John works as the Chief Clerk for the large and prestigious law firm Sue, Grabbit & Runne in Canberra City. As Chief Clerk with a staff of seven, he is accustomed to running the office. He has a range of duties that include arranging for and supervising staff, liaising with debtors and receiving payments and banking them on behalf of the firm, and also occasionally booking and paying for catering for office functions, such as the annual Christmas party and when special clients are being hosted by the Partners in the firm

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John works as the Chief Clerk for the large and prestigious law firm Sue, Grabbit & Runne in Canberra City. As Chief Clerk with a staff of seven, he is accustomed to running the office. He has a range of duties that include arranging for and supervising staff, liaising with debtors and receiving payments and banking them on behalf of the firm, and also occasionally booking and paying for catering for office functions, such as the annual Christmas party and when special clients are being hosted by the Partners in the firm

Consumer law

 

Question 1:

Getting ready for his well-deserved holiday at the coast, Adam took his Toyota to the dealer for a regular service. He told them, he intended to take the SUV to the South Coast for a couple of weeks and do some off road driving, and wanted them to make sure the car is serviced accordingly, he didn’t want to be looking for a mechanic during the holiday period, neither did he want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere and have to be towed.

The dealer said that they would check everything and ensure there were no potential problems left unchecked. When Adam collected his car later that day, the dealer went over a checklist of all the work that was done and told Adam there were no problems, his car was in good condition and there was no reason to believe Adam should have anything but a great holiday. The dealer further drew Adam’s attention to a clause in the repair checklist stating that if the vehicle experienced problems over the next three months, the dealer would arrange for immediate repairs. Satisfied, Adam left to pack for his trip.

A week into his holiday, whilst Adam was driving on a designated dirt road, the suspension failed, Adam lost control and crashed his car into a tree. Although shaken up and terribly disappointed, Adam remembered the clause in the dealers repair invoice. He called the dealer and explained what happened. But the dealer referred Adam to a subsequent clause which stated that this guarantee only applied to damage sustained while the vehicle was driven in the ACT.  Adam had not read the clause previously.

Adam is less than happy having his holiday ruined and his car damaged and the dealer unwilling to honour their repair guarantee. When he finally gives his statement to the police and arranges for his car to be towed to a garage, he comes to seek your advice as to his consumer rights.

You are to advice Adam what, if any, rights he may have under the ACL.

 

Property

 

Question 2:

Margaret, in her will, left a farm to her three children, James, Jordan and Tom ‘jointly and to share amongst themselves’, that is, as ‘joint tenants’. Ever since they were children, the boys have always had their differences. Jordan and Tom had always been closer, and would often turn against James. When the boys grew up, James moved overseas to work.

Taking advantage of James being such a long way away, Jordan and Tom transferred their interest in their mother’s property to each other and did not tell James anything about it. Two years later, when James returned to Australia he wanted to buy a flat. He wanted to use his interest in his mother’s property to secure a mortgage.

Advise James of:

 

  1. what interest each of the brothers has in their mother’s property,
  2. whether his two brothers can transfer each other’s interest to the other and
  3. whether James is able to use his share to get a mortgage on a flat of his own.

 

 Negligence

 

Question 3:

 

After a rather long and boring lecture, Jessie and her friend Charlotte went to the Mizuna to have lunch. It had been raining for a couple of days and this day it was raining even harder. Charlotte was getting over surgery on her knee and needed Jessie’s help over the puddles.

 

It seemed as if all of the other students also needed lunch as the Mizuna seemed almost full.

 

Jessie saw someone getting up, and hurried Charlotte through the doors to get to the just vacated table. They had just gone through the front doors when Charlotte slipped and fell on a very wet floor. Jessie, who was holding Charlotte’s elbow also fell trying to keep Charlotte upright.

 

Charlotte suffered a serious injury to her healing knee, which now required further complex surgery resulting in her being unable to participate in competitive hockey for the entire season. Apart from embarrassment, Jessie twisted her wrist and was unable to sit her final exam during the examination timetable.

 

The owner of the Mizuna apologised to both Jessie and Charlotte and ensured they were both properly looked after until the ambulance arrived, but claimed she had no responsibility whatever. He said the wet floor was the result of several rainy days, which of course he had no control over at all. He also said that the café has a good system in place to minimise injuries to patrons on wet days. He said that the staff are on a rotating half hourly roster to mop the entry area and that they keep a mat just inside the door to stop the wet spreading.

 

Although Jessie decided not to pursue this any further, Charlotte’s hockey, to whom Hockey is very important realised that having to undergo further surgery means she will miss out on what was pretty certain pre-selection for the Commonwealth Games, and would also mean that she will have to sit deferred exams for all four of her units – an undesirable outcome all around.

 

Advise Charlotte of her rights and of the requirements for bringing a successful action against the Mizuna. You must support your answer with case law and/or legislation.

 

Question 4:

 

Romeo and his wife Juliette own “The Lucky Dip” restaurant in Gungahlin. The restaurant is located directly across from McDonald’s, and Romeo thought it would be funny if he put a large sign in the front of his restaurant with the words ‘Mmmmm….try our vegie burger instead’, with each if the ‘m’s in the shape of the McDonald’s ‘golden arches’.

Advice Romeo whether his sign would infringe any intellectual property rights. You must support your answer with relevant legislation and/or case law.

 

Question 5:

 

John works as the Chief Clerk for the large and prestigious law firm Sue, Grabbit & Runne in Canberra City.

As Chief Clerk with a staff of seven, he is accustomed to running the office. He has a range of duties that include arranging for and supervising staff, liaising with debtors and receiving payments and banking them on behalf of the firm, and also occasionally booking and paying for catering for office functions, such as the annual Christmas party and when special clients are being hosted by the Partners in the firm.

In late October he notices that Christmas is rapidly approaching and asks the Managing Partner what he should do. He is told to make inquiries, and to ensure that he gets the best possible deal (which he takes to mean the lowest reasonable price) by getting three quotations from quality establishments that John has made bookings with before.

The Managing Director then goes off on a sailing trip to the Antarctic and is uncontactable for three weeks. This has happened before and there have never been any problems with John acting on behalf of the firm.

John’s enquiries reveal that there is limited availability in the quality establishments favoured by the Managing Partner, and after getting the three required quotations. He finds that only the second cheapest (the middle of the three in price) has appropriate availability. Unfortunately, if he wants to secure the booking, he will have to book immediately, with a non-refundable full pre-payment required. Being a responsible man of action, he does this and books and makes the full pre-payment using moneys he had received on behalf of the firm hut not yet banked signing the form “John, Chief Clerk for Sue, Grabbit & Runne”.

The Managing Partner, on her return hears what has happened and says that she had food poisoning at that very restaurant just the month before and, flying into a rage, fires John on the spot and denies any responsibility for the restaurant debt.

Advise John of any legal liability that he might have, giving your reasons

 

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