• February 21, 2019 in Commercial Law

    New Police Laws Provide More Confidence

    New legislation before the Queensland Parliament designed to improve the disciplinary system for the state’s police will provide more confidence for the public and certainty for police officers, says leading legal firm Creevey Russell Lawyers.

    Creevey Russell Principal Dan Creevey said The Police Service Administration (Discipline Reform) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 will, if passed, have a significant impact on how internal police disciplinary matters are handled.

    The police complaints system in Queensland has remained largely unchanged since 1990. If passed by the Parliament, the new legislation will streamline police disciplinary investigations, delivering faster and more consistent outcomes, while also enhancing oversight by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

    Mr Creevey said the proposed changes, which include limitation periods on when disciplinary proceedings must be commenced, are a welcome addition.

    “Our firm does a significant amount of disciplinary work,” he said.

    “In the event this Bill becomes law, members of the police force who are faced with disciplinary action will be given a degree of certainty as to when matters will at least be commenced, rather than have the threat of action hanging over their head for an indefinite period of time.

    “The changes will help ensure the public has confidence in knowing police officers who are found to be behaving poorly are disciplined accordingly, but also give the public confidence in knowing police officers who are found to have done nothing wrong are back protecting the community without extensive delay.”

    The Bill proposes to repeal the Police Service (Discipline) Regulations 1990, as well as amend other important legislation pertaining to the Queensland Police Service, including the Crime and Corruption Act 2001, and the Police Service Administration Act 1990.

    Mr Creevey said it was good to see the law adapting to meet societal changes.

    “Society is constantly changing, and it is important that the law is also being amended and updated to reflect society’s views and expectations, while also helping to ensure those suspected of any wrongdoing are afforded fair processes and a right to reply in a timely manner,” he said. “The bill helps to achieve this.”

    Further inquiries:

    Dan Creevey (07) 4617 8777

  • February 18, 2019 in Commercial Law

    Growing Pains as Creevey Russell Lawyers Turns Ten

    Leading Queensland legal firm Creevey Russell Lawyers is enjoying unprecedented growth across all of its practice areas as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.

    Creevey Russell Co-Founder and Principal Dan Creevey said it was an exciting milestone for the South East Queensland based full service law firm, which now has 28 staff across three offices.

    “There has been plenty achieved over the past 10 years and the firm’s accomplishments over that time are a great credit to the hard working staff at our offices in the Brisbane CBD, Toowoomba and Roma,” Mr Creevey said.

    “We will enjoy these celebrations but it’s also a time to reflect and thank our clients for their support over the last decade. We are fully committed to continuing to provide great service to regional Queensland.”

    Mr Creevey said the firm had built a strong team and was looking to support further growth with the addition of three more experienced commercial/property and family law lawyers.

    “Last year was one of our busiest with two class actions in progress, which involved much travel thoughout regional Queensland and NSW, while we refined our practice areas to family, commercial / property, crime and litigation, estates and elder law,” he said.

    “We recently engaged an experienced practice manager to allow us to focus on our clients, while highly experienced senior commercial and property lawyer Helen Kay has joined the firm as a Special Counsel.”

    Mr Creevey said the 10th anniversary was also significant for the firm’s senior legal team including Co-Principal Clare Creevey and Partners Damian Bell and Tom Rynders.

    “Clare has been a massive contributor to the firm and we were thrilled when she was recognised by Doyles Guide as one of Queensland’s leading legal practitioners in the field of medical negligence and malpractice,” he said.

    “Damian joined the commercial arm of Creevey Russell Lawyers four years ago and his extensive experience both in legal and commercial business in Australia and overseas has been invaluable, particularly when we engage with banks for our clients in financial difficulty.

    “Tom has spent most of his legal career at Creevey Russell Lawyers and it has been delightful to watch his progression to being a Partner.”

    Mr Creevey said other highlights for the firm over the past 10 years were its Native Title work and also the launch of a specialist criminal law division as part of its wide range of services to clients.

