My column as printed in the June 2019 MCN - online version
As a new Councillor I’ve now had some six months on the job and it’s great. Great, because I think this will be a time for very positive change in our community and we have only just begun.
Some highlights so far:
Anyone attending the new Mitcham Memorial Library in January couldn’t help but be impressed.
It’s modern, spacious, inviting and accessible. However, it also highlighted how antiquated, cramped and unfit for purpose our current Blackwood Library is. So, with both major parties pledging $5 million, our challenge will now be to design and fund an equally splendid building for the heart of our community for the next 50 years. We have already started by approving expenditure to progress preliminary design plans.
$5 million will not be nearly enough, but I know that together we can do it.
Graffiti is a scourge in our community. Fortunately, Council was given new legal powers in 2017 that allow us to require landowners to clean up and prevent these nuisances. But we can’t be heavy handed; we need to work with the businesses in partnership. The old Anti Graffiti policy pre-dated these new powers, so in March I moved that we re-write it. By a large majority this was agreed, so I look forward to the new policy setting out timeframes, expectations and responsibilities for all.
Many Councils have problems with serial complainants. In March, my questions revealed that in 2018 just one resident cost our community almost $9,000 to provide answers to his multiple questions; all challenging the 2018 decision giving long-term leases to various sporting clubs in Colonel Light Gardens. As a result, we will now review the Independent Review of Decisions policy. Staff are also looking to secure approval of a new frivolous and vexatious complaints policy.
Given recent media reports that Charles Sturt Council has had one aggrieved resident cost them
$160,000, we must do this work to prevent such wasteful costs occurring here.
The new 2019/20 draft Annual Business Plan and Budget is now out for community consultation. The options presented are increasing rates by either 3.1% or 3.55%. In dollar terms this means
an average increase of either $53 or $60 per annum. Just one key difference is that for (on average) $7 more, we get to fully fund and plant 1,800 new trees annually so we don’t lose our
canopy of 90,000 trees. There’s lots more at www.mitchamcouncil.sa.gov.au/draftplan;
what new services do you want? Livestreaming?
New Citizens and (possibly) New Boundaries
Finally, in April we welcomed around 35 new citizens to our community. So many wonderful families and stories! Coincidentally, Onkaparinga has expressed interest in moving boundaries, so let’s have the conversation about the other half of Coromandel Valley joining us in Mitcham to re-unite the valley of Minnow Creek – now flowing again!
As always, my ears and my door at 174 Main Road, Blackwood are always open; feel free to call me on 8372 8888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
There is now significant, legislated relief for commercial tenants who have been affected by COVID-19.
- Mandatory rent relief in proportion to degree affected ; half waived, half deferred
- No adverse action can be taken against tenants
- Landlords to pass on benefits - eg land tax, council rates)
- No penalty - no fees or interest on rent or payments being deferred
- No draw on security - (bonds, bank guarantees or personal guarantee)
- Term extensions - extend the lease for the period the subject of the rent deferral
- Rent freeze - no rent increases (other than turnover rent) during COVID-19 pandemic period
- Binding mediation with the SA Small Business Commissioner
Please contact Kruse Legal on 8278 1779 if you want advice, including talking to your landlord on your behalf, applying these new laws to your lease and your particular factual circumstances.
Mandatory Code of Conduct for Rent Relief
Prescribed actions - no adverse actions can be taken
The measures in the Act include preventing a landlord from taking any "prescribed action" against a tenant suffering financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The business under the lease not being open for business in accordance with the trading hours set out in the lease
- Any other act or omission prescribed by regulations made for the purposes of the Act
(section 7 applies to Commercial Leases and is deemed to have commenced on 30.3.2020 as per the Legislative history)
Half of Australians don't have a Will.
Ideally, you will keep your will up to date as your circumstances change - specifically, if you partner, marry, divorce or separate; have children or grandchildren; if your spouse or beneficiaries die; or if you have a significant change in financial circumstances.
We also find that people often do a will before going overseas, or at life milestones. It's on everyone's "to-do" list, but often put to one side.
Unfortunately, if you die intestate or your will is invalid, an administrator appointed by the court pays your bills and taxes from your assets, then distributes the remainder, based on a pre-determined formula, which may not be how you intended your assets to be distributed (ASIC - MoneySmart)
So, we make it very easy to get a professionally drafted Will, with only one visit to our office to sign the finalised document with our lawyers.
We charge a reduced fixed fee for a Standard Will if your family and asset circumstances are uncomplicated. In uncomplicated circumstances we are primarily offering a professional service to draft your Wills.
For Standard Wills we offer you the option of giving us the majority of your instructions and details via our web-based questionnaire.
One of our lawyers will then call you to confirm any missing details and ensure that everything was clear. We then provide the draft to you by email ahead of you coming in to sign the final document.
Our usual turn around time for standard Wills is two weeks - although we can expedite this in the event of illness or emergency.
Please contact us to get the link to the online Will questionnaire on 8278 1779.
Uncomplicated means you don't have any of these :
- Blended families or second marriages
- Caring for other people’s children
- Non-standard gifts
- Conditional gifts
- Exclusion of children or other beneficiaries
- Children with marital or domestic partner problems
- Existing Family Court Orders or a Binding Financial Agreement
- Family Trusts
- Discretionary testamentary Trust requirements (includes protective Trusts for disabled children)
- Life interests
- Business Owners – re continuity planning
- Overseas or interstate assets
- Large pools
- Transfers of debt
Banking royal commission: How do you protect parents who are going guarantor without killing small business? - ABC News
The short answer is that you ensure that the parents get proper independent legal advice before they go guarantor. We routinely give this advice to parents considering giving a guarantee for their children's home or business loan and ensure that they do so with open eyes and a clear understanding of the risks involved.
