Author Archives: Bernard Sutton

will dispute lawyers

The 4 most common situations that require will dispute lawyers

Will dispute lawyers are often called on after someone has died and the assets they left behind need to be divided between disputing beneficiaries. If the deceased person has a valid last will and testament, then there should be little to no confusion about what their last wishes were and the entire process should go smoothly.

The word ‘should’ is emphasised because many times the division of a deceased’s assets is litigated by will dispute lawyers acting on behalf of beneficiaries that claim a grievance with the deceased’s final wishes. Most challenges to the deceased’s final wishes try to claim that they were not in a sound state of mind when they expressed their wishes or that they had accidentally neglected to explicitly specify something.

Let’s take a look at the 4 most common situations that require the services of will dispute lawyers.

Executors are too slow to begin the probate process

One of the most simple matters that will dispute lawyers are called to handle are situations where the executor (the person who is responsible for carrying out the deceased’s final wishes) has delayed beginning the probate process. While there is no specific timeframe under Australian law the probate process must begin, a general rule is that the executor should act within 12 months of the deceased’s death.

Failure to act within a year of the death gives beneficiaries grounds to appeal to the Supreme Court, and using will dispute lawyers they can obtain an enforceable deadline by which the executor must acquire a grant of probate.

Beneficiaries cannot agree on the fate of the estate property

Another common reason families engage will dispute lawyers is when benefactors disagree on whether or not the deceased’s family home should be sold or kept within family ownership. One of the common ways this issue is solved is that the party that wants to keep the family home buys out the controlling share from the other benefactor that wished to sell the property.

Sometimes the deceased’s last wishes dictate that beneficiaries have the option to buy the property from the estate, but even if this is not the case, will dispute lawyers can be used to reach an agreement. When multiple beneficiaries are putting money into buying the property from the estate, experts should be contacted so they can estimate how much each beneficiary should pay.

Beneficiaries accuse each other of undue influence over the deceased

The most contested and litigious issue that requires the services of will dispute lawyers is undoubtedly when one or multiple beneficiaries accuse another of exerting ‘undue influence’ over the deceased when they expressed their final wishes in writing.

Undue influence refers to when a beneficiary deliberately manipulates the deceased to give them a higher percentage of the estate’s assets in their final wishes. As you can image, these issues are highly controversial and hard to prove in court.

If the deceased’s final wishes are found to have been affected by undue influence, then the court can either defer to an earlier draft or can divide assets using intestacy rules.

Beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries identify issues with the document

Many people choose to draft their final wishes using informal means and fail to engage will dispute lawyers to help guide them. While these documents can be sound, more often than not they are littered with vague language and inconclusive declarations that invite litigation between disagreeing beneficiaries.

These kinds of situations can be avoided entirely if professional will dispute lawyers are engaged to help create a legally sound document detailing your final wishes after death.

drink driving lawyers in Campbelltown

Why do we need drink driving lawyers in Campbelltown?

The reasons why we need drink driving lawyers in Campbelltown is obviously because many residents face traffic charges relating to the abuse of alcohol. Perhaps they were caught due to reckless driving or an RBT checkpoint, regardless they will want the help of drink driving lawyers in Campbelltown.

This begs a bigger question about why road deaths from alcohol consumption are so high in Australia and why our policies against DUI’s are so strict. Magistrates who routinely hear DUI cases on a weekly basis are visibly frustrated by how pervasive this issue is in our culture.

This is why courts have little patience for those charged with DUI offences as they pursued a selfish recreational act putting themselves, any passengers, pedestrians and other drivers at risk. The cognitive decision to start using a big metal machine that goes fast while inebriated is something that few people are willing to forgive.

This explains why people facing these kinds of charges need the help of drink driving lawyers in Campbelltown as the system is very much stacked against them. Let’s take a look at the state of this issue in Australia and why the drink driving lawyers in Campbelltown are so necessary.

Culture of alcoholism

Australia, like many other western nations, has romanticised its relationship with alcohol to the point it’s an engrained part of our cultural identity. When Australians travel abroad they proudly boast about their ability to drink more than other nationalities, whether this bears out to be true or not.

This culture means that adult Australians who drive are automatically at a higher risk of needing drink driving lawyers in Campbelltown. DUI’s are a reality in most developed countries and the factors that cause this crime are compounded in a culture that reveres alcoholism as much as we do.

