Legal Articles

Justice of the Peace or Notary Public?


A Notary and Justice of the Peace (JP) are not the same.  A fundamental difference between a JP and Notary is that a JP is only recognised in a particular State or Territory of Australia while a Notary is recognised both nationally and internationally. Each Australian State and Territory has its own legislation to regulate JP’s appointment,… Read more »

A recent article in The Guardian looks at the outcome of Prince having died intestate.  The article states: “A Minnesota judge has ruled that Prince’s six siblings are the heirs to his estate, more than a year after the pop superstar died of a drug overdose.” Of the many celebrity deaths over the last 12 months or… Read more »

Old Lease, Extended Lease, New Lease


Can you keep extending a commercial lease? Of course a landlord and tenant can, either by the tenant duly exercising a right of renewal in the tenancy agreement itself, or, when that runs out, by agreement between landlord and tenant for a formal extension. The same terms can be retained, subject to agreed variations on matters… Read more »

Defaming Public Figures


In defamation law, there is a defence of Qualified Privilege.  A defamatory statement will not make the defendant liable if there was a legal, social or moral interest or duty to say it, and the person spoken-to had a corresponding duty or interest to hear it.  And the statement must be reasonably necessary to the… Read more »

Service of Court Process From Overseas


The world is a smaller place and more and more of us do business overseas, in the United States among other countries, despite the disdain of the US President for certain free trade agreements. But business can, unfortunately, sometimes lead to litigation (which has been described as business by other means). What to do if… Read more »

One of the most common questions I am asked when dealing with Probate matters is: Is there a time limit for the Executor to obtain Probate of a Will? Most people are surprised to hear that the answer is “no”. But that is not the end of the story. Being an Executor is not always… Read more »

Stamp Duty on SA Business Transfers Abolished


Stamp Duty was abolished from all SA business transfers from 18 June 2015 but this is still (good) news for lots of people. In fact, SA stamp duty was abolished for transfers of all non-quoted marketable securities (shares in private companies), units in unit trusts and all non-real property (non-land) transfers which includes licences such… Read more »

From 1 July 2015, all applications for Probate (or Letters of Administration) must be accompanied by an original Death Certificate, or a copy certified by a solicitor. The Probate Registrar has indicated that he will not accept errors on the Death Certificate. This stems from the admirable conviction that the historical records of our State… Read more »

Expert Evidence


Generally, the Courts aren’t interested in anyone’s opinion except their own.  That is, the Courts are there to hear facts and then deliver their opinion (which is called a Judgment). One major exception to this principle arises in the case of an expert witness.  Experts are allowed to give an opinion and have that opinion… Read more »

Electronic Conveyancing


On Monday 4th July 2016 Electronic Conveyancing was introduced in South Australia. So what does that mean for property owners? Some of the substantive changes are set out below. Client Authorisations Parties no longer sign their own Lands Titles Office documents, but are instead signed by the legal practitioner or conveyancer on behalf of their… Read more »

Executor’s Commission


The question is often asked by those appointed executor of a deceased estate, whether they are entitled to a commission for the time and effort required to do everything necessary to sort out the deceased estate. If the executor is also a beneficiary of the estate or if the will specifically makes provision for the… Read more »

How Long Does Your Commercial Lease Run?


If you’re a tenant seeking commercial space, or a landlord leasing commercial space, note that the policy of the Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995 is to give commercial tenants a minimum of 5 years, whatever the lease says. Sections 20B (1) and (2) of the Act state: “(1) The term for which a retail shop… Read more »

Separation and Social Media


Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are useful ways to keep our family and friends informed about important events in our lives, such as birthdays, new jobs, weddings, deaths, etc. Many people also use social media to announce that they have separated from their partner. Most of us have friends who have changed their relationship status to… Read more »

Liability to Mortgage Repayments After Separation


Am I still liable to pay the mortgage repayments if I move out of the family home? When a couple separates, one partner usually continues living in the family home and the other party lives in rental accommodation. We are frequently asked whether both parties should contribute towards the mortgage payments, or if it is… Read more »

Binding Financial Agreements Between Spouses


Are you married or living with your partner (or planning to do so)? Do you worry about how your assets and superannuation will be dealt with if you separate? A Binding Financial Agreement is a legally binding document which sets out your agreement about how assets should be divided if you separate from your spouse… Read more »