While your bank may not *require* you to get independent advice, we can do so whether it's required or not. For peace of mind, feel free to call us on 08 8278 1779
We now have a set of FAQ's on our website here: https://www.kruselegal.com.au/certificates/solicitor-guarantee-certificate/#FAQ”Read
Kruse Legal is walking again this year in the 10th Anniversary Walk for Justice 2018 on Tuesday 15 May. This annual walk by the legal community raises funds for Justice Net.
JusticeNet SA provides free legal assistance for hundreds of disadvantaged South Australians annually. They partner with an extensive network of South Australian lawyers and law firms who help clients on a voluntary (pro bono) basis.
Please consider supporting our team of walkers by donating here : https://www.mycause.com.au/page/174271/kruse-legal”Read
The Advertiser has written about National Advance Care Planning Week 2018. We were not surprised to read that "85% of people die after a chronic illness, not as a result of sudden event".
This is in line with what we advise our clients. That it is very likely that your family will be wanting guidance about your care well before they are reading your Will. So, start the conversation. Talk about your Advance Care Plan with a loved one, your GP or us this week.
A professionally drafted Advanced Care Directive will give you that voice and allow you to be heard in the event of a medical incident. Call us on 8278 1779 to discuss further without obligation.”Read
The wave of cyber attacks and email scams on conveyancers continues - now in Queensland. However, this article "Queensland law firms lose millions to hackers in 'highly sophisticated' email scam" from the Brisbane Times is misleading in two important respects.
Firstly, it is not the conveyancers or the solicitors that have lost money. It is their clients who have been duped into transferring the purchase money to the criminals account instead of the conveyancers trust account.
Secondly, these email scams (as described) are not that sophisticated at all. The criminals engage the conveyancer and then "At this point, they send a link to supposed important documents the firm will need. The link is protected and personalised for the specific legal staffer who they have been speaking with and requires them to enter their email address and password to access the documents."
Bingo. With an email address and password now in hand the criminals can now sign in to the conveyancer's email system, reading and writing emails as if they were the conveyancer or solicitor.
That's not sophisticated. It's simply relying on untrained staff who have had no cyber security training. While the staff may be forgiven, we act on behalf of victims who do not.
Email scams or Business Email Compromise Attack; We can help.
If you have been the victim of an email scam and have lost money relying on an email sent from a professional we can help. Call us on 08 8278 1779 for a no obligation conversation with Darren Kruse.
Our principal lawyer, Darren Kruse is one of the very few lawyers with a deep technical background in IT networking, cyberlaw and cyber security. Darren is uniquely positioned to assist client’s in bridging the divide between the cyber and legal worlds.
We are presently (April 2018) instructed to bring actions regarding email scams; against several solicitors in Queensland and several conveyancers in SA. We will be alleging that they have had their IT security breached - to the detriment of their clients. State boundaries are not a problem. We work across the country in the Commonwealth, Federal jurisdiction. We don't need to rely on State police or the AFP.
At least two Queensland law firms have lost several million dollars after falling victim to a "highly sophisticated" email scam, prompting an urgent warning from the Queensland Law Society.
Hackers commandeered the email accounts of staff at the law firms by tricking them into revealing their email account login details before hijacking payments from clients.
If you were unable to speak for yourself, who would you want to speak for you? And more importantly, what health care decisions would you want them to make?
Plan for tomorrow | Live for today.Putting a plan in place is about being heard even if you were unable to speak for yourself. Start the conversation with your friends and family about what you value in your life.
A professionally drafted Advanced Care Directive will give you that voice and allow you to be heard in the event of a medical incident. Call us on 8278 1779 to discuss further without obligation.
Facebook says more than 300,000 Australians affected in Cambridge Analytica data-mining scandal - ABC News (ABC)
More than 300,000 Australians may have had their personal information exposed in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal
As a long time user of Facebook, I can't say that this surprises me. Facebook has always had the motto "move fast and break things". Over the years this has resulted a predictable pattern. Facebook goes too far in sharing private information, there is an outcry, Facebook apologies, tweaks a few settings and then it repeats.
This time however, I sense something has changed. People are outraged that their private information has been used to influence their voting behaviour by using very specific micro-targeted advertising. While this scandal has arisen because of a lack of controls on third party apps that use the FB platform, the information that FB holds on your already allows them to sell micro targeted profiles to advertisers. It's their business model after all. Their value proposition to advertisers is that only they and can do this, unlike TV, radio or print. It was therefore no surprise to me that during the last State election my feed was inundated with political ads.
As a user, my response is to review and prune the apps that I have enabled on FB over the years. I was surprised to see that I had enabled over 100 ! I have been careful, only allowing the app to have access to my data and not my list of friends. Still, it's too many apps, even after pruning I have 72 authorised. Change yours here : https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=applications
So, I accept the Faustian bargain that in exchange for free access to the FB platform, that FB will populate my feed with targeted ads. I protect my FB friends privacy by not allowing apps to access my friends list and I assume that anything I post or share could escape the confines of my friends list and become public. YMMV.
However, as a lawyer interested in privacy, data breaches and cyber security I have a quite different response - the subject of my next post.”Read
This new cyber fraud as reported by ABC News : "With more Australian home buyers falling victim to sophisticated cyber scams stealing their deposits and life savings, more needs to be done to protect the public from hackers, legal and conveyancing industry members have said."
