This week, we bring Peter Rouse into the spotlight! Peter is a Senior Associate at Rouse Lawyers and has been at the firm for 12 years. His area of practice is in corporate / commercial law. ...
Rouse Lawyers are excited to announce another key hire and promotion. ...
I interviewed my fellow Practice Executive to find out about Tiarne’s career and her journey to being Practice Accounts Executive. ...
Today is International Women's Day and to celebrate, we bring into the spotlight one of our Senior Associates, Stephanie Forward. Stephanie practices in Litigation and Dispute Resolution and has been working at Rouse Lawyers for two years. ...
Rouse Lawyers are excited to announce two key hires to join its fast-growing team.
Firstly, Peter Donovan joins as Special Counsel in our Tax Team. Peter has over 25 years' experience as a Tax lawyer and as a Chartered Accountant.
Peter has extensive experience in all areas of tax and duty combined with a specialization in tax dispute resolution management for clients who have disputes with state revenue offices and the ATO. Peter specializes in resolving disputes for clients using alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
Before joining Rouse, Peter has practiced in mid-sized law firms and international and mid-sized accounting practices. The time spent in the accounting practices provides Peter with an intimate understanding of the tax legal needs of his accountant clients, who are one of his strongest referrers of work. ...
Stephanie Forward-Smith from Rouse Lawyers has been shortlisted for the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards 2020.
Stephanie Forward-Smith has been named as a finalist in the Women in Law Awards for Rising Star of the Year – SME Law.
The Women in Law Awards is regarded as one of the legal profession’s most prestigious accolades. The awards pinpoint professional development and innovation, showcasing the individuals and firms who are leading the way in the industry.
Award recipients represent a true cross-section of the legal industry, recognising the contributions of the profession’s most senior ranks through to its rising stars.
The finalist list, which was announced on 4 November 2020, features over 260 high-achieving female legal professionals across 31 submission-based categories.
“The Women in Law Awards is one of the most joyous events we host at Lawyers Weekly, celebrating those who have broken down the barriers to achieve success within their respective careers,” said Lawyers Weekly editor Emma Ryan.
“This year has been one of the most challenging on record for legal professionals, so it’s great to have this opportunity to shine a spotlight on those who are going above and beyond to offer outstanding service and support for the benefit of their clients, firms, organisations and the Australian community at large.
“On behalf of the team, thank you so much for your continued efforts. We wish you all the best and look forward to celebrating your achievements on the night.”
Stephanie Forward-Smith, Commercial Litigation Senior Associate at Rouse Lawyers, said that she was humbled to be recognised and proud to be named as a finalist in the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards 2020.
Rouse Lawyers is delighted at the recognition for Stephanie’s excellent contribution to the industry. ...
Can an Emoji be defamatory?
The NSW District Court recently considered the meaning of the ‘zipper-mouth’ emoji posted in response to tweet. It’s always entertaining to read judges traverse social media and the like and the reference to emojis as a “new-age hieroglyphic-style language” brought a smile to my face.
The defendant had challenged the three imputations and the meaning of same substantially turned on what the “zipper-mouth” emoji means.
His Honour at  held that the zipper-mouth’s meaning is “ “a secret” or “stop talking”, in circumstances where a person impliedly knows the answer but is forbidden or reluctant to answer.”
The defendant claimed that the “zipper-mouth face” meant that he could not reply and no defamatory imputations could be conveyed. However, the Court held that all three imputations associated with the emoji were capable of being made.
Full judgment – Burrows v Houda  NSWDC 485
The Qld Supreme Court recently confirmed that the starting presumption for a restraint of trade clause is that it is void as contrary to public policy.
The presumption may be rebutted if there are special circumstances that demonstrate the covenant to be reasonable as between the parties; and not unreasonable in the public interest.
Bond J dismissed the application seeking, inter alia, to injunct (until the trial of the matter) the employee and his new employer from entering into an employment contract.
His Honour held at  that it is not for the Court to rewrite a restraint clause to preserve its validity.
Read the full judgment here
The truth hurts!
In the matter of Commonwealth of Australia v Endresz,  FCA 1228, the applicant sought a sequestration order pursuant to the Bankruptcy Act. The Commonwealth’s petition stated that the amount of ...
I lost my Trust Deed! Is this a problem?