Prevalence of law enforcement countermeasures

Australia’s might have a high percentage of DUI’s per capita but it also has a higher amount of DUI arrests per capita. Ever since the 1980’s local, state and federal governments have funded different initiatives to make roads safer.

The most effective of these tactics has been Random Breath Testing (RBT) which is no doubt the biggest cause for a need of drink driving lawyers in Campbelltown. Ever since its introduction, RBT has not only gotten more effective at detecting acute levels of alcohol but has become more widespread and feared by the community.

In truth, the primary influence on lower rates of DUI’s is the fact that people don’t realistically think they can make it home without being stopped by a RBT. The biggest deterrent against DUI’s is the fear of being caught, not the inherent risk to people’s lives.

Therefore, the need for drink driving lawyers in Campbelltown is increased simply police arrests creating more criminals and in turn more demand for legal representation.

The need for due process

The primary need for drink driving lawyers in Campbelltown is the fact that people need to be able to have a professional legal defence for these kinds of matters. This is especially true in a country like Australia which seeks to rehabilitate people rather than imprison them.

This is why the best drink driving lawyers in Campbelltown are committed to helping clients achieve a section 10 wherever it is possible. A section 10 is effectively a second chance that does not record any conviction, meaning no criminal record.

This is a lifesaver for those who make a one-time mistake, get a DUI and end up needing drink driving lawyers in Campbelltown. Section 10 sentences are important in keeping people who make mistakes they deeply regret from becoming part of the criminal system.

Relationship Between Legal Community and Outsourcing

Legal outsourcing or legal process outsourcing (LPO) as it is more commonly known is not a new phenomenon. It has been a practice that has grown and developed over a period of time as it has become clear that a team of trained lawyers cannot be experts across all fields and departments that require their attention.

 

As professional firms who market themselves as the best resourced in town to cater across all legal matters, matching that rhetoric with a sound framework of support behind the scenes becomes a difficult task.

 

Given the amount of services there are on hand to fill in the gaps and provide an asset to legal brands, there are clearly opportunities to capitalise on for the sake of the firm and their clientele.

 

So what exactly is the relationship like between the legal community and the practice of outsourcing? Will this become common practice or will firms be forced to develop their own in-house operations that expand beyond the court house?

Doubts Over Expertise

 

Due to the limited scope of outsourcing being delivered to legal firms in Australia over the past 10-20 years, there are doubts and concerns about the quality of service from these providers. This has hampered and slowed down the transition between legal entities and businesses that are seeking more permanent ties to cater to departments like IT, analytics, SEO, document writing and applying software to existing and new computer platforms.

Important for IT Facets of the Firm

 

Information technology (IT) is seen as an ideal means of bringing legal firms into the 21st Century as it cuts down on costs and ensures that the client is receiving the most up to date service possible. It therefore becomes an obvious scenario whereby lawyers are only skilled at particular aspects of IT and it is imperative upon them to access the right degree of expertise. Here is where outsourced parties are introduced to the equation.

Pressure Delivered By High End Business Clients

 

Rather than single clients being aggressive in their demands for legal firms to provide an array of services, studies have found that this push and transition is deriving mostly from high end businesses in their dealings.

 

With business to business (B2B) relationships carrying out regularly across various niches, there are basic expectations for efficiency and speed of service in 2018 that was not evident in past years. The end goal for each and every outsourced option is to deliver a practice that is as efficiency as humanly possible.

Why Pro Bono Work Is Still Valued By Legal Community

Pro bono cases might be few and far between depending on the law firm you are examining, but there is still a sense of duty and obligation when it comes to these matters. The legal fraternity is supposed to dedicate a certain amount of hours to cases that are considered in the public’s interest and when those voices need to be represented, that is when lawyers give up their own billable hours for this purpose.

 

So why is pro bono work considered valuable in the eyes of the legal community? Here we will outline why that is the case.

Ideal Training Platform

 

For those fresh lawyers just coming out of their degree to land in the field, working on a pro bono case can be a great means of accessing vital experience in a real life situation. Pro bono cases are not purely for new associates, yet they are fertile grounds for understanding the craft of law in a courtroom environment. It is clear from those case studies that have been recorded that emerging lawyers develop at a faster rate by improving their skills and learning important lessons through pro bono scenarios.

