It feels like an unbelievably short time has passed since we last summarised the top legal issues you would be facing in 2022. As another year zooms into focus you may be curious about what we think has changed since the last time we shared our thoughts. Interested? Read on.
It’s been 21 years since the last Australian recession that we “had to have” and economic commentary paints a bleak economic outlook for 2023, with Australia predicted to be in recession this year as higher interest rates bite and supply constraints continue.
Unfortunately, in this sort of economic climate we see individuals and businesses pushed to their financial limits, often crossing the threshold into genuine financial distress. If you are owed money then we strongly recommend securing your financial position in the appropriate manner, before it’s too late. Review your loan agreements and ensure they reflect the current terms of your assistance, have been properly executed, and any security has been formally registered (i.e. on the PPSR or against the property title).
If you are a business owner that is concerned about solvency issues, then getting on the front foot early and coming up with a turn-around plan as early as possible can be the difference between a workable solution that keeps you in control and the appointment of an external administrator. Our lawyers with specialist insolvency law qualifications have guided many clients through these rough seas and helped them utilise recently introduced ‘safe harbour’ legislation to navigate out of distress. Getting help early is critical. If these issues are of concern to you, contact us and let us help you put in place a strategy that keeps you in control.
The flip side of economic downturn is that astute investors will be keeping an eye on the market to nab a bargain investment. If you are a keen investor or looking to expand your business through mergers and acquisitions, obtaining legal advice as early as possible will ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck, and getting what you are paying for. If you are a business owner that is ready to wind down and sell your business, we can assist you to ensure that your business is in good legal condition ahead of the sale and assist you to negotiate the best possible price on terms you are happy with. We have successful advised hundreds of clients on the purchase or sale of a business and have a wealth of experience in this area.
We predict that workplace issues will continue to be hot topics in 2023.
It’s official. The days of ‘unbridled’ flexibility and working from home are coming to an end, with many employers mandating a return to at least a ‘hybrid’ working arrangement, seeing employees in the office 2-3 days a week. If you are an employer that wishes to put in place a reasonable direction to return to the office, but aren’t sure where to start, let us help. We can guide you through the minefield that is workplace law in Australia.
We also predict that changes around workplace culture will continue to be on the rise. You may have heard of the term ‘quiet quitting’. Whether you think this is malarkey or a real issue that needs to be addressed, we expect that employers experiencing the ‘quiet quitting’ phenomenon will start to look for ways to improve employee engagement and wellbeing and clarify workplace expectations. This may mean a review of KPIs, an update to policies or a deeper analysis into what may be causing reduced or poor employee performance. Contact us if you need help – we can help you manage your workplace and restore harmony to your team. In our experience, a happy team is a high-performing one.
Finally, with recent legislative changes to the Fair Work Act to ban ‘pay secrecy’ clauses, all employers will need to ensure that they are across these changes and that new employment contracts do not include these now prohibited provisions. Employment contracts should also be updated regularly to reflect changes in KPI, salary and workplace location arrangements. If you want assistance with ensuring your employee arrangements are up to date for the new year, contact us to get started.
If we weren’t already being bombarded by commentary about economic doom-and-gloom, then the other news we can’t seem to escape is the ever-evolving and very public drama between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (more colloquially known as Prince Harry and Meghan) and the wider British royal family. While the British royal family saga is a salacious train-wreck that is hard to look away from, we think there are lessons to be learned from this very public display of family disharmony.
As lawyers that advise families during the good times and bad, unfortunately family disharmony is not unfamiliar to us. Ensuring that your estate planning documents are up to date is always a good idea. It is particularly important to seek specialist legal advice if you believe your family is on the cusp of (or perhaps already in) dispute territory and your estate plans will just add fuel to the flame. These can be delicate scenarios that need to be approached carefully. We have extensive experience in guiding clients through these issues and putting in place a robust estate plan.
Even if you are lucky enough not to experience any family disharmony, an estate planning tune-up will ensure that your wealth passes as you intend and that a plan is in place for more complex assets like superannuation, trusts and business assets. Putting in place an Enduring Power of Attorney and a health plan/directive will minimise the stress that your loved ones face if you are no longer able to make legal, financial and health decisions for yourself. If you’re thinking about an update to your estate planning documents, don’t wait any longer. Contact us and let us help you get your affairs in order.
If you are in the process of separation or divorce, then it is never too early to seek advice about family law. Getting sound and sensible legal advice early on can save you the time, money and stress of litigating a property settlement and parenting arrangements. Believe it or not, it is possible for a relationship breakdown to be settled in a respectful and efficient manner. Our team will passionately represent your family law rights and strive to resolve your family law matter resolve without breaking the bank (or your wellbeing).
We pride ourselves on being competent and fierce advocates for our clients, without losing sight of the bigger picture or letting our egos get in the way of your success. Let us help you make 2023 your best year yet. Call us on 1300 654 590or email us to get started.
The information contained in this post is current at the date of publishing – 12 January 2023.