Competition and consumer law lawyers Sydney

The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) and the Australian Consumer Law set out various key requirements regulating the standard of conduct that is expected of businesses generally as well as more stringent requirements when dealing with consumers.

In summary they ensure amongst other requirements:

  1. Certain guarantees and warranty requirements when supplying goods and services to consumers are provided.
  2. Businesses are restricted from engaging in certain conduct that is unfair, misleading, deceptive, or unconscionable;
  3. Advertising and marketing related conduct is appropriately regulated;
  4. Product safety and standards;
  5. Anti-competitive behaviour is prohibited; and
  6. Standard form contracts containing unfair terms are unenforceable.

 

Our team of highly skilled and experienced lawyers is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality legal advice and representation. With a deep understanding of competition and consumer law, we are well equipped to guide you through every step of the legal process.

Whether you’re a business facing competition law issues, or a consumer seeking protection under consumer law, we can help. Our services cover a wide range of legal issues, including anti-competitive conduct, misleading and deceptive conduct, and unfair contract terms, just to name a few.

We pride ourselves on providing our clients with a personalized and tailored approach to their legal needs. Our lawyers take the time to understand your specific situation and goals, and we work closely with you to achieve the best possible outcome.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you with your competition and consumer law needs.

Related insights

valuation-of-minority-interests-in-shareholder-oppression-claims-feartured-photo

Valuation of Minority Interests in Shareholder Oppression Claims

In Australia, shareholders who feel oppressed or unfairly treated by the company or its directors can seek remedies under various statutory provisions. Here are some of the remedies available to shareholders: Oppression proceedings under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth): Under section 232 of the Corporations Act, shareholders can apply to the court for relief if they believe that the company’s affairs are being conducted in a manner that is oppressive, unfairly prejudicial, or discriminatory to them. The court has broad powers to make orders to remedy the situation, including ordering the company to buy back the shareholder’s shares, ordering the company to pay compensation, or ordering the company to amend its constitution or replace its directors. Derivative actions under the Corporations Act: Shareholders can bring derivative actions under section 236 of the Corporations Act if they believe that the directors have breached their duties to the company. In such actions, the shareholder sues on behalf of the company to recover damages from the directors for any losses suffered by the company as a result of their breaches. Personal actions against directors under the Corporations Act: Shareholders can also bring personal actions against directors under section 180 of the Corporations Act if the director has breached their duty of care and diligence. This may occur if a director has made a decision that causes harm to the company, such as approving a risky investment without proper research or due diligence. Compulsory acquisition of shares under the Corporations Act: In some cases, shareholders may be able to force the company to buy their shares under section 461 of the Corporations Act. This may occur if the shareholder can show that they have been unfairly treated, and that it would be just and equitable for the company to buy their shares. The amount that is awarded will depend on the particular facts of the case.  In BAM Property Group Pty Ltd as trustee for BAM Property Trust v Imoda Group Holdings Pty Ltd [2019] FCA 1192, the Federal Court of Australia provided guidance on the principles that should be applied in valuing company shares in shareholder oppression claims. The following are some of the key principles: Compensation for oppression: The purpose of granting a remedy between parties in an oppression case is to “to compensate the oppressed shareholder for the oppression which has taken place”. Wide discretion: In cases where the relief to be granted is the compulsory purchase of shares, that object is achieved by the Court having a wide discretion to fix a price that “represents a fair value in all the circumstances”. That does not necessitate fixing a price only by reference to ordinary valuation principles. The question is to identify the price which should be paid in the circumstances. No benefit to oppressor for oppression: Where shares are to be valued as a starting point for determining the price which should be paid, the usual date for valuation is the date of the filing of the proceedings, but that is by no means a universal approach. The valuation does not value the shares at that date as if nothing but the ordinary course of business had preceded it. That would effectively allow the oppressing party the benefit of the wrongful conduct as, inevitably, that conduct has diminished the value of the oppressed party’s interest in the company before the proceedings are commenced. In Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society v Meyer [1959] AC 324 , Lord Keith identified (at 364) that the valuation process must negate the effects of the oppressive conduct. His Lordship said the amount to be determined was: … what would have been the value of the shares at the commencement of the proceedings had it not been for the effect of the oppressive conduct of which complaint was made. This is clearly not a matter on which a calculation can be made with mathematical accuracy or by the application of strict accounting principles … Fair price to put applicant into position as if no oppression: A fair price would be the value which the shares would have had at the date of the petition, if there had been no oppression. In relation to the claim for oppression, when the court is valuing the oppressed shareholder’s interest in the determination of the relief to be awarded for oppression, the aim is to put the applicant in the position as if there had been no oppression. There are different methods of valuation that might be deployed, and there is no one size fits all answer.  Quite often, the outgoing shareholder will have been excluded from management, leaving the remaining shareholders / directors “in control”.  It is clear however from the authorities that the oppressors will not be entitled to benefit from the relevant oppression. Our corporate lawyers in Sydney specialise in dispute resolution relating to shareholder disputes and directors duties.  Be prepared to have to issue proceedings before the other parties properly come to the negotiating table.