Provides Greater Reputation

 

Whether it is the view of your peers, other firms or clients in the market looking for a reputable name and voice to represent them, undertaking pro bono work only boosts the reputation of a lawyer. By dedicating time free of charge to those individuals who are less fortunate to provide them with due process is a major asset for organisations who are attempting to boost their own profile. It is hard to buy that kind of public relations through any other method.

 

Lawyers have a hard enough time in society dealing with a poor reputation of being completely on their own agenda and to boost their incomes regardless of the court results. By singing up to pro bono cases that are in the interests of the community, this is a sign of dedication to the craft and to a cause greater than themselves. That reflects well on them as professionals as well as the firm they are representing.

Actually Gives Something Back

 

To put it simply, lawyers are still people to. They have causes and issues that are important to them, and given their experience and skillset, there is a sense of duty to the wider public. While other cases involve corporate complications including clients of high wealth, there is little emotional investment on the part of the lawyer. Then there are pro bono situations where a client cannot afford to defend themselves against another party, even when they are the victim. This is when a professionally practicing attorney can provide a service.

When Is It Illegal To Refuse Service?

In a scenario where there is a consumer and a business engaging in a potential transaction, there can be complications that arise when it comes to legal rights and responsibilities.

 

It is rare that an individual or group will be refused service, firstly because that company is denying themselves a source of revenue. Yet there are instances of discrimination that will arise from time to time, and these are moments when consumers have a right to apply the anti-discrimination laws that are in place.

 

Here are examples of when it is illegal to refuse service to a customer.

Refusal Based on Race

 

Whatever race a consumer may be, a business has no legal position denying service due to this agenda. Racial profiling and discrimination continues to be an ongoing issue that is protected and enforced by the Australian Federal Government under all conditions.

Refusal Based on Disability

 

From the physically to the mentally impaired, businesses are not able to discriminate against individuals who are disabled. Consider citizens who require guide dogs or wheelchairs to those who are deaf – consumers in this category are protected in the eyes of the law.

Refusal Based on Sexual Orientation

 

Whether it is having a wedding catered for or reserving a room at a motel or hotel, it is illegal for a business to deny service for a same-sex couple or individual. There is no middle ground in these instances because it is a direct violation of the anti-discriminatory laws.

Refusal Based on Age

 

Outside of 18 and over pubs and clubs that service alcohol or require an adult to be present, age discrimination is a factor. The same can be said for senior citizens who can be denied service at locations where most consumers are in the 18-35 age bracket.

When It Refusal OK?

 

There are instances when a business is within their legal right to refuse a patron of customer service in particular circumstances.

 

Should safety be an issue where the wellbeing of employees or other customers happens to be under threat, they can be denied. The same applies for aggressive or disruptive behaviour, if a patron entering a pub or club is under the age of 18 or there is a refusal to accept a dress code situated at a premises.

 

There are other instances when refusal is acceptable from an insurance point of view. Should evidence outline that a potential customer cause problems to the provider, then there are occasions when they are legally safeguarded and protected from refusing service.

When Does a Contract Become Legally Binding?

Contracts are usually considered to be documents that  carefully constructed, examined and analysed before signed upon by a party. The reality though can be quite different in the eyes of the law as the definition of a legally binding agreement does not have to include a formal signature on paper.

 

This complication makes for a fraught situation in some cases as legal cases emanate from agreements that are valid from a legal point of view.

 

So to avoid this confusion, it is worthwhile having a discussion that outlines the facts of the case – when is a contract legally binding?

Via An Offer

 

If a quote is handed down that states clear and definitive terms, then that can be considered a legally binding contract – but only within a particular timeframe. This is a moment that will elapse at a certain point and only when the essential terms have been agreed to in some form. For example, a builder can hand down a quote that lists the terms but until there is an acceptance of the terms by the other party, it is not binding.

When There Is Intent To Bind

 

This is where complications arise to prove the circumstances of intent to opt into a binding contract. A court must decide if the parties were privy to all of the necessary details and that they were completely aware of these circumstances before agreeing to them in some shape or form. If one of the parties places a prior condition on an agreement that prevents a regular process from taking place, that will complicate the issue further.

