Do I need a solicitor?

Headshot of Suzanne Hindmarsh - Conveyancer at Everingham Solomons TamworthMost people only seek legal advice for problems when they arise – when going through a divorce or after an accident for example. But what if your lawyer is like a best friend you didn’t know you needed?

If you consult a lawyer BEFORE a legal issue arises, they can help you anticipate and prevent serious legal problems, saving you a lot of money and heartache in the long run.

If you’ve never worked with a lawyer before, some common situations where getting legal advice from a lawyer may be necessary include:

• The sale or purchase of a house, property or business
• An accident involving personal injury or property damage
• A family problem such as divorce or a child custody dispute
• Workplace disputes including discrimination or harassment on the job
• When you are starting a business
• The drafting of a will, trust, or estate plan

So when should you talk to your solicitor? It is best to communicate with your conveyancer/solicitor as soon as you have decided to embark on a new venture.

For example if you plan to purchase a property – you should get your solicitor to review the contract before you sign it. Otherwise you may encounter problems of not completing the contract on time, or there may be disputes over inclusions which were not itemized on the contract prior to exchange. These and many other problems can be avoided if the purchaser consults with their conveyancer/solicitor from the very beginning.

Another example is when you are selling a property. By law you must have a contract of sale drafted BEFORE you market a property. A marketing contract is provided to your real estate agent for the purposes of advertising your property. However, if your property has been on the market for a long time or you choose to put the property up for auction. Before doing so, your marketing contract should be reviewed as there could have been legislation changes that affect the marketing contract. If the agent uses the outdated marketing contract as the auction contract and proceeds to auction. This can cause issues for the vendor allowing a purchaser to withdraw from the contract up to the time of settlement. This can have devastating consequences and costs for the vendor.

Another time that is especially critical to see your solicitor first is when purchasing a business. Once committed, it is very difficult or costly to change business entities if you have not selected the most tax-advantageous business structure. Related issues such as the transfer of employee entitlements again can be very costly if not adequately covered in the initial negotiations.

At Everingham Solomons, we have the expertise in Property Law, Business Law, Family Law, Wills and Estates to help you make the right decisions. The sooner you speak to us, the more we can help because Helping You is Our Business.

Click here for more information on Suzanne Hindmarsh.

 

New Associates Announcement

Headshot of Mark Grady - Accredited Specialist and Director at Everingham Solomons TamworthEveringham Solomons Solicitors has seen significant growth over the last 12 months.

We have welcomed a number of new staff and our existing staff have continued to develop in their careers.

Recently we celebrated Nick Hawkins and Lachlan Ennis being admitted as Solicitors to the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Nick Hawkins works in our Property Law team and Lachlan Ennis works in our Family Law team.

Today, it is with great pleasure that I announce that Solicitors Libby Campbell and Sarah Rayner have been promoted to Associates.

Libby has been with our firm since 2017 and has been a shining light in the Workers Compensation and Personal Injury space.

Sarah has been with our firm since 2019 and has had a huge impact in our Property Law team.

Libby and Sarah have shown exceptional leadership qualities and we are so proud to have them as part of the Everingham Solomons team.

When the company was founded in Tamworth almost 150 years ago, it would have been hard to imagine it would grow to become one of the largest regional law firms in NSW.

With over 20 full-time lawyers, solicitors and conveyancers specialising in everything from property law, family law, criminal law, business law and personal injury, Everingham Solomons has all your legal needs covered. Helping You is Our Business so give us a call.

Click here for more information on Libby Campbell or Click here for more information on Sarah Rayner.

 

Introducing Lachlan Ennis

As a huge fan of the iconic Australian movie “The Castle”, my commitment to our clientele is more than a ‘vibe’. Dedication to assisting the individual client with understanding and achievable outcomes is my commitment.

In 2017 I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from Macquarie University. In 2021 I completed a Post-Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the College of Law. Shortly thereafter I was admitted to practice as a solicitor by the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

I have been living in Tamworth since 2015 and love the numerous opportunities and lifestyle choices that the region offers.

I have a passion for all things farming and agriculture, and in my spare time I enjoy assisting my parents on their rural property. I have also been known to participate in rugby union, usually spotted standing on the wing like all good forwards.

As a member of the Everingham Solomons Family Law team, I practice in all areas of divorce of matrimonial property, spousal maintenance and parenting matters. I look forward to continuing to learn and contributing to our community with Everingham Solomons, where Helping You is Our Business.

Click here for more information on Lachlan Ennis.

Introducing Nick Hawkins – Solicitor

Headshot of Nick Hawkins - Solicitor at Everingham Solomons TamworthI began working at Everingham Solomons in 2019 as a legal administrator and have recently began a new role as a solicitor working in the property department.

I graduated from the University of New England in 2019 with a Bachelor of Business (Financial Management) and Bachelor of Laws. In 2021 I also obtained a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the College of Law and was admitted as a Solicitor to the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

While working as a legal administrator and paralegal at Everingham Solomons I gained experience working across a number of fields including: workers compensation; property and conveyancing matters and; wills and estate planning. I have now joined Everingham Solomons’ experienced property team to provide legal services in conveyancing, leasing and estate planning matters.