Yes, but one you can attempt to remedy. How far you go down the path to a solution may depend upon the various risks, including lost funding, potential claims upon the Trustee, unhappy beneficiaries, financial relationship breakdowns taxation disputes and loss of business control when someone dies or loses capacity.
Why do I need the actual original Trust Deed - Isn’t there a Trusts Act that gives Trustee power?
Yes, in Queensland the Trust Act 1973 provides limited powers that the Trustee can rely upon. These are likely to be restrictive and not empower the Trustee to do the many things necessary to manage a trust effectively. This is heightened when the Trust manages a business, or perhaps you want to consider opportunities for streaming income or capital gains in line with Australian Tax Office requirements.
The flexibility and advantages of a discretionary family trust are lost if that very flexibility cannot be capitalised upon by the wording of a Deed. The disadvantages are heightened without a Trust Deed.
Can the Trustee be personally liable for actions taken on a ‘lost’ Trust Deed?
Yes. Imagine if a future beneficiary of the trust has complaints about the actions of the Trustee. What support will the trustee have in justifying their action or inaction, their powers and discretions? Who is to say that the steps taken are definitive. If a dispute arises between beneficiaries, trustees or independent parties such as financiers and the Australian Tax Office, the Trustee is in an increasingly tenuous position to defend its’ actions when they have no recourse to their governing document.
Surely, it doesn’t really matter – I have a pretty good idea of what the Trust said….
Whether you are the trustee, appointor, beneficiary, an advising Accountant, Financier, Solicitor or the Australian Taxation Office – the impact of not having even a copy of the specific Trust Deed ...
Can I gift assets to children or other loved ones, and protect it from a divorce or de facto relationship breakdown1?
Yes - Protection can be achieved in various circumstances - there are always other factors to be considered to ensure the legacy is as effective as possible. This is no cookie-cutter solution, professional drafting and advice is your best solution.
How do we achieve this?
In short, we rely upon effective drafting of a Discretionary Trust created within your Will (coming into effect once you have passed away), coupled with other mechanisms of ‘control’ and practical operation of the Trust.
In what ways does the Court work out a property settlement?
There is a 4 Step Process that the Court undertakes under Section 79(4) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). This includes:
- Identifying the property pool for division;
- Assessing the financial and non-financial contributions to the acquisition, conservation and improvement of that property;
- Future needs of each party to the marriage; and
- Whether the proposed division is ‘just and equitable’ in accordance with Section 79 (2) of the Family Law Act.
So a Trust can be part of a relationship’s assets, available for division or considered a ‘financial resource’ of one party?
Yes. ‘Property’ of a relationship is construed ‘widely’ in the Family Law jurisdiction. 2 The assessment of division of property will consider the ‘income, property and financial resources of each party’. So, a ruling under the Family Law jurisdiction could take into account a party’s potential financial resources (including from a Trust in some circumstances).
So what are some options to maximise protection?
- Purchasing assets in a carefully drafted ...
Rouse Lawyers has been named as a finalist in the Australian Law Awards for Boutique Law Firm of the Year.
Now in its 20th year, the Australian Law Awards, run in partnership with Principal Partner UNSW Law, bestows the industry’s most prestigious accolades recognising excellence across the entire legal industry.
The awards showcase professional development and innovation, celebrating both the individuals and firms that are leading the way in the industry.
Award recipients represent a true cross section of the legal industry, recognising the contributions of the profession’s most senior ranks through to its rising stars.
The finalists for 2020, announced over two weeks beginning on 6 July 2020, feature over 320 high-achieving legal professionals across 34 submission-based categories.
“It is our pleasure to mark the 20th year anniversary of the Australian Law Awards,” said Lawyers Weekly editor Emma Ryan.
“This annual event represents the premier benchmark for those operating in the business of law, covering vast practice areas, level of experience and contribution to the profession.
“I would like to congratulate all of the finalists for this year’s event. We look forward to celebrating with you soon.”
Matthew Rouse, founder at Rouse Lawyers, said that he was humbled to be recognised and proud to be named as a finalist in the Australian Law Awards 2020.
“Rouse Lawyers' recognition for our excellent contribution to the industry reinforces the strength of our service and dedication to connecting with the community and engaging with clients,” he added. ...