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Non party costs order against company director upheld on appeal

Posted on Categories civil litigation Tags , , , Leave a comment on Non party costs order against company director upheld on appeal

A recent Court of Appeal decision has upheld the decision of a District Court judge to impose a costs order against the director of a company that had been placed into liquidation five days after the close of evidence of a trial.

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The facts

At all material times Geoffrey Murphy was the sole director and ‘controlling mind’ of the defendant Collhart Investments Pty Ltd, formerly known as JM Kelly (Project Builders) Pty Ltd in civil proceedings in the District Court. The Plaintiff in that civil action was Mackay Labour Hire Pty Ltd, and it was suing for $288,242.54 for labour hire provided under various contracts. The defendant had also countersued for moneys it said had been paid to the plaintiff under a mistake of law.
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12 common misperceptions of family law clients

Posted on Categories Evidence, Family law Tags , , , , 2 Comments on 12 common misperceptions of family law clients

“Oh would some power the gift give us, To see ourselves as others see us” – Robert Burns. 

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In any area of law, a client’s perceptions of matters related to their case are often inaccurate. This is partly because clients don’t have the benefit of the knowledge that comes from experience in such matters. Part of a solicitor’s job is to educate a client about the process, the substantive law and the like. As a result, it is prudent to manage the expectations of clients and after every significant event ask the client whether they understood what has happened, and listen their understanding so that one can ascertain their perceptions.

A client’s perceptions are often further clouded by their emotions, particularly in family law. Many clients’ perceptions of the situation are inaccurate or even twisted, because to put it bluntly their emotions can blind them from actuality. As a result, what a family law client believes to be the case often is not the case at all. And many clients resist being told (and even resent) someone else telling them that their perceptions are inaccurate or untrue.
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Solicitor struck off on appeal for corrupt payment

Posted on Categories Criminal law, Professional discipline Tags , , , , 1 Comment on Solicitor struck off on appeal for corrupt payment

The Queensland Court of Appeal has recently determined that a solicitor who made a corrupt payment in 2002 is permanently unfit to practice and should be struck off.

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The facts

Shand had been admitted as a solicitor in 1975 and practised full time from 1975 until 1997, when he became the chief executive officer of a company called Jellinbah Resources Pty Ltd. Between 1977 and 1997 he was a partner in three major law firms and acted for a wide range of clients. His practice focused initially on banking and finance, and later work for large corporate and government bodies in large scale commercial transactions including property, rural matters, hotels and mining.

In 2002, as Director of Jellinbah and on the instructions of a businessman named Jim Gorman, Shand caused an amount of $60,000 to be paid to Mr Gordon Nuttall, the then Minister for Mines in the Queensland Government.

On 1 April 2011, Shand was convicted by a jury of making a corrupt payment to a Minister of the Crown contrary to section 442BA of the Criminal Code (Qld). Shand had previously declined an offer to assist prosecutors against Nuttall in return for being spared prosecution. Shand was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment to be suspended after serving 4 months.

In an affidavit, Shand said that he had learnt an extremely painful and publicly humiliating lesson, which had taken a heavy toll on him and his family. He said that he was very remorseful and he would never engage in similar conduct again. He also said he had no intention of ever engaging in legal practice again.
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Liberty Victoria’s Orwellian Voltaire award

Posted on Categories Human rights Tags , , , , , , , Leave a comment on Liberty Victoria’s Orwellian Voltaire award

“War is peace / freedom is slavery [and] ignorance is strength” was the grand party slogan in George Orwell’s 1984.

A more recent example of doublethink involves the bizarre choices by Liberty Victoria for its Voltaire Awards.

Yassmin

“War is peace / freedom is slavery [and] ignorance is strength” was the grand party slogan in 1984, George Orwell’s dystopian novel about a totalitarian society characterised by omnipresent surveillance and the policing of thought. The slogan itself is a famous example of doublethink: the process of accepting opposing and contradictory beliefs.

A more recent example of doublethink involves the bizarre choices by Liberty Victoria for its Voltaire Awards.
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Employers & Mine Operator liable for worker’s injuries after work

Posted on Categories Negligence, Personal Injury Tags , , , Leave a comment on Employers & Mine Operator liable for worker’s injuries after work

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It is common for workers in the mining industry to work long hours during long shifts, and to perform many such shifts in a short period of time. Exhaustion is therefore a real safety risk.

In this case, the Plaintiff Harold Kerle had been employed as a dump truck operator at the Norwich Park Mine near Dysart in Central Queensland and was severely injured after work in a one vehicle accident on his way home.

