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Joshua Brown

Contractor or casual employee? Which are you?

By | Compensation Law

It is the scenario that no one ever thinks will happen: you are at work when something terrible happens and you are injured through no fault of your own. If this happens you may be significantly out of pocket, as not only do you have medical expenses to contend with, but you are also without income. With any luck you have Income Protection Insurance, but if you don’t there is still hope that you will receive compensation by way of weekly benefit through Queensland’s workers’ compensation scheme (WorkCover).

Provided that your employment was a significant contributing factor to an injury, you may be entitled to statutory compensation through WorkCover. If you are classified as an ‘employee’ and the principal contractor was at fault for your injury, you might even be able to claim for more (what we call common law damages). However, if you are classified as an ‘independent contractor’, you will not qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits. So which are you: A contractor, or a casual employee?

It is important to realise that even if you, or your employer, are of the belief that you are an independent contractor, there is a possibility that you may be considered an employee. This is because whether you are an employee or a contactor is not black and white. Instead, the question to be asked is who exercises the most control over the situation at work?

Cases like Stevens v Brodribb Sawmilling Co Ltd (1986) 160 CLR 16 and Hollis v Vabu Pty Ltd (2001) 75 AJLR 1356 have helped in developing a checklist of sorts to determine if you are an independent contractor, or a casual employee. The checklist includes:

  • How much control does the employer exercise over the work?
  • How is the worker remunerated?
  • Who provides & maintains tools and equipment?
  • Are there any obligations on the worker to provide the employer work?
  • Who determines the hours of work and holidays?
  • Is income tax deducted from the worker’s pay?
  • Is the worker able to delegate work to others?
  • How specialised is the work?
  • Is there any public representation that the worker is an employee?

You don’t have to check off the entire checklist to be considered an employee. For example, you might be contracted to work at a site, and you invoice the principal contractor for the work completed. Despite this method of remuneration, the principal contactor provides you with the tools and equipment required to do the work; they tell you what hours to work;  and all of your work is directed and overseen by the principal contractor. This might mean you are more like a casual employee than a contractor, and if you are injured, you might be entitled to claim workers’ compensation benefits.

Here are some examples to demonstrate.

Tradespeople

Tradespeople are perhaps the most legally contentious industry as many ‘contractors’ are often employees. To illustrate this, let us consider the scenarios of Bob and Kelly, two tradespeople who consider themselves to be independent contractors.

Bob is a painter who performs work for different people but always works for Jim whenever he is asked. In return for Bob’s loyalty, Jim provides all of Bob’s paints and paintbrushes as well as an apron with Jim’s logo on it. Despite the fact that Bob’s work is fairly standard, Jim refuses to let Bob’s apprentices do any of the work due as he believes that Bob is the best painter. Jim also takes any tax out of the hourly rate that he pays Bob to make tax time easier for Bob.

Kelly is a builder who likes knowing how much she will be paid in advance and always ensures that this figure is set before arriving at a job. Kelly also uses her own tools and equipment as she often performs difficult building work that not many people can do. Kelly will often get apprentices to do some work for her, especially when she wants to take a day off.

While both Bob and Kelly consider themselves contractors, the law will only recognise Bob as an employee. This is because the majority of Bob’s working situation is dictated to him by Jim, whereas Kelly is largely in control of her own work. Therefore, if they were both injured while working, only Bob would be able to make a claim for compensation with WorkCover as an ‘employee’ of Jim.

Cleaners

Most people would likely be of the opinion that if they engage a person to do cleaning, the person will be a contractor, whereas if they engage a company, the individual cleaners will be employees of the company. While this is true in most cases, it should be realised that if you engage an individual cleaner, it is possible that the law will consider them to be your employee. This is likely to be the case if you provide the equipment for the cleaner as well as paying them an hourly rate and setting their hours of work. This is similar to the example of Bob the painter. However, if the cleaner were to provide their own equipment and they were free to refuse to do cleaning work for you, it is likely that they would be considered an independent contractor.

Babysitters

Babysitting is an occupation that many people would consider not likely to result in an injury or subsequent compensation claim. However, it should be noted that babysitters could be considered employees. This means if they were injured while working, they could make a claim for compensation with WorkCover. The primary reason for this is that babysitters are usually told what times they are required to work and are under an obligation to do so. Furthermore, babysitters are rarely able to delegate work to other people due to the individual and personal nature of the job.

The question of whether you are an employee or a contractor is not as simple and as easy to discern as was once thought. Therefore, it is always wise to seek legal advice whenever you are injured at work, regardless of whether you consider yourself an employee or contractor. For further information, or if you have been injured while at work, contact our office on 13 58 28.

Do You have Trauma Insurance?

By | Compensation, Compensation Law

These days you can get insurance for just about anything – your house, car, home contents, health, travel and even for your pets. What if something traumatic ever happened to you? Did you know you can also get trauma insurance?

Trauma insurance can also be known as ‘critical illness’ insurance. Trauma or critical illness insurance is designed to pay you a lump sum of money if you are ever diagnosed with a significant illness or injury.  The illness or injury must be listed within the policy that is taken out. For that reason it is important to review the policy or obtain independent advice as to whether you are covered for the injury or illness that you think you should be covered against.

The most common trauma insurance claims are for cancer/tumour, heart attack (or cardiovascular disease), coronary bypass, and can also include:

  • Brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and head trauma;
  • Loss or paralysis of limb;
  • Osteoporosis;
  • Multiple Sclerosis;
  • Terminal conditions;
  • Organ transplant;
  • Lung disease;
  • Kidney failure;
  • Severe burns; and
  • Severe diabetes.

If you have an illness or injury that meets the eligibility requirements it is important to lodge the claim early.  You should also ensure you have medical evidence to support any claim.

If you do not have trauma insurance, or have inadequate cover, you should talk to a financial adviser or insurance broker to ensure you have a policy and level of cover that is suitable for you.

For further information or advice on trauma insurance, contact one of our injury lawyers on 13 58 28.

pill testing festivals

Pill Testing at Music Festivals: From a Lawyers Perspective

By | Compensation Law, Criminal Law

In the last few weeks, the news has been reporting on the drug-related deaths at music festivals, and whether the Government should allow pill testing at these types of events. This sparked an interesting debate between me and my father. On one side of the table (the older side) there was strong opposition to pill testing. On the other (more youthful and good looking side) there was a more colourful view on whether pill testing should be allowed – not that I condone the use of illicit drugs in any way, but each to their own.

