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There is lot at stake for an employer who incorrectly identifies a relationship as one between contractors when in fact the relationship is properly defined as one between employer and employee.  An improper assessment of the relationship can lead to the financial ruin of a business.  The improper assessment may result in a requirement for the unexpected payment of many years of award payments, sick leave, holiday leave, long service entitlements and superannuation.  It is essential to get this right.

It is necessary to note at the outset that you cannot agree that a person is a contractor if in fact that person is an employee.  An agreement between the parties of this kind is of no effect.  The payments due to employees are required by statute and cannot be waived by anyone, not even the employee.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is probably a duck.  It should be no surprise that the courts don't place any weight upon the "title" given to a worker.   To assess whether a worker is an employee or a contractor the whole of the relationship must be examined.

Since the High Court decision in Hollis V Vabu (2001) 207 CLR 21 the common law distinguishes employees and contractors by considering various indicators under seven headings:

A Caveat is a notice that a person can give to the registrar of  titles.  It will generally stop anyone else registering any interest on a title to land.

So why would someone want to stop another person from registering an interest on a title.  Let me tell you about a case that I was involved with, it illustrates better than any explanation why caveats are so important. About 10 years ago I acted for a farmer.  He lived on his Macadamia nut farm with his wife. He had been given the farm by his father. His daughter had found herself in some trouble and decided that she needed money.   In order to get that money she went to a private lender.  As you know lenders don't lend money unless they receive  a mortgage in return.  The mortgage is their assurance that they will be paid.  A mortgage is a right given to a lender to sell a property to pay a loan.   The daughter had no house to mortgage. What could she do?

Do you lease premises for your business? Many business owners do not realize that when they sell their business and assign their lease, they may remain liable to the landlord for many years after the assignment.  If the buyer (the new business owner) can't pay the rent then the landlord may come looking for the previous tenant to cover the loss.  Is that you?

Many leases actually provide that an assignment of the lease does not release the previous tenant from liability to the landlord. Don't despair!  Read to the end of this article where we make reference to some legislation that may assist if you are a retail shop tenant.

We will ensure that legal fees are not one of the obstacles in the way of your franchise project.  Think of us as partners in the creation of your franchise system. Call and find out how you can franchise your business but delay much of the legal costs of the project.  Do you need a big law firm or a great lawyer with plenty of experience in franchising?  We have been helping business people franchise their businesses since the turn of the millennium.  Hear what some of our clients have to say.  If  you are looking for sophisticated yet down to earth lawyers who are approachable and easy to understand, we would value the chance to help you make your franchise a success.

One of the problems with our modern legal and business system is that it is exploited by those who know how to exploit it.  Yet, for others who genuinely need the protection, that these systems were designed to provide, the red tap and excessive cost, makes help impossible to obtain.

We see this commonly in disputes relating to unpaid debts and money owed due to breach of contract.  A person who owes money, may well know that it is often not worthwhile for a creditor to pursue payment.  This is because the legal cost of chasing payment is too great.  A debtor who believes that a creditor will not chase payment is unfortunately less likely to pay.

I have included some links at the end of this article that may assist anyone who is owed money.

Fortunately since December 2009 QCAT (Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal) has