Regulator should take proactive role in cyber security: victim's lawyer
Mr Kruse said he believed the regulator [CBS] should "take a more proactive role" in ensuring conveyancers had adequate IT security systems in place.
"The regulator has a role here, the regulator since November 2014 has had the power to either impose conditions on a conveyancer's licence or suspend that licence if events have occurred, clearly events have occurred in this case," Mr Kruse said.
"There certainly hasn't been a full forensic investigation yet ... I would've thought that surely [the regulator] needs to give conveyancers a clean bill of health before they're allowed to keep conveyancing when questions have been raised.
"There needs to be an investigation by [the regulator] to protect the public."
Kruse Legal can assist in responding to a cyber fraud incident, data breach incident or a privacy breach incident. https://www.kruselegal.com.au/cyber-lawyer/cyber-security/”Read
A new cyber crime warning is being reported by SA's peak body for Conveyancers :
"In the last 48 hours three (3) cyber crime frauds have occurred affecting South Australian conveyancing clients.
This has resulted in an estimated loss to clients of around $1.3 Million.
The AICSA is urging conveyancers and clients to communicate directly (verbally) when advising bank and trust account details.
The AICSA recommends clients contact their conveyancer immediately should they receive a request for monies via email to confirm details and the emails legitimacy.
If you or your client is the victim of a Cybercrime you should report it immediately to SA Police on 131 444, Consumer & Business Services on 131 882 (extention 2, then 6) or the AICSA 8359 2090."
Source : https://www.facebook.com/pg/AICSAAU/posts/
We recommend that all purchasers of land now take the following steps to reduce the risk of cyber fraud when dealing with their conveyancer:
- Emailed directions with respect to money transactions should be confirmed verbally every time.
- Account details should always be provided verbally, or via a written document , not included in the body of an email.
- Contact your conveyancer immediately if you receive an email requesting that you pay money to a different or new account.
- Ask the conveyancer if they have 2 factor authentication turned on for their email system.
- Turn on 2 factor authentication on your own email system
At Kruse Legal we consider ourselves part of the Blackwood community. The proposal that Aldi build a new store has generated a significant local debate on Totally Locally and the Facebook Blackwood Buzz pages.
Since the early 70’s I’ve seen this community grow and the Aldi proposal is just one more piece of proposed growth and change. Many of us will remember the community protests of the sale of Minda land that became what is now Craigburn Farm. Others will remember the community opposition to what is now Coles when many wanted a community swimming pool. There was a time in living memory when Blackwood had no traffic lights, no Coles (1982) or Foodland (1968) and Woolies (1964) was the new shopping centre. Through all of this we have thrived and prospered and I have every confidence in that continuing if Aldi does come to town – whatever the final location.
The Buzz is a great forum that allows us to freely share and debate thanks to Vikki Threapleton. I think it’s important that the debate be civil and well informed – whatever the forum. To that end I’ve uploaded all the Aldi development application documents here ; http://bit.ly/Aldi200MainRoad. Their development application is 212 pages. I'll add other relevant documents here as they arise such and if people want to share them. Feel free to drop them at Kruse Legal for scanning.
Apparently, less than 30 per cent of us have any idea about what would happen to your digital assets or identity once we pass away.
Facebook, myGov, LinkedIn, Netflix, iTunes etc etc all should be gracefully shut down by your "digital executor". We always ask clients about this and we can easily add this to your existing Will using a codicil.”Read
Anyone who thinks that same sex couples have the same legal rights as married couples is wrong. This excellent article written by legal academics from La Trobe University succinctly sets out the important and potentially life-altering differences.
"Marriage allows people to access a complete package of rights simply by showing their marriage certificate or ticking a box, and is based on their mutual promises to one another rather than proving their relationship meets particular interdependency criteria."
Because I believe strongly in equality before the law I have temporarily changed our firm's logo. Vote Yes.”Read
Today I have temporarily changed the colours of our firm's logo in support of marriage equality. The circular logo represents equality before the law. It's perfectly balanced and everyone gets a seat at the table. It's what we believe in and it's why it's important to stand up for the same rights for all.
We are not alone; "The position of law societies across Australia, backed by the Law Council of Australia, is unequivocally that denying two consenting adults the right to marry is discriminatory. All would agree that discrimination on the basis of gender has no place in our law." Rocco Perrotta, Points of Law – 27 July 2015
The postal survey deadline for return of forms is 7 November 2017. Have your say and send Canberra an unmistakable message.
Good advice. We always tell our family law clients "don't write it if you don't want to see in in an affidavit."
“Regard anything you say about your ex-partner as potentially ending up in front of the judge. So think about what you are doing before you make any post on Facebook and Twitter, and the rest of the social media platforms,”
Who will receive your super in the event of your death ? It's important to know because you can't assume that the trustee of your super fund do what you would have wanted, or that they will even follow your Will.
The answer is to make a binding death nomination. It's free and you don't need a lawyer to do it. It's something we cover with every client as part of their Estate planning.
In contrast, read about the de facto partner of Daniel Leverton, the RAAF serviceman whose young daughters were left out of the bulk of his estate, because Military Super doesn't allow binding death nominations. That trustee awarded ~ 78% to his de-facto and only 11% each to his daughters aged 7 and 9.”Read
Q: Why do I need a data inventory? No one in my company actually wants to do it and it’s a lot of work.
Data inventory, once completed, can save you a lot of work in the long run. Once you know where your data is, what data you have, who uses it, and where — and how long — it is kept, then you can streamline a lot of decisions, especially if you also have a data classification.
Setting up a data inventory simplifies the determination of privacy impact.