After the lengthy, and at times heated, debate, I had a chance to ponder on the implications of allowing pill testing at music festivals.

For those who have missed the news, at music festivals people have the urge to take drugs such as ecstasy. I have not been to a music festival for a long time, so I am not sure if the point of the drugs is to make the music sound better, or to help with the social anxiety that youth seem to experience when they are not looking at their phone. It might even be the case that the drugs are cheaper than alcohol – have you been to a pub lately and seen the price of a beer!

Unfortunately, these drugs are purchased from less than trustworthy suppliers and can be laced with anything other than the drug. I heard in some cases ecstasy was being laced with laundry detergent!

Aside from resulting in sparkling clean insides, these drugs can cause serious injury or even death.

Testing of these drugs has been used in other countries, mainly supported at a Local rather than Federal level in Europe, as a harm-reduction intervention method. This has been used in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Germany and France. The Australian Government has adopted a zero-tolerance stance on drug testing – despite only undertaking one trial – but even if the Government wanted to allow pill testing, would it be possible?

I firstly considered the effectiveness of the drug testing. The results on pill testing effectiveness has been mixed. There is evidence that suggests that it has helped reduce the frequency of overdosing and has increased knowledge about possible contaminants in drugs (such as laundry detergent!) and improved healthcare services. Research from Austria’s pill testing shows 50% of those who had their drugs tested said the results affected their consumption choices. 65% said they wouldn’t consume the drug and would warn friends in cases of negative results. So if it helps reduce harm, why not allow pill testing?

What about criminal consequences? If the Government allowed pill testing, could you be arrested by the police by going into the pill testing area? Technically, yes you can. During the trial in the Australian Capital Territory, the Police stated they would not be ‘actively’ targeting people who were getting their pill tested. Their main prerogative was to target and investigate the sale and supply of illicit drugs. If I look at this in a Queensland context, the police have the power to search anyone if they reasonably suspect that they have a dangerous drug in their possession. I would suggest that if someone is walking into a pill testing tent, there is a good chance they have a drug in their possession.

If pill testing was allowed, does this mean that it is legal to have drugs, as long as you only have them in the pill testing area? Significant amendments would need to be made to the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act as well as the Criminal Code Act to permit the possession of drugs in those areas, and to strip the police of their power to search a suspect. I would think there is more chance of George R.R. Marin finally finishing the next Game of Thrones book, or Disney making a good Star Wars movie than those Acts ever being amended.

Let us say those Acts were amended, and a person could confidentially walk into a pill testing area knowing they would not be arrested….what if the pill is bad (or rather even worse than it should be)? The pill testing tents should include an ‘Amnesty Bin’ (copyright pending, but I will allow you to use my word). I would expect it would be a requirement of the police that the bins contain bleach so all the discarded drugs were immediately rendered inert. The bins would be placed in a discreet location with a pill testing official allocated to ‘observe’ and record the number of discarded pills. But what if a festival goer decided not to discard the drug, but instead on-sell it to some poor unsuspecting person with the knowledge that the drug will most likely cause injury or death – it’s not their problem, so who cares, right? Wrong. If this were to occur, it would result in a criminal offence. I’m no criminal lawyer, but probably manslaughter.

What about the liability of the pill testers? If they have an official observing what drugs are kept, or discarded if they see a festival goer fail to discard a bad drug, should they be reporting it to the police? Or because it happened in this criminal black hole, is there any obligation for the official to report a potential crime?

On the other hand, what is the liability of the pill testers themselves? In the pill testing trial, they made everyone sign a waiver before entering. The waiver discharged any person who was connected to the provisions of the pill testing services against any personal injury or death suffered by the festival goer or in any other way. It also made the person acknowledge that they were not recommending people to take the pills, as no illicit substance is ever safe.

But for those that didn’t study law, or even those that did but fell asleep during Contracts 101, waivers are effectively meaningless when there is a negligent party. Lets say the pill tester enjoyed the odd ecstasy tablet as well, or had a few too many beers, or even just forgot their glasses and misread the test result. Maybe the equipment is faulty, or the tester just makes a mistake. If the person testing the pills told the festival goer that their pill was ‘safe’ and that person went on to take that pill and have adverse effects because the pill was laced with laundry detergent, would the pill tester be liable? Arguably yes, even though a waiver was signed it doesn’t protect from negligent behaviour.

What if the festival goer was already under the influence? Can they even legally sign a waiver? Can they give consent to their own death? The answer to both of those is ‘no’.

Who would be responsible: the pill tester, the organisation running the pill testing, or even the Government for allowing the pill testing to be carried out?

Would there be any criminal consequences on the pill tester? If they test a pill and hand it back to the festival goer, does that make the pill tester a supplier? If the pill causes harm or death, is the pill tester responsible for that harm or death because they supplied the pill? These are very complicated questions that need to be grappled with.

And what about the defences under the Civil Liability Act if someone makes a personal injuries claim? Is taking a drug an obvious risk? Is it a dangerous activity? Is it criminal behaviour? I would have said yes, but if the Government permits pill testing, that might exclude those defences from being available.

The supporters of pill testing argue that pill testing reduces the likelihood of harm and can save lives. I would add to the argument that pill testing would be no different to needle and syringe programs introduced by the Government. If the Government provide programs for heroin addicts, why not provide a program for someone who takes ecstasy?

People who oppose pill testing say it is sending the wrong message to young people across the country and that it will encourage drug use and puts society on a slippery slope to decriminalisation or legalisation of illicit drugs. I would caveat that argument by the fact that laws are constantly evolving. What was once illegal, is now every day. It was not long ago that same-sex marriage was illegal. Even other drugs are being legalised in certain ways, like Cannabis for instance.

Stuck in the middle are the politicians, police and other authorities – concerned about reducing harm, but charged with making and enforcing the law.

In my humble opinion, although both sides of the argument are presenting sound, and valid arguments, pill testing will never be permitted in Australia due to the countless effects on other laws – but as once said by the great Obi-wan Kenobi, “only a Sith deals in absolutes” so I might amend that statement by saying it is ‘unlikely’ pill testing will be permitted.

If you are for or against, share your thoughts in the comments section on our Facebook page.

Thinking of Suing for Defamation? Or Have been Sued? This Guide is for You!

