Allens

All recent publications

Our experienced legal team regularly publishes articles and updates on a wide range of legal topics - you'll see the most recent publications listed below.

If you would like to read back issues, please go to the 'Publications' menu in the top right-hand corner of this page and use the drop-down menu to select your preference (or use the list in the grey box at the bottom of this page). If you'd like to be notified when we add new publications to the site, please go to our subscription page to sign up for email alerts or, alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feeds.

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  • Client Update: Australia's foreign investment regime - Budget changes

    23 May 2017

    The Australian Government flagged a number of changes to Australia's foreign investment regime in the 2017 Budget. In a welcome development, the changes seek to simplify an otherwise complex regime and encourage foreign investment in Australia. Partner Wendy Rae and Associate Nick Kefalianos examine the most significant changes.

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  • Client Update: Amendments to PPS lease law - what you need to know

    22 May 2017

    Legislation has come into force that will amend the Personal Property Securities regime. The amendments are designed to reduce the PPSA's impact on the equipment hiring industry. Previously hirers' equipment leases and bailment arrangements of an indefinite term, or short term leases of a year or more were deemed to be PPS leases, and security interests. If they were not perfected by registration, the owner of the equipment could lose priority, and could lose the equipment altogether if the lessee or bailee became insolvent. Many hirers were caught inadvertently. Now, those arrangements will only be caught if they are initially for two years or more, or the lessee or bailee ends up holding the equipment for two years or more. Partners Nicholas Creed and Ben Farnsworth explain.

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  • Focus: Stamp duty and land tax developments - Victoria and Northern Territory

    18 May 2017

    Victoria is proposing to limit its off-the-plan duty concession; extend the scope of its sub-sale duty provisions; and introduce a vacant residential property tax. The Northern Territory is proposing a significant increase in its duty rates affecting large transactions entered into from 1 July 2017. Partner Adrian Chek, Senior Tax Counsel Jennee Chan and Senior Associate Scott Lang look at the proposed legislative amendments.

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  • Focus: Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing: Key questions for boards and executives in 2017

    16 May 2017

    Australian boards and senior executives are expected to maintain oversight of risk and compliance issues including bribery, sanctions, human rights and anti-money laundering. In-house counsel perform a central role in supporting this oversight and maintaining compliance. In the fourth of a five-part series, Partner Peter Haig and Associates Andrew Shetliffe and Glyn Ayres look at the key questions that Australian boards and senior executives should be asking about anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing in 2017.

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  • Client Update: Environmental bond and mine rehabilitation reform in Queensland

    15 May 2017

    Major reforms to environmental bonds and rehabilitation requirements are proposed in two discussion papers released by the Queensland Government. All mining sector operators should understand how the reforms will impact their current and proposed operations. Partner Bill McCredie and Senior Associate Gobind Kalsi report.

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  • In touch: Competition news

    12 May 2017

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

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  • Client Update: Budget measures to increase gas supply

    10 May 2017

    The 2017 Federal Budget introduced several measures designed to increase domestic gas supply to the Australian market. Key measures include the direct financing of onshore gas development and studies into potential programs aimed at increasing the efficiency, transparency and security of the gas market. However, the effectiveness of this funding package depends on whether state and territory governments will continue to impose regulatory constraints on the exploration and production of onshore gas. Partner Igor Bogdanich and Law Graduate Maddy Foote report.

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  • Client Update: 2017 Budget: increased scrutiny on competition and accountability in the financial system

    10 May 2017

    Treasurer Scott Morrison this week announced that he has tasked the Productivity Commission to review the state of competition in Australia's financial system. The Budget has also included other measures focused on competition in the financial sector, including funding to establish a dedicated ACCC unit to undertake regular inquiries into specific financial system competition issues, an ACCC inquiry into residential mortgage pricing, and an open banking regime. The Government has also announced the introduction of a Banking Executive Accountability Regime. These measures follow a series of recent reviews and inquiries into the financial services industry. Partner Carolyn Oddie and Senior Associate Lisa Lucak report.

