Quest LegalArticle: Planning for a Post Lock-Down Future

May 6, 2020

Commercial and retail tenancies have been a hot topic for the past two months. When the Federal Government issued lockdown procedures in March 2020, many businesses were forced to close their store fronts or have seen a drastic downturn in foot traffic. Since this date both landlords and tenants have been eagerly awaiting legislative changes to provide clarity on how to manage their leases.

If you haven’t already, now is a great time to look at your business structure and iron out those administrative “kinks” that have sat on your to-do list for too long.

To get you started, we suggest looking at the following:

Business Structure:

  • What does your business structure look like? Many businesses start off as partnerships or sole traders, and the structure is often neglected as the business grows. If you are trading as a sole trader or in partnership, is this the best structure for your business, or should you consider a company?

  • For companies, do you have a Shareholder Agreement in place for your business partners? Shareholders Agreements manage the relationship between business owners. For businesses run by friends or family members, these agreements are important as they help avoid and manage issues that could potentially impact your relationships.

  • Do you have a process in place if a shareholder wants to leave the business?

  • We have dealt with a number of cases where business partners have fallen out and without a shareholder’s agreement in place it is more difficult and expensive to close out the terms for them to go their separate ways.

Intellectual Property and Your Website

  • If your business has a website or app, do you have terms of use and if so, are they being correctly implemented?

  • What private information might you be collecting from your customers, and are you handling this information in accordance with the law?

  • Is your brand, logo or name protected as a trade mark? Many businesses trade using their unique logo for a number of years, only to find that someone has ripped off their brand. Without proper registration, enforcing your rights can be difficult.

  • We have assisted many clients in protecting their brand and stopping competitors using similar names and brands.  In one case the competitor used such a similar name that it led to patients mistakenly attending each other’s clinics.  Following our intervention, the competitor quickly changed their name and signage.

Employees and Relationships

  • Do you hire contractors and or sub-contractors? If so, have you checked whether the nature of the relationship or type of work you are giving them actually classifies them at law as an employee? If they are employees, you may not be paying them what they are entitled to.

  • When did you last review and update your Employment Agreements and are you paying your employees correctly?

  • Have you changed any of your employee’s usual hours of work and has this had larger implications i.e. changes to leave loading and or penalty rates?  One of our clients recently changed their hours of work as a result of COVID-19 only to find that the new hours had an impact on entitlements.

  • Do you have contracts in place with your suppliers? Many businesses develop a standard set of terms and conditions in the early phase, but don’t review these terms as the business grows to ensure that they are still right for them.

Now is the perfect time for you to consider these issues and ensure your business is ready when the lock-down ends.

Please contact Quest Legal at if we can help you with your post lock-down review.