By | Compensation, General Information

The law of defamation is used to protect someone’s reputation. Defamation occurs where someone hurts the reputation of another by spreading false information about them.

To be considered defamatory action, three elements must be satisfied:

  1. Information was communicated by a person to a third party (publication);
  2. The material identifies a person (identification);
  3. The information/material contains matter that is defamatory (defamatory matter).

The material will be defamatory if it could:

  1. Injure a persons reputation by exposing them to hatred, contempt or ridicule; or
  2. Cause people to shun or avoid them.

Provided that there are no defences available then the person who makes defamatory comments are liable to pay damages to compensate them for the damage caused to their reputation.

Due to the rise of the internet it is important to understand how defamation can occur. Defamation in an online sense would include people commenting on your Facebook posts. We have been following decisions in Zurich and Canada on defamation issues occurring on social media. We had speculated that it was only a matter of time before Australia caught up with the rest of the world. This speculation proved to be correct with the decision in Johnston v Aldridge [2018] SADC 68 where the plaintiff claimed for defamation by the defendant who had posted on Facebook but also on the comments made by other users on the original post written by the defendant.

The Defendant argued that it would have been impractical for him to police and remove any defamatory comments (not surprising considering the comments ran for 190 pages) but the presiding Judge did not accept this position and found the Defendant liable for the defamatory comments.

The next question is how to compensate for defamation. The damages as seen in the Rebel Wilson case provides some insight in to how difficult attaining damages are.  Damages can be substantial if the defamation causes an actual loss of business, or even a loss of opportunity. In the absence of proven economic loss, substantial “general” damages may still be awarded as a relief for hurt and distress. Last year, Rebel Wilson was awarded more than $3.9 million in compensation — the largest defamation damages payout ever ordered by an Australian court — after a jury found she missed out on film roles because the articles claimed she had lied about her age, real name and childhood. However, the Court of Appeal dismissed Rebel’s economic loss award in its entirety – from a massive $3.9 million to nothing.  This discount highlights the weakness of the loss of opportunity cases for claimants.  Rebel Wilson did receive damages for non-economic loss which was for humiliation and hurt feelings caused by the defendant reduced from $650,000 to $600,000.

It is significant to note the Court of Appeal’s decision to maintain the trial judge’s ruling that the statutory cap on damages awards for non-economic loss can exceed the cap where circumstances of aggravation are established.

There are time limits which apply to defamatory matters. Any action must be brought within one (1) year of publication of the matter complained.

My Health Record – Is it as Secure as Promised?

By | General Information

If you read our information guide on the My Health Record, My Health Record (“MHR”) is an online summary of your key health information, established by the My Health Records Act 2012 (“the Act”). In that summary your health information is intended to be viewed securely online, from anywhere at any time. It was also intended to enable Healthcare providers to gain access to your MHR when they need, to such as when you are in an accident or emergency.

If you didn’t opt out of MHR, the MHR gathered all your health information from you, your healthcare providers and Medicare. This information can include medical conditions, medication, allergies, test or scan results and treatments all accessible within the one place.

In our guide we speculated that this open access of information could create new risks from the online transmission and storage of personal information in the MHR system.  By having this system easily accessible by storing it online, leaves your information vulnerable to snoopers, criminals and hackers. This risk could also extend to your children’s information as well.

Recently, it was reported that a number of participants had another person’s medical details incorrectly entered into their own records. In other instances, some records had been viewed by fraudsters, and in another a child had the incorrect parent assigned to their records.

There have also been a number of breaches reported to the Office of the Australian Information Commission.

If errors like this can happen, is it really a reliable source of information for doctors when you have been in an accident or emergency?

There have been fears raised about perpetrators of family violence being able to become an authorised representative of a child’s MHR. Amendments were passed to the Act on 26 November 2018 providing that a person cannot become an authorised representative of a child’s MRH if the life, health or safety of the child or another person would be put at risk. Unfortunately, this can only be identified by Court order, which means that if a person has not applied to the Court for domestic violence protection orders, there remains a risk to their, or their child’s safety.

Online access to a child’s MHR would provide information about the location of a child and family and/or their treatment providers and the nature and date of treatment. Family lawyers in particular should be aware of this when advising clients. There may be risk of family violence their clients and/or their children if the other parent were to gain access to the health record information or location revealed through the MHR system.

The opt out period has now been extended to 31 January 2019, after which all children and adults will have an electronic health care record created for them. Everyone should consider their own personal circumstances and decide whether the MHR is appropriate for them.

This Call May be Used for Quality and Training Purposes….and Evidence if We Sue You!

By | Compensation Law, General Information

We have all heard the pre-recorded statement that the telephone call will be used for quality and training purposes. But what if that warning is not played, and what can they, or someone else, do with the recording?

And what about that recording button on your mobile phone. Can you record a conversation with someone and use it against them?

This short article generally explores the privacy rights around recorded phone calls, and the uses of the recording as evidence in Court proceedings.

It all begins in the Invasion of Privacy Act 1971 as to whether recording of a conversation is legal.

There is no offence if the recording is of a telephone conversation to which you are a party, or your recording unintentionally picks up another conversation that you are not a part of – some of you might have seen the episode of Suits where Samantha uses Alex’s daughter to ‘accidentally’ record a conversation to then be used in a deposition. Although it might have worked in Suits, this does not work in real life. This would in fact be a breach of the Invasion of Privacy Act 1971.

So, recording a conversation to which you are a part of is not illegal.

The next question is whether you can use that recording as evidence for whatever reason? Maybe you want to record your ex in a family law dispute? Maybe you want to record a witness in an injury claim?

The Invasion of Privacy Act 1971 provides that it is an offence to communicate or publish that recording, or a report of the recording, of the private conversation. The penalty is imprisonment of up to 2 years or a fine of up to $5,222.00.

However, you can use the recording if the other party to the conversation gives their consent, whether it is expressly given (ie they say they agree to you communicating or publishing the phone call) or it is implied (when the pre-recorded statement says the telephone call will be used for quality and training purposes and you continue with the phone call anyway).

The use in legal proceedings is limited, and makes the recording inadmissible as evidence in civil or criminal proceedings unless consent is given to use the recording.

So what can you do with the recording if you can’t use it as evidence? Perhaps you can produce a diary note of the conversation from the recording. Perhaps you can produce an affidavit as to what was discussed in the conversation from the recording. In either case, the document might put you in breach of the Invasion of Privacy Act 1971 by producing a report of the recording.

