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Posted on Oct 30, 2014

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ICAC – WHAT IS IT AND WHAT CAN IT DO?

Posted on Oct 30, 2014

The South Australian Independent Commissioner against Corruption (ICAC) was established in South Australia in 2013 and was set up to investigate corruption, misconduct and maladministration in public administration. The Independent Commissioner against Corruption Act 2014 defines public officers and public authorities as follows: Public officers include: Members of Parliament Members of the Judiciary Police Officers Public Sector Employees Councillors Council Employees Persons contracted to perform work for a Public Authority or...

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DISPUTING A WILL – WHAT’S THE COST?

Posted on Oct 28, 2014

The old principle that legal costs arising from disputing a will are usually paid out of the estate (“known as the Probate Costs Rule) is outdated and in need of reform according to the Supreme Court. In a recent case, the deceased had hand written his intentions for his estate in a note book. It was not signed or witnessed as is normally the case for a valid will. Nevertheless, the Court found that the deceased, having studied law and being aware of succession laws, intended that hand written note to form his will and accordingly, the...

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NO CONVICTION – ITS NOT ‘UNUSUAL’

Posted on Oct 21, 2014

A case involving a traffic charge does not have to be ‘unusual’ for a Court to refrain from recording a conviction. Recently, a man was charged when a car he owned was driven unregistered and uninsured. He was told by a Magistrate that his case was not unusual and therefore he would have to receive a fine equivalent to the expiation fee and a conviction. On appeal to the Supreme Court it was held that the Magistrate had made an error in the way that a Court should deal with the question of whether or not to impose a conviction. The...

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AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS – WHAT IS A FAIR AVERAGE?

Posted on Oct 20, 2014

When it comes to calculating weekly Workers Compensation payments sometimes the ‘average’ just isn’t right, as the Workers Compensation Tribunal decided in a recent case. A person who is incapacitated as a result of a work injury is entitled to weekly payments of income maintenance calculated in accordance with the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act. The way that the rate of those payments is calculated is set out in section 4 of the Act which states that it is, “the average weekly amount that the worker earned during the...

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$600,000 FOR NOT WEARING A SEATBELT – WHO’S AT FAULT?

Posted on Oct 14, 2014

A woman who was left a paraplegic after suffering catastrophic injuries in a car accident appealed the decision of a Court to reduce her damages of $2,400,000 by nearly $600,000 because she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. The case involved provisions under the Civil Liability Act that reduce a person’s claim for damages as a result of a car accident by 25% if they were not wearing a seatbelt regardless of whether that was the reason for the injury. It also concerned a separate section that reduces a passenger’s damages by 50% if the accident...

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YOUNG DRIVERS BE AWARE

Posted on Oct 13, 2014

On 28 July 2014 a new Graduated Licensing Scheme replaced the old licensing system. It is important for young drivers on a provisional licence to be aware of the changes and, more importantly, how those changes will affect drivers. The main changes apply to P1 drivers under the age of 25 years, both current P1 licence holders and those who obtain their licence after 28 July 2014. It is now an offence to drive with more than one passenger aged 16 – 20, and it is also an offence to drive between midnight and 5am. There are exceptions to...

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THE EFFECT OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ON DIVISION OF PROPERTY

Posted on Oct 9, 2014

The Federal Court has recently considered how domestic violence toward a wife should be taken into account in the division of matrimonial property both in terms of her contributions and also to her likely future employability. The Family Law Act gives the Court discretion to alter property rights to ensure that there is a just distribution between the parties. Generally, this takes into account both the contributions made by each party as well as their future needs. For some time the occurrence of family violence has been a relevant factor...

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CAN I GET WORKERS COMPENSATION IN SA IF I’M INJURED IN ANOTHER STATE?

Posted on Oct 7, 2014

An SA social worker on a three-month placement on Christmas Island who suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of her involvement with survivors of a boatload of asylum seekers that foundered on rocks with many passengers drowning had her claim for Workers Compensation rejected on the basis that she was not employed in SA. The injured worker, who was employed by Life Without Barriers (an Australian public company with branches across Australia) disputed the decision to reject her claim in the Workers Compensation Tribunal, which...

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A HANDWRITTEN NOTE THAT COULD CHANGE A WILL

Posted on Sep 29, 2014

Uncertainty arose when the author of a will who left her property to her two children also left a separate handwritten note saying that her son could ‘use’ the house for as long as he ‘needs’ it. Was the note part of her will? If so, how long could her son use the house? These issues had to be considered in a recent case in the Supreme Court. The deceased executed her last will and testament in January 1993 which included the wording, “I give my residence as at the time of my death to my executors on trust for my said son … until...

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