Time for a change

My sincere thanks to the team at Taylor Splatt & Partners for their support and friendship.  After 10 years, it’s time for a change.

From 8 November 2017, I will be working with Marsh & Maher Richmond Bennison as a Commercial Property Lawyer.

I will be sharing my time between the Mordialloc and East Melbourne offices.  You can contact me on 03 9580 8311.

Richmond Bennison merged with Marsh Maher earlier in 2017 bringing together a wealth of experience.  You can find out more at: mmrb.com.au

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Remembrance Day at Springvale Botanical Cemetery


Remembrance Day at Springvale Botanical Cemetery

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Employment non-competition clauses

I found an interesting article on employment non-competition clause from Herbert Smith Freehills involving a fitness instructor in Hong Kong.

Such restrictive covenants are used to try to prevent employees competing during their employment and for a period of time after employment ceases.

What is reasonable in Hong Kong, will be different in Melbourne.  What is reasonable in one industry, will be different in another.

Often a cascading clause is used.  For example, a restriction against working in Victoria for 5 years, but if that is found to unreasonable then 20 km from Geelong and 2 years, alternatively 10 km and 1 year, and so on.

Every case is different.

You will find more information here.  

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Finding old friends using LinkedIn

Looking through my desk drawer I found a few empty pens, lots of bull dog clips, and even a few floppy disks.

I also found my A to Z box of business cards that I had collected over the years.

I keyed a few names into LinkedIn, and tracked down some old friends.


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Changes to Melbourne Green Wedge Zones

The Victorian government has introduced changes to Melbourne’s Green Wedge Zones which surround the Mornington Peninsula.

Some of the key changes to the Green Wedge Zone include:

  • bringing agriculture, primary produce sales and a small rural store to an as of right use to
  • encourage primary production uses;
  • allowing places of assembly in Green Wedge Zones and fulfilling the Coalition’s election
  • promise to allow schools but only with a permit from a Council;
  • adding corrective institutions and freeway service centres to the list of prohibited uses and
  • keeping service stations, display homes, nightclubs and medical centres as prohibited
  • uses; and
  • retaining in conjunction tests for permits such as restaurants, group accommodation and functions centres.

The changes are due to be gazetted on 5 September 2013.

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Business Start Ups – Aspire to be daring.

Here’s an article I found in the Guardian UK to inspire readers who are thinking about  their own business start up.

From my personal experience, the main piece of advice I would give to aspiring small business owners is to be daring. There is not much point in doubting yourself, your skills and your goals. It is a sure way to stall your plans and it can prevent you from achieving your small business dreams. I would advise you to be brave and always aim forward. I have encountered a lot of obstacles and rejections on the way towards fulfilling my dream and I also learned never to give up, even in the hardest of situations.

You will find more here.

Act on your dream and don’t let good ideas slip through your fingers due to inaction.

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Succession Planning – Take the last step first

When thinking about a succession plan, take the last step first.

In Melbourne, you have basically two choices: burial or cremation.

Then you need to pick your spot:

  • Half way up the hill with a view.
  • Next to the lake.
  • A quiet spot near the creek.
  • Surrounded by dragons.
  • Within view of the carousel.

Search for SMCT for lots of ideas.

You need to have a plan.  It’s the last thing you can do for your family.


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Should pubs be allowed to trade on the footpath?

My last post concerned the views of Danish architect Jan Gehl on creating street level, active urban spaces for people.

On the same theme, a recent article in the Melbourne Age highlights the conflict between the Grace Darling Hotel in Smith Street, Collingwood and the City of Yarra council.

Permanent tables and chairs, which had existed since 1993, were removed last year and replaced with park benches, bicycle hoops and mature trees to provide more public meeting spaces.

Mayor Allison Clarke said that the Council had no intention of phasing out outdoor trading on side streets, but that it was important to have some places where you can just sit and not have to pay.


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Jan Gehl speaks in Melbourne about the future of Urban Property Design

Jan Gehl spoke recently in Melbourne about urban design and the increasing connections between physical form and human behaviour.

Jan is the retired Professor of Urban Design, The School of Architecture, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, and frequent visitor to Melbourne.

The traditional city is a mix of streets and squares: meeting places; market places; and connections spaces.  People traveled on foot.

Before the 1960s, cities expanded by adding small units on a human scale.

