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  • sweatworking


    Last night, 24 teams from Canberra businesses came together for an evening of Sweatworking to raise money – each team registering with a minimum $250 donation to Global School Partners.

    The fifth annual Sweatworking® event saw the teams rotate through 10 stations completing a variety of exercises including the gruelling burpee and jump!

    After the 10 rounds were completed, there was a quick break for a sausage sizzle and some networking, before the finals began.

    The teams that made it to the finals we Much more than Money, EY, Netier and BAL Lawyers.

    The finals were close, but Much more than Money couldn’t be rivalled. A huge congratulations to the Winning Team from Much more than Money – “Much More than athletes” – who proudly took home the champions cup.

    Sweatworking® is an annual networking event organised by Bradley Allen Love Lawyers which pits teams from a variety of Canberra organisations against each other in a physical challenge.

    Ms Susan Proctor, Legal Director at Bradley Allen Love, created the annual Sweatworking® challenge to facilitate being able to network and staying active at the same time.

    “It’s an event that focuses on health and fitness and most importantly friendly competition”, explains Susan. “It’s the Bradley Allen Love way to network – fresh, exciting and innovative.” Sweatworking® is not only a fantastic fundraiser assisting the wider community, but participants also benefit from the experience of exercising in a challenging outdoor environment. “The correlation between physical and mental health cannot be underestimated.” Susan says.

    “We are excited about our partnership with Global School Partners, raising funds to assist them in the vital role they play in our community” said Ms Proctor.

    Thank you to everyone for participating in our Sweatworking event last night. We cannot thank everyone enough for the donations that totalled $6,500!  We were very proud to hand over the cheque to Simon Carroll, CEO of Global School Partners.

    GSP cheque at sweatworking

    The list of organisations that participated in Sweatworking®2016 and donated are;

    Addvantage Accountants Global School Partners
    SPA Accounting MUCH Pty Ltd
    Colliers Deloitte
    DUO Ernst & Young
    Southlands Capital Chemist Trilogy


    Looking Forwards to seeing you all for Sweatworking 2017!


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  • Sweatworking 2016

    Sweatworking 2016


    Sweatworking 2016 brings together Corporates from across the region to push their athletic prowess to the limit tomorrow with Global School Partners set to reap the benefits of an evening spent Sweatworking®.

    Sweatworking® is an annual networking event organised by Bradley Allen Love Lawyers (BAL) which pits teams from a variety of Canberra organisations against each other in a physical challenge, each team registering with a minimum $250 donation to Global School Partners.

    Now in its fifth year, Sweatworking 2016 will see 25 teams of four; rotate through 10 stations completing a variety of exercises in the bid to take out the Champions Cup, awarded to the team with the most points at the end of the event.

    Ms Susan Proctor, Legal Director at BAL Lawyers, created the annual Sweatworking® challenge to facilitate being able to network and staying active at the same time.

    Sweatworking 2016 compliments the work ethic and philosophies of staff at BAL Lawyers while raising funds for a different charity each year.

    “It’s an event that focuses on health and fitness and most importantly friendly competition.  It’s the BAL Lawyers way to network – fresh, exciting and innovative”.

    “We are excited about our partnership with Global School Partners, raising funds to assist them in the vital role they play in our community” said Ms Proctor.

    Sweatworking 2016 will commence at 6:00pm (sharp), Tuesday 18 October at the AIS Outdoor Synthetic Oval.

    The list of organisations participating in Sweatworking®2016 and donating are;

    Addvantage Accountants Global School Partners
    BAL Lawyers MUCH Pty Ltd
    Colliers Deloitte
    DUO Ernst & Young
    Southlands Capital Chemist Netier
    Trilogy SPA Accounting


    Media and spectators are welcome to attend this event to encourage their friends or colleagues. Participants will enjoy a BBQ and refreshments at the conclusion of the event.

