate Criminal Liability Regime

    The Situation: At the direction of the Attorney General of Australia, the Australian Law Reform Commission ("ALRC") is undertaking a comprehensive review of Australia's Commonwealth corporate criminal liability regime. The ALRC is due to release a discussion paper on proposed reforms shortly. The Result: The terms of reference indicate the ALRC is considering a broad range of issues including avenues to strengthen and simplify the existing statutory mechanisms for attributing criminal liability to companies found in Part 2.5 of the Criminal Code (Cth). The ALRC has also been asked to consider incorporating provisions of general application into Part 2.5 to facilitate senior corporate officers being held criminally liable for corporate misconduct and to consider the appropriateness of existing criminal procedure laws as they apply to corporations. (See Article)

    Nov 25, 2019 9:32 AM

  • ASIC Whistleblower Policy Requirements More Onerous but 1 January Deadline Remains

    WHAT HAS HAPPENED? ASIC has released Regulatory Guide 270 for Whistleblower Policies. Despite concerns raised that the Guide's requirements are onerous and will require companies to once again amend their policy to ensure compliance, ASIC has not extended the 1 January 2020 deadline. (See Article)

    Nov 20, 2019 7:32 AM

  • Open Super in Australia: The Consumer Data Right Could Be Extended to the Superannuation Industry

    On 23 October 2019, the Senate Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology (Committee) published an issues paper regarding its comprehensive inquiry into fintechs and regtechs in Australia. (See Article)

    Nov 18, 2019 7:32 PM

  • To disclose or not to disclose? The key takeaways from the Myer shareholders’ securities class action

    This landmark decision is the first time that a shareholder class action for a listed company has gone to judgment in Australia, and the first time that a listed company, or its insurer, has decided not to settle with its shareholders before judgment. (See Article)

    Nov 18, 2019 7:32 AM

  • Employee dismissed following long term absence due to mental illness: Federal Court finds it lawful

    In an important decision last month, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia upheld the appeal of an employer who claimed, in dismissing a client executive who had been absent from work for 7 months due to mental health issues, it had acted lawfully and not dismissed him because of his illness.[1] The... (See Article)

    Nov 14, 2019 7:33 AM

  • “Phase 1.5” in Australia’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Reforms

    On 17 October 2019, the Australian Government introduced a bill into Parliament to implement the next phase of reforms to the country’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (“AML/CTF”) laws. If enacted, businesses will have the opportunity to save time and money when performing customer due diligence, though will also need to update their AML/CTF programs to ensure continued compliance. Please see full article below for more information. (See Article)

    Nov 13, 2019 7:32 AM

  • Digital Health, Citizens and Commercialisation

    For those near Brisbane, the Australian Centre for Health Law Research (QUT) has its ACHLR 7th Annual Public Oration on Thursday 14 November 2019, to be presented by Professor Jane Kaye. Online registration is now available. Professor Kaye is the Director of the Centre for Law, Health and Emerging Technologies (HeLEX) at the University of... (See Article)

    Nov 12, 2019 7:33 AM

  • Compulsion of Employee Evidence That May Incriminate Corporate Employers: The High Court Deliberates

    The Situation: A recent decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia has significant implications for prosecuting authorities, including corporate regulators. The decision affects the circumstances in which an individual may be compelled to give evidence in inquisitorial or civil proceedings in respect of matters which are also relevant to concurrent criminal proceedings on foot against the individual's employer. The Result: The Full Court held that a subpoena requiring an individual to give evidence at a coronial inquest about matters that were also relevant to a pending criminal prosecution of his employer should be stayed so as to not fundamentally alter the position of the accused in the criminal trial. By virtue of section 87(1)(b) of the Evidence Act 2011 (ACT) the employee's evidence would be admissible not merely as a witness of fact, but as evidence of an admission by the employer itself. (See Article)

    Nov 12, 2019 7:32 AM

  • Fair Work Class Actions on the Rise

    Multi-million dollar underpayment claims in the Calombaris Group, the Rockpool group and the AU$300 million Woolworths self-declaration are likely to fuel a growing trend in fair work class actions. (See Article)