Consideration

 

The element of consideration is vital when it comes to determining the status of a contract that is legal in the eyes of the court. What this pertains to is the benefit each party receives from opting into the agreement. As an example, a seller of a computer should have been granted financial remuneration for providing the goods, whilst the buyer has access and ownership of the item in question. This is where consideration comes into play and when one party cannot claim to any benefit, then the contract should not be categorised as legally binding.

Contracts Can Be Contested

 

If one party believes that a contract is null and void or certain violations have been broken, then a case can be made before the courts to contest the matter. Breaches could occur at any moment and the nature of a contract will carry its own judgments and criteria that pertains to the legalities involved. These waters become muddied when legally binding contracts are not formed through a written document and require testimonies of two or more parties to determine the validity of the agreement.

When Can a Lawyer Be Disbarred From Practicing?

Practicing law takes years in education and passing a series of rigorous examinations and assessments along the way. Having invested all that time and effort before earning a license to practice and scoring a role with a firm, how could any professional end up facing disbarment?

 

The reality is that the role of a legal representative places a great deal of pressure on individuals and that can become too much to face for some that are not equipped to handle that well. From an emotional and psychological standpoint, continual courtroom battles and conflicts wear people down.

 

This is not to excuse or justify any actions that lead to disbarment, but it is a means of understanding how these events have taken place before and how they will happen again.

 

So how does one end up becoming disbarred from practicing law? Here we will discuss some of the key instances where a professional’s license is revoked and they are denied from representing others in a court of law.

Personal Misconduct

 

Should a lawyer showcase behaviour that is considered offensive and overtly unprofessional, then they can face being disbarred from practicing. These are rare cases where a solicitor becomes unhinged and their incivility becomes too much to bear for those around them. Often these incidents will venture towards an assault and this is when a lawyer will require their own form of representation.

Financial Fraud

 

There have been cases in the past when a solicitor has stolen their client’s money or money from the firm. Financial fraud and impropriety is a surefire way to be disbarred from practicing before further charges can be laid. Attorneys that have faced this type of action before have attempted to be secretive in this behaviour to secretly operate their own clientele fund away from a collective legal firm.

Overlook Vital Bar Requirements

 

A moral and logistical failing of missing license fees and not turning up to bar exams will see disbarment take place as a direct consequence. There are explicit terms and conditions that are granted to individuals who enjoy this privilege and if there is evidence that proves actions have occurred that are in violation of these requirements, they cannot continue to practice.

Moral Failings and Turpitude

 

From drug and alcohol offences to bullying and ethics violations, there are some general rules and guidelines that are fundamental to operating as a solicitor. This is a role that is the personification of justice for all and should that position be ignored or neglected, then they will face disbarment.

What Are The Universal Legal Rights Every Citizen Has?

Every citizen across the world is protected in some degree thanks to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Following the Second World War, this document was delivered by the General Assembly in 1948 and as such, no matter who you are or where you happen to be traveling across the world, you are protected.

Global Rights

 

  • Human beings are born free and equal in dignity
  • Everyone is entitled to these human rights regardless of their background
  • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person
  • No one can be held into servitude or slavery
  • Torture is strictly prohibited
  • Everyone has the right to be recognised before the law
  • All are equal before the law
  • Everyone has a right to an effective remedy by a competent national tribunal
  • No one can be subjected to arbitrary arrest, exile or detention
  • Everyone must have access to an equal and fair public hearing
  • You have the right to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty
  • You have the right to privacy without any attacks on an individual’s reputation or honour
  • You have the right to freedom of movement within a nation’s borders
  • You have the right to leave and return to any country
  • You have the right to seek asylum
  • Everyone has a right to a nationality
  • Men and women of full age are allowed to marry and have a family
  • Individuals can own property either off their own accord or as a collective
  • Religion, conscience and freedom of thought are all rights
  • Opinion and expression are afforded to every citizen
  • Peaceful assembly and association is afforded to everyone
  • Government is open to all citizen, either directly or through representation
  • Every member can have access to social security
  • You have the right to choice of employment and equal pay for equal work
  • Rest and leisure is afforded to all
  • All global citizens have a right to an adequate standard of living
  • Education must be free and open
  • Cultural life is open and free, including all of the benefits that are shared through scientific advancement
  • There will be duties to the community
  • None of these rights may be infringed upon by a group or state body