It appears at this stage the extent of which you can use a telephone call recording without consent is yet to be truly tested in the Court.

In the example of an injury claim where you are recording a witness, do you need to disclose the recording or written record of the recording? Setting aside the issue of whether it is legal to communicate or publish the phone call, we turn to the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999. If you have the witnesses consent, you can obviously disclose the recording, or written record. If you don’t want to disclose it, rule 213 of those Rules allows you to claim privilege to the document.

There are three types of privilege that you can claim: advice privilege, litigation privilege and third party privilege.

Advice privilege applies where the communication in question was made for the purpose of giving or seeking legal advice. Advice privilege can also protect confidential communications between a client and third parties made for the dominant purpose of enabling the client to obtain legal advice – such as a Barrister.

Litigation privilege relates to documents brought into existence for the purpose of use in legal proceedings, or for obtaining or collecting evidence to be used in the legal proceedings. This includes statements of potential witnesses, and surveillance film taken for potential use in litigation.

It is important to note that if you were to claim privilege to a statement, that privilege is waived by conduct which is inconsistent with the maintenance of the privilege – such as discussing the contents of the privilege statement with a third party.

If you need any advice regarding recorded conversations, contact one of our lawyers on 13 58 28.

ALERT: Suncorp Superannuation Customers

By | Superannuation

If you are a Suncorp Superannuation customer, read this article. There has been a significant privacy breach that might include you.

In December 2017, the Federal Government established a Royal Commission into the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, which has been holding hearings and receiving evidence throughout the year. As part of this work, the Royal Commission requested information and records from a number of financial services organisations, including Suncorp.

Suncorp apparently sought a formal order or agreement from the Royal Commission that the information provided was not to be published and would remain confidential. The order was granted by the Commission, but for whatever reason information was posted by the Commission on it’s public website on 7 September 2018.

On 8 November 2018 Suncorp discovered the publication and immediately asked the Royal Commission to remove the information, and it was removed.

The publication was an electronic spreadsheet containing Suncorp customer information. The spreadsheet contained the following customer information:

  1. Address;
  2. Phone number;
  3. Email address;
  4. Employment details;
  5. Salary;
  6. Gender;
  7. Date of Birth;
  8. Insurance Status;
  9. Beneficiary nominations;
  10. Superannuation balance.

Suncorp have offered 12 months free access to Equifax’s credit monitoring and identity theft protection services, and have recommended that customers:

  • Consider changing the password to their Suncorp superannuation account;
  • Monitor their Suncorp account, and other accounts and immediately report unusual activity;
  • Contact other financial services to inform them that their personal data may have been compromised.

But is this really enough? If a savvy criminal had accessed that information while it was published – for two months – any number of criminal acts could be committed at any time in the future using the Suncorp customers personal information.

This incident involves a mandatory data breach incident under the Notifiable Data Breach scheme, which commenced on 22 February 2018.  It also involves a likely breach of privacy under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). There may be the possibility to make a claim for this breach.

This is not the first time Suncorp have found themselves involved in a data breach. In early 2017 Suncorp wrote to members of the relatively new ‘Brighter Super’ product informing them that Suncorp recently discovered a system error within the Suncorp Brighter Super Website “that made it possible for other members to temporarily view your personal information”.

The personal information included your name, address, date of birth, member number, tax file number and employer information,” the letter said.

We live in a world where information is stored electronically, and if that information gets in the wrong hands people can be significantly affected. You might have read our article that raised our concerns about information privacy with the My Health Record.

If you have any concerns about your superannuation or information privacy please contact one of our lawyers on 13 58 28.

Hunold v Facebook

By | Compensation, Compensation Law

You might have read our previous articles about the effect of social media on personal injuries claims. Our firm recently had the opportunity to see first hand how social media profiles can effectively destroy an otherwise solid personal injury claim.

Our firm acted on behalf of Mr Kris Hunold in a personal injuries claim against the Queensland Police Service. Judgment was delivered on 23 March 2018 (see Hunold v Twinn & The State of Queensland [2018] QDC 43).

Mr Hunold had been out in Surfers Paradise in 2009. At around 4:00 am two unidentified females approached Mr Hunold’s sister and cousin on the footpath and a physical argument began.  Mr Hunold stepped in to assist and protect his sister and cousin when police officer Twinn approached him from the rear, pinned him to the ground, struck and detained him.

Mr Hunold was arrested for public nuisance and alleged he was injured in the process – specifically a fracture of his vertebrae. Mr Hunold claimed the actions of Twinn amounted to an assault and battery.

The District Court found that the actions did amount to assault and battery, and Mr Hunold won his claim.

However, even though Mr Hunold won his claim, the award for damages was a miserly $27,500.00 being $11,000 for general damages, $1,500 for out-of-pocket expenses and $15,000 for past economic loss.

Mr Hunold appealed this decision to the Court of Appeal where he was given leave to appeal the decision, but the appeal was then dismissed (see Hunold v Twinn [2018] QCA 308). The Court of Appeal ultimately agreed with the findings of the District Court.

So how did Facebook effect the claim? In the Court of Appeal decision it was said from the findings of the District Court “her Honour made specific findings that the applicant was not as physically restricted as he had maintained in his evidence, having regard to photographic evidence obtained from his Facebook page. Again, there were nine instances of activity shown by the photographs not consistent with the applicant’s evidence as to the extent of his disabilities.”

During the original proceedings it was submitted on behalf of Mr Hunold that it is difficult to make any real assessment of how a person is truly feeling by looking at what they choose to present to the rest of the world on their Facebook page. In the real world, people do not post pictures of themselves feeling sore or sad, but rather just those moments where they are happiest and enjoying life which might not be all too often. The original Judge was not critical of Mr Hunold living his life, but did find the pictures and videos to be evidence of what Mr Hunold was capable of doing.

If you are in the process of making a personal injuries claim, if you use any social media platforms you may be required to disclose the entire content as they may relate to the circumstances of your claim, just as in Mr Hunold’s claim.

Had certain photos or videos not been on Mr Hunold’s Facebook page, the award for his damages could have been very different.

If you have started an injury claim you should talk to your lawyer about reviewing your Facebook, or other social media, pages.