We advise clients that the Australian Institute of Company Directors have previously written : Businesses need to assume a cyber security breach will happen and prepare accordingly.
We can advise clients in various areas of cyber security law including your legal response to a data breach and preferably your planning for potential breaches. Refer to our page of cyber security services or contact us on 8278 1779 to discuss.
"I was going guarantor for part of a house loan for my son. Kruse Legal went through all the legalities in a clear manner and outlined the responsibilities and pitfalls of what I was taking on. I felt that I was better informed and more aware as I signed the guarantor papers."
What is WOMO ? Word of Mouth is the No 1 business review site in Australia. It's a user-generated directory where people share the experiences they have with businesses - both good and bad ; https://www.wordofmouth.com.au”Read
The Law Society of SA and Welfare Rights Centre (SA) are reminding people who have received debt letters from Centrelink that they have the right to appeal debts and other fees if they think Centrelink has made an error.
“There have been reports of stress and confusion caused by the recent spate of letters sent by Centrelink to some customers indicating an obligation to pay a debt,” said Law Society President Tony Rossi.
“It’s important that people affected are aware of their rights.”“Centrelink decisions are appealable,” Mr Rossi said. “
Anyone who disagrees with their debt, or thinks there are special circumstances as to why the debt should not apply, can appeal the decision.””Read
We are delighted to announce our new Online Standard Wills .
Client's with straightforward family situations are now able to receive a professionally drafted Will with only one visit - to sign.
Our client's have said : "I had a will prepared and finalised. I loved the idea of using a website to pre-load all of my details in preparation of the will. It made the whole process quick and efficient. Great work!" Paulf ; Source: WOMO reviews for Kruse Legal
We charge a reduced fixed fee for a Standard Will if your family and asset circumstances are uncomplicated. In uncomplicated circumstances we are primarily offering a professional service to draft your Wills.
For Standard Wills we offer you the option to give us the majority of your instructions and details via a web-based questionnaire. One of our lawyers will then call you to confirm any missing details and ensure that everything was clear. We then provide the draft to you by email ahead of you coming in to sign the final document. Our usual turn around time for standard Wills is one week – although we can expedite this in the event of illness or emergency.
This process has been successfully used by many clients who enjoy it’s convenience and time saving advantages. Clients can at any time change their mind and still come in to see us in person. The choice is yours.
Kruse Legal - Your local lawyers. Blackwood and O'Halloran Hill”Read
Good news re Super SA SSS
If you are in the Super SA SSS scheme you can now nominate your estate to receive the benefit. This allows the Executor of your Will to make decisions that may be more tax effective.
On 16 June 2016 changes to the Southern State Superannuation Regulations were gazetted. These changes will now enable members of Triple S to nominate their legal personal representative (estate) as the beneficiary of their superannuation balance and any associated insurance component upon their death.
Prior to the change members of Triple S had no such discretion and the payment of benefits after a member’s death would be automatically applied to a spouse. This made for a very inflexible estate planning approach.
We advise that this will only occur if the Binding Death Benefit Nomination - LPR (Estate) form has been completed and provided to their fund. If no nomination form has been completed the previous fixed position of payment to the spouse remains.
We recommend that people considering this change also read the Binding Death Benefit Nomination - LPR (Estate) fact sheet on the Super SA website and consult with your financial planner before making changes to your Super SA SSS nomination.
Other Super Funds and Binding Death Nominations
Most other commercial Super funds allow members to nominate their beneficiary - including their estate. This allows people to consolidate their decision making into one location (the Will) and to ensure that the Trustee's discretion is removed. It will also allow the Executor to make decisions about paying beneficiaries that may be more tax-effective - assuming that the Will provides sufficient discretion.
Please contact us on 8278 1779 if you wish to discuss incorporating your super into your estate plan and your Will.”Read
We would like to pass on a media alert about the following scam.
The Federal Court has been contacted by a large number of people who have received emails, purportedly sent by the Federal Court on behalf of the Federal Circuit Court, subpoenaing them to attend court at a specified time. The email also requires the recipient to click on a link to both the court address and case related information.
Neither the Federal Court nor the Federal Circuit Court issue subpoenas in such an informal way. These emails have not been issued by the Court and are fraudulent.
Most importantly, anyone receiving such an email should not click on any of the links as they may contain viruses or malware and we recommend that you delete the email from your inbox and your deleted folder.
For more information see : http://www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fccweb/reports-and-publications/media-releases/2016/mr080716
As legal professionals, we play an important role in recognising and responding to Elder Abuse. Elder Abuse is very complex and often involves the people, relatives or friends, known and trusted by the older person.
We are are often the first to witness Elder Abuse and may be in a position to help. We are aware of the signs of Elder Abuse and know what you can do and where you can go for more information and support.
Elder Abuse is an act that causes deliberate or unintended harm to an older person, from a person they know and trust.
Around one in 20 older Australians experience some form of abuse from someone they trust, who is often a member of their own family. This abuse can be financial, emotional, physical, neglect and even sexual.
Over the past five years, this type of Abuse has most commonly included financial and emotional abuse and in 80 per cent of cases the abuse was carried out by a family member.
Older people may be vulnerable to abuse, which can often go unnoticed, especially where there is increasing frailty and physical or mental decline. Elder Abuse can be a hidden problem as it happens in the relationships where the community may least expected to occur.
Take action if you suspect abuse is occurring or you want to check in with your own experiences. Call the SA Elder Abuse Prevention Phone Line on 1800 372 310
Recognise the signs and help put an end to Elder Abuse - click www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/stopelderabuse for more information.