    Nov 11, 2019 7:32 AM

  • First Australian Salmonella Havana outbreak traced to alfalfa sprouts

    An outbreak linked to alfalfa sprouts last year was the first identified Salmonella Havana occurrence in Australia, according to researchers. During June 2018, an increase in Salmonella Havana was detected through routine surveillance by the Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB) of South Australia (SA) Health. During 2013 to 2017, three to 14 cases were reported... (See Article)

    Nov 8, 2019 7:33 AM

  • The draft Religious Discrimination Bill (Cth) + possible impact on health professionals

    Associate Professor Neil Foster (University of Newcastle) has made available on his Law and Religion Australia blog a paper on above topic, which was presented at the Newcastle University Clinical Unit in Ethics and Health Law meeting earlier this week. (See Article)

    Nov 7, 2019 7:33 AM

  • Australian Startup Lawpath Raises $4.4M to Grow Its Online Legal Platform

    Australian legal startup Lawpath has closed a $4.4 million fundraising round, which it said was one of the largest capital raises for legal tech in Australian history. The investment will be used to strengthen its products and services in Australia and to expand into Asia. Lawpath also today launched a new legal services platform for... (See Article)

    Nov 6, 2019 7:33 AM

  • Federal Court deems Halifax a “classic candidate” for cross border insolvency cooperation

    On August 22, 2019, Justice Gleeson delivered her judgment in Re Halifax. Halifax Australia (Halifax Aus) owned and operated a number of Halifax investment services companies operating under the Halifax name in various locations around the world. In late 2018, liquidators were appointed to Halifax Aus. At the time, Halifax owned 70% of Halifax New... (See Article)

    Nov 6, 2019 7:33 AM

  • Australian Senate Condemns the Innovation Patent, but Grants an Extra Six Months on Death Row

    On 16 October 2019 the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission Response Part 2 and Other Measures) Bill 2019 was passed by the Australian Senate. Among other purposes, this bill includes long-anticipated provisions to phase out Australia’s second-tier patent right, the innovation patent – despite concerted last-ditch efforts by opponents of the move to persuade... (See Article)

    Nov 6, 2019 7:33 AM

  • The Journal Jurisprudence

    Issues #40 (October 2019) and #39 (July 2019) of publication The Journal Jurisprudence are now available

    Nov 5, 2019 12:19 PM

  • Australia reports record high number of recalls

    A record-high level of food incidents and recalls have been recorded in Australia, according to the annual report of Food Standards Australia New Zealand. The food safety team at Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) coordinated 106 incidents and recalls from July 2018 to June 2019, which was the highest number of recalls in a... (See Article)

    Nov 4, 2019 3:32 PM

  • Almost 50 ill in Australian Salmonella outbreak

    The number of people ill in a Salmonella outbreak linked to a brand of frozen microwave meals in Australia has jumped to 46. Public health investigations have found that sick people in New South Wales (NSW), Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) reported consuming the products. Fifteen Salmonella Weltevreden infections... (See Article)

    Nov 4, 2019 1:32 PM

  • Responses to Gender Pay Inequity: A Quick World Tour

    Most major jurisdictions have pay equity laws, but their approach is far from uniform. Global companies need to evaluate compliance with these laws on a country-by-country basis whilst simultaneously addressing their compensation policies globally. A sample of the rules across several countries helps to identify trends that can drive effective global policies. Australia The Australian... (See Article)

    Nov 4, 2019 1:32 PM

  • Australian Securities Class Action Suit Reaches Judgment for the First Time

    Securities class action lawsuits have been an important part of the litigation scene in Australia for many years. But even though the current class action procedural regime has been in place since 1992, no Australian securities class action lawsuit ever went all the way to judgment – that is, no case ever went to judgment... (See Article)

    Nov 4, 2019 1:32 PM

  • Release of Implementation Plan in response to independent scientific panel inquiry into hydraulic fracture stimulation in Western Australia

    On 8 July 2019, the Western Australian State Government (State Government) announced that it had released a new Implementation Plan (Plan). The 18-month transitional Plan is the State Government's response to the Final Report of the Independent Scientific Panel Inquiry into hydraulic fracture stimulation in Western Australia handed down on 12 September 2018 (the Report) and the Western Australian State Government Policy on fracking released on 27 November 2018 (which are both outlined in our recent article, Western Australia's updated fracking policy). Following careful consideration of the Report, the State Government accepted in principle the recommendations set out in the Report and ann (See Article)

    Oct 31, 2019 7:32 AM