  • January 18, 2019 in Commercial Law

    Dodgy DIY Wills Can Prove Costly

    Preparing your own  will without professional help can end up resembling a dodgy do it yourself building project – resulting in substantial extra costs instead of saving money, says leading legal firm Creevey Russell Lawyers.

    Creevey Russell wills and estates lawyer Rachel Greenslade said while courts in the age of technology and society’s desire to DIY have been more flexible regarding what they will accept as will documents, improperly made wills can cost tens of thousands of dollars to have proven as the last will of the deceased.

    “Writing your own will might seem like a good idea, especially since the ability to do so is right at your fingertips, however, if your will is not drafted in a way that that deals with your whole estate or is not executed correctly, it is likely that your estate will wear significant costs ,” Ms Greenslade said.

    “Would you fix your own car, build your own house or perform your own surgery? While doing things yourself often saves time and money, the result may not be as expected and may end up costing more in the long term.”

    Ms Greenslade said courts nowadays can validate wills posted on electronic documents such as DVD recordings, iPhone notes, text messages and word documents, provided the document embodies the testamentary intentions of the deceased.

    But she said if the will is deemed invalid the costs involved in seeking to have it upheld can be substantial.

    “It is likely that the family of the deceased person will be forced to endure the stress that goes along with making such an application and it is possible that not all of the deceased person’s estate will have been dealt with correctly, leaving further issues to be resolved; possibly not the result that the DIY will maker was hoping for,” Ms Greenslade said.

    “The cost of doing away with DIY and leaving it to the professionals is insignificant in comparison to the cost of fixing the issues that the DIY will may cause.”

    ENDS

    Further enquiries:
    Rachel Greenslade

    (07) 4617 8777

    About Creevey Russell Lawyers

    Creevey Russell Lawyers is a full service law firm which operates primarily from our Brisbane practice, with the capacity to provide superior legal services to western Queensland through our Toowoomba practiceCreevey Russell Lawyers deliver results to a variety of clients including developers, corporations, accountants, liquidators and private clientele

  • January 17, 2019 in Commercial Law

    Changes to the Queensland Retirement Villages Act

    The next round of changes to the Retirement Villages Act 1999 (Qld) will take effect on 1 February 2019 and will impact every Queensland retirement village.

    Changes have already been enacted including:

    • requiring retirement village operators to pay a former resident’s exit entitlement no later than 18 months after the termination date; and
    • introducing new behavioural standards for village operators and residents requiring a scheme operator to provide a complete response to relevant correspondence within 21 days.

    The further amendments will commence on 1 February 2019, including:

    Residence contract and disclosure documentation:

    Operators will be required to provide residents with:

    • the new Village Comparison Document and Prospective Costs Document which will replace the Public Information Document (PID);
    • the relevant documents at least 21 days before entering into a residence contract, or obtain a waiver notice signed by the prospective resident and a Queensland lawyer;
    • an Entry Condition Report and Exit Condition Report in the approved form; and

    a residence contract which contains the required additional information.

    Website

    Scheme operators must maintain a website for their village(s).

    Reinstatement and renovation work

    A new definition of “reinstatement work” for new residence contracts requiring former residents to reinstate their unit to the same condition as it was in upon entry, excluding fair wear and tear, agreed renovations and other changes. If this is not done, the scheme operator can carry out the reinstatement work and claim the cost from the former resident.

    A new concept of “renovation work” (for which the operator is responsible) will be introduced for new residence contracts. The parties must bear the cost of renovation work in the same proportion they share any capital gain on resale of the right to reside, and agree on the timeframe for the renovation work before work is commenced. The operator must then ensure that the renovation work is completed by the agreed date.

    WHAT OPERATORS NEED TO DO

    Operators have until 1 February 2019 to comply with the new legislation.

    The documents and forms that you will need, include a:

    • village comparison document;
    • prospective costs document;
    • pre-contractual disclosure waiver;
    • entry condition report;
    • exit condition report; and
    • registration application form.

    You must prepare a customised village comparison document and prospective costs document to replace your current public information document by 1 February 2019.