We strongly recommend that you bear in mind that the Respondent to your claim, or any future claim, may investigate your social media profiles ,or even your friend’s profiles. Before posting comments, pictures or videos you should bear in mind whether these posts might ‘suggest’ that you are capable of more then you actually are.

Even if your profile is closed to the public, the Respondent may still be able to obtain an Order from the Court for you to disclose the entire content of your social media profile. In Mr Hunold’s case, he was ordered to ‘friend’ the opposing legal representative so that access was unrestricted.

For more information about personal injuries claims or the impact of social media contact one of our injury lawyers on 13 58 28.

Bullying and Harassment at the Ipswich Hospital

By | Compensation, Compensation Law

The Queensland Times newspaper recently published an article suggesting a recent spike in bullying and harassment at the Ipswich Hospital.

This article suggests that 33% of junior doctors at the Ipswich Hospital have experienced bullying, discrimination or harassment at work. This had apparently increased from 9% in 2017 [based on a survey conducted by the Resident Hospital Health Check].

The Logan Hospital came out worse at 37%, and the Darling Downs Health Services were slightly better at 32% for this year.

Across the State, these figures increase to 37.9% on average, but down from 47% the year prior.

The Hospitals adopt a zero tolerance approach to bullying, but this appears to not be enough to stamp out the culture according to this survey.

So if the State figures are reducing, but the Ipswich Hospital has had such a dramatic increase in bullying, discrimination or harassment at work, what is going on, and if you are one of those victims what can you do about it?

Every worker, no matter gender, age, race or occupation is entitled to be free from harassment in their workplace.

You might have options to protect you through the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 if you are discriminated or harassed because of:-

  1. Gender;
  2. Age;
  3. Race;
  4. Impairment or disability;
  5. Religious or political beliefs;
  6. Sexuality; or
  7. Pregnancy or marital status.

or the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 if you are subjected to:-

  1. Bullying;
  2. Intimidation; or
  3. Unreasonable management action, taken in an unreasonable way.

Bullying and harassment can be from a co-worker, a manager, or supervisor but is not acceptable in any situation.

Sometimes your employer can be responsible for the bullying or harassment by one of their employees. This is known as vicarious liability.

An employer would not normally be held vicariously liable if they can prove that they took reasonable steps to prevent the harassment. Queensland Health have adopted the zero tolerance policy, but the test is a bit more complicated than just adopting that policy. Something must be done to protect those that care for others.

In some instances bullying and harassment can be easily identifiable, such as, a physical assault that is witnessed by others, however, there are some instances where it is sometimes difficult to prove that bullying or harassment has occurred.

The survey suggests that only 5% of the bullying or harassment that occurred in the Ipswich Hospital was reported, and of those only, 25% were appropriately addressed. 67% of those surveyed feared that there would be negative consequences if they reported the bullying or harassment.

If there is fear of negative consequences, then why would someone report bullying or harassment, but if it is not reported it undoubtedly makes it much more difficult to prove. By not reporting, it allows those bullies to get away with their behavior. It is not tolerated in the schoolyard, so why should it be tolerated in our Hospitals.

If you have experienced bullying or harassment time limits apply.

For complaints of discrimination or harassment, you only have 12 months to lodge your complaint in writing to the Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland or the complaint may not be able to be investigated.

For WorkCover claims, you must lodge your application for workers’ compensation with WorkCover Queensland within six (6) months of your injury.

If more than six (6) months lapses between the time of the occurrence of the injury and lodging the claim, the claim may not be granted by WorkCover Queensland without a reasonable excuse for the delay.

If you have the right to make a common law claim for damages you have three (3) years from the date of injury or accident to file court documents or serve a compliant Notice of Claim for Damages or you will forever lose your right to make a claim.

For more information or assistance for bullying or harassment complaints call one of our injury lawyers on 13 58 28.

Join the Drive for Safer Roads

By | Compensation Law, General Information

Every year approximately 1,300 people die on Australian roads. Queensland’s death toll alone accounts for an estimated 300 fatalities. Additionally, over 3,000 people in Queensland are seriously injured in road accidents leaving them disabled, out of pocket and unable to return to work.  Tragically, 90% of all road accidents are easily preventable if the driver was not speeding, under the influence of alcohol or merely paying attention to the road.

A few safety driving tips for when you’re driving:-

  • Switch your phone to silent or flight mode as soon as you get behind the wheel and let everyone know you’re driving ‘phone-free’ and remove pressure to be in contact.
  • Driving tired affects reaction times and impairs judgement. Take a break or don’t drive if you’re tired.
  • Regularly check your speed to ensure you are travelling within the posted speed limit; most crashes happen at less than 10 kilometres over the speed limit.
  • If the weather, traffic or road conditions are poor, you may need to slow down, increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front, and travel below the speed limit to stay safe.

Every person has the right to travel and arrive home safely when using Queensland roads and by being aware, you can do your bit to reduce the chance of an accident. However, as we cannot control other people’s actions while driving, it is important to know what you are entitled to if you were ever to find yourself or a loved one injured, disabled or killed from an accident.

If you or a loved one have sustained an injury in a car accident you may have the right to make a common law claim for damages. In Queensland you have three (3) years from the date of injury or accident to settle your claim or file court documents or you will forever lose your right to make a claim.

For more information about motor vehicle accident claims contact one of our injury lawyers on 13 58 28.

Data Breach

Do you need a Data Breach Response Plan?

By | Business

The Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Act 2017 was assented to on 22 February 2017 with amendments to the Privacy Act commencing on 22 February 2018.

The passage of the amending Act established the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme in Australia. The NDB scheme applies to all relevant agencies and organisations with existing personal information security obligations under the Australian Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) from 22 February 2018. That is an entity that has a turnover (gross) of over three million dollars unless volunteered for the Act to apply.

The NDB scheme will also apply to certain credit providers, credit reporting bodies, and holders of tax file number information.

The NDB scheme introduced an obligation to notify individuals whose personal information is involved in a data breach that is likely to result in serious harm. This notification must include recommendations about the steps individuals should take in response to the breach.

Agencies and organisations must be prepared to conduct a quick assessment of a suspected data breach to determine whether it is likely to result in serious harm, and as a result require notification.

(Serious harm may be constituted by serious physical, physiological, emotional, economic and financial harm, as well as serious harm to reputation and other forms of serious harm that a reasonable person and the entities position would identify as a possible outcome of the data breach.)

