Exciting Development: Rouse Lawyers & Bywaters Timms

Written by rouse_admin on November 4, 2015

Rouse Lawyers and Bywaters Timms are pleased to announce the merger of the two firms from 1 December 2015.

The firm will now have 14 lawyers and 22 staff in total including a number of specialist practice group leaders. The firm will be known as Rouse Lawyers incorporating Bywaters Timms for 6 months when the name will revert to Rouse Lawyers.

For Rouse Lawyers’ clients it will mean the addition of a specialist franchise and commercial practice, led by Janice Bywaters (http://www.btlaw.com.au/).


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Protection of Superannuation

Written by rouse_admin on October 20, 2015

Accredited Tax Specialist and Chartered Tax Adviser

Bankruptcy law excludes some assets from being available to meet liabilities owing to creditors: for example, certain kinds of household property, a motor vehicle worth less than $7,500, and an interest in a regulated superannuation fund. For asset protection planning, the most relevant category is that applying to superannuation.

The exclusion of superannuation often leads to the assumption that superannuation accounts are protected in bankruptcy.

This assumption was recently challenged in the Victorian Supreme Court decision

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7-Eleven Saga: Underpayment of Employees

Written by rouse_admin on October 6, 2015

Recently, a number of 7-Eleven operators have come under fire in light of allegations they have underpaid employees. As a result, the founders of 7-Eleven Australia could face a Senate inquiry over allegations head office was complicit in wage fraud against workers at 7-Eleven stores.

Whilst it appears there may be many more cases of underpayment taken up by the Fair Work Ombudsman, we have considered the facts surrounding two such cases published by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

7-Eleven Blacktown, Sydney
The Fair

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Battle of the Beard: Unfair Dismissal Claim

Written by rouse_admin on October 1, 2015

In Felton v BHP Billiton Pty Ltd [2015] FWC 1838, Mr Felton (the applicant) was dismissed by BHP Billiton (his employer of 6 years) when he repeatedly refused to comply with BHP’s clean shaven policy.

Due to occupational health and safety concerns, Mr Felton was directed by BHP to shave his facial hair so he could safely wear a respirator mask in the underground mine. The mask was required to be worn in order to prevent exposure to diesel particulate matter,

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Mitigating Litigation Risk: Common Agreements

Written by rouse_admin on July 13, 2015

The adage, “Prevention is better than a cure,” is scarcely more pertinent than when talking about litigation, and in particular – how a dispute transformed into litigation.

There are many ways businesses can prevent a dispute from escalating, or even happening in the first place. A starting point is reducing agreements to writing.

Some of the commonplace agreements we find are missing, or inadequate under scrutiny are:

Governance agreements (for example, shareholders, partnership agreements)
Agreements to govern intellectual property
Employment and contractor agreements
Business succession

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ATO Interpretative Decision – SMSFs & Buy/Sell Life Insurance

Written by rouse_admin on June 17, 2015

The Australian Taxation Office has issued an Interpretative Decision (ATO ID 2015/10, the ID) regarding life insurance held within a self managed super fund (SMSF) as part of a buy-sell agreement.

The ID relates to whether an SMSF contravenes section 62 and paragraph 65(1)(b) of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SISA) by purchasing a life insurance policy over the life of a member of the SMSF, where the purchase is a condition and consequence of a buy-sell agreement members have

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Employee Share Scheme changes for Start-Ups: an opportunity for SMEs?

Written by rouse_admin on May 8, 2015

A growing business will often identify one or more key employees as instrumental in driving the business.  These key employees will be a minority in number.  In order to retain and provide incentives to these key employees, the founder may wish to provide an equity interest in the business.  In doing so, a significant issue can be providing this equity in a tax effective manner.

Employee Share Scheme provisions – Current Law

When faced with this issue, the usual starting point is

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Asset Protection for Employees

Written by rouse_admin on April 20, 2015

A common misimpression is that an employee cannot be liable for work performed on behalf of his or her employer. It is certainly true that an employer does not have any claim against an employee for defects in the employee’s work, however, what about claims made by third parties for defects in work performed by an employee?

Case Study

The best way to answer this question is by way of an example encountered in our practice.

An employee worked as a quantity surveyor for

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Metadata Retention

Written by rouse_admin on March 19, 2015

The metadata retention debate continues, with the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014 (the Bill) again tabled for discussion by Minister for Communications, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP.

If passed, telecommunications providers will be required to retain customer records and “metadata” for a minimum of two years. Metadata includes the time, date and location of calls and emails, including the source IP address.  As part of the retention, the Bill proposes that the metadata is to be encrypted

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Tax Litigation and Waiver of Privilege – Disclosure of the “Gist” of advice

Written by rouse_admin on March 11, 2015

In Krok v Federal Commissioner of Taxation [2015] FCA 151, the Federal Court decided an interlocutory dispute regarding implied waiver of legal professional privilege (LPP).
On 6 February 2015, the Court handed down a decision finding that legal advice mentioned in affidavit material filed by Mr Krok amounted to an implied waiver of LPP and was required discover the documents.

The proceedings are a result of a dispute between the Commissioner and Mr Krok concerning income and capital gains resulting from transactions

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