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  • A Gambler’s Play: Brumbies Defend Quantum Meruit

    A Gambler’s Play: Quantum Meruit

    It is not uncommon, in claims seeking monies owed under services contracts, for plaintiffs to plead an alternative cause of action in quantum meruit (Latin for ‘what one has earned’).  In doing so, the litigant is essentially saying: ‘even if there is some defect in the contract on which I rely, I have nevertheless performed services at your request, and it is not fair that you benefit from my services without paying me for them.’ In principle, this is not an altogether unreasonable fall-back position. But what if it is your only position? What if youhave not taken steps to formalise your expectations for payment through a written contract? How are you going to prove what the value of your services amounts to? The recent ACT Supreme Court case of Beagle v ACT & Southern NSW Rugby Union Limited [2016] ACTSC 71, in which the ACT Brumbies successfully defended a quantum meruit claim, considered these issues.

    The Facts

    Mr Beagle – a retired gaming industry consultant – approached the ACT Brumbies in December 2014, at a time when the organisation was publically known to be without a major sponsor heading into the 2015 Super Rugby competition. In a meeting with the Brumbies’ then CEO on 4 December 2014, Mr Beagle asserted that he knew of a possible sponsor but, for confidentiality reasons, he could not disclose who. Whilst the Brumbies were interested in being introduced to the unidentified sponsor – at least, generally, given the uncertainty as who they were talking about, or to – no terms were agreed as to what, precisely, Mr Beagle would do, or how he would be paid (if at all). Rather, only vague comments were said, along the lines that Mr Beagle would expect a “finder’s fee” or that the Brumbies would “look after him” if Mr Beagle “pulled it off”.

    It was not, however, discussed or agreed what was meant by a “finder’s fee”, or how Mr Beagle expected to be “looked after”.  More importantly, the meeting ended without any clear certainty as to what Mr Beagle was tasked to “pull off”.

    On 15 December 2014, Mr Beagle met with a Hong Kong group (‘Aquis’), who had arrived in Canberra as part of their purchase of the Canberra Casino.  Prior to the meeting, Mr Beagle provided Aquis’ executive director with a Brumbies sponsorship proposal document. However, Aquis agreed to meet with Mr Beagle before receiving the sponsorship document, with a view to gaining insight into the workings of ACT Government. When it became apparent to Aquis that Mr Beagle was of no assistance to that end, the meeting was concluded. Aquis’s executive director gave evidence that she could not recall the extent – if any – that the Brumbies may have been discussed at that meeting.

    In early 2015, with Aquis having completed its purchase of the Canberra Casino, it sought advice from its public relations advisors as to strategies to engage with the ACT community.  The advice was to sponsor the Brumbies. When a sponsorship deal was subsequently completed, Mr Beagle surfaced to claim his “finder’s fee” for his part in the transaction. The Brumbies, unaware of what approaches Mr Beagle made to Aquis (keeping in mind that Mr Beagle had declined to identify his contact for “confidentiality reasons”), and having identified and approached Aquis independently through their publicly reported purchase of the Canberra Casino, refused to pay any such fee.

    In the absence of a contract setting out (a) what he was tasked with doing, or (b) how he would be remunerated, Mr Beagle commenced proceedings against the Brumbies exclusively through a claim in quantum meruit.  In doing so, Mr Beagle likened his services to that of a sports agent, and sought a reasonable compensation, comparable to a commission, in the sum of $587,000.

    Applying the Quantum Meruit principles

    Even in the absence of a contract, the law may impose an obligation to make restitution, or pay reasonable compensation, on a quantum meruit basis where a plaintiff can prove that:

    1. a request for services was made;
    2. requested services were performed;
    3. the defendant was aware that the plaintiff expected to be paid for the services;
    4. the defendant received a benefit as a consequence of the services; and
    5. it would be unjust for the defendant to retain the benefits without paying some reasonable remuneration.

    In the Beagle case, it was accepted by the Brumbies that a ‘request’ was made for Mr Beagle to deliver their sponsorship proposal to an unidentified potential sponsor. Whilst not known to the Brumbies at the time, through the legal proceedings, it was evident that Mr Beagle did so – such that the elements (1) and (2) above were satisfied.

