When you own or run a business, litigation is one of the many hazards that you may face. It is essential to consult with your commercial lawyers for sound legal advice and find out what steps are needed to resolve all kinds of disputes quickly and prevent litigation that could be the ruination of your business. Taking out insurance to cover litigation is also essential, otherwise you could find yourself bankrupt.
Here are some of the causes of litigation that businesses face and tips to prevent it: –
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If you are considering estate planning to take care of your assets and divide them properly between your loved ones, family lawyers will tell you to write down the information they need before you make an appointment with them. In this way they will have all the information to hand and can get on with the job, saving you both time and money.
So to that end, here is a list of steps you need to take to ensure you have everything covered.
- Physical assets – these are house, car or any other vehicle you may own and any other asset worth over $100. This can include electronic devices, home theatre, camera, artwork, jewellery, ornaments and expensive even clothing such as a fur coat or wedding dress.
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Litigation is every business’s worst nightmare. Legal Advice will tell you that not only is it time consuming and expensive, the trauma of it all can cause you to feel ill and affect your ability to make good business decisions, so business growth will be hindered. It can also affect employee morale and the reputation of your business. That can cause a lot of loss and take years to recover from.
So how do you avoid litigation? Here are some common sense tips to help you.
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Once a Violence Restraining Order (VRO) is in force, sometimes circumstances between the Applicant and Respondent improve and it is no longer needed. Perth criminal lawyers can give you good advice on how to go about cancelling the order, otherwise you can still be tried for breach of the order if you breach the terms.
To have the VRO cancelled you have to fill in a special form called Form 8 Application and lodge it with the Magistrates Court. The form has a space for you to write down the reasons for the cancellation or the variation so the court will know if there is sufficient reason.
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Most businesses don’t own the premises they work from, but lease them. A lease is much cheaper than an outright purchase and you have the option of not renewing it when the time comes if you think your business could do better in a different area. It is important to consult Perth property lawyers before signing the lease, especially if you don’t know much about them.
Here are some lease issues to consider before you sign on the dotted line.
- Make sure the term of the lease is long enough for you to recoup the investment and make a profit. Landlords are under no legal requirement to renew the lease. Plus, when they do renew they have the right to increase the cost.
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There are many people involved in running a business from management to staff to shareholders. Often disputes arise, especially when shareholders think management is making poor business decisions that affect their income from the business. When disputes arise they often need to be handled by a commercial lawyer, but there are some other methods that can be used to get the issues solved quickly and cost-effectively.
- This is when an independent mediator is used to help the parties involved make good decisions. The mediator doesn’t make the decisions; their expertise lies in facilitating discussion and defusing tense situations that do nothing to help get the matter resolved. An independent mediator is a neutral party who is not affected by the outcome of the dispute; this is why both parties feel they can be trusted.
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No matter which Australian state you live in, before you can start divorce proceedings you have to live apart from your spouse or partner for 12 months and one day. Family lawyers will tell you that it is possible to live in the same house and still be living apart. This sometimes happens if living in another house or other accommodation would be difficult financially.
However, you must prove that you are living apart in the home and that there is no likelihood of reconciliation. For instance, there must be two bedrooms in the house so it is obvious you and your partner are not sharing the same bed.
Attending court for a divorce
If there are no children from your marriage and you apply for a divorce, you don’t have to attend the court hearing. In some cases a couple may have made a joint application for a divorce. In this case, if there are children from the marriage under 18, neither you nor your spouse have to attend the court hearing.
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Anyone who has been convicted of a crime in their youth may have mended their ways and not want anyone to know about it. If the offence was over ten years ago, they can apply to have that conviction ‘spent’; that is, wiped from the records. A criminal lawyer will tell you that such convictions have two classifications: lesser convictions and serious convictions. Here is how this is worked out.
- The lesser conviction refers to a sentence of less than $15,000 for the fine, or under twelve months for a lesser conviction.
- A serious conviction is imprisonment of more than a year in length or over $15,000 for the fine.
