New appointments for Commercial Disputes and Employment, IR and OHS teams

New appointments for Commercial Disputes and Employment, IR and OHS teams

Sladen Legal is delighted to announce the appointments of Leneen Forde and Louise Houlihan (formerly partners of Cornwall Stodart Lawyers) as principals of the firm.

Louise is joined by senior associate, Jane O’Brien, and associate, Joanna Shields (also formerly of Cornwall Stodart Lawyers) and together they will strengthen Sladen Legal’s existing Employment, Industrial Relations and Occupational Health and Safety team.

Leneen has joined the existing litigation group and new recruit, Lawyer, Andrew Blyth, forming Sladen Legal’s new Commercial Disputes team.

Shredding the Corporate Veil: Are you a Shadow Director?

Shredding the Corporate Veil: Are you a Shadow Director?

People are generally aware of the risk of personal liability as a director. For example, directors can find themselves personally liable for debts to employees, for tax debts and penalties owed to the Australian Tax Office or for breaches of The Corporations Act 2001 ("the Act").

However, the Act itself provides little guidance or limitation in defining who is a director. A director may be anyone who acts in a position of a director, or someone who gives instructions or expresses wishes and the directors of the company are accustomed to act in accordance with those instructions or wishes. The result is that a trusted company advisor can, unwittingly, become liable as if they were a formally-appointed director.

Supreme Court considers trustee’s responsibility in trust administration

Supreme Court considers trustee’s responsibility in trust administration

Discretionary trusts are commonly understood to be efficient structures for asset protection and tax minimisation, and are widely used in modern-day business.  What isn’t so well understood are the obligations of trustees in administering trusts, particularly with regard to providing reasons for their decisions to beneficiaries.

Sladen Snippet - Coronial finding into drowning of school boy

Sladen Snippet - Coronial finding into drowning of school boy


On 27 October 2014 the Coroner’s Court of Victoria delivered its finding into the inquest on the death of Kyle Vassil.  The deceased was a 12 year old student who, on day one of a school camp, drowned in a dam a few meters from shore. Kyle was a competent swimmer who was swimming with other class members in the presence of supervising teachers and young camp leaders when he drowned.  The circumstances surrounding the death were tragic and no doubt traumatic for all persons involved.  The purpose of the Coronial investigation was to ascertain, if possible, the cause of death and the circumstances in which the death occurred.

Supreme Court takes alternate approach to shareholder disputes

Supreme Court takes alternate approach to shareholder disputes


Many small to medium sized businesses face disputes between shareholders, who can often be family members.  These shareholder disputes can be very expensive to resolve and typically take the form of “oppression” claims commenced in the Supreme Court of Victoria, under the provisions of s 233 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Although individual disputes differ, they all have in common allegations that the affairs of a company have been conducted in an oppressive manner.

Grande – misleading and deceptive conduct case

Grande – misleading and deceptive conduct case

The Supreme Court of Western Australia recently found a director personally liable for misleading and deceptive conduct by reason of the director signing a Letter of Offer on behalf of the company, which contained certain representations. While the case dealt with provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1987 (WA), both the Fair Trading Act 1999 (Vic) and the Australian Consumer Law have equivalent provisions.

Schools, negligence, and liability for psychiatric injury: the Doulis case

Schools, negligence, and liability for psychiatric injury: the Doulis case

On September 5 2014, the Victorian Supreme Court ordered the State of Victoria to pay damages in excess of $1.2 million to a former teacher at Werribee Secondary College, after he sued in negligence for the school’s failure to prevent what became a debilitating psychiatric injury.