Read More »
a-guide-to-statutory-demands featured photo

Guide to Statutory Demands – What to Do When Served

Intro If a company owes one or more debts which are due and payable to a creditor and which remain outstanding, it is possible that the creditor may decide to serve a statutory demand on the debtor company. The statutory demand may require the debtor company to either pay the debt(s) in full or provide security for the debt(s) to the creditor’s reasonable satisfaction within 21 days after the demand is served on the company[1]. Requirements for a valid demand In summary the requirements for a valid statutory demand on a company are as follows: If the demand relates to a single debt the demand must specify the debt and its amount. If the demand relates to 2 or more debts then the demand must specify the total; The total debt(s) owed must be more than $2,000; The demand must require payment of the debt or the debtor company to secure or compound the debt to the creditors reasonable satisfaction within 21 days of service of the demand on the debtor company; The demand must be in writing, in the prescribed form, and signed by or on behalf of the creditor; and If there is no judgement in respect of the debt then the demand must be accompanied by an affidavit which clearly verifies that the debt is due and payable in full and the affidavit must comply with the rules. Bear in mind the available grounds to have the demand set aside, and the likely costs outcome if it is set aside (discussed below).  All of the circumstances should be considered before deciding to proceed with service of a demand. Time is of the essence If you are on the receiving end of a statutory demand, legal advice should immediately be sought. If the debtor company does not take any action (i.e. comply with the demand, ensure that the demand is no longer in effect, or apply to the relevant Court) within 21 days of service of the demand, and the demand is still in effect, the creditor[2] can immediately apply for the debtor company to be wound up and the Court “must” presume that the debtor company is insolvent[3]. Extensions of time are not possible. Aside from the very harsh effects of winding up proceedings on the debtor company, the onus will be on the debtor company to then prove that it is in fact solvent. In such circumstances the debtor company will not, without the leave of the Court[4], be able to oppose the application on a ground that it might otherwise be able to do so in an application to set aside the statutory demand. Application to set aside a statutory demand If however an application is made to set aside the statutory demand within 21 days of service, supported by an affidavit, and the application to set aside the statutory demand along with the supporting affidavit is served on the person who served the demand on the debtor company within the 21 day period[5], then the application to set aside the demand would be validly issued[6]. Grounds for setting aside the statutory demand The Court must be satisfied either: that there is a “genuine dispute” between the company and the creditor about the existence or amount of the debt; that the debtor company has an offsetting claim[7]; that there is a defect in the demand “and substantial injustice will be caused unless the demand is set aside”; or that some other reason exists why the demand should be set aside[8]. If the demand is set aside then there will be no automatic presumption of insolvency and it is likely that the creditor would have to pay the debtors costs of the application to set aside[9] unless the debtor has behaved unreasonably. ……………………… [1] S.459E of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corps Act) [2] being one of the class of persons under s.459P of the Corps Act [3] s.459C (2) (a) of the Corps Act [4] the Court can only grant leave if it is satisfied that the ground is “material” to proving that the company is solvent under s.459S of the Corps Act. [5] Sufficient time must be allowed for service in compliance with s.109X of the Corps Act. Any person receiving a statutory demand must take action immediately. [6] s.459G of the Corps Act [7] s.459H of the Corps Act [8] s.459J of the Corps Act [9] s.459N of the Corps Act