Before moving to Tamworth I grew up in Inverell, in the northern New England area. In my spare time I am an avid reader of anything fiction as well as political biographies and commentaries and also enjoy watching movies.

I am excited to have the opportunity to continue my professional career as a solicitor at Everingham Solomons and provide excellent legal services to the region, because Helping You is Our Business.

Mental Health Legislation Changes

The Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020 (NSW) came into effect on 29 March 2021 and replaced the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 (NSW).

There are a number of changes that this new piece of legislation introduces in relation to the previous act. This new act makes amendments and additions to the previous definitions relating to cognitive impairment and mental illness and/or mental condition, now referred to as a “mental health impairment”.

A mental health impairment is now defined as a “temporary or ongoing disturbance of thought, mood, volition, perception or memory” which “would be regarded as significant for clinical diagnostic purposes” that “impairs the emotional wellbeing, judgment or behaviour of the person.” The mental health impairment can come about due to anxiety, affective disorder, psychotic disorder or a substance-induced disorder that is not of a temporary nature.

Under section 5 of the new act, cognitive impairment is defined as “an ongoing impairment in adaptive functioning and comprehension, reasoning, judgment, learning or memory which result from damage to or dysfunction, developmental delay or deterioration of the person’s brain or mind.” Cognitive impairment can relate to intellectual disability, borderline intellectual functioning, dementia, acquired brain injury, drug or alcohol related brain damage and autism amongst other causes.

Section 15 of the new act outlines a list of factors that a Magistrate may take into account in deciding whether diversion is more appropriate then dealing with the matter otherwise in accordance with the criminal law. These factors include:

• The nature of the mental health or cognitive impairment,
• The seriousness and circumstances of the alleged offence,
• The suitability of the sentencing options available,
• Any changes in the circumstances of the defendant,
• The defendant’s criminal history,
• Any previous mental health diversion,
• Any treatment plan and its contents,
• Whether the defendant is likely to endanger the safety of themselves, the alleged victim, or any other member of the public, and
• Any other relevant factor.

The intersection between mental health, cognitive impairment and the criminal law can be quite complex. Should issues relating to mental health and/or cognitive impairment arise in criminal law proceedings, it is important to ensure you are represented by someone with knowledge and expertise in this area. Our experienced team at Everingham Solomons can look after these issues for you because Helping You is Our Business.

Click here for more information on Dan Daley.

Firearms: To have and to hold

Guns. And I’m not talking about the ones you see on the beach in Summer.

Gun laws in Australia are heavily regulated, and as such there are plenty of ways to find yourself in trouble, if you do not follow the Laws and Regulations carefully.

There are two main hurdles when looking to obtain a firearm. There are the licensing requirements and then there is the permit you are required to hold, so that you may obtain a firearm.

In order to obtain a firearms licence you must make an application. The first requirement is to show that you have a genuine reason for wanting to obtain a firearm. Genuine reasons include; vermin control, hunting, sports shooting, farming and a requirement for employment.

You will also be required to undertake a safety course and a background check which includes a criminal history check along with an intelligence check.

This process is an application so the authority has the discretion to refuse your application. There are a few reasons you may be denied a licence for example certain criminal activity will prohibit you from obtaining a licence.

In addition to not being granted a licence, the authority can suspend or revoke a licence at any time.

If you have been granted a firearms licence, then you may apply for a Permit to Acquire. This is done each time you wish to acquire a firearm.

You will need a valid reason for wanting to obtain a fire arm and generally it must be directly related to the genuine reason you provided with respect to obtaining your gun licence.

The application must include a declaration as to where the firearm is intended to be kept as well as address the safekeeping requirements as set out by the Legislation.

Further background checks are conducted upon a person submitting a permit application.

Once issued, you will be able to take the permit to a Licensed Firearms Dealer and obtain a firearm.

On top of the above, if the Commissioner is of the opinion that you are not fit to possess a firearm, they can issue a Firearms Prohibited Order which will prohibit you from possessing a firearm.

Recently, the Police have been conducting inspections of firearms locally so if you have found yourself in need of some advice, contact Everingham Solomons because Helping You is Our Business.

Click here for more information on Sarah Rayner.

Sir Adrian Solomons Law Bursary Recipient

The 2020 Sir Adrian Solomons Memorial Law Bursary was awarded to Riley Bomford of Calrossy Anglican School.

Riley obtained a NSW ATAR of 97.5 and band sixes in five Higher School Certificate subjects. Riley was the Calrossy boys’ school captain for 2020 and involved in charitable and community based activities too numerous to particularise in full. Riley plays rugby and cricket as well as holding refereeing and executive positions in those fields. For 2021, Riley is studying law at the University of New England whilst working full time as a court officer at the Armidale Court House.

Everingham Solomons is very proud to be associated with such a well-rounded, hard-working and community conscious individual.