To have your conviction ‘spent’ you must apply through the courts. The review of the conviction should only take around 21 days.
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Many people decide to buy a business because they think it will be less work than a 9-5 job, or they think that at least they can’t be sacked. The first is simply not true and while the second may be true, a business can easily fail and so in that way they will lose their job – and often much more. So before you purchase a business, consult with commercial lawyers and an accountant to make sure it is a good deal.
Meanwhile, here is a checklist of things to see about before you buy.
- Make sure the sellers are not due for pending litigation. This can point to problems with the business.
- Do your financial due diligence by having an accountant crunch the numbers you’ve been given. They will soon seen if the profit has been artificially inflated just prior to selling.
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Not a lot of people think about making a legal Will, drawn up by family lawyers; they may just tell their spouse or children that anything they have should be divided equally between them. Unless one of their children is a favourite, in which case they may want that person to get everything. But unless they make a legal Will, this is unlikely to happen.
If you don’t have a Will, when you pass away you will be declared intestate, which simply means without a Will. Any assets you have will not be distributed to your family, at least not immediately. First, the matter will have to go through legal proceedings to ascertain exactly what you have in assets and how much it is all worth.
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A Violence Restraining Order (VRO) is a special court order that can be applied for by a person who fears that their partner or ex-partner will be violent towards them. If you have had a VRO served to you, you are known as the respondent and your ex-partner is known as the Applicant. Criminal lawyers will tell you that if you don’t obey the instructions in the VRO you can face gaol time.
If you have been in some way violent to your partner, or have intimidated them in some way, or damaged property belonging to them, then they have the right to apply for a VRO against you. This will be served (given to) on you by the police and is in force from that time, usually for a period of two years or longer.
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Many people join a franchise as a cheap way of going into business for themselves. Sometimes it works out well and sometimes it doesn’t, for various reasons. It is important to understand franchise contracts before you sign up. These have been drafted by experienced commercial lawyers and are quite comprehensive.
Here are 10 points to consider when it comes to franchise contracts.
- The contract for a franchise is non-negotiable. If something does not suit you, there is no way to change it. This is because companies that run franchises find it easier and fairer if all their franchisees are on the same page.
- If there is something in the contract that you don’t understand you can ask for a letter of clarification. This will usually be given because it helps to establish trust between the two parties.
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Estate planning is about much more than just creating a Will so your assets will be divided the way you want them to be. Any estate planning lawyers will tell you that by planning your estate you are making the best decisions about your future and your family’s future in many ways. Here are several benefits of estate planning.
- A Will is only part of estate planning, but it is an important part. By ensuring your Will is legal and binding, you also ensure that your wishes about the distribution of your assets will be carried out.
- With family lawyers to help structure your estate, taxes can be minimised so your family gets more.
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Every business owner needs to know about contracts and agreements; they are all part of running a business. Unless you are highly trained in the matter, choosing commercial lawyers to draft them or at least read them through will ensure that the contracts are legal and fair and keep you out of trouble. Here are some tips to make good business contracts.
- Very often, an oral agreement is made when the situation is a simple one. However, even though in some cases an oral agreement is legal, it is rarely enforceable in a court of law. And in some cases such an agreement is not legal. It is far better to get the agreement in writing so both parties know where they stand.
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What happens when you are charged with a traffic offence usually depends on whether you plead guilty or are found guilty by the court. It also depends on how serious the charge is. Not all charges result in gaol time. It is a good idea to consult with criminal lawyers to find out what will happen and whether you will need legal representation at the trial.
For less serious charges you may not have to attend court, but then it is possible that you may be convicted. If you don’t go to court you will have to phone the court registry after the hearing to see what the verdict was. If you get a Notice of the court hearing, that means you don’t have to attend, but can if you want to.
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While no one marries with the idea of divorcing, family lawyers can attest to the fact that unfortunately, divorce still happens to a good percentage of couples. When it does, one of the main areas that has to be settled fairly is the distribution of assets. Even if there are not many assets, it is still important that both partners are treated fairly when it comes to asset division.
