Animal issues in the law

Keeping on the right side of the law when playing Pokemon Go

The Pokemon Go craze is sweeping the globe and many people are getting very excited as they go out hunting Pokemon. Here are some tips to make sure you stay on the right side of the law while ‘catching them all’. 

Do not hunt Pokemon and drive

In all states of Australia, it’s illegal to use your mobile phone while driving. So while it can be handy to use your car to get to faraway gyms and hunting rarer Pokemons it’s important to keep your hands of the phone while driving if you want to avoid copping a heavy fine and losing demerit points. PAssengers can hunt Pokemons with no issues but keep in mind that your eggs won’t count the distance that you spend driving towards the incubation distance as you’ll be travelling too fast. 

Do not trespass

Even if you can see a Pikachu winking at you from inside a fenced area it’s important to check for signs that indicate that this is private property before you enter a location. You can be found guilty of trespassing if you are entering a property you are not allowed to enter. For some properties such as high security government buildings this can pose a significant penalty and in extreme cases can leave you liable for jail sentences. Unfortunately Pokemon hunting is not a defence under the law! 

Pay attention to restrictions on phone use

Courts have recently had to remind people that recording devices are not allowed in court in Australia. Even if you have been Pokemon hunting rather than using the camera or recording functions, your smartphone or tablet still counts as a recording device. Similar restrictions are in place in customs lines in the airport and other high security location. 

Watch where you are going

Even if you are not driving, if you are walking around and staring at your phone it can be possible to cause accidents to other people (either in motor vehicles or just on the path). If you act in a way that causes an accident you may be liable for that accident. It’s a good rule of thumb to keep an eye on your surroundings anyway. 

Pokemon Go is a great way to get out and explore your neighbourhood. If you do find yourself on the wrong side of the law when Pokemon hunting be sure to get legal advice from a law firm as early as possible. 

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Animal Law: Understanding Exotic Animal Import Trade

There are different laws and regulations that control the export, import and keeping of exotic animals. Therefore, if you are interested in the industry, it is important to understand the pertinent legislation. This will help you avoid the legal and financial repercussions related to dealing with these animals illicitly. Basically, an animal is considered exotic if it does not live naturally in country’s wild. The laws restricting non-native animal trade are important because they protect the natural country against invasion by alien species. In addition, they prevent extinction of endangered species and protect citizens against dangerous animals. Here are the main legal details that you should understand before engaging in exotic animal trade.

Exotic Animal Law

The laws governing the import of live animals into the country can vary depending on the state. However, the general laws are controlled by the Quarantine Act 1908 and the Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. These laws are critical if you are planning on obtaining a live non-native animal as a pet or even for commercial operations. The illegal import industry is notorious and cruel, so you will be charged with an offence if participate in the trade or keep an animal obtained in such a way. For instance, if you import an animal that is not declared at the port, you can serve a maximum imprisonment of ten years. It is prudent to consult an animal lawyer for guidance before attempting the exotic animal import trade to avoid these penalties.

Permits

You can import an exotic animal legally as a pet or for commercial operations if you have the right permits. The documentation should be obtained before the consignment or the government will seize your item. You should also note that there are no retrospective permits provided legally. Generally, you can get a single use or multiple consignment permits depending on the potential usage. It is also prudent to check the fees charged for the wildlife trade permits early. The amount will vary according to the consignment specifics. For instance, a household pet single use permit will attract a fee of $319.

Legal and Illegal Animals

There are animals that are likely to be allowed for legal import and others that are completely prohibited. It is important to check the official list of suitable animals for import before starting your plans. Generally, domesticated animals, fish and birds are likely to be legal for purchase and import. On the other hand, primates, reptiles, amphibians, molluscs, arachnids and rodents are unlikely to be accepted under most permits.

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Planning To Lease? Here’s What Your Property Lawyer Can Do For You

Are you planning to lease a property? Whether it’s a developed lot or just plain land, incorporating a property lawyer into your lease process is highly advised. Property lawyers are not just needed in property sales and purchases only. Most of the issues covered in such transactions are present in leases too. As such, a property lawyer can add value to your lease process in a number of ways as highlighted below:

Financing & tax advice

First off, your property lawyer can advise on how to get the requisite financing you need for the lease. They can help you secure a property loan from a banking institution or a venture firm. They will also advise you on taxation matters pertaining to the lease. This includes any stamp duty included in the sale as well as any other property taxes that may apply.

Pricing negotiation

Considering that you may not be very well versed in property matters, your lawyer can also help with pricing negotiations. They can will also advise you on the prevailing rates and authorize valuation reports for the property. This will ensure that you do not end up paying more than you should for the lease. Your property lawyer can also negotiate the payment modalities, be it one-off payments, monthly deposits or annual payments.

