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Welcome to the Sharp Tudhope Lawyers' blog. Here you will find  topical information and advice relating to a wide range of areas of law, written by our legal experts.

IS YOUR INHERITANCE PROTECTED?

Many people say “we don’t need a Contracting Out Agreement because we don’t own anything!” Assets like Kiwisaver or life insurance are often overlooked; and many people during the course of their lives receive an inheritance, which is worth protecting. Under the law, if you receive an inheritance while married or in a de facto relationship, it is your property and you are not legally bound to share it with your spouse or partner. Of course, in many cases, people choose to do so regardless. In other cases, your inheritance can become relationship property without you even realising it.
Written by Brooke Courtney, Karen Gravatt at 13:00

FIRST HOME BUYERS - KIWISAVER CHANGES YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT

Most first home buyers will be aware that you can withdraw Kiwisaver funds to apply towards your first home purchase. You should also be aware that changes on 1 April 2015 mean that you can get even more!
Written by Brooke Courtney at 15:00

EMPLOYER ALERT MINIMUM WAGE SET TO INCREASE

The minimum wage is set to increase on 1 April 2015. Employers should take the time now to ensure that they will have the correct rate information going forward.
Written by Shima Grice at 00:00

THE FINANCIAL MARKETS CONDUCT ACT - ARE YOU READY FOR THE TRANSITION?

The full force of the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 (“FMC Act”) came into effect on 1 December 2014. If you are an issuer of securities you will need to ready yourself for the transition to the FMC Act.
Written by James Moran at 11:00

6 CHANGES TO THE EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS ACT COMING ON 6TH MARCH

On 6 March 2015 the Employment Relations Act is changing. Here are the 6 key changes: 1. Refinements to employers’ disclosure obligations The duty of good faith in section 4 will be amended to extend the circumstances in which an employer may refuse to disclose information to an employee whose position is being restructured. Employers will be entitled to withhold confidential information about a person other than the affected employee, but only if it involves unwarranted disclosure of the affairs of that other person. This amendment addresses the conflicting obligations to disclose personal information under the Act and the duty not to disclose personal information under the Privacy Act.
Written by Shima Grice at 10:00

CONSUMER LAW UPDATE - UNFAIR CONSUMER CONTRACTS

On 17 March 2015, changes to the Fair Trading Act 1986 (the “FTA”) are due to come into effect. These changes will specifically regulate what can be described as "standard form consumer contracts" (which may in fact also include business-business contracts relating to consumer goods) to address concerns about consumer contracts, or specific terms in consumer contracts, being unfair.
Written by Mark O'Donnell at 12:00

BOOST TO PAID PARENTAL LEAVE

On 1 April 2015 the full entitlement to paid parental leave will increase to 16 weeks. This will increase again on 1 April 2016 to 18 weeks. This means the entitlement will align more closely with Australia and the OECD average.
Written by Shima Grice at 09:00

DIVIDING UP RELATIONSHIP PROPERTY

If your marriage, civil union, or de facto relationship has ended, then you should be aware that an agreement prepared by yourselves dividing your property, and subsequently signed and witnessed by friends, is not a valid agreement.
Written by Karen Gravatt at 09:45

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MORE CERTAINTY FOR CREDITORS FOLLOWING SURPREME COURT DECISION

The eagerly awaited Supreme Court judgment of the Fences & Kerbs appeal has been released. The Supreme Court has unanimously allowed the appeals against the prior Court of Appeal decision that had “left very little scope for the operation of the [s296 Companies Act] defence” against voidable transactions. The Supreme Court considered its interpretation of the meaning of “gave value” was consistent with Parliament’s intention of increasing certainty for creditors who trade with companies in good faith and without any reason to suspect that the company is in financial difficulty.
Written by Matthew King / Nicola Scott at 00:00

RELATED COMPANIES LIABILITY - COMPANIES BEWARE

If one company in a group of companies goes into liquidation then the parent company and other subsidiaries may be held liable for its debts. A recent High Court decision in Lewis Holdings Ltd v Steel & Tube Holdings Ltd , saw the Court use section 271 of the Companies Act 1993 to hold a parent company liable for the debts of its subsidiary.
Written by James Moran at 13:00

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