Legal Articles

  A recent case[1] between a husband (Mr Scarffe) and a wife (Ms Obannon) who had recently separated, shows how family law proceedings can play out across two different countries. The Scarffe & Obannon case The couple had been living together in Australia since 1997. They married in 2014 and in the same year relocated to Singapore with their three children. The couple then separated in 2016, and the husband moved back to Australia in 2018 while the rest of the family stayed in Singapore. In 2019, the wife started legal proceedings in Singapore against her husband, where she filed… Continue Reading

The Queensland Government recently passed the Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response – Document and Oaths) Regulation 2020.  The purpose of the legislation is to address the issue of physically witnessing and signing documents amidst the social distancing restrictions that are currently in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Queensland Government has now enacted the Retail Shop Leases and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 (referred to in this update as the “Regulations“), which was expected to legislate for the State of Queensland the National Cabinet’s ‘Mandatory Code of Conduct – SME Commercial Leasing Principles During COVID-19’ (referred to in this update as the “National Cabinet Code“).

With media reporting that the alleged cost of the rectification of the infamous Sydney Mascot Towers could exceed $50 million, it is timely to look at the current law relating to building defects in a body corporate context. Defects in the common property (i.e. in essence, anything other than the inside of individual apartments – for more information, see our recent article regarding how to read your scheme’s survey plan) should be of concern to owners in community titles schemes, particularly in relation to new buildings. Broadly speaking, the body corporate is responsible for maintaining the common property.

I recently became aware of a body corporate that was pursuing bylaw contravention action against an owner. It was alleged that the owner had made unauthorised modifications to common property, and further that the owner had placed decorative items, such as pots and other items, on that common property. The area in question was a ground floor courtyard. The body corporate had assumed that, because the area was outside, it wasn’t part of the lot.

COVID-19 And Residential Tenancies

On 22 April 2020, the Queensland parliament passed the Covid-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020. The Bill gives the ability to the various Ministers to recommend that regulations be made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 24 April 2020, the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (Covid-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 came into effect.

A week and a half ago, in response to the coronavirus crisis which is gripping our economy and society more generally, the Prime Minister announced that the National Cabinet had agreed to a “moratorium on rental evictions”. The Queensland Government has not yet enacted the legislation to make that announcement legally effective at this stage, but we understand that legislation will be introduced shortly. The moratorium It effectively means that a landlord will not be legally able to terminate a lease and evict a tenant due to unpaid rent, for a period of 6 months. As to when that 6-month… Continue Reading

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