Business News

If you are charged an extravagant fee, as a result of breaching a contract, then you should refuse to make payment without getting legal advice.

When a party to a contract breaks that contract there are consequences.  If the injured party has suffered damages then that injured party can recover those damages from the defaulting party but, penalties cannot be recovered.

If for instance you agree that you will pay your phone bill within a certain time, after receiving an invoice but, you fail to make that payment on the due date, then you have broken that contract. You are in default. But what damage has the phone company suffered as a result of your late payment.  Well, that depends upon the circumstances.  Perhaps there is no real damage suffered at all.  If so, why should you have to pay a fee which amounts to a penalty?

Riba Business LawyersThe government has introduced new legislation called the Personal Property Securities Act (“PPSA”) which is likely to come into effect on 30 January 2012.  It will dramatically alter the way we deal with personal property and the way in which security over personal property can be protected.

“Personal property” is any property except land, fixtures to land and some statutory licences. For example machinery and equipment, inventory, motor vehicles, shares, book debts, receivables, stock, crops, trademarks and patents are all forms of personal property.  Your family home will not be personal property under the PPSA.

The PPSA will regulate any “security interest” in personal property.  The scope of what can constitute a security interest under the PPSA is wide and will include a number of interests which the current law does not recognise as security interests.  If you do not protect your existing or future rights in personal property you risk losing your security interest in that property. By way of example, you could lose:

  • priority over secured property to another creditor; or
  • title to your property if it is left in the possession of someone else (eg. if they sell it or if they go into liquidation, voluntary administration or bankruptcy).

Lots of people have great ideas but, do not have the time, the focus or the money, to implement or advance those ideas.  In these times, which many business people see as, uncertain times, people are not prepared to take a risk, even if the potential reward is handsome.

There are however ways of reducing the cost and risk associated with the development of  an idea, project or business, while at the same time obtaining access to a bank of  ideas, knowledge and resources, at no upfront cost.  Yes, less cost and a better chance of success!  It is possible!

Unless you have seen first hand, the way that legal proceedings can be built or destroyed, by a written note relating to a matter in issue, then you cannot appreciate how much lawyers and the court system love bits of paper.  Written notes on  bits of paper can literally determine the outcome of legal proceedings.

The absence of written notes can cause lawyers on both sides of an argument to work for days preparing affidavit material, each trying to recount, with limited success what was said.  In many cases the factual debate is often won by the person with the best supporting paper.