    However, where Mr Beagle’s claim came unstuck was his failure to prove the Brumbies were aware of his expectation for payment.  To the extent that the Brumbies had acknowledged an entitlement, it was conditional upon Mr Beagle “pulling it off”, which imported a requirement that he have some causal influence over Aquis’ eventual decision to enter the sponsorship was required – Mr Beagle was unable to make this out on the evidence.

    The court also did not accept any ‘benefit’ was conferred upon the Brumbies which would render their refusal to compensate Mr Beagle for the services carried out by him (largely outside of their knowledge or control) as being unjust. Accordingly, neither element (4) nor (5) above was satisfied.

    Lessons Learnt

    The simplest way to minimise disputes is to formalise your agreements in writing.  Where practicable and possible, legal advice should be obtained. Had Mr Beagle made it clear that he expected to be paid such a significant “finder’s fee”, notwithstanding the steps taken by him would be minimal, the Brumbies no doubt would have instructed him not to carry out any services and no dispute would have arisen.

    Equally, if you do have a contract on foot, do not assume that pleading an alternative quantum meruit claim will solve any technical deficiencies in your contractual claim. As the High Court held in a leading quantum meruit authority, Pavey & Matthews Pty Ltd v Paul, ‘An inability to sue on a contract provides no ground for imposing a quasi-contractual obligation inconsistent with the contractual obligation to pay remuneration.’

    For example, if your contract fails to clearly set out the remuneration payable, you may encounter the same difficulties as Mr Beagle in establishing your opponent’s knowledge of your expectation to payment. Alternatively, the compensation payable under quantum meruit may see your remuneration assessed in line with industry standards or conditions which you had not intended your contract to be limited by.

    After all, and returning finally to the Beagle decision, in many respects it is easy to argue that there was an enforceable contract in place. That contract, however, would have required Mr Beagle to “pull it off” (that is, arrange the Aquis sponsorship), such that his entitlements under contract would have been ‘nil’. In sum, then, the Beagle case demonstrates that relying on quantum meruit, whether exclusively or as a fall-back position, is a risky bet. For Mr Beagle, his gamble failed to pay off in the ACT Supreme Court.


    Written by Ian Meagher, Director, Employment & Workplace Relations and Litigation & Dispute Resolution.

    Disclaimer: Bradley Allen Love acted for the Brumbies in their successful defence of Mr Beagle’s claim. Please note this case is currently subject to appeal. Further updates will be provided as they become available.

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  • The ‘Litigious’ Lottery: Costs Regimes in Employment Litigation

    The ‘Litigious’ Lottery: Costs Orders in Employment Litigation

    Costs, it might be said, are an unsexy topic. Amidst the cut and thrust of high stakes litigation, questions of costs can be easily overlooked. Yet that does not diminish their importance. Many a courtroom victory has been soured by an unfavourable costs order.

    In the employment context, costs take on additional importance. The financial stakes in employment disputes are often lower than in commercial litigation, such that costs can quickly surpass any damages awarded. Almost all employment grievances involve at least one individual party, who ordinarily will be far less able to absorb an adverse costs order than a corporate litigator. The diverse variety of costs regimes governing workplace-related litigation, which in turn often have complex and uncertain exceptions, only amplifies the necessity for employment lawyers to be attuned to the law in this area.

    The following article intends to provide practitioners with an accessible guide to costs in employment disputes. It will begin by considering the costs protections offered by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth), before identifying other prominent employment related claims which lack beneficial costs regimes. It then concludes by highlighting an important yet often overlooked issue — the application of inconsistent costs regimes to litigation where multiple causes of actions are pleaded.

    Fair Work Act

    The general position in disputes under the Fair Work Act, which account for the bulk of employment litigation, is that parties bear their own costs. Thus, in unfair dismissal and general protection claims, among others, the costs result is the same — win, lose or draw. This default position gives effect to a desirable policy objective: encouraging the resolution of employment disputes in a cheap and efficient manner. When neither party can be awarded costs, there is — in most circumstances — a common interest in avoiding protracted litigation. Although there are nuances to the costs treatment of different sections of the Fair Work Act, and slight deviations depending on the chosen forum (whether the Fair Work Commission or a court exercising federal jurisdiction), generally the exceptions to this no costs principle are limited to three. Read More.