    We can assist you in relation to your documents. If you wish to discuss this article or require our assistance, please contact our property .

  • January 16, 2019 in Commercial Law

    PPSR deadline rapidly approaching – are your assets protected?

    30 January 2019 will mark the 7-year anniversary of the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR).

    The PPSR is described as the single, Australian register where details of security interests in personal property (i.e. property that is not land or fixtures to land (i.e. real estate and buildings)) can be registered and searched.

    According to Infotrack, over 120,000 seven-year security interests that were registered when the PPSR was first established in 2012 are set to expire within the next few weeks.

    How can I protect my business?

    The PPSR protects businesses that sell on terms, such as retention of title or consignment, as well as those who hire, rent or lease out valuable goods, machinery, vehicles and equipment. Businesses should register their interest in goods they have yet to receive payment for, thereby reducing the risk of becoming unsecured and losing priority in the goods if the customer does not pay or becomes insolvent.

    Why do I need to renew?

    With this deadline looming, it is now more important than ever to check on your existing registrations and make sure they’re extended so that you don’t lose protection over your interests. Once your registration expires it can’t be extended or renewed and your ownership in the goods may no longer be legally recognised. It is therefore crucial that you correctly extend your registrations before they naturally expire to protect your interest. If you re-register after expiry you may rank behind, and therefore lose priority to, another secured party already on the register.

    What can you do to check what registrations expire soon?

    You should check the status of all your PPSR registrations and extend or renew them as needed. Note that some registrations were automatically transferred from other registers to the PPSR, so even if you don’t think the upcoming deadline applies to you, we are recommending our clients double check.

    We can assist by:

    1. Reviewing your registrations and determining which ones (if any) are due for renewal;
    2. Checking the details of any seven year registrations and making any necessary updates;
    3. Extending your registrations to continue to secure your interest;
    4. Registering new or expired security interests; and
    5. Reviewing your terms and conditions of trade and other documents to determine whether security interests arise and whether they need to be registered.

    If you require any assistance with reviewing and renewing your existing security registrations or have questions regarding PPSR registrations, please contact our commercial team:

    Damian Bell

    Partner & Practice Group Leader

    Ph:       +61 7 3009 6555

    Email:   

    Web:     www.creeveyrussell.com.au

     

    Helen Kay

    Special Counsel

    Ph:       +61 7 3009 6555

    Email:   

    Web:     www.creeveyrussell.com.au

     

     

     

  • January 14, 2019 in Commercial Law

    Helen Kay Joins Creevey Russell Lawyers

    Highly experienced senior commercial and property lawyer Helen Kay has joined leading Queensland legal firm Creevey Russell Lawyers as a Special Counsel.

    Creevey Russell Partner Damian Bell said Ms Kay has extensive legal experience and has worked within top tier firms in the United Kingdom and Australia as well as running her own legal practice and heading up various other successful commercial practices.

    “During her 16-year career, Helen has provided targeted commercial and property advice to listed companies, private and not-for-profit organisations, overseas clients, private investors and State Governments on all aspects of commercial transactional work including high profile developments, acquisitions, disposals and mergers,” Mr Bell said.

    “Helen has also provided specialist advice in relation to the acquisition and development of senior accommodation including retirement villages.”

    “Helen is passionate about working closely with her clients to understand their business and help them to achieve their strategic goals. She brings with her a wealth of experience and will be a valued team member and trusted legal advisor to our clients.”

    Ms Kay’s experience in corporate and commercial matters includes business sales and acquisitions, leasing, franchising, corporate structuring and commercial property transactions.

    “I am very excited about the opportunity to join and grow the commercial team at Creevey Russell Lawyers and to achieve successful outcomes for our highly-valued clients,” she said.

    “Creevey Russell are a well-established yet forward thinking law firm which, in the current climate, are attributes I believe all law firms need to possess. The technology and experience that the firm has to offer its clients are second to none.”

  • January 4, 2019 in Commercial Law

    Child Support Tensions Can Rise as New School Year Approaches

    The approach of the new school year can be a source of child support tensions between separated couples, says leading legal firm Creevey Russell Lawyers.