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  • Focus: Employment & Safety

    8 May 2017

    In this issue: we look at how post-employment restraints can be unenforceable if a company does not comply with the employment contract itself; a decision of the Federal Court that confirms an employee who is on long-term sick leave must continue to have regular contact with their employer; and a successful appeal against a Fair Work Commission decision because the Commission did not consider whether an employer should have had legal representation.

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  • Unravelled: CIPRs - some interesting findings

    5 May 2017

    We recently hosted some workshops in Sydney and Melbourne to discuss the proposed CIPR framework. The outcomes of those workshops were interesting - in some respects surprising - and this article provides a brief report.

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  • Unravelled: Recent decision on FoFA advice provisions - ASIC v NSG

    5 May 2017

    The recent case of ASIC v NSG Services Pty Ltd considers the FoFA best interests and appropriate advice provisions, as well as obligations of licensees. While the facts of the case provide an extreme example of how advisers and licensees can fail to comply with these duties, it also provides some useful judicial commentary on the provisions.

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  • Unravelled: Reporting significant breaches - or something that may (or may not) be a breach?

    5 May 2017

    The Taskforce established by Treasury to consider ASIC's enforcement powers released its first consultation paper a few weeks ago on breach reporting. We examine the most significant of the Taskforce's 12 'preliminary positions'.

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  • Client Update: Australian Consumer Law Review - proposed reforms

    21 April 2017

    Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand has released its final report on the review of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), recommending a range of reforms to strengthen protections for consumers and businesses. We look at the proposed reforms and the implications for your business if they are accepted by the Federal Government.

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  • Focus: Anti-bribery laws and deferred prosecution agreements

    20 April 2017

    The Australian Government is, via two new consultations, proposing wide-ranging reforms to tackle the challenges that it faces in detecting, and prosecuting, serious corporate crime. Through proposed amendments to foreign bribery laws and the introduction of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement regime, the Federal Government is seeking to remove obstacles to prosecuting foreign bribery and increase the incentives for companies to self-report this and other misconduct. Partners Rachel Nicolson and Peter Haig, Senior Associates Christopher Kerrigan and James Campbell, and Lawyer Malak Johnson report.

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  • Client Update: Abolition of the 457 visa program - what this means for employers

    20 April 2017

    The Turnbull Government announced on 18 April 2017 that it is abolishing its 457 visa program and replacing it with a new Temporary Skill Shortage visa program. Implementation of the visa reforms commenced immediately and are to be completed in March 2018. Partner Veronica Siow provides a snapshot of the key changes.

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  • Client Update: Lessons from Singapore's new collective investment vehicle

    13 April 2017

    The Monetary Authority of Singapore recently sought public consultation on the features of its proposed new vehicle for collective investment, the Singapore Variable Capital Company. Partners Marc Kemp and Charles Armitage, and Senior Overseas Practitioner James Kanabar review the key elements of the new vehicle and consider the lessons which might be gleaned in relation to the introduction of a new Australian corporate vehicle for collective investment, announced by the Federal Government as part of the 2016-17 budget and scheduled (perhaps somewhat optimistically) to be introduced by 1 July.

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  • Client Update: Ipso facto clauses, safe harbour for directors - our comments on the draft exposure legislation

    10 April 2017

    The Federal Government has released draft exposure legislation designed to facilitate company reconstructions. Senior Finance Counsel Diccon Loxton, Senior Associate Alicia Salvo and Associate Frances Navarro-Towan discuss some of the implications and issues. 

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  • Allens insights: Not worth the paper they're not written on?

    8 April 2017

    There are significant commercial benefits in executing documents electronically, and Allens has adopted e-signature (using DocuSign) as a service to clients. Allens Senior Finance Counsel, Diccon Loxton, has written an article in two parts that examines the efficacy of e-signatures, and concludes that they are effective, including under s127 of the Corporations Act 2001 and (in various circumstances) deeds.