There was a change in the paradigm in the 1960s. Cheap petrol led to the car invasion.  Traffic planners focused on making room for more traffic.

Jan compared “5 km/h architecture” (small spaces; signals; details; people; distant views) with “60 km/h architecture’.

In the 1960s, there was a move to dropping modern towers from the sky and putting grass around them at the base.  Architects took a bird’s eye view: rapid growth; large units.  Nobody was looking after the people at the 5 km/h scale.

Jan discussed Jane Jacobs success to stop a cross Manhattan freeway and her book “The Death& Life of Great Cities” 1961.

He compared this with the Brasilia syndrome of 1955: city planning from 5,000 metres.  The city looks like an eagle from above, but shit at street level; at people scale.  The waterfront in Melbourne and downtown Dubai are similar examples. Jan showed a slide of architects looking down from above over a scale model of a new building of towers and tubes.

Architects are more and more focused on form.  The units are getting bigger and bigger, but people are still slow and small.  Jan referred to this as scale confusion.

The interaction between form and life; that’s what makes good architecture.

The most important scale is people scale – eye level – lively city; attractive city; sustainable city; healthy city – means less stress; less noise; less pollution – more walking; more bicycles; good public transport at any time of the day or night – more inviting to sit and linger longer.  While more roads, means more traffic,.

Copenhagen has a citywide network of bicycle lanes protected by kerbs and protected by moving out the line of parked cars.  Taxis must be fitted out to take at least 2 bikes.  Likewise trains are designed to take bikes.  The bicycle culture was developed step by step.  More cafe seats.  Designing streets and cross streets to make walking across the city easier.  Most streets have 2 side walks; 2 proper bike lanes; median strips and 2 lanes for 2 way traffic.  Designed to be safer to walk to school.  Building cities for the 21st century.

Jan’s latest book is “Cities for People”.

The talk was as part of a series by Melbourne Connections sponsored by the City of Melbourne.  The talk will shortly be available on podcast with ABC’s Big Ideas.

The next Melbourne Connections talk will be on 25 May at 6 pm at the Melbourne Town Hall: Contemporary Art: 50 years of the National Gallery of Victoria.

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Who owns your emails? Are they property?

Oswal v Carson involves an application for an interlocutory injunction by the wife of the former managing director of a company in receivership to restrain the receivers having access to her emails hosted on the company’s server.  Mrs Oswal alleged that the emails were her property and did not relate the business of the company.

The plaintiff submitted that there is a serious question to be tried on the question of whether the plaintiff’s emails sent and received were documents which were owned by her. Merely because the data was stored on the company’s servers or on other computer equipment did not mean that the company owned the data. It was submitted that the emails are not Charged Property and therefore cannot be managed, controlled, possessed or accessed by the receivers…

First, senior counsel for the defendant did not concede that the “zeros and ones” (using his words) on the database comprising the emails constitute property or property of the plaintiff. In particular, senior counsel directed my attention to the plaintiff’s statement of claim, specifically paragraphs 4(a) to 4(c) inclusive in which the plaintiff seeks to make out a claim to protect allegedly confidential information without specifying the content of the confidential information. It was submitted on behalf of the defendants that it is not open to make a global claim of confidentiality.

It was submitted by counsel for the receivers that Mrs Oswal had shifted ground to focus on the issue of ownership of documents rather than whether they were confidential or privileged.

The Court considered the company’s IT policy which provided that all emails should be considered company information.  Counsel for Mrs Oswal submitted that she was not an employee or contract of the company and has no knowledge of the IT policy.

On the question of prejudice, senior counsel for the defendants submitted that any hurt or loss from disclosure of private material could be compensated for by an award of damages for any loss or damage which might result to the plaintiff personally or to the plaintiff’s restaurant business. Whilst courts are equipped to make assessments of loss and damage of this kind, this would not be a complete remedy in this case. If the receivers were to have access to the emails, the plaintiff would, for practical purposes, be denied the right to assert that they are not properly part of the Charged Property and should not be accessed at all. In my view, this would constitute significant prejudice and would cause injustice to the plaintiff.

The Court granted the interim injunction, stating that –

In my view, in this finely poised matter, the course which appears to carry the lower risk of injustice is to grant an interlocutory injunction to maintain the status quo for a very limited period to enable the plaintiff to have an expedited trial on the preliminary question of ownership of the emails. The injunction will last only until the trial of that preliminary question or further order.


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