    Creevey Russell Principal Clare Creevey said the costs of new uniforms, books, extra-curricular activities, and private school fees can result in financial disputes between parents which the courts are often unable to resolve.

    “Generally, child support is not part of financial or parenting proceedings between the parents in Family Court matters,” Ms Creevey said.

    “Child support is dealt with by the federal Department of Human Resources (Child Support), also known as the Child Support Agency. A statutory formula is used to calculate the amount payable based on the number of nights the children spend with each parent, each parent’s income and the ages of the children. This formula does not otherwise take account of individual circumstances.”

    Ms Creevey said the statutory formula relevant to school costs will determine if more payments are required to care for, educate or train the children in the way that each parent intended.

    “If prior to separation, it was intended that the children attend private or boarding schools, the costs are likely to be more than any child support calculated and may provide a basis to apply for a variation,” she said.

    Ms Creevey said the alternative to resolving a child support matter through the Child Support Agency is to negotiate a child support agreement, either a limited agreement or a Binding Child Support Agreement (BCSA).

    “These agreements give certainty and clarity to the parties’ expectations and obligations, thus removing the potential for ongoing conflict,” she said.

    “If the agreement is a BCSA there is little limit to what can be achieved. There can be fixed sum payments, payments to third parties, requirement for the parties to agree before expenses are incurred, or requirement for a party not to unreasonably withhold consent to an expense being incurred.

    “It may be difficult to think about negotiating issues that affect just the parents immediately after separation. However, both parents are generally focussed on ensuring the children are protected from the separation.  If a BSCA can be negotiated and agreed in the early stages of separation, it may remove what would otherwise be one of the most bitter sources of conflict.”

    Further inquiries:

    Clare Creevey (07) 3009 6555

  • December 7, 2018 in Commercial Law

    Lime Scooters Could be a Lemon

    Consumers need to aware of the risks of using the popular Lime scooters currently being trialled in Brisbane because in the event of an accident they could be liable for personal or property damages, warns leading legal firm Creevey Russell Lawyers.

    Hundreds of the motorised scooters have been distributed around the Brisbane CBD, South Bank, Fortitude Valley and other inner-suburbs, with huge demand reported for the electric scooter service.

    But Creevey Russell Principal Dan Creevey says there are a number of legal risks consumers should be aware of before deciding to hire the scooters despite the Queensland government granting the service a temporary exemption.

    “The company’s website promotes the scooters as having a 250-watt motor and a maximum speed limit of more than 20km per hour. Queensland laws and regulations outline personal mobility devices are required to have a maximum speed of less than 20km per hour and not exceed 200-watts,” Mr Creevey said.

    “We are aware the State Government has provided an exemption for a period of time. Consumers, however, should be aware of the potential legal implications that can follow.

    “For example, the scooters are prohibited from being used on a road, except in very limited circumstances, and in the event of an accident, a person may have very little protection against claims for personal injuries or property damage caused to a third party.

    “In addition, people caught deliberately or accidentally damaging the scooters may face civil and/or criminal sanctions in some cases.”

    Creevey Russell says people should do their appropriate research and pay attention to the terms and conditions if they are considering using the scooter service.

    In the event an individual is involved in a legal dispute, of any description through the use of the scooter service, Mr Creevey said they should urgently seek legal advice to protect their interests.

    Further inquiries:

    Dan Creevey (07) 3009 6555

  • November 26, 2018 in Commercial Law

    Christmas Cheer Can Turn to Despair for Children of Separated Couples

    The Christmas holiday season can often see an increase in disputes over children between separated couples and even cases of parental abduction, according to leading legal firm Creevey Russell Lawyers.

    Creevey Russell family law specialist Jacinta Norris said the festive season can be an unfortunate time with a rise in parental abductions when one parent fails to return a child to the other parent in contravention of a court order or contrary to an informal agreement.

    Ms Norris said often the police are unable to assist in this situation because the parent who has failed to return the child has not committed a crime.