 In particular, Australian Privacy Principle 11 requires organisations take reasonable steps to protect the personal information it holds from misuse, interference and loss, and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. “Reasonable steps” includes notification of certain data breaches, and having and implementing a data breach response plan.

The first 24 hours after discovery of a data breach are critical to restoring security, minimising harm, obtaining and preserving evidence and complying with contractual and legal obligations. Therefore a relevant entity should establish a Data Breach Response Plan.

A Data Breach Response Plan should provide your organisation with prioritised key steps to take, (i.e. what to do), in response to a cyber incident/data breach and key warnings as to what not to do, as well as identify the type of attacks that could occur, the location of sensitive data stored electronically, and identify the level of protection that assets require from various threats.

Breaches are not limited to malicious actions like theft or “hacking”. They include human error and mishandling of personal information resulting in accidental loss or disclosure. Lost or stolen electronic devices. Employees accessing or disclosing personal information outside the authorisation of their employment, and an organisation mistakenly providing personal information to the wrong person or sending it to the wrong email address. These are just some of the examples of human error that could apply.

For more information or assistance about the amendments to the Privacy Act, or preparing a Data Breach Response Plan contact one of our lawyers on 13 58 28.

Armoured Vehicles

Rheinmetall Defence Australia Awarded $5 billion contract to Build the Next Generation of Armoured Vehicles

By | General Information

It has just been announced that Rheinmetall Defence Australia has been awarded a $5 billion contract to build the next generation of armoured vehicles with some 225 Boxer CRV’s being built in our very own Ipswich, using Australian steel.

It is intended that these vehicles will replace the current Australian Army’s Light Armoured Vehicle fleet, to be used for everything from regional stability and peacekeeping to high-threat operations.

This contract could mean more than 350 long-term jobs, significant opportunities for local SMEs and associated work with an ongoing delivery and maintenance in Ipswich.

There may even be a further stage in the future to construct 450 more vehicles in a $15 billion project.

This news leads us to reflect on the other great industries in Ipswich. With key industry sectors in energy and environment, food and agribusiness, advanced manufacturing, education and training, transport and logistics, property and construction, and defence, Ipswich is home to a broad range of industries that have flourished historically and are poised for substantial growth going forward, particularly with the new military vehicle contract.

Our own firm is based in the historic Queen Victoria Silver Jubilee Memorial Technical College which operated as a TAFE college until 2006, cementing us in a piece of iconic Ipswich history, alongside the CPM Group, Hutchinson Therapy Services, Gibson Architects, the Pumpyard Brewery, Dovetails Restaurant and now to top it all off – Ben Ungermann’s ice cream parlour!

We look forward to Ipswich’s future development and being able to assist all of these industries grow along with our city.

If you have any legal concerns you may wish to visit our website for information relevant to your matter and other legal topics – https://mcna.com.au/

Be our friend on Facebook for future legal updates and information! https://www.facebook.com/McNamara-Associates-141566852640942/.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment in Your Backyard?

By | Compensation Law, Criminal Law

There has recently been a lot of publicity on celebrities bullying and sexually harassing co-workers….but what can you do if you have experienced sexual harassment in your own backyard?

Every worker, no matter if you work with a celebrity or not, should feel safe from sexual harassment in their workplace.

So what should you do if you suffered from sexual harassment?

Lodge the claim early!!! 

You only have 12 months from the date of harassment to lodge a complaint with the Anti-Discrimination Commission otherwise you will forever lose your right to make a complaint.

The Commission might only accept the claim outside of those times if you have a reasonable excuse for the delay.

Once the claim is lodged, you then need to prove the claim.

Evidence to prove fault

As Queensland has a fault based system, you will need to be able to prove sexual harassment has occurred. This means collecting evidence. To start with statements should be taken from anyone who witnessed the harassment.

Attempt to resolve the claim

Once the complaint has been lodged, the Anti Discrimination Commission will contact your previous employer and the person who harassed you to discuss the matters complained of and to see if they would be willing to resolve the matter informally.

If the matter cannot be informally resolved, the Anti Discrimination Commission will arrange a Conciliation Conference for the parties to meet either face to face, or by way of telephone.

The purpose of the Conciliation Conference is to enable the parties to discuss the complaint and explore options for settlement of the dispute.

If the complaint cannot be resolved then you may elect to commence proceedings through the Queensland Civil Administrative Tribunal.

Get legal advice

In any case, it is important to get legal advice about your particular set of circumstances. Failure to get legal advice could result in you missing compensation you might otherwise be entitled. In some cases, you might even be able to make a workers’ compensation claim.

For more information or assistance contact one our injury specialists on 13 58 28.

Are You a Victim of a Terrorist Act?

Are You a Victim of Terrorist Act?

By | Compensation Law, General Information

On 11 September 2017 we paused to remember the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in America in 2001. This marks the 16th anniversary of when nearly 3,000 people were killed.

Remembering this attack also brings to mind that many people were, and may still be suffering ongoing mental health illnesses.

On 21 October 2013 the Australian Government introduced the *Social Securities Amendment (Supporting Australian Victims of Terrorism Overseas)* Act 2012 whereby victims of acts of terrorism of prescribed terrorist acts could have access to a financial assistance scheme.

Unless special circumstances applied, primary victims of those terrorist acts only had two (2) years from the declaration of the schemes operation, 21 October 2013, to make their applications. That time expired on 21 October 2015. Secondary victims only had twelve months, ie until 21 October 2014.

Although it may be too late for primary and secondary victims of Australia to seek financial assistance from this scheme in respect to the World Trade Centre incident in 2001, people can now claim assistance for a number of other acts of terrorism that have been declared. The additional acts of terrorism now include:-

– 2017 Stockholm, Manchester, Baghdad and London (3 June 2017) attacks
– March 2017 London attack
– December 2016 Berlin attack
– July 2016 Nice, France attack
– March 2016 Brussels attacks
– November 2015 Paris attack
– September 2014 Kabul, Afghanistan kidnapping
– March 2015 Tunis, Tunisia arms assault

Primary victims will only have two years from the dates of these attacks to lodge an application for financial assistance. Secondary victims will only have twelve months.

For more information about terrorist act compensation or for assistance in completing the necessary application form please contact one of our injury lawyers on 13 58 28.