If you would like more information on the Law Bursary, please contact Everingham Solomons because,  Helping You is Our Business.

Riley is pictured here with Everingham Solomons Director, Clint Coles.

Renewable Energy Projects – Part 3

What should be done during the Decommissioning and Rehabilitation Phase?

At the end of a renewable energy project’s operating life, the wind or solar farm will be decommissioned and all turbines, arrays and other infrastructure will be removed from the land. Following removal of all equipment and related infrastructure, the land will undergo a series of steps to ensure return to agricultural use. The obligations to ‘make good’ rests with the project owner.

Generally, the Development Approvals and the lease agreement contain provisions explicitly setting out the requirements for the decommissioning and the expectations around rehabilitating the land.

Further, the planning assessment process normally requires a Decommissioning and Rehabilitation Plan (DRP) to be prepared. A DRP typically sets out the requirements in relation to the removal of infrastructure and rehabilitation of land to an agreed state as negotiated between the landowners and the project owner.

From a landowner’s perspective, it is essential that the lease agreement clearly sets out the responsibilities for decommissioning and rehabilitation and provides for security of the funding to enable decommissioning.

In determining an agreed standard for the land at the end of decommissioning, landowners should consider the following:

• Removal of unwanted infrastructure and decision on which (if any) roads, access tracks, gates and/or fences and other infrastructure should remain on the land after the termination of the lease;

• Rehabilitation of land (e.g. pasture type and condition, erosion control, weed control); and

• Return or replacement of any landowners’ farm infrastructure (e.g. fences, gates, water points).

A landowner may also wish to seek ongoing evidence that the project owner has the capacity to fund the decommissioning activity and that such funds are set aside securely for that purpose. Examples include bank guarantees, a sinking fund, a trust fund or a deposit held by the landowner.

Everingham Solomons have experienced Solicitors who have represented landowners in wind and solar farm projects. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any legal advice you may need in relation to a renewable energy project because Helping You is Our Business.

Click here for more information on Ya Zhang.

Working hard or hardly working?

The Holliday season is something a lot of us look forward to for the whole year as it brings with it some much awaited time off from work.
It also brings with it a number of Public Holidays, and who doesn’t love a public holiday!

So what Public holidays do we have to look forward to over the holiday season?

In NSW Christmas day, 25 December 2020 and Boxing Day are recognised as Public Holidays.
As Boxing Day falls on a Saturday this year, there is an additional Public holiday on 28 December 2020. Bonus!
New Year’s Day is also a public holiday falling on Friday 1 January 2020.

So let’s talk about what happens when a Public holiday falls on a day you would usually be required to work.

If you a full time or part time employee, then your employer is required to pay you your base rate for the day. So if you would usually work five (5) hours on a Tuesday and a public holiday falls on a Tuesday, then you are entitled to get paid for five (5) hours. If your usual hours do not fall on a day that is public holiday, then you are not entitled to be paid.

If your employer requires you to work on a Public holiday or you agree to do so, then you are entitled to take the hours you worked off on another day in substitution for the Public Holiday. Depending on your award, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement, you may be entitled to a higher rate of pay for hours worked on a Public Holiday.

What about the casual employees out there?

There is no obligation for casual employees to work on public holidays. However if you do, then you are usually well compensated. Depending on your industry, public holiday rates can be up to triple your ordinary rate of pay. The rate for public holiday pay is entirely dependent on what award, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement that your employment falls under.

The Staff and Directors at Everingham Solomons wish you all a Wonderful Holiday Period and a Happy New Year and note we will be back in the office on 4 January 2021 because Helping You is Our Business.

Click here for more information on Sarah Rayner.

 

“T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…” and that’s how your Neighbours like it!!

With the COVID-19 restrictions lightening in time for the silly season, and people are frantically organising household gatherings we would be remiss if we didn’t remind you that you have neighbours!

Yes I know you probably know that, but as the holidays are celebrated, it’s a timely reminder that noise restrictions still apply during this time.

Noise restrictions apply to all types of noise but probably most relevant for the festivities is those carols and other tunes we all love to hate. This includes musical instruments.

So how loud is too loud? Essentially, if it can be heard in your neighbour’s house, it is noise that is restricted.

Music is allowed but must not be heard between the following times:

1. Friday, Saturday and any public holiday’s eve between midnight and 8am.
2. Any other day between 10pm and 8am.

The other thing to be mindful this time of the year is with respect to garden equipment and power tools. With the gardens needing to be in tip top shape for the relatives but it’s also 40⁰ during the day, the urge to get up at the crack of dawn is tempting. But this kind of noise is also restricted and cannot be heard between the following times:

1. Sunday and public holidays 8pm- 8am.
2. Any other day 8pm and 7am.

Other noise restrictions apply such as, alarms, noises made by cars (except general coming and going) and air conditioners.

Fines do apply for breach of Noise restrictions and can be given out by Police as well as your local Council.

If you can’t keep those singing voices in check over the holiday break Everingham Solomons has experienced Solicitors on deck because Helping You is Our Business.

Click here for more information on Sarah Rayner.