    “Even if there are formal court orders in place, contravening those orders does not constitute a crime,” Ms Norris said.

    “Contravening an order is a serious matter, but prosecution lies in a private contravention application filed in the Federal Circuit Court or Family Court by the other parent, and that is not something your local police can assist with. The police can, however, perform a welfare check on the children. That will be particularly useful if you have concerns about the ability of the other parent to meet the children’s immediate needs, or if there are safety concerns due to drug or alcohol abuse, violence or mental health issues.”

    Ms Norris said it is crucial for the welfare of their children that separating couples have proper plans in place for their care over the holidays.

    “It is also important that any agreement you have about when the child is to be living with or spending time with each parent is in writing, as it will assist the court to understand when the children should have been returned,” she said.

    “The only way to formalise legally binding parenting arrangements is through an application to the Family Law Courts, whether it be an application by agreement for the making of consent orders, or an application for the court to determine who the children will live with and how much time they will spend with the other parent. While an informal agreement is not binding, it is still useful to assist the court to understand what has been agreed between the parents.”

    Ms Norris said there are a range of orders available to the court to assist with the return of the children, including directing police to locate the children and return them, orders requiring the other parent to return the children at a specified time, suspending the other parent’s time with the children, requiring the parents to participate in parenting courses, and various other measures depending on the circumstances.

    Further inquiries:

    Jacinta Norris (07) 3009 6555

    About Creevey Russell Lawyers

    Creevey Russell Lawyers is a full service law firm which operates primarily from our Brisbane practice, with the capacity to provide superior legal services to western Queensland through our Toowoomba practiceCreevey Russell Lawyers deliver results to a variety of clients including developers, corporations, accountants, liquidators and private clientele.

  • November 23, 2018 in Commercial Law

    Don’t Let Drugs Sour Schoolies

    Drug Possession is an increasingly common offence, and with schoolies in full swing, leading law firm Creevey Russell Lawyers is advising schoolies to be aware of the impact of drugs and the impact charges can have on their life.

    The firm says that what constitutes possession is far wider than what an individual might commonly think.

    ‘Drug possession is an interesting area of law, depending on the circumstances alleged. Not only does possession encompass its ordinary meaning, such as drugs being found on an individuals, but it can also be constituted by a person having knowledge and control of a certain area’, Creevey Russell Lawyers Principal Dan Creevey said.

    ‘Take the example of an apartment being shared by eight school leavers. For whatever reason, police may execute a search warrant in the unit, and locate a bundle of ecstasy pills in the lounge room. Those pills may have been purchased and owned by one person, but a number of people can be charged with possession of the same illicit drugs in the circumstances’, Mr Creevey said.

    Mr Creevey said the Courts will look at the circumstances of the offence.

    ‘What the Courts look at is whether or not a person has knowledge or control of an illicit substance. In circumstances where the substance is not located on a person, but instead on common property, such as a lounge room table, actual possession is difficult to demonstrate. That is where the concept of occupier’s liability is relevant’. Mr Creevey said.

    ‘Occupier’s liability unusually attracts a reverse onus. Ordinarily, the law states that a person is presumed innocent of any offence until such point in time that their guilt is proven by prosecutions. Once occupier’s liability is raised, the onus is reversed, and an individual must demonstrate that they did not know, or ought not reasonably have known about the existence of the illicit substances. This can sometimes result in people being charged with possession of dangerous drugs, even though they never purchased drugs, due to the actions of their friends.

    The firm encourages school leavers to be aware of the extended definition of possession, to ensure they do not get charged as a result of actions of others.

    ‘Drug possession charges can be particularly serious. A mistake at this age can have a long-lasting impact on an individual’s future employment prospects and ability to travel, as well as the substantive penalty imposed. Those penalties vary depending on the type and quantity of drug located, as well as a number of other circumstances taken into account by the Courts’, Mr Creevey said.

    The best way to avoid drug charges is to not associate with drugs in any way, but in circumstances where an individual finds themselves in trouble, we encourage them to contact our office to support them through this stressful process.