Legal Articles

Service of Court Process From Overseas

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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

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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

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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

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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 »

Is it a Good Idea to Trademark?

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The risks associated with not using a registered trade mark are highlighted in the recent Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia decision in Lodestar Anstalt v Campari Amercia LLC [2016] FCAFC 92. If a trademark has been registered for a period of five years from the filing date, it can be cancelled because… Read more »

Executor’s Commission

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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 »

Executing a Will is an extremely important process.  All too regularly, we see Wills that have been either prepared at home through a “Will-kit”, or prepared by solicitors and witnessed at home, where the Testator (the Willmaker) and witnesses have not observed the proper formalities.  It is usually a surprise to the Executors to find… Read more »

Defamation Damages for Internet Abuse

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In a celebrated recent case, a self-appointed ‘avenger’ styling himself as “The Arbitrator”, complete with website and blog, decided to go on a one-man crusade against Australia’s banks.  Fair enough, you might think – the internet can empower the weak against the strong.  But such power, like all power, should not be abused. The case… Read more »

Buying a Defence Housing Property in SA

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I have recently had an influx of conveyancing on Defence Housing Australia (DHA) properties. These tend to vary from standard conveyances as a purchaser negotiates the property and terms directly with DHA. Then the Contract and Form 1 documentation is prepared by DHA’s Solicitors. This documentation is forwarded by DHA’s Solicitors to your conveyancer for… Read more »