Current News

Responding to Elder Abuse

The Australian Law Reform Commission is currently conducting an inquiry into elder abuse. The Inquiry is tasked with identifying a “best practice legal framework” for the prevention, mitigation and response to elder abuse.

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Fire and Emergency Services Levy Bill 2017 (NSW)

The Fire and Emergency Services Levy Bill 2017 (NSW) passed its Third Reading on 29 March 2017 and received Royal Assent on 4 April 2017. The Bill commenced on the date of Assent. The Bill proposes to impose a fire and emergency services levy, which will be payable on all land that is situated in a council area or on Lord Howe Island. Only government land will be exempt from the levy.

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Elder Law Update – Responding to Elder Abuse

The Australian Law Commission (the ALRC) is currently conducting an inquiry into elder abuse (the Inquiry). The Inquiry is tasked with identifying a “best practice legal framework” for the prevention, mitigation and response to elder abuse.

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Do your accreditation policies create a contract?

Typically medical specialists must submit their credentials in order to provide services at a hospital. This way, health service organisations are able to ensure that practitioners are sufficiently qualified and experienced to practice with that particular organisation within a defined scope of practice (commonly referred to as an ‘accredited practitioner’). In applying to be accredited, practitioners will often be required to agree to abide by a range of by-laws, codes of conduct and policies. The question is; does this agreement create a contract? And if a contract is created, what are the implications for the health service?

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Medical Decision Making and Advanced Care Planning

The Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Bill 2016 (Vic) passed the Legislative Assembly on 24 November 2016 and received Royal Assent on 29 November 2016. The Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 (Vic) (the Act) is set to commence on the earliest of a day to be proclaimed or 12 March 2018.

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State Government liability for failure to prevent child abuse

In this case, the High Court granted special leave to appeal from the decision in DC v State of New South Wales [2016] NSWCA 198 (summarised in the November 2016 edition of the Case Law Update), in which the State of New South Wales (the State) was held liable for the failure of the Department of Youth and Community Services (the Department) to prevent the continuing sexual abuse of two children who were the subject of child protection proceedings in the 1970s and 1980s.

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Williams Group Australia Pty Ltd v Crocker [2016] NSWCA 265

Electronic signature technologies are increasingly used to execute documents used in commercial transactions. In this case, the New South Wales Court of Appeal held that a genuine electronic signature affixed to a personal guarantee by an unauthorised (and unknown) individual was ineffective to bind the apparent signatory. The implications of this case may appear concerning because it could be difficult for clients to determine whether a genuine electronic signature was affixed properly (binding) or improperly (non-binding). However, it should be noted that the case concerned a personal guarantee, not a document executed by an individual in their capacity as an officer of a company. Nevertheless, the case stands as a salient reminder to ensure that clients are aware of the nature of the parties with whom they are dealing. More specifically, to ensure that personal guarantees are properly executed by, or with the full knowledge of, the putative signatory.

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Hinton v Alpha Westmead Private Hospital [2016] FCAFC 107

This case concerned an appeal heard by the Full Court of the Federal Court of a decision by the primary judge in the Federal Circuit Court to dismiss an application for associated discrimination under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) as an abuse of process on the basis that the Appellant had no reasonable prospect of success.

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