Conveyancing

Most importantly, your property lawyer will handle the conveyancing aspects of the leasing process. This involves checking the validity of the owners(s) by inspecting the title deed and conducting a search at the registry office. This will allow them to also check if the property has any encumbrances associated with it. They will also draft the lease agreements stipulating the lease duration, the property management schedules as well as any other conditions of the lease.

Tenancy advice and legal support

Once the lease agreements have been signed and the property is in your hands, your property lawyer will still be in a position to offer you advice on a number of issues. These include land use, lease renewal, tenancy obligations, tenancy rights, property maintenance, property disputes, pollution, waste management and environmental issues, among other concerns.

Dealing with a property lawyer when making such an investment will ensure that you follow all the right protocols. This will ensure that you do not lose any money in the deal. More so, a property lawyer will ensure that the lease agreements doe not undermine your tenancy rights in any way.

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Making It Legal: When to apply for a divorce

When your marriage comes to an end in divorce, it can be a difficult and emotional time. However, you are still required to go through the legal processes of the divorce until it is finalized. This requires some guidance, which is why you should retain a lawyer as soon as you can once you decide to end your marriage.

The first step to getting a divorce is making a divorce application. However, before you can make a legally valid divorce application, there are certain conditions that you must satisfy:

Your marriage must have broken down completely

You must conclusively show that there is no chance of reconciliation. This qualification is usually ascertained by how long you have been separated, whether cumulatively or continuously.

If you are separated but still living the same house, you must satisfactorily show that your relationship has reduced to merely sharing accommodation and no longer has the dynamics of a marriage.

The court usually takes an applicant swearing to the separation as sufficient proof.

You must have been separated for at least a year

This twelve-month period could be a continuous one, or a cumulative total of the times you have been apart. If it is the latter, then the reconciliations in between the separations should not have exceeded three months, otherwise the separation time would not be valid.

You must have been an Australian resident for at least a year

This applies to a marriage where one partner is not an Australian citizen. If the non-Australian citizen is the one filing for divorce, he/she must show proof of having lived in the country for at least a year before being eligible to file for divorce.

You must have proper arrangements made for the welfare of the children and/or yourself

It is advisable that these arrangements be made during the separation period or as soon as you decide to end the marriage. You should retain an experienced family lawyer to get you through the separation process and advise you on what to expect with regard to the financial welfare of your children.

In case you haven’t yet made formal arrangements, if you can show that during the divorce process the children are still cared and provided for, the court may consider your divorce application while you make those formal arrangements.

If you don’t have any children, you still need to legally settle the financial arrangements with your spouse. It is important to handle this before the divorce is final to protect your assets and ensure that you get what is rightfully yours.

Having satisfied these conditions, you are set to make your divorce application. It is important to retain a lawyer from a company like Walker Pender Group to help you navigate through the legality of the divorce process.

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Duties of Criminal Lawyers

Australian criminal defence lawyers have a variety of legal duties. Generally, they are required to keep communications between them and their clients confidential. Such lawyers must also avoid conflict of interest, which basically means they cannot represent several parties in the same criminal matter. Understanding the duties of criminal lawyers can help you know what to expect from them. 

Privileged communications

Generally, criminal lawyers must maintain privacy, or privilege, regarding attorney-client communications. Although privilege allows clients to speak to their attorneys safely without fears of reprisals, there are some cases where there are exceptions. Normally, attorneys may break privilege to prevent bodily injuries or deaths or pursuant to court orders. Clients also have the right to waive privilege. Lastly, the death of a client means attorney-client communications have lost privileged status. 

Zealous presentation

A criminal defence lawyer has a duty to represent their client zealously by taking all steps (within reason) to prepare a viable defence. The attorney must subpoena documents, review police reports, interview witnesses, gather facts and research statutes and precedents. Lawyers may also ask a court to consider novel or new interpretations of current law in a bid to maintain their client’s interests. Attorneys need to be ready to prepare compelling arguments for judges and examine witnesses at trial. 

Interests or conflicts

It is the duty of criminal lawyers to avoid any conflicts of interest when they represent their clients. For instance, if a number of accountants are facing criminal fraud charges, their defence attorneys may decide to shift blame to one another. Lawyers are not allowed to incriminate one client so as to help another. They must also make sure that previous clients are not the cause of conflicts in current cases. For example, a lawyer may fail to adequately attack a witness if the two had a previous attorney-client relationship. 

Honesty to courts

Like all lawyers, a criminal defence attorney is a court officer and owes a duty of candour to judges and juries. A lawyer may therefore not knowingly make in court representations that are false. An attorney is required to be as honest as possible when they are communicating with courts. Lawyers are not allowed to support clients with the intent of committing perjury. In case they deal with clients who plan to commit perjury, they must take steps that will reasonably remedy the intention of their clients. This may include braking attorney-client privilege lawfully to report perjury.