Read More »
heathfield-grosvenor-recognised-under-best-law-firms-in-sydney-2021-by-firmchecker

FirmChecker 2021 ‘Best Law Firms in Sydney 2021’ Award Winners

Heathfield Grosvenor Lawyers has been recognised as ‘a highly rated firm’ by FirmChecker (don’t know what that is? It is equivalent to Tripadvisor in the tourism industry), Australia’s leading site for professional service reviews. Do we work for the accolades and the recognition? Absolutely not. Thankfully, these recognitions come with the ardent work that we pride ourselves in. But, as a law firm, we are always thankful for the recognition given, and most importantly, knowing that our clients receive the best and just outcome. Survey results, as published by Lawyers Weekly show that ‘NZ lawyers are more trustworthy than Australian Lawyers’ – now that is another point to add onto Australia’s long-standing scoreboard with New Zealand! But, the point being is that we aim to restore the integrity and trust between clients and lawyers through our firm. For us, it is not about competition because we distinguish ourselves with our inherent ability to achieve just outcomes, and a pleasant and professional experience for our clients. Serving justice is a privilege and a duty for us, and nothing else. Just leave it with us. See the full FirmChecker article below: https://www.firmchecker.com.au/news/best-rated-law-firms-in-sydney-cbd Lawyers Weekly Article: https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/biglaw/25220-nz-lawyers-more-trustworthy-than-australian-research-shows

Read More »
does-your-business-need-a-privacy-policy

Do I Need a Privacy Policy on My Website in Australia?

The answer is mostly likely “yes”, even if you are a small business with annual turnover of less than $3,000,000. Under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act), various types of entities are, in summary, required to comply with a prescribed set of 13 “Australian Privacy Principles”.  The first principle requires a clearly expressed and up to date privacy policy, so that personal information is managed in an open and transparent manner. Government agencies, private and not for profit organisations including individuals (e.g. sole traders), companies, partnerships, unincorporated associations, and trusts are all required to comply.  There are exemptions.  For example, small businesses (i.e. those with annual turnover of less than $3,000,000 and which are not for example related to a larger company that is subject to the Privacy Act) might be exempt in limited circumstances. However, the practical reality is that as soon as small businesses handle any personal information and trade in personal information, they will be caught under the Privacy Act.  Various other scenarios may also render small businesses liable to compliance with the Australian Privacy Principles (for example, small businesses who provide services to or on behalf of government agencies, those who are “reporting entities” (a broad category) under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth), or those who operate residential tenancy databases etc).  Furthermore, as soon as a business receives Tax File Number information about an individual (for example in a Tax File Number declaration upon the commencement of employment), certain obligations arise under the Privacy (Tax File Number) Rule 2015 (issued under s.17 of the Privacy Act).  Employers for example would be best advised to ensure that they have a privacy policy (and consent covering purpose of collection, use, disclosure, storage etc) in place, compliant contractual clauses, and provide collection notices where appropriate.  Non compliance with the Privacy Act can lead to significant fines. As a bare minimum, a privacy policy needs to cover the following: (a)       the kinds of personal information that the entity collects and holds; (b)       how the entity collects and holds personal information; (c)       the purposes for which the entity collects, holds, uses and discloses personal information; (d)       how an individual may access personal information about the individual that is held by the entity and seek the correction of such information; (e)       how an individual may complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles, or a registered APP code (if any) that binds the entity, and how the entity will deal with such a complaint; (f)        whether the entity is likely to disclose personal information to overseas recipients; (g)       if the entity is likely to disclose personal information to overseas recipients, the countries in which such recipients are likely to be located if it is practicable to specify those countries in the policy.

Read More »

Our corporate and commercial services

Intellectual Property Law

Advertising & Marketing

Commercial Agreements

Competition and Consumer Law

Compliance & Regulatory Advice

Directors Duties

Directors Duties

Commercial & Retail Leases

Franchising

Security & Risk Intelligence

Trade Promotions

Business Formations & Structures

law firm sydney

Employment Law

Contact
Heathfield Grosvenor Lawyers Pty Ltd

small business lawyers sydney