Monthly compilation of key updates for the legal industry – July 2020
Australian states agree to overhaul of ‘outdated’ defamation laws
Australian states have agreed to a dramatic overhaul of “outdated” defamation laws in a bid to protect public interest journalism and curb escalating damages payouts. The New South Wales attorney general, Mark Speakman, announced sweeping changes, outlining a plan to “reset” laws which he said had resulted in “crippling damages payouts, chilling public interest journalism and clogging courts with minor claims”. Read More
September looming potentially large for insolvencies
Absent further government changes, September is set to be a turning point for the Australian economy and in particular the restructuring and insolvency sector. Much is being written about the looming wave of insolvencies and what will trigger them.
According to Hamilton Locke partner Nicholas Edwards, there are three key events slated to happen in September that will have a significant impact on the economy, as well as the number of insolvencies in this country. As it currently stands and as testament to the government measures, the volume of formal insolvencies has been down significantly month-to-month since March, “which for many people on the street is surprising”. This, however, is not a sustainable position. Read More
Crown moved to CBA when ANZ shut ‘money laundering’ accounts, inquiry hears
Crown Resorts opened accounts with the Commonwealth Bank using “misleading” names that masked their use for gambling and accepted high-risk cash deposits, despite ANZ shutting down similar accounts over money laundering concerns, an inquiry has heard. Crown’s chief legal and regulatory compliance officer Joshua Preston told the NSW government probity inquiry into the James Packer-backed casino group on Friday he could not recall why CBA then also shut down the accounts in late 2019, but it “would not surprise” him if it was also due to fears about dirty cash. Read More
NSW Law Society appoints new CEO
The NSW Law Society has appointed Sonja Stewart as its new CEO for the term beginning 31 August. Stewart is the interim CEO of KPMG joint venture Arrilla Consulting, and has much experience working with state and Commonwealth governments. She has worked not only within the legal industry, but also in the academe and the not-for-profit sector. Read More
The Australian legal marketplace will never be the same again once the age of coronavirus has passed.
COVID-19 brought about not just a global pandemic and economic turmoil, but substantial change to the ways the modern legal marketplace operates. These changes are myriad, still unfolding and even yet to emerge. Whilst practitioners have different views about the extent and consequence of such an upending of the established order, one perspective rings true across the board: #auslaw is shaping up to look vastly different to pre-pandemic conditions. Read More