The campaign is a key action from the Strategy to Safeguard the Rights of Older South Australians, Action Plan 2015-2021.
KL : we always advise our clients - don't put it on facebook if you don't want to see it in an affidavit.
Source: ABC RN How social media is disrupting the courts”Read
A report on SA's inflated traffic fine system suggests adopting Finland's approach by fining people based on their income.The report, ... also found that some common traffic fines rose between 66 per cent and 160 per cent between the year 2000 and 2012, despite inflation justifying only a 41 per cent rise.
KL : do you agree ? It is a bedrock principle that everyone is equal before the law, but then how is it equal to fine a single mum on Centrelink the same $1,300 amount as a Supreme Court judge for a DUI offence ?”Read
In cases over $12,000, parties would be able to choose whether or not to be represented by a lawyer.
KL : Currently, it is grossly unfair for people to have to represent themselves against insurance companies and loss adjusters. A lawyer levels the playing field for you. At the moment, if you have a claim of less than $25,000, even if you win that claim, you get none of your legal costs. If you still want to represent yourself, you can. Lowering this threshold brings SA into line with NSW and Vic and will unclog our courts.
"For the past 45 years, it has been the ABS's practice to destroy that identifying information as soon as all other information on the census forms is transcribed - first onto magnetic tape, and now into vast digital data banks that allow statisticians to slice and dice at their whim."
Will you now be more or less willing to complete that 2016 Census form if you know that the Cth government will now keep your name alongside your responses ?”Read
Probate fees update: The SA Law Society is opposing the government's new and very unfair fee increases. As reported by the President of the SA Law Society Mr David Caruso:
The Chair of the Succession Law Committee, Ms Joan Sedsman, and I appeared before the Legislative Review Committee yesterday, Wednesday 9 March 2016, in relation to the Society’s opposition to the Supreme Court (Probate Fees) Variation Regulations 2016, presently the subject of a disallowance motion by the Honourable Mark Parnell MLC.
The Society has previously written to Members of the Parliament to express, and we reiterated at the hearing, our opposition to gross based valuations of estates with respect to probate fees and the introduction of a tiered fees system based on those valuations. Available here is a briefing note provided by the Society to all Members of the Legislative Council ahead of the appearance. The Legislative Council has deferred its vote on the motion until 23 March 2016 to allow Honourable Members to consider the evidence put to the LRC.
13. The current increase in fees, however, represents an increase of between just under 35% and nearly 170% for the vast majority of applications for probate.
14. The fees are also now based on a gross rather than net valuation of the estate. That is unjust because it is a false valuation of the estate.
15. If a house has a gross value of $800,000 but is 80 per cent mortgaged, the real value of the estate to beneficiaries under the Will is $160,000. But they will now be charged a fee that ignores the mortgage.
19. Filing fees in SA are already well above the national average.
20. In WA, a flat fee of $304 applies.
21. In Victoria, the fee is $306
Tell your local MP what you think about these probate fee increases !”Read
More on Probate Fees. Death Duties were abolished in SA by the Tonkin government in 1979. This government didn't get that memo. From 28 February 2016 the cost of filing an application for probate will increase significantly for the majority of estates. The present filing fee is $1,114. This rise makes SA the most expensive place in Australia to die. In WA the fee is $304, in VIC it's $306
Worse, the fee now varies according to the gross amount of the estate, not the net! The work for the Probate Registry is the same regardless of the size of the estate, so this new regime is no longer just an expensive administration fee - it's a death tax in disguise.
The median house price in Blackwood is currently $527,000. So, the filing fee just rocketed up from $1,114 to $2,000 - or almost 80% !!
I agree with Vickie Chapman when she said in parliament on 9.02.2015 "You cannot even die in this state without being taxed. It is an absolute disgrace"
Please refer to our page on Probate for more information on how we can assist you to obtain a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration”Read
Source: Senior SA bureaucrat charged with abuse of public office (via ABC news)”Read
U.S. lawmakers joined the chorus of outrage over the killing of Cecil the lion on Friday, announcing a bill that would stop people from importing “trophies” gleaned from hunting potentially endangered animals.
KL : We don't usually post non-Adelaide legal news stories, but this was a good opportunity to let people know that the SA Law Society has an Animal Law Committee that would likely comment on any similar legislation proposed in Australia.
Source: U.S. Lawmakers Draft 'CECIL Act' to Curb Trophy Hunters (via Time.com)”Read
Source: Jury yet to reach verdict over alleged plot to murder SA judges (via ABC News)”Read
Legislation promising people with an intellectual disability equal treatment in the justice system passes SA's Parliament.
Attorney-General John Rau said South Australia was changing that.
"What is going to happen is that, to some extent, we are going to be able to rely on ... experts, who are independent people, who give an independent assessment of what that person is telling us and help the courts to understand what the person is trying to communicate," he said.
"Some of this communication might be non-verbal, it might be behavioural, it might be expressed in a whole range of ways which, to the untrained eye, don't actually tell us anything.
"But to include a person who does have the experience and the expertise to be able, to objectively interpret that voice if you like and bring it to the court, I think it is a big step forward."
Source: Intellectually disabled in SA secure better legal rights (via ABC news)
It is perhaps unsurprising that a reformist Attorney-General like John Rau should eventually turn his attention to the courts themselves.
A radical shake-up of South Australia's court system could be in the pipeline, a budget estimates hearing is told. South Australian Attorney-General John Rau said it might make sense to merge the two courts and create a separate appeals court
Source: Radical shake-up of SA courts system in the pipeline: Attorney-General (via ABC news)”Read
National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell says one potential safeguard is to allow children more of a say during family law battles.
