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Matthews Folbigg Lawyers - 2020 Business Law Annual Legal Update

18-Feb-2020 13:57 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

Welcome to 2020 and what promises to be another exciting year in the legal world!

Recent events and the attitude of legislators and regulators means that more than ever this will be a year where businesses need to understand the rules that govern the conduct of their operations and take action to comply.

The Headlines

Headlining this years annual legal update are issues relating to:

  • the Corporations Act and the tougher maximum penalties that apply
  • the Australian Consumer Law and some record-breaking fines that indicate a resolve to enforce the law
  • automatic rollover clauses and potential remedies for small business
  • excessive surcharge clauses – what is appropriate and what isn’t!
  • social media and the need for businesses to actively monitor and moderate comments and posts on their social media accounts as part of their risk management strategies

The Takeaway

Whilst some of the changes have been operational for some time, nevertheless they remain topical as we are still finding businesses that are either falling short of these requirements or missing out on taking advantage of changes that are beneficial, and with the adverse consequences highlighted by recent court decisions, now is the time to be proactive!


CORPORATIONS ACT - Tougher maximum penalties & the ‘why not litigate’ mantra of ASIC

In response to the Banking Royal Commission, Parliament passed amendments to the Corporations Act which came into effect on 13 March 2019.

The effect of these changes is to significantly increase the maximum civil and criminal penalties which apply to breaches of the Corporations Act.  READ MORE>


AUSTRALIAN CONSUMER LAW - Record breaking fines

2019 saw a continued trend of record-breaking fines imposed against companies for breaches of the Australian Consumer Law.  READ MORE>


AUTOMATIC ROLLOVER CLAUSES – What are your rights?

During 2019 we received many enquiries from small businesses looking to get out of contracts with “automatic rollover” provisions.

An automatic rollover provision is a clause in a contract which provides that the contract will automatically renew for an additional term unless one of the parties opts out by giving notice to the other party of its intention not to renew. These clauses raise concerns for small businesses.  READ MORE>


EXCESSIVE SURCHARGE LAWS – Beware!

Does your business charge consumers a surcharge for processing credit and debit card payments?

If so, changes to the Competition and Consumer Act in 2016 mean companies are prohibited from charging customers excessive payment surcharges.  READ MORE> 


SOCIAL MEDIA - Be on high alert as to the risks!

An important decision was handed down in 2019 by the New South Wales Supreme Court in Voller v Nationwide News Pty Ltd (and others) which is highly relevant to any business which uses social media to promote its activities.  READ MORE> 


More Information and Contacts

As this is intended as a brief synopsis only, we would be pleased to discuss with you any questions arising and provide such other advice or assistance as you may require. In that respect, please contact a member of our Commercial Law Team including:

Stewart Gough E: stewartg@matthewsfolbigg.com.au P: 9806 7483

Phillip Brophy E: phillipb@matthewsfolbigg.com.au P: 9806 7452

Douglas Brown E: douglasb@matthewsfolbigg.com.au P: 9806 7408

Edward Choi E: edwardc@matthewsfolbigg.com.au P: 9806 7432


Best wishes for 2020.

Stewart Gough, Principal


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