    Written by John Wilson, Director, Employment & Workplace Relations, and Kieran Pender, Law Clerk.

    First published in Ethos: Journal of the ACT Law Society.

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  • NDA Non-Disclosure and Confidentiality Agreements

    Non-Disclosure and Confidentiality Agreements – four quick tips

    These days, information is can be the most valuable asset a business can own – so how do you protect it when entering into a new business partnership? Confidentiality or Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) are used in a wide variety of business relationships, where protection of one or both sides’ confidential information is essential, whether it’s customer and contact lists, design concepts or logo material, employee data or the protection of non-patented inventions being presented to a manufacturer or new investor.

    Here are four quick tips to keep in mind when crafting an NDA for your business.

    1. Define the confidential information appropriately
    Your first question should be what information needs to be protected? The key to a successful and enforceable NDA is an accurate and comprehensive definition of what information is confidential and covered by the agreement. If you are intending to “open your books” then it should be an exhaustive definition that covers all business information disclosed in the course of negotiations, the relationship or for the purpose of the collaboration. Without a definition, you may have difficulty enforcing the parameters of the NDA in a later dispute.

    2. Permitted purpose
    You should specify the purpose for which the confidential information is being disclosed and can be used. This will limit the recipient’s use of the confidential information to that prescribed purpose. Any other use for any ulterior purpose will be a breach of the agreement, with liability consequences.

    3. Disclosure to employees
    If you are disclosing information to a company or entity, then the information will often need to be shared with the directors and/or employees of that entity. An NDA can ensure that the original recipient is held responsible for the actions of their employees and others in possession of the confidential information and place limits on who can receive the information, minimising the potential distribution of your confidential information.

    4. End of the agreement
    Consider the “end-game” – NDAs should make clear what happens to the information at the end of the business relationship, whether this occurs upon the expiry of a fixed term on a certain date, or when certain conditions are met. Details to cover here include the return or destruction of any confidential information still in the possession of the recipient and a continuing obligation to not disclose.

    The above tips are designed to minimise the risk of your confidential information being released to the general public and to give certainty to the contracting parties. If you are considering a business collaboration or commercial joint venture, we recommend that you seek professional advice on whether an NDA is an appropriate mechanism to protect your information.

    First Published in B2B Magazine.

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  • swearing-in the workplace

    Offending angels: on swearing in the workplace

    When is it OK to discipline an employee for swearing in the workplace?

    Everyone has done it. Whether in a fit of rage, while watching a close sports game or experiencing pain, the occasional expletive is part of a standard vocabulary. But what happens when such language is uttered in the workplace? At what point does friendly banter or light-hearted self-criticism become a breach of the public service code of conduct?

    The answer is no longer as simple as it might once have been; coarse language has become increasingly commonplace in society. As a fair work commission explained last year, “there is no doubt that workplaces are more robust in 2015, as they relate to the use of swearing, than they were in the 1940s”. Drawing the line between acceptable and unacceptable conduct is increasingly difficult.

    Two recent private sector cases highlight this uncertainty. In Sayers v CUB Pty Ltd, a Carlton & United Breweries employee told a colleague “you are nothing but a dirty gringo c—” and “any place, any time, you name it, you are going down”. After he was sacked on the ground of serious misconduct, Mark Sayers applied for unfair-dismissal relief.

    Despite a rather creative application, which asserted that “gringo” was not intended as a racist slur because the target of the comment was South American, and the term is traditionally used by South Americans to disparage North Americans, Sayers’ claim failed. Fair Work Commission deputy president Richard Clancy observed that “there is no place for behaviour in the workplace that combines threats of violence, racial slurs of such an offensive and degrading nature, and such inappropriate abuse and offensive language”.

    In contrast, in Goodall v Mt Arthur Coal Pty Ltd, a mining truck operator won reinstatement after his dismissal from BHP Billiton’s Hunter Valley coal mine. Jodie Goodall had engaged in “banter and chat” over a radio system “as a means of dealing with fatigue” towards the end of a 12½-hour night shift. This “banter” included comments that a colleague was…Read more.

    First published in the Canberra Times, July 2016.

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