The Family Court is examining ways in which children’s views can be heard by the court. Although some worry this could place children in the middle of their parents’ disputes, Mitchell says she speaks to many children who feel “incredibly disempowered” by the legal process.
“I don’t concur with the view that hearing from children puts them at risk. Hearing from them is a safeguarding measure,” she says.
KL : Yes, experts don't always get it right.
That aside, we tend to agree with Commissioner Mitchell that children need to be heard, although we wonder how it is different interstate given that in SA, children involved in child custody and parenting dispute matters are routinely interviewed and thereby "given a voice" in s62G Family Reports and the s11F Mediation Conferences. Indeed, in one recent matter we dealt with, the 11F report strongly recommended that the bright and articulate 12 y/o could decide how often she spent time with her mother.
Source: The Family Court’s dilemma in cases of child sexual abuse (via www.theaustralian.com.au)”Read
Source: SA Chief Justice Chris Kourakis sits for portrait as part of Royal SA Society of Arts exhibition (via www.news.com.au)”Read
”ReadThe Courts Administration Authority will now use Twitter as an additional communication channel between the Courts and the community in South Australia.In time, we expect to tweet public announcements, updates to Rule changes and other legal matters, job vacancies and administrative matters as well as papers and other material not necessarily produced by the Court but of interest and relevance to the legal profession and community, about developments in justice.
In many respects the Bill is the most significant and far reaching of any in Australia’s history.
It contains none of the safeguards from abuse or wrongful decision usually provided for in legislation. The Bill demolishes the rule of law. There is no presumption of innocence, right to a fair trial or appeal and so on.
via Law Society SA Points of Law – 29 June 2015 at http://lawsocietysa.asn.au/pdf/inbrief/POL290615.pdf”Read
One-sixth is to go to his wife, one-fifth is to go to his son, one-fourth to his butler, and the rest to charity. Now, what does each get?”
After a very long silence in the classroom, Little Johnny raised his hand. Yes Johnny?
With complete sincerity in his voice, Little Johnny answered, “A lawyer!””Read
As first flagged by a user on telco forum Whirlpool, when a user browses certain websites, Optus provides the customer's mobile phone number to the website operator where a "commercial relationship" exists.
KL : not cool Optus. Not cool at all. Who will take this to the Privacy Ombudsman ?”Read
The Fair Work Ombudsman is looking into a new law firm asking junior lawyers to pay $22,000 for a job. Adlawgroup project manager Tina Hailstone said the company's supervised positions were an "investment".
Marie Iskander from Australian Law Students' Association said she thought Adlawgroup's pay-for-a-job model was unethical.
KL : we agree !
Source: Pay to work: Junior lawyers asked to pay $22k for job at Adelaide law firm (via ABC news)”Read
Law & Order
The state’s courts will finally get a new Electronic Courts Management System to manage court documents, information and the registry process at a cost of $20.3 million over four years.
The Budget also includes $970,000 in 2015-16 for an essential upgrade of the Sir Samuel Way building which is falling apart.
CURIOUS about what the State Budget has but don’t want all that baffling detail? Here’s the 2015 Budget at a glance.
Source: State Budget 2015: Your five-minute guide (via news.com.au)”Read
A real life example provided by a colleague recently is a person who lost the sight in one eye in a motor accident in 2013. Under the government’s compensation scheme the lump sum payable for non-economic loss is calculated on the Injury Scales Value as between $18,000 and $22,000 dollars. Under the Return to Work Act the lump sum payable is $237,000. Yes you read correctly. If you are sitting in your car for work reasons and suffer this injury your lump sum compensation for non-economic loss is $237,000. If you are injured in your car going to church on a Sunday you receive about $20,000, just a small difference of over $200,000.
Couples who are planning to get a divorce or families experiencing a breakdown will be hit by a "divorce tax" as federal court fees will dramatically rise under changes in the government's new budget.
Source: 'Divorce tax' in budget as fees to rise significantly (via SMH)”Read
Source: Funding shortfall threatens SA legal centres (via Lawyers Weekly)
[Luckily not the excellent Southern Justice Community Centre. Call them if you qualify for Legal Aid. - Kruse Legal]”Read
One of the misconceptions that I often find is that people believe that their inheritance will be excluded from the asset pool. Generally speaking, it’s not - if your inheritance is received during the relationship, a Court will probably include it in the asset pool, available for division between the parties.
It does, however, make a difference to the overall property adjustment. Although it will be treated as part of the asset pool, it will count as a contribution from the person whose relative has passed away.
Should you need advice as to how an inheritance that you have received would be treated in the event of separation, and how (if at all) that inheritance may be protected, then please contact Kruse Legal on 08 8278 1779
Source: Michelle Gordon replaces husband as High Court judge (via ABC News)
[And still no judge from SA ! - Kruse Legal]”Read
AKA - Michael Atkinson will now lose the right to veto GTA V or anything else that doesn't suit his taste. About time. [Kruse Legal]
Source: SA Government will lose power to ban movies and video games under classification law reforms (via news.com.au)”Read
ONE of the most distinguished and respected members of the South Australian legal profession, Christopher Legoe QC has added Officer of the order of Australia to his already impressive list of accolades.
Mr Legoe served as a judge of the Supreme Court from 1978 to 1994, including a period as acting Chief Justice in 1993, and returned to the bench briefly in 1995.
Source: Queen’s Birthday Honours list for 2015 in South Australia (via news.com.au)”Read
Marriage equality is fundamental to a free and inclusive society The Law Council of Australia has welcomed the fresh attention being given to the same-sex marriage debate in light of the referendum results in Ireland.