In fact, the court will also decide on the fair division of debt as well as assets, so that one person is not left with the kind of debt that they cannot possibly manage and the other person gets assets and no debt. So how can a court possibly decide what is fair and what is not fair? Certainly it would be easier to make such a decision in a case where there are no children, both work and have equal income. However, this is rarely the case.
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All the legal work done in buying or selling property is called conveyancing. It is usually done by a conveyancer or commercial lawyers, both of whom are fully trained and experienced in such matters. Of the two, the solicitor can give you better legal advice than a conveyancer. However, if you are a detail oriented person, you may be able to do the conveyancing yourself. The only thing is you can be liable for the loss if something goes wrong with the sale.
Conveyancers and commercial lawyers take out professional indemnity insurance to cover them for the possibility of loss. You can also do this, but it is unlikely that you would be able to take out the same amount of insurance as a professional person. And by the time you pay for this and all the other costs involved, you don’t really save much.
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Some people have a dream to start their own business from scratch, rather than building on someone else’s business. It is a good idea to consult with commercial lawyers if you decide to go this route because there is a great deal involved that you may not know about. In fact, starting your own business can be hard work, so here is a checklist that will help you.
- You need to know if your business idea is likely to be successful. Do some research and see if there are other similar businesses in the area that you would be in competition with. Find out if there is a market for your business. For instance, there would not be much need for wagon wheels these days, but coffee shops often thrive, especially if you can have a unique selling point. For instance, you could offer homemade blueberry pies.
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A duty lawyer is employed by Legal Aid, WA, to give advice and to represent people who have been charged with a criminal offence. Their services are restricted to cases appearing in the Magistrates Court. They can advise on a wide range of issues and can help you in many other ways. If you cannot afford to consult with criminal lawyers, the duty lawyer can help you.
However, if the matter is to be heard in the Supreme Court or the District Court, or if it goes before the President of the Children’s Court duty lawyers will not be able to represent you unless you already have a lawyer who asks them to represent you on that day.
How can a duty lawyer help you?
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When two people are about to enter into a relationship, one of them may decide that a Binding Financial Agreement (BFA) should be drawn up to protect them from financial loss should the relationship fail. Family lawyers are needed to give advice to both parties involved and explain exactly what the terms of the agreement mean.
While such an agreement can be entered into at any time – before, during or after the relationship, it is best to do it beforehand or even during the relationship while both parties are happy. To be fair, there should be input from both parties, although this often does not happen. While there are advantages to having a BFA, there are also a few disadvantages.
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Many business owners try to save money by not having any insurance or by not having enough. One is just as bad as the other if something disastrous like a flood or a fire wipes out your premises. You stand to lose everything and will have no way to recoup your loss. You will never be able to start up business again and may not be able to pay your debts. Commercial lawyers will tell you insurance is one of the most important aspects of a business.
Not having enough insurance is almost as bad as having none. There will not be enough to cover your loss and start up again if there is not enough insurance. The only good thing is that it may just cover your debts. But that is small comfort if you want to start your business up again.
There are different types of insurance you need for business.
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Contempt of court is when a person does not behave appropriately in a court setting, or does not attend court when they were summoned to attend. It is an offense that can attract a fine of up to $12,000 or 12 months gaol time – and sometimes both. If you have to appear in court, your legal adviser will advise you how to behave appropriately and then it is up to you to do so.
So exactly what kind of behaviour is considered contempt of court? Here are some examples.
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No one knows for sure what their future holds and there could be some circumstances where you cannot continue to operate your business and need to sell it. When you get sound legal advice a commercial lawyer will be sure this eventuality is provided for in the lease. There should be a clause stating that the landlord cannot reasonably stop you from assigning your lease to someone else.
You will need to do this if you sell the business before the lease is up, or sub-let it to another person. However, if this happens it is essential to ensure that in the original lease there is a clause to say that you will not be held responsible if the person to whom you assign the lease defaults on the payments. Otherwise you can be held responsible for the cost of the lease when you are no longer running the business.
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