This case shows that the duty of care owed by employers and others is not always confined to the work hours or the place of work.

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The facts

Harold Kerle had completed four consecutive 12 hours shifts at the Norwich Park Mine. He made the fateful decision to commence his journey home at about 6.30am on the morning of 30 October 2008, moments after he had finished his final shift. He lived in Monto, a five hour 430 kilometre drive away.

Shortly before 10am, Kerle crashed his car into a concrete wall after veering onto the right hand side of the road and colliding at high speed on an Armco rail on a bridge crossing at Alma Creek on the Burnett Highway. Kerle sustained significant injuries, including a brain injury and fractures of his ankle, nose and skull. Kerle had no memory of the accident or the events leading up to it.

Alleging the accident was caused by fatigue, Kerle sued his employer Axial HR Pty Ltd (“Axial”), his host employer, HMP Constructions Pty Ltd (“HMP”) and the operator of the Norwich Park Mine, BM Alliance Coal Operations Pty Ltd (“BMA”). Continue reading “Employers & Mine Operator liable for worker’s injuries after work”

Failure to appear conviction quashed on appeal

Posted on Categories Criminal law, Evidence, Liberty Tags , , , , , , Leave a comment on Failure to appear conviction quashed on appeal

It is a criminal offence for a Defendant in criminal proceedings to fail to appear in court unless they have a reasonable excuse to do so. A recent case which resulted in an acquittal of such a charge sheds light on the meaning of reasonable excuse for the purposes of s33 of the Bail Act 1980 (Qld).

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Legal Aid Funding for Co-Accused Representation Policy Changed in Aftermath of Decision in R v Pham

Posted on Categories Criminal law Tags , , , , Leave a comment on Legal Aid Funding for Co-Accused Representation Policy Changed in Aftermath of Decision in R v Pham

The matter concerned drug trafficking charges involving 3 co-defendants, including Mr Pham. Legal Aid provided the funding to private lawyers to represent the 3 co-accused at the trial. The co-defendants were all represented by the same firm of solicitors, although not by the same individual solicitors from within that firm.

At trial, one of Mr Pham’s co-defendants gave evidence that implicated Mr Pham in the drug-trafficking crime. Mr Pham did not give nor call any evidence, and relied solely on the evidence given by that co-defendant for his own defence.

Mr Pham was convicted of the drug-trafficking offence as a result of that trial. In making this appeal, Mr Pham alleged that the solicitors representing the co-defendants had failed to advise him about the content of this evidence before the trial. Mr Pham further alleged that this failure allowed him to be inculpated without being afforded the opportunity to explain himself, and that as a result he did not have a fair trial.

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Lorna Jane’s comprehensive court win

Posted on Categories civil litigation, Evidence, Industrial relations, Negligence, Personal Injury Tags , , , , , , , 1 Comment on Lorna Jane’s comprehensive court win

Amy Louise Robinson was employed by activewear company Lorna Jane Pty Ltd between July and December 2012 as manager of Lorna Jane’s DFO store at Skygate near Brisbane Airport.

Ms Robinson claimed to have suffered a psychiatric injury from workplace bullying by Megan McCarthy (Lorna Jane’s learning and development manager) and haemorrhoids when lifting and moving heavy boxes of stock during the course of her employment.

Relevant law

Vicarious liability is a common law principle which imposes liability despite the employer’s not itself being at fault. The claim for psychiatric injury alleged that Lorna Jane was vicariously liable for the actions of McCarthy and also that an email from a former DFO store employee named Ms Maninnen which alleged ill-treatment of Robinson by McCarthy had put the company ‘on notice’ and that it had subsequently failed to investigate.
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Why are lawyers so expensive?

Posted on Categories Legal profession, Professional fees, Queensland Law Society 1 Comment on Why are lawyers so expensive?

Most complaints about lawyers concern how high their legal fees are. The professional fees charged by lawyers are notorious. When many clients earn an average of $20-40 per hour, it can seem unfair that your lawyers charge you hundreds of dollars per hour. However, as this article will demonstrate, there are reasons why legal fees are so high.
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Identity politics, political correctness and section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act

Posted on Categories Human rights, Judiciary, Liberty Tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 4 Comments on Identity politics, political correctness and section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act

On 4 November 2016, Judge Jarrett of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia dismissed a claim brought by Cindy Prior under section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) as a result of posts published on Facebook by students at the Queensland University of Technology that complained of being kicked out of an ‘Indigenous only’ computer lab. This ends a 3 year long legal saga and ordeal for the students concerned.
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