Major transactions – your obligations as a director

Major transactions – your obligations as a director

A general principle of the Companies Act 1993 (the Act) is that the board of directors is appointed to manage and control the day-to-day operations of a company without having direct interference or oversight by shareholders (the owners of a company). However, some decisions may substantially change the nature or direction of a company and accordingly, the shareholders are required to approve these decisions. These substantial decisions are known as major transactions.

Read More

What the fence?

What the fence?

Under the Fencing Act 1978, if a property owner chooses to build a new fence or refurbish an existing fence, the neighbouring property is expected to contribute 50% of the total price. The proposed fence must be “adequate” to reasonably satisfy its purpose. The neighbour is not expected to contribute 50% of the cost, if the current or proposed fence is more than adequate to serve its purpose.

Read More

Terms of trade

Terms of trade

Time and time again, we are approached by disgruntled business owners and dissatisfied customers to help resolve disputes arising from deals made on the basis of informal arrangements. The law certainly assists in defining and clarifying certain aspects of the contractual relationship between parties. The starting point is usually a consideration of what the parties intended and agreed on at the time the goods and/or services were purchased. The intention of the parties is undoubtedly easier to determine with clear written evidence.

Read More

Employment agreements from an employer perspective

Employment agreements from an employer perspective

An individual employment agreement (Agreement) is a written agreement that contains the terms and conditions of the employment as negotiated by an employer and employee. An Agreement is a useful tool with which the employer can set clear performance expectations, standards, processes and responsibilities for an employee before they start work. It is also used as a reference point in employment disputes.

Read More

A review of Labour’s 100 Day Plan

A review of Labour’s 100 Day Plan

Before the election, the Labour Party laid out a plan with 18 key goals to achieve within their first 100 days in office. This 100-day Plan was adopted and implemented by the Labour-led coalition Government. This article aims to provide an analysis of the progress of some of the key goals as well as touching on some future policies that Labour intends to implement that may affect you.

Read More

Proposed changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000 – What you need to be aware of

Proposed changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000 – What you need to be aware of

During Labour’s election campaign, the Party released a plan which detailed their intentions for their first 100 days in office (“100 Day Plan”).  Since the campaign, the Labour-led Government has released the proposed changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000 (“ERA”) which are predicted to affect New Zealand’s employment landscape significantly. In this regard, it is important to be aware of what changes Labour are proposing and how the changes may affect you.

Read More

Trust Law Changes

Trust Law Changes

Family trusts are a practical structure for holding assets, particularly in New Zealand where there are approximately 300,000 to 500,000 trusts operating today. Currently, the Trustee Act 1956 and the Perpetuities Act 1964 contain provisions which need to be read in conjunction with case law regarding their operation, and do not keep up with present-day trust practices. Therefore, the updates regarding trust law under the current Trusts Bill (“Bill”) are long overdue, being the first significant reform for at least 60 years. The Bill will replace these Acts, clarify core trust concepts and create more practical trust legislation.

Read More

Trading on Easter Sunday

Trading on Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday is not a public holiday, yet most businesses used to have to be closed on this particular day. However, changes to the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 (the “Act”) that came into effect in August 2016 mean that all territorial authorities (city and district councils) now have the power to have a local Easter Sunday shop trading policy to permit shops to open on Easter Sunday in areas comprising the whole or part(s) of an authority's district. At least 25 of the 67 local councils in the country have already passed bylaws allowing shops to open on Easter Sunday.

Read More

Mediation in Employment Disputes

Mediation in Employment Disputes

Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) methods are alternatives to going directly to court. Using ADR methods instead of pursuing the matter in court is usually more cost effective for all the parties involved, takes less time to resolve the dispute, and also relieves the court of cases they believe can be resolved between the parties without court assistance.  This particular article will focus on mediation in the context of employment law and form a part of our ADR article series which will include articles on formal/informal negotiation and arbitration over the next two newsletters.

Read More

Anti-Money Laundering & Countering Finance of Terrorism

Anti-Money Laundering & Countering Finance of Terrorism

The New Zealand Government estimates the proceeds of fraud and illegal drugs totalling about $1.35 billion each year is laundered through New Zealand businesses.

In order to comply with its international obligations and to improve New Zealand’s ability to identify and prevent money laundering and terrorism financing, the Government has implemented changes to the law which affect various businesses and professions.

Read More

Personal Guarantees

Personal Guarantees

A Guarantor is a person who gives a promise to repay the debt of a borrower.  By agreeing to pay a debt the Guarantor has made a guarantee to the institution or person lending the funds (“lender”). Frequently when someone gives a guarantee they are also giving an indemnity. An indemnity is a contractual promise to accept liability for any loss by the lender that is accumulated in the process of the recovery of a debt. 

Read More

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

In 2016, the New Zealand (“NZ”) Police investigated 118,910 incidents of family violence, that equates to approximately one DV incident every five minutes. The most recent parliamentary debate on the issue has resulted in The Domestic Violence – Victims’ Protection Bill (“Bill”), originally proposed by the Green Party, which had its first reading in March 2017. This Bill aims to offer greater protection to victims of DV (“Victim/s”) in an employment context.

Read More

The Corporate Veil

The Corporate Veil

Section 15 of the Companies Act 1993 (“Act”) states that a company has a legal personality in its own right and is separate from its shareholders. This is a principle known as the Salomon principle, originating from the case of Salomon v A Salomon & Co Ltd.  The Salomon principle provides that a company is essentially regarded as a legal person separate from its directors, shareholders, employees and agents. This means as a separate legal entity, a company can be sued in its own name and own assets separately from its shareholders.

Read More