Global Responsibilities

 

  • To understand one’s own perspective and the perspectives of others on global issues
  • To respect the principle of cultural diversity
  • To make connections and build relationships with people form other countries and cultures
  • To understand the ways in which the peoples and countries of the world are inter-connected and inter-dependent
  • To understand global issues
  • To advocate for greater international cooperation with other nations
  • For advocating for the implementation of international agreements, conventions and treaties related to global issues
  • For advocating for the more effective global equity and justice in each of the value domains of the global economy

Points To Consider If Representing Yourself in Court

Each and every citizen has the right to an attorney in a court of law. This is a fundamental element that is true of democratic nations who are symbols of justice, yet this is a right that some individuals believe will hamper their case.

 

They are rare occurrences, yet there are moments when a defendant or an accuser will decide to represent themselves in a court of law to bypass a solicitor altogether.

 

Whether they are looking to save money on the costs that would be incurred or simply believe they are well enough equipped to win the case themselves, there are points to consider if this is the path you are willing to take.

 

Individuals should seek council whenever a legal matter emerges, however, for those that are confident enough to venture solo in this instance, please take note of some issues that pertain to your circumstance.

You Know What To Plea

 

From a guilty or not guilty plea if you are a defendant, it is vital to understand what you are willing to plea. This will speak to your understanding and grasp of the procedure moving forward and the consequences for the plea. Some guilty pleas will carry certain conditions on the part of the prosecution and it is vital as your own council that you recognise this position.

You Have Clarity On The Facts

 

Where a lawyer really earns their income is in the intricacies and the appreciation of the legalities of a given situation. Knowing the statutes and conditions that parties have to abide by and when a party has violated law is imperative to going ahead with a case as your own representative.

You Can Research The Facts

 

It is one thing to know all the facts of a case, it is quite another to have the personal time to undertake all of the research off your own accord. That will be a task that you will have to do, something that trained and experienced lawyers execute as part of their daily routine. Should you have the time to set aside research of documents and evidence, then that is an important tick.

The Courtroom Does Not Overwhelm You

 

There is a mental and emotional element that comes into play when thinking about representing yourself in a courtroom. From public speaking to actually debating the merits of a case where you are vulnerable to a ruling, that can be a great deal to burden psychologically speaking.

Other Professions That Lawyers Would Be Suitable For

If you are a studied and practiced lawyer who simply cannot find enough job satisfaction or a role at a firm that fits your expertise, then perhaps a switch in profession could be the ideal scenario?

 

Having jumped through the necessary hoops at university and undertaken the bar exam, many professionals believe that a career choice that defined can never be overturned. That thinking is simply wrong because the acquisition of skills to become a practicing lawyer can lay the groundwork for other forms of work.

 

So what other professions could be out there for a lawyer who is seeking a change of gears?

Politics

 

Take note of each and every politician that walks through the halls of Canberra. A decent percentage of these public servants will have a background in law as they attempt to maneuver through tricky legal waters when drafting documents and policies that might run contrary to State or Federal law.

Teacher

 

Many lawyers won’t mind the sound of their own voice and that ability to argue and deliberate on a topic can make for strong characteristics in the classroom. The same can be said for university lecturers as the knowledge that is gleaned from practicing can help the future generations who need to understand some of the intricacies of law.

Marketing

 

Lawyers have to engage with marketing as per their usual practice in order to get their name and brand out there. Of course there will be a natural reputation that will be brought out through winning cases, but attorneys who are seeking high-end clientele will need to promote their own messaging and personal image. Having that background can make for a quality marketing executive.

Public Relations

 

Lawyers have to convince a judge and a jury of peers about one side of a case. The language that must be utilised has to be convincing without being overzealous and this is where a public relations professional could take a few hints at the practice. It also speaks to the ability to network properly between various bodies behind the scenes, an asset that PR companies can certainly make use of.

Journalist

 

Any quality lawyer worth their time will have the capacity to dig where others are not prepared to in order to receive witness testimony and on the record statements from parties that help their case. This modus operandi can equally apply from the field of law to that of journalism – the only difference is that one party is trying to win a case while the other is trying to sell clicks and newspaper sales.