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  • Client Update: Security of the Cape Preston port affirmed in appeal decision

    7 April 2017

    The Full Federal Court has unanimously dismissed an appeal by former federal MP Clive Palmer's company Mineralogy against a decision that gave his former business partner, CITIC Limited and its subsidiaries, the right to operate and maintain the port at Cape Preston for the Sino Iron Project. As Partner Phil Blaxill and Lawyer Jeremy Rich report, the decision affirms that commercial agreement terms between parties can be impacted by later agreements between those parties and by state agreements, and emphasises the care commercial drafters need to take.

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  • Unravelled: ASIC's report on financial advice

    7 April 2017

    ASIC has recently released a report about its work with the big four banks and AMP on adviser misconduct. The report is essentially an update on the progress of ASIC's Wealth Management Project, and mostly contains information we already know. The most interesting part deals with the results of ASIC's review of adviser audit processes by the banks and AMP. They indicate that internal audits are not identifying compliance issues.

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  • Unravelled: A step closer to industry funding of ASIC

    7 April 2017

    Last week, the Federal Government moved another step closer to implementing an industry funding model for the recovery of ASIC's costs, by introducing the ASIC Supervisory Cost Recovery Levy Bill 2017 (as well as two related Bills) into Parliament. These Bills implement the recommendations of the Financial Services Inquiry and the Senate Economics Committee that ASIC be industry funded, and follows a number of rounds of industry consultation on exposure drafts and proposal papers.

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  • Focus: Victoria's plan for value creation and capture

    6 April 2017

    The Victorian Government has released the Victorian Value Creation and Capture Framework which articulates its policy on value creation and value capture in the planning and delivery of public projects. The intention of the framework is to harness the potential of government investments to create additional value for the community and signal to the public, private and community sectors how the Victorian Government will go about doing so. Partner Paul Kenny and Lawyer Patrick Easton report.

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  • Focus: Employment Law

    3 April 2017

    In this issue we look at the timeframes for employers to comply with the Federal Government's Code of Tendering and Performance Building Work 2016; the court's view of where right of entry discussions with workers can take place; and a company's duty of care to its employees in an 'unforeseeable' situation like an attempted murder.

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  • Report: Our look ahead to the private equity market in Australia

    3 April 2017

    With the current exit cycle coming to an end for many sponsors, and large amounts of dry powder waiting to be deployed, we’re expecting an uptick in new investment activity in Australia by private equity sponsors. There are some key trends and sectors to look out for in 2017. The Private Equity team at Allens reports.

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  • Focus: Business risk in international trade and investment

    31 March 2017

    Australian boards and senior executives are expected to maintain oversight of risk and compliance issues including legal, commercial, political and reputational risk issues. In-house counsel perform a central role in supporting this oversight and maintaining compliance. In the third of a five-part series, Partners Rachel Nicolson and Peter Haig, Senior Associate Chris Holland and Associate Freya Dinshaw look at the key questions that Australian boards and senior executives should be asking about the security of their foreign investments in 2017.

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  • Focus: Parliament passes diverted profits tax legislation

    31 March 2017

    Legislation to implement a diverted profits tax has passed the Federal Parliament. From 1 July 2017, the tax may potentially apply to the diversion of profits offshore through arrangements between related parties. Targeted at large multinational groups, the diverted profits tax is a fusion of anti-avoidance and transfer pricing rules. Partner Toby Knight and Senior Associate Scott Lang discuss the final form of the legislation and the steps multinational groups should take to prepare for its implementation.

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  • Client Update: Significant changes ahead for Australian competition laws

    31 March 2017

    The Federal Government's Competition Policy Bill, which contains its response to the Harper Review's broader recommendations on competition law and policy, will make significant changes to Australian competition laws.

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  • Client Update: Productivity Commission's proposed alternate default models for superannuation

    30 March 2017

    In the latest (and undoubtedly most significant) of its reports into the design of default superannuation arrangements in Australia, the Productivity Commission yesterday released its Draft Report in relation to Superannuation: Alternative Default Models. Partner Geoff Sanders of the Allens Superannuation team reports on how the Draft Report moves the Commission's thinking forward in relation to how default contributions might be allocated to superannuation products in the years to come.