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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE CONVEYANCING PROCESS

Conveyancing involves transferring home ownership or a legal title to land from a seller to a buyer, or between two entities. The first step in conveyancing begins when your offer is accepted and ends when you have the keys to the house firmly in your hands.

Who handles the conveyancing?

It is important to hire a competent conveyancer in any transaction. A conveyancer provides adequate advice about the sale of the property. The conveyancer also prepares the documents needed and handles the settlement process. Ensure that your conveyancer is licensed and qualified before engaging in any transaction. Conveyancers are not necessarily lawyers, but solicitors also carry out conveyancing.

Stages in conveyancing

There are three stages in any typical conveyancing transaction. The first one is before contract, followed by before completion, and the final stage is after completion.

Before Contract

On informing the conveyancer that you intend to use their service, you should receive documents to confirm the terms of business. Upon signing, return the documents as soon as possible to ensure that the work begins. In most occasions, you have to deposit some funds to cater for costs such as searches.

The conveyancer then writes to the seller’s solicitor and requests a draft of the contract. The draft contract typically covers details such as the title of the property, a copy of the lease if in leasehold, and other standard details regarding the seller’s property.

Before completion

You should go through the details filled by the seller and raise any queries if any. If there are queries, your conveyancer will raise them with the seller’s solicitor.  A point to note is that if the property is leasehold, you might want to confirm that your conveyancer has sent a standard managing agents questionnaire to the seller’s conveyancer.

This questionnaire is sent to the landlord residents association. A typical questionnaire asks for details such as the name, address, and phone number of the landlord. It also contains details about the registration fee, current ground rent, service charge, and other pertinent details to the property.

If you are on mortgage, your conveyancer should receive a copy of the same to understand the conditions and thereafter carry out the legal work on behalf of the mortgage lender. When everything is satisfactory, you can sign the contract and transfer a deposit to your conveyancer’s bank to cater for the exchange. At this juncture, both you and the seller are legally bound. Backing out at this point entitles the other injured party to claim compensation for any losses arising.

After completion

When the seller receives all the money owed, he or she drops the keys to the estate agent and you are free to collect them. Your conveyancer should arrange for titles to be transferred to your name. If you are on mortgage, the deed is sent to the lender for safe keeping until you clear the loan. 

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Can A Lawyer Help You With Foreclosure?

A lawyer can certainly help you negotiate and potentially avoid a foreclosure altogether. Depending on your situation, there is a strong chance you may also be able to keep your home. While this isn’t always true, it is certainly true that you should hire an attorney from a firm like Adams & Co Lawyers Pty Ltd to represent you should you go to war with your mortgage company. Here’s why:

Save my home!

Hiring an attorney to facilitate negotiations with your mortgage company can save you a lot of stress and also buy you time that you may not have ordinarily had. Homes that are typically under foreclosure are rushed to close, causing stress for the home owners and often leaving them feeling helpless to save their home. An attorney will slow down this process, taking over all communication and negotiations with the mortgage company. They will be able to give you additional time to sort your finances and also negotiate repayment plans so that you may keep your house.

As a home owner, you should know that should you ever miss a payment, the mortgage company has the right to begin the foreclosure process as soon as 30 days after your missed payment. While this is often very rare, it is still always best that you speak to an attorney as quickly as possible to avoid finding yourself in a more compromising position with your mortgage company. Also, waiting too long into the process of the foreclosure can pigeon hole your lawyer, giving them no way to help you.

What if saving your home is impossible?

In some cases, it may be impossible for an attorney to help you save your home. This can be due to multiple factors: you waited too long to seek their services; there is a relatively high balance left on your mortgage; the mortgage company is not willing to negotiate repayment; the list could truly go on. Fortunately, for you, there will still be an experienced legal professional on your side who will tirelessly work on your behalf to find the best possible solution for your situation.

Your lawyer may explore various different options to try to ultimately avoid foreclosure on your home. One of those options may be selling your home to an outside buyer. This will keep your credit from being impacted and relieves you of debt associated with the home. This isn’t always an option in every case because your home may not sell as quickly as you would like and thus isn’t a viable option. However, if your mortgage company agrees, you can explore a short sale of your home, which allows you to cover most of the owed amount and you’ll only be responsible for paying the rest. If you were to pursue a short sale, you should know that your credit would be impacted by the transaction.

Your final option is to sign the deed over to the mortgage company. This typically relieves you of all owed debt but it could significantly impact your credit, just as a foreclosure would.

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