Auto-Cessation of Multiple Superannuation Accounts

Auto-Consolidation or Auto-Cessation of Multiple Superannuation Accounts

By | Disability Superannuation

The Australian Government has asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a review of the competitiveness and efficiency of the Australian superannuation system.

One of the proposed measures is the *auto-consolidation or auto-cessation of multiple superannuation accounts. *

We are concerned that this type of measure could prejudice, or harm, many people who hold multiple superannuation accounts. An unforseen consquences of automatically consolidating multiple funds could be the affect on, or at worst the removal of, total and permanent disability insurance.

In submissions to the Productivity Commission the Australian Lawyers Alliance have recommended that auto-consolidation and auto-cessation should be subject to a no-disadvantage test, and should never occur without ensuring that the policy holder is aware that automatic consolidation or cessation is about to occur, what the implications of such an automated event might be, and how they can avoid the automated event from occurring.

At McNamara and Associates, we have assisted injured persons claim on as many as four superannuation accounts. It would be concerning to many people if the proposed measure of auto-consolidation were introduced without something like the no-disadvantage test being applied.

If you require any assistance with any other superannuation insurance matter do not hesitate to contact one of our superannuation lawyers on 13 58 28.

car accident claims

Greedy CTP Insurers Trying to Take Away Your Rights

By | Compensation

Recently Suncorp and RACQ have proposed changes to Queensland’s Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme that would see less benefits for injured motorists.

On 17 August 2017 Suncorp and RACQ released a joint statement in which they announce they have joined forces to implore the State Government to address the” rampant rorting of Queensland’s Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme”.

These two insurers seem to believe that urgent action is required to make the system fairer and protect Queensland motorists from a spike in CTP premiums, despite the Suncorp Group reporting over a billion dollars net profit in their 2016-17 financial report (increased by $37 million in the year prior).

RACQ’s John Myler said “Despite a steady decline in the number of car accidents, we are seeing a growth in dodgy CTP insurance claims due to people exploiting the system to get cash payouts,”

What RACQ and Suncorp are really asking for is a smashing of rights and benefits for those people who have had the misfortune to be injured, often through no fault of their own.

These insurers want the State Government to introduce defined benefits for low severity claims. This means that if the insurers have their way, an injured person would receive a prescribed amount of compensation for a certain type of injury. Injured persons would lose other compensation such as loss of earnings which is usually the most significant part of their claim.

We share the views of the Australian Lawyers Alliance that the insurer’s defined benefits proposal is driven by their desire for greater profits and fails to recognise that Queensland’s CTP scheme is the best run and best structured CTP scheme in Australia.

Rod Hodgson of the Australian Lawyers Alliance said that “Premiums in Queensland are second lowest in the country and the Queensland CTP scheme provides good access to benefits for those who are injured.”

It is important to acknowledge a number of facts about CTP insurance in Queensland:-

  • In addition to being inexpensive the Queensland scheme has a very low disputation rate, which sees less than 1 per cent of matters commenced go to court;
  • Claims which lack merit are almost nonexistent – if an insurer believes that a claim lacks merit they should do their job properly and dispute the claim;
  • The Queensland courts have a strong track record of supporting only claims which have merit and dodgy claims are not tolerated;
  • Defined benefits schemes are simply insurance company code for “we know best, benefits ought to be less and the courts ought to get out”;
  • A race to the bottom by joining some of those other State’s models is not in the interests of Queensland motorists who can be very proud of our present scheme and how it’s run; and
  • Queensland has long had a strong focus on rehabilitation and this was recently enhanced with changes that see those catastrophically injured from 01 July 2016 having access to not fault coverage.

If you have sustained an injury in a car accident you have the right to make a common law claim for damages in Queensland and you have three (3) years from the date of injury or accident to settle your claim or file court documents or you will forever lose your right to make a claim.

For more information about motor vehicle accident claims, contact one of our personal injury lawyers on 13 58 28.

Facebook Versus Personal Injury Claims

Facebook Versus Personal Injury Claims

By | Compensation, General Information

When you commence an injury claim it is likely that the Respondent to your claim will appoint investigators to investigate the factual basis of your claim, or perform those investigations themselves.

These investigations might range from simply taking statements from witnesses but can be as extensive as conducting video surveillance of you.

It has become all too common for Respondents to perform full reviews of a claimant’s social media profile, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Snapchat, YouTube or any other social media platforms.

We have increasingly seen the Courts make Orders for claimants to disclose not just the public aspects of their Facebook profiles, but also the private aspect that is only viewed by friends.

If you use any of these social media platforms you may be required to disclose the entire content as they may relate to the circumstances of your claim.

The types of information you may need to disclose may include things like instant messages, text messages, photographs, typed posts and/or videos and audio clips.  However, disclosure could also extend as far as computer system information and meta-data (data contained within an electronic file relating to the identification, origin or history of the file) – although we are yet to see a Court Order for disclosure to this extent.

The meta-data means that even if you deleted posts on social media they can be made available for the Courts viewing.

It is increasingly important that claimants remain mindful of any content that is posted on social media.

The scope of the disclosure that may be relevant is interpreted broadly by the courts.  For example, a document may be relevant precisely because it does not say something when it would be expected that it would. With the example of Facebook, it might be suspicious if you go from a post per hour type of person, to a post per month.

Examples of occasions where a claimant’s claim may be adversely affected by a Facebook or Instagram post are:-

  1. a post of you socialising with friends when you allege to be suffering from depression;
  2. a post of you skydiving when you allege to be suffering from a significant physical injury.

These types of posts may cause your credibility to be questioned.

Claimants have a duty to the court to ensure that they disclose all relevant documents in their possession as well as documents held by others. If you can exercise some control over those documents they are disclosable. This means that if a friend takes a photograph of you and posts that photograph on social media, that photograph may be disclosable.

WHAT IF THE DOCUMENT NO LONGER EXISTS?

You must tell your lawyer if you previously had any relevant documents that have since passed out of your control, been destroyed or have otherwise ceased to exist.  In those cases, the court may order you to file and serve an affidavit stating:-

(a)       that a document does not exist or has never existed; or

(b)       the circumstances in which a document ceased to exist or passed out of your possession or control.

It is a serious offence for a party to intentionally destroy, withhold, conceal, alter or falsify a document that is required to be disclosed.  An individual who commits such an offence risks criminal prosecution.

In consideration of the importance of social media if you have started an injury claim you should give access to your lawyer by adding them as a friend to fully investigate what documents may need to be disclosed in the injury claim.