“Same-sex marriage now enjoys widespread strong support of the Australian community and it is vital that our elected representatives find the means to get this important reform passed through the Parliament,” Mr McConnel concluded.
Source: Law Council of Australia press release 4 June 2015 via www.lawcouncil.asn.au
Onkaparinga Council proposes renaming an Aberfoyle Park reserve after former Independent MP Bob Such
Source: Onkaparinga Council proposes renaming an Aberfoyle Park reserve after former Independent MP Bob Such (via news.com.au)”Read
ONE of the features of a truly democratic society is the ability to speak freely. I have previously suggested that freedom is best measured by whether laws permit open discussion and criticisms of public authorities and institutions.
In recent weeks the public has been reminded of what could be the greatest threat to freedom of speech in this country: the employer.
Source: Law Society of SA President Rocco Perrotta: Employees face growing limits on their freedom of speech (via the Advertiser)”Read
• Better navigation
• Full automation of the court lists
• Dedicated client landing pages for general federal law (FCC only), separated couples and families, migrants refugees and language support, family violence, grandparents and other carers, kids and young people, people with disabilities, Indigenous Australians, rural and remote Australians and mental health and emotional wellbeing
• New online services section
• New 'How do I' section
• New online subscription form
• Responsive design for mobile and tablet users.
Source: Bill Shorten to move private member's bill on same-sex marriage (via the Guardian online)”Read
May 25 is International Missing Children’s Day. For further information or to show your support visit www.helpbringthemhome.org.au/#
While it is an offence to remove a child from Australia without the permission of the court or the other parent, it’s not a criminal offence if there are no court proceedings or orders preventing them from taking out of the country.
Source: ‘Do the right thing and bring them home’ (via news.com.au)”Read
Thousands of women and children experiencing domestic violence in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania are set to miss out on vital assistance for family law services as those states face a declining share of commonwealth legal aid funding.
Source: Women and children lose in shake-up of legal aid funding via (The Australian)”Read
Source: SA's Legal Services Commission hit by $830,000 funding cut via ABC News”Read
The 2015 Federal Budget does not include assistance for the legal aid sector despite repeated calls from the profession to address “chronic underfunding”.
The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) has expressed its disappointment at the absence of funding for legal aid services in the government’s Budget announced last night (12 May).”Read
SA lawyers say DPP must be held accountable for its decisions, not pursue cases doomed to failure | The Advertiser
To coincide with Law Week, an extensive questionnaire compiled by court reporters Ken McGregor and Sean Fewster has asked the state’s most experienced legal minds what is working in our justice system, what is not — and how do we fix it? Here are their questions and the answers.
The State Government's attempt to adopt the Coroners' recommendations in the Chloe Valentine case could undermine the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Law Society says.
THE full extent of problems in the child protection system is not known because the State Government either is not recording key data or won’t reveal it.
“Either data exists regarding drug taking parents known to Families SA and the government is concealing it, or it does not exist which is frightening,” Mr Marshall said.
[Not good enough in our opinion - KL]
Source: Key South Australian child protection data not kept or won’t be revealed (The Advertiser)”Read
NSW and Victoria will engage in a fresh round of lobbying to urge other states and territories to sign up to uniform laws for regulating the legal profession.NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton said she would be calling her counterparts in other states and territories ahead of a meeting this month to try to persuade them to adopt the reforms.
A debate is looming about freeing up restrictions on the ways lawyers can charge their clients, and the answers aren't simple, argues Morry Bailes.
Presently it is unlawful for a lawyer to charge a client a percentage of their damages. Damages are the monies awarded to a claimant in a successful civil action to compensate for their loss. The current rules only permit traditional charging, usually on a per hour rate basis. Limited conditional fee agreements are allowed involving some uplift on the usual hourly rate in the event of success, but not a straight contingency. That is still unlawful.
Attorney-General John Rau seeking to close loopholes that leave domestic violence victims at further risk (The Advertiser)
LAWS to protect victims of abusive partners will be strengthened to crack down on breaches of protection orders and force offenders to pay for rehabilitation.
Retrospective legislation to fix a Safework SA stuff up would set a dangerous precedent, says Business SA
The Work Health and Safety (Prosecutions Under Repealed Act) Amendment Bill 2015, which has passed the House of Assembly and is soon to go to the Legislative Council, would give Mr Rau the discretion to reopen two cases, one which involved a workplace fatality
Proposed amendments to binding financial agreement provisions of the Family Law Act 1975 | Attorney-General's Department
The proposed provisions set out in the exposure draft would amend the Family Law Act to remove existing uncertainties around requirements for entering, interpreting and enforcing BFAs. They would also make changes to the coverage of spousal maintenance matters in BFAs and introduce statements of principle in relevant parts of the Family Law Act to outline the binding nature of BFAs and reinforce that the intention of the regime is to offer certainty to parties.”Read
Courts should be allowed to impose fines based on offenders' ability to pay, South Australia's Chief Justice Chris Kourakis argues.
He said it was of great concern the courts had to impose mandatory fines for many offences on people who had no real prospect of paying.”Read
Inspired by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s ‘conscious uncoupling’, divorce ceremonies are growing in popularity, at least according to celebrant Jennifer Cram. RN Drive takes a look at the trend.
[We can't say that this is all that new, having heard about this before. Still, it's probably appropriate in many separations that are amicable - which they have the best chance of being if they are done via Consent Orders - our preferred option always] KL”Read
South Australia's Chief Justice Chris Kourakis says his head was "spinning" after he took the unprecedented step of hearing matters at a suburban court.
