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Business Law

Our team provide a diverse range of business law services. We can assist you with purchasing or selling a business, establishing or restructuring a business and a lot more.

Business Law

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of “actively trading businesses” nationwide grew by 3.1 percent between June 2016 and June 2017. A closer look at the data reveals that 328,205 new businesses joined the market sector, while 261,450 businesses left economy in that 12-month period.  The addition of nearly 67,000 businesses brought the total number of operating businesses in Australia to roughly 2.24 million.

Closer inspection also reveals that the total number of operating businesses in Queensland grew at a more modest pace during the same period. In fact, with slightly less than 3 percent, Queensland trailed the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Victoria in terms of percentage of operating businesses added. Even so, there were more than 400,000 operating businesses in Queensland in June 2017.

No matter how one looks at it, the bottom line is that with more businesses, there is more competition – and more at stake. To ensure that your business thrives, it is important to get proper advice from qualified legal professionals. And that’s where we come in. Contact our knowledgeable, experienced lawyers for assistance in any of the following areas:

Purchasing or selling a business

One of the first – and most important – decisions you’ll have to make if you want to run your own business is whether to start one from scratch or buy one that’s already established.

Assuming you opt for the latter, you’ll have plenty to do before you actually take the plunge. Aside from doing a comprehensive assessment of your own skills and finances, you’ll have to do a thorough evaluation of every aspect of the business you plan to buy. Then there’s the matter of making an offer and drafting/signing the purchase contract. We can help with many aspects of this process including but not limited to:

  • Providing advice about your rights and responsibilities under an existing lease (if any).
  • Determining whether the business you’d like to buy has any outstanding government notices that need to be addressed.
  • Advising you about the rights and responsibilities associated with the legal business structure.
  • Identifying any pending lawsuits or other legal issues.
  • Providing guidance regarding the best purchase strategy.
  • Drafting the purchase contract.

Because selling a business is also complicated, you may choose to enlist a business broker to do the “heavy lifting.” But because you also have legal obligations, it is important to consult a qualified lawyer. We can help you with:

  • The decision to transfer or cancel your business licences.
  • The decision to keep or sell any registered trade marks.
  • Determining whether you need to cancel any local permits.
  • Determining whether you need to transfer the title on any applicable leases.
  • Determining the best overall strategy for the sale.

Establishing or restructuring a business

Perhaps buying a business isn’t the right decision for you. Maybe you’d rather start your own, instead. There are several pros and cons to doing so. The biggest advantage is that you’re in charge. Given the challenges of starting and running a business, that can also be one of the biggest disadvantages. Consulting and developing a good relationship with a lawyer from the outset can help alleviate the stress of choosing the best legal structure for your business; renting or buying office, retail or similar space; and other legal matters.

Once you’ve been in business for a while, you may find that your needs have changed. Business may be booming – or in a worst-case scenario, it may be failing. Maybe you’ve had changes in management. Any or all of these circumstances may lead you to restructure the business. You may also opt for restructuring if the legal type associated with a business you just bought doesn’t suit your needs. In any case, you can count on us for help.

Partnership and joint venture agreements

A business partnership is legally defined as a relationship which subsists between persons carrying on a business in common with a view to profit. With multiple owners, arguments can – and do arise over management, finances and more. If this has happened to you, or if you simply have questions about how to create or dissolve a basic, limited liability or incorporated limited partnership, our lawyers can provide the guidance you need.

We can also help you if you’re interested in engaging in a joint venture. A joint venture or joint venture agreement is one in which two or more businesses “team up” to complete a short- or long-term project. As long as the arrangement is in place, the participants share in the benefits and liabilities of the project/s.

Mortgages and securities

If your business has issued or will issue shares, or manages investments, it is crucial that you don’t fall afoul of securities laws administered by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and other regulatory agencies. These include the rules set forth under the Australian Securities And Investment Commission Act of 2001 and the Corporations Act of 2001. Our lawyers will help ensure that all of these transactions and related activities are compliant with the relevant legal requirements.

Businesses new to the mortgage industry or business owners in the process of trying to obtain a mortgage can also rely on us for help with navigating Australian mortgage laws set forth in the Australian Consumer Law and any other applicable legislation.

Leases and retail shop leases

In business, contract and general law, a lease is defined as a “legally binding contract that gives you certain rights to a property for a set term.” Because the terms of these contracts can be enforced in court, it is important to consult a lawyer who can help you understand different types of leases and determine which is best for your business before you sign anything.

Leasing a retail space is different from leasing office or other types of commercial space. The laws pertaining to these leases are set forth in the Retail Shop Leases Act of 1994 and the Retail Shop Leases Regulation of 2016. If you are a tenant or landlord, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities under these rules.

Licence agreements

For many businesses, protecting and or employing certain rules for the use of intellectual property is essential. Contact us to learn about different type of IP licencing including exclusive licencing, sole licencing and non-exclusive licencing. Our lawyers can also answer your questions about limiting an exclusive licence, licence conditions and licence royalties.

Asset protection

Depending on what type of legal structure you chosen, your personal and business assets may all be in jeopardy. The secret to protecting them is learning how to reduce and or manage the financial and legal risks associated with the daily operation of your business. Contact us to learn more.

Debt recovery and enforcement

If you own a business, nothing is more frustrating than being unable to collect payment for services rendered. However, there are very specific laws that govern the ways in which you can and cannot go about collecting debt. To avoid additional trouble and drama, be sure to consult our lawyers about the procedures established by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) before you try to collect any debts owed.

Banking and financial services

Because banking and financial services law is such an expansive discipline, chances are that most business owners will need to consult with a lawyer who specializes in this area at some point. If you have questions or concerns about banking or financial transactions associated with your business, contact us to arrange a consultation with a lawyer who can asses your situation and provide the guidance you need.

Share sale agreements

There are a lot of things to consider when you’re crafting or entering a share sale agreement. Obvious considerations include the number of shares and the price. Some other things to keep in mind are risk assessment, delineation and understanding of each party’s rights and responsibilities, confidentiality and more. For assistance with crafting a share sale agreement, contact us today.

Competition and consumer law

Knowing the basics of and abiding by competition and consumer laws is essential for any business. By doing so, you will reduce the likelihood of violating the rules set forth in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA). Our lawyers can assist you and your business with all compliance matters relating to this complex legislation.

We can also assist in all matters relating to the competition (antitrust) law and its enforcement by the ACCC. In particular, we can assist you in relation to:

  • ACCC investigations
  • Cartel behaviour and anti-competitive conduct (price fixing)
  • Fair trading matters
  • Infrastructure access and regulation
  • Strategic advice and planning.

Shareholder agreements

The shareholder agreement is one of the most important documents for any company. This is the document that includes the rules for the acquisition and sale of shares; company structure; shareholders’ rights and responsibilities; provisions for dispute resolution and more. Although there are many generalities, the number and types of provisions/stipulations set forth in the agreement will vary based on each company’s needs and goals. For more information about what to include in your company’s shareholder agreement, call to schedule an appointment today.

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