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  • Focus: The latest from the High Court on contractual interpretation

    30 March 2017

    There is an ongoing controversy as to whether, in construing a contract, the 'true rule' in Codelfa mandates that a contract be ambiguous (on its face) before a court may consider evidence of surrounding circumstances. The High Court this week had an opportunity to consider this issue. Although its decision did not expressly resolve the controversy, it may be seen as a (further) departure from the 'ambiguity gateway' approach. Partner, Malcolm Stephens and Senior Associate, Jaime McKenzie report.

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  • Client Update: House of Representatives passes misuse of market power Bill

    29 March 2017

    The House of Representatives yesterday passed the Government's Bill to broaden the misuse of market power prohibition and the Bill will be introduced to the Senate shortly. The Bill, as passed, removes the mandatory factors the courts would have had to consider in determining whether conduct was anti-competitive (as opposed to vigorous, competitive conduct). The new prohibition, if passed by the Senate, will not commence unless the ACCC has the power to authorise conduct that may otherwise breach the new prohibition. The Government proposes to introduce a further Bill shortly giving the ACCC this power. Partner Kon Stellios and Senior Associate Lisa Lucak report.

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  • Client Update: Review of climate change policies discussion paper

    28 March 2017

    Following the release of the terms of reference for the 2017 climate change policy review in December 2016, the Federal Government has recently released its climate change policy review discussion paper for public consultation. Partner Andrew Mansour, Senior Associate Emily Gerrard and Lawyer Holly Woodcroft report.

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  • Client Update: Treasury consultation paper flags changes to stapled structures

    28 March 2017

    Stapled structures have been used as an investment platform in the property and infrastructure sectors for decades, and more recently have been deployed into renewable energy, agriculture and other areas. Through the issue of its Taxpayer Alert on stapled structures on 31 January 2017, the ATO indicated that it had serious tax integrity concerns with the proliferation of stapled structures. The Commonwealth Treasury has now revealed that it has also been concerned at the increasing impact of stapled structures on the corporate tax base by releasing a Consultation Paper calling for submissions on potential policy options in relation to stapled structures, the taxation of real property investments and the recharacterisation of trading income. Partner Martin Fry and Senior Associate Igor Golshtein report.

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  • Paper: 25 years of class actions

    27 March 2017

    Class action risk is changing. A new wave of entrepreneurialism by plaintiff lawyers and litigation funders has substantially changed class action dynamics in recent times. The 25th anniversary of the class action regime is a good opportunity to reflect on whether, in the light of those and other developments, the regime is still serving its objectives.

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  • Focus: Crowd sourced equity funding to gain traction with new legislation

    23 March 2017

    After a difficult journey, both Houses have passed the Corporations Amendment (Crowd-sourced Funding) Bill 2016 - introducing a new funding avenue for Australian startups and an opportunity for retail investors to access equity in emerging companies. Managing Associate Valeska Bloch, Senior Associate Tom Griffin, Summer Clerk Katherine Tsatsaklas and Applied Legal Technology Head Paralegal Hope Williams report.

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  • Focus: Is hourly billing for liquidators back?

    21 March 2017

    The NSW Court of Appeal has recently considered the basis on which liquidators' 'reasonable remuneration' should be determined. Partner Chris Prestwich, Senior Associate Przemek Kucharski and Lawyer Kane Kersaitis report on the decision in Sanderson as Liquidator of Sakr Nominees Pty Ltd (in liquidation) v Sakr.

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  • Client Update: Innovative Superannuation Income Streams - at last

    21 March 2017

    Earlier today, Treasury released exposure draft regulations for 'Innovative Superannuation Income Streams'. They set out income stream standards that will be relevant for products such as deferred annuities and group self-annuitised products. The Allens Superannuation team reports.