Mr Kourakis today sat at the Elizabeth Magistrates Court, glimpsing at first hand what he described as the heavy caseloads faced by magistrates.”Read
A motoring group is keen to see trial use of driverless cars in Adelaide, possibly as shuttles between airport terminals or to help elderly people stay connected with the wider community when they can no longer drive themselves around.”Read
The bodies of 12 horses have been found dumped at a conservation park south of Adelaide.
The Environmental Protection Authority is investigating the illegal dumping and said that at least two have markings suggesting that they were race horses.”Read
A 42-year-old man made no application for bail at his first court appearance after being charged with the stabbing murder of another man in Adelaide.”Read
The Commonwealth Lawyers Association is delighted to announce the appointment of its new President Mr Alex Ward and the new Vice President Mr Santhaan Krishnan Ramamurthi”Read
Jay Weatherill says the history of child protection legislation is “littered with unintended consequences”, and insists his ministerial legacy was to spearhead a move “towards removal of children in circumstances where they’re at risk”.”Read
MORE than 3500 drivers are caught in unregistered and uninsured vehicles each month — the highest rate since registration stickers were abolished — delivering a $7 million annual fines windfall to the State Government.
The number of such offences has risen 50 per cent since the stickers were dumped in July 2011 to save the Government $2 million a year.”Read
POLICE have caught 270 drivers speeding through 25km/h emergency services zones — some more than triple the speed limit — since it was lowered seven months ago.
The state’s acting top traffic cop has warned that, while the majority of road users are obeying the new law, police would not tolerate reckless drivers putting the lives of emergency services personnel at risk.”Read
All dogs and cats in South Australia to be microchipped under plan to reduce number of impounded pets
ALL dogs and cats in South Australia will have to be microchipped and breeders registered, under sweeping reforms aimed at stamping out puppy farms and reducing the number of pets ending up in shelters.
The State Government will today announce an overhaul of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 making it mandatory for all dogs and cats to be microchipped at three-months of age, while older animals will also have to be microchipped.”Read
Trial allowing lawyers to appear via video link could boost regional court 'efficiencies' says SA Law Society - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
The Law Society of South Australia says increased use of video link technology could lead to improved efficiency and cost savings for regional clients.
A trial began this week in the Christies Beach Magistrates Court in Adelaide, allowing lawyers to appear via video link.”Read
this incident has again highlighted that our laws do not require labels to mean what they say. It would not be widely known that a claim “Made in Australia” can be made about a food product even though none of the food is from Australia.
POLICE arrested a 42-year-old man at Para Hills West on Saturday night in connection with a murder at Ridleyton this week.
The suspect was apprehended by police without incident at about 10.25pm in a vehicle parked in a driveway in Ceafield Road at Para Hills West.”Read
Bernard Finnigan: Defence claims search terms do not prove intent to access child pornography - ABC News
The search terms typed into Google by South Australian state MP Bernard Finnigan do not prove he was trying to access child pornography, his lawyer says.
The prosecution alleges the former Labor minister, turned independent, entered search terms with "obvious child sex connotations".”Read
What are the challenges that come with marrying a lawyer and maintaining a happy marriage with a lawyer? Are there special rules or considerations when loving a lawyer?
via How to Stay Married to a Lawyer. on www.lawyerist.com
Aaron Jade Grenfell told by judge to expect jail sentence over Chinatown, Cavan assaults - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
A teenager who assaulted four men in Chinatown in Adelaide's CBD has been labelled a "nasty young thug" by a District Court judge.
Aaron Jade Grenfell, 19, assaulted the men in March last year, leaving them with injuries including lacerations and facial fractures.”Read
It costs around A$180 million a year to operate South Australia’s prisons. That accounts for 75% of the total correctional budget. Rehabilitation takes up just 10%.”Read
NO child must ever suffer, as Chloe Valentine did, under the flawed practices of Families SA and the agency must be overhauled, the Coroner says.
State Coroner Mark Johns on Thursday savaged the child safety department’s policies, practices and culture over four-year-old Chloe’s death in 2012, and blasted its chief executive.”Read
A crackdown on dishonest claims and fraud in the former WorkCover scheme has led to an unprecedented number of workers facing legal action, convictions and fines.
Figures provided to Business Insight by ReturnToWorkSA – the renamed WorkCoverSA – reveal a substantial increase in compliance and enforcement activity over the past two years with referrals of suspicious activity rising from 342 in 2013-14 to 493 in the nine months of the current financial year.
via InDaily " http://indaily.com.au/business-insight/2015/04/16/workcover-crackdown-yields-results/”Read
Walk for Justice 2015 ; Tuesday 12 May - 7.30am
Join the largest annual gathering of the legal profession in South Australia and help raise vital funds for JusticeNet SA. The funds raised help JusticeNet provide free legal help to disadvantaged clients, including those experiencing disability, poverty or risk of homelessness, asylum seekers and people representing themselves.”Read
Bernard Finnigan admits to typing search terms before arrest for allegedly accessing child pornography, court hears - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
South Australian state MP Bernard Finnigan has admitted he typed search terms into Google, which the prosecution alleges lead to child pornography sites, a district court has heard.
Finnigan, 42, was arrested in April 2011 and charged with accessing and attempting to access child pornography.”Read
Two public servants are facing charges of abuse of public office after separate investigations by South Australia's Independent Commissioner Against Corruption.
The alleged offences involve a 47-year-old woman from Redwood Park and a 61-year-old man from Henley Beach.”Read