As for the future, we strongly advise that you bear in mind that the Respondent to your claim may investigate your social media profiles before posting comments, pictures or videos. If your profile is closed to the public, the Respondent may obtain an Order from the Court for you to disclose the entire content of your social media profile.

For more information about personal injuries claims or the impact of social media contact one of our injury lawyers on 13 58 28.

Victim of Crime Assistance

Amendments to the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009

By | Criminal Law

By Joshua Brown, Associate, McNamara & Associates Solicitors

In August 2009 the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009 came into effect which created a scheme whereby victims of violent crime in Queensland have access to financial assistance and recovery of loss. The scheme provides assistance for not only the primary victim but also a secondary victim such as a parent of the primary victim, another related victim or a witness to the violent event.

On 1 December 2016 the Queensland Government introduced the Victims of Crime Assistance and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016. The Bill was passed by Parliament on 22 March 2017 but the commencement date is yet to be confirmed.

Criminal Proceedings Aspect

The intention of the Bill was to enact changes to the Criminal Code, the Evidence Act 1977, the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009 and other Acts so that sexual assault victims have better protection for their privacy when discussing the assault with their counsellor, and to provide for giving evidence in court in a pre-recorded form, from a remote witness room, or behind a screen, therefore protecting the victim from the offender.

Changes will be implemented to the legislation, with the insertion of a new section: Protected counselling communications.

The prosecution will not be required to give the accused person a copy of a document if the prosecution reasonably considers the document is a protected counselling communication.

Once the changes to the Act come into force victims should feel much more comfortable discussing the assault with their counsellor.

The introduction of this new protection for victims will enable the prosecution to refuse to provide all relevant evidence to an accused person. For persons who are contesting criminal charges any counsellor’s records that contain something controversial will not be disclosable. If a person makes a personal injuries claim for a sexual assault against an accused, the accused may find it very difficult to obtain copies of the Claimant’s medical records.

Victims of Crime Aspect

The proposed changes to the Act also include allowing access to financial assistance for domestic violence, including the violence that is not physical such as a psychological injury.

Amendments were made to section 5 of the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009 which mean that a victim will now also include a person who has suffered harm:-

(a) because domestic violence is committed against the person; or

(b) because the person is a family member or dependant of a person mentioned in paragraph (a); or

(c) as a direct result of intervening to help a person mentioned in paragraph (a).

The definition of crime in section 6 will also be amended to include a domestic violence offence, including an attempt or conspiring to commit a domestic violence offence, but the act of violence will only include an act that directly results in the death of, or injury (either physical or psychological) to, 1 or more persons.  Simply planning to commit domestic violence that does not cause injury will not be enough to satisfy an application for financial assistance.

A victim can only claim if the act of violence or domestic violence has been reported to a police officer, counsellor, psychologist, doctor, or domestic violence service.

There is a further amendment to section 6 (2)(b) which says “it does not matter whether the person who did the act or made the omission has been identified, arrested, prosecuted or convicted in relation to the act or omission”. On occasion an aggrieved party makes an application for a domestic violence protection order without the support of any evidence. The accused will often consent to a domestic violence order without admitting fault purely with the view of avoiding costly and timely court proceedings to defend the allegations. If this occurs, alleged victims have the right to seek victims of crime financial assistance based on what could be unsupported allegations.

The recovery provisions of the original Act remain unaltered, meaning the State can only recover assistance granted from the convicted persons. This means that an accused would only be pursued for the financial assistance if a Court found beyond all reasonable doubt that the offence had been committed.

Other amendments include:-

  • an increase for funeral cost assistance from $6,000 to $8,000;
  • an increase in the special assistance (the lump sum payment on top of the financial assistance and recovery of loss) and removal of a range of payment:-
    • For a Category D act of violence from a range of $130 to $650, now fixed at $1,000;
    • For a Category C act of violence from a range of $651 to $1,300, now fixed at $2,000;
    • For a Category B act of violence from a range of $1,301 to $3,500, now fixed at $3,500;
    • For a Category A act of violence from a range of $5,000 to $10,000, now fixed at $10,000; and
  • removing the pool of assistance for secondary victims (under the original act all related and family victims could only receive a total of $100,000. Once the amendments come into effect all secondary and family victims will be able to apply for up to the maximum of $50,000 each, regardless of how many related or family victims apply).

Domestic violence offences fall within a Category D offence, unless an assault occasioning bodily harm, or more serious injury, occurs from the domestic violence.

Domestic violence is broadly defined and can range from physical abuse, down to something like withholding a credit card, or taking a mobile phone.

The maximum assistance available to primary victims remains at $75,000.00 plus an additional grant of $500 for legal costs incurred in applying for assistance under the Act.

It is important to remember that strict time limits apply to applications for assistance. In Queensland a victim has three (3) years from the incident to commence their application unless exceptional circumstances prevent such application or the victim is under a legal disability, for example a child who is under the age of eighteen (18).

For more information if you are a victim of a crime please contact Joshua Brown on (07) 3812 2300.

Alcohol

Legal Update: Backflip on the new Queensland Liquor Laws – What it means for you.

By | Business, General Information

By Joshua Brown of McNamara & Associates Solicitors

Recently we wrote an article giving you the information you need to know about the new Queensland lockout and alcohol consumption laws.

One of the most significant changes to the law was that from 1 February 2017 the lock out time would be wound back to an earlier time of 1:00am. This meant if you left a venue after 1am, you would not be permitted to re-enter the venue.

Just before those changes to the law were to take effect the Queensland Government announced that they would not proceed with the 1:00am lock out in safe night precincts. Therefore you can still be permitted entry up to 3:00am in the safe night precincts.

The ban on the sale of shots, cocktails and premixed drinks after 12am continues, and instead of the earlier lock out bars, pubs and nightclubs that are approved to operate after 12am will be required to install and operate ID Scanners (by 1 July 2017).

You could find that you are prevented entry to these venues if you have a Queensland Police, or Court imposed ban relating to the premises.

Interestingly enough, the lock out and drinking restrictions do not apply to Casinos (holding a commercial special facility license) if they have an approved application for extended trading hours which will allow them to trade until 5am. The lock our provisions also do not apply on New Year’s Day.

If you have any enquiries about the liquor law or have been charged with an alcohol related offence, McNamara & Associates would be happy to assist.