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  • Focus: Sanctions: The 5 questions your board and executives should be asking in 2017

    16 March 2017

    Australian boards and senior executives are expected to maintain oversight of risk and compliance issues including bribery, sanctions, human rights and anti-money laundering. In-house counsel perform a central role in supporting this oversight and maintaining compliance. In the second of a five-part series, Partners Rachel Nicolson and Peter Haig, Senior Associate Christopher Holland and Lawyer Malak Johnson look at the key questions that Australian boards and senior executives should be asking themselves about sanctions in 2017.

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  • Client Update: Australia's foreign investment approval (FIRB) regime: what you need to know

    15 March 2017

    Australia's foreign investment approval regime is increasingly a major political issue that is often highlighted and discussed in the media. Our foreign investment law experts have summarised the key information you need to know about Australia's FIRB regime.

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  • Contract Law Update 2016

    15 March 2017

    When is a person bound by their e-signature? When does a breach of contract constitute a repudiation of that contract? When does an exchange of correspondence give rise to a binding contract? What is the latest on penalties? These were some of the contract law issues considered by appellate courts during the past year. In this update, we review the most important contract law decisions by Australian appellate courts in the past 12 months and consider their significance for the development of Australian contract law.

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  • Paper: Class actions in Australia

    14 March 2017

    Class actions are an established and important part of the Australian legal landscape. In recent years, Australia has become the most likely jurisdiction outside of the United States in which a corporation will face significant class action litigation.

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  • Paper: Shareholder class actions in Australia

    14 March 2017

    Class actions are an established and important part of the Australian legal landscape. In recent years, Australia has become the most likely jurisdiction outside of the United States in which a corporation will face significant class action litigation. This evolution has been facilitated by recent developments in the Australian legal landscape and Federal government support for class actions (and the litigation funding of class actions). This paper outlines some of the key issues and trends in Australian class actions (including litigation funding).

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  • Client Update: Misinterpretation of REC liability exemption leaves islanded generator high and dry

    14 March 2017

    A decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal affirming an assessment by the Clean Energy Regulator as to the liability of an off-grid generator under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 (Cth) highlights the need for liable entities to carefully consider their reliance on the 'small systems exemption'. Partner John Greig and Senior Associate Andrea Moffatt look at the decision which demonstrates the continued complexity facing those operating in the electricity sector.

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  • Unravelled: Clearing the way for social impact investing

    10 March 2017

    The Commonwealth Treasury is seeking feedback on how to kickstart social impact investment in Australia.

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  • Unravelled: Consumer protection in the banking, insurance and financial sector

    10 March 2017

    The Senate Economics References Committee is conducting an inquiry into the regulatory framework for the protection of consumers in the banking, insurance and financial services sector.

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  • In touch: Competition news

    8 March 2017

    In Touch looks at what's been happening in Competition this month, and what it means for your business.

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  • Client Update: Victoria to ban fracking

    8 March 2017

    Victoria has become the first state to permanently ban all onshore unconventional gas exploration and development, passing new anti-fracking legislation this week. The new law also extends the moratorium on all onshore petroleum exploration and production in Victoria until 30 June 2020. Partner Igor Bogdanich and Lawyer Darcy McLennan report.

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  • Focus: Anti-bribery & corruption: Key questions for boards and executives

    6 March 2017

    Australian boards and senior executives are expected to maintain oversight of risk and compliance issues including bribery, sanctions, human rights and anti-money laundering. In-house counsel perform a central role in supporting this oversight and maintaining compliance. In the first of a five-part series, Partners Rachel Nicolson and Peter Haig, Senior Associate Tim Farhall and Lawyer Shamistha Selvaratnam look at the key questions that Australian boards and senior executives should be asking themselves about anti-bribery regulation and compliance practice in 2017.

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  • Client Update: Franchisors and holding companies liable under Vulnerable Workers Bill

    2 March 2017

    The Federal Government has introduced a Bill that will make franchisors liable for breaches of employment law by franchisees. Partner Simon Dewberry and Managing Associate Andrew Stirling report.

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