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Mediation in Employment Disputes

Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) methods are alternatives to going directly to court. Using ADR methods instead of pursuing the matter in court is usually more cost effective for all the parties involved, takes less time to resolve the dispute, and also relieves the court of cases they believe can be resolved between the parties without court assistance. This particular article will focus on mediation in the context of employment law and form a part of our ADR article series which...

Reforms in Trust Law-what it means for your trust

Family trusts are a practical structure for holding assets, particularly in New Zealand where there are approximately 300,000 to 500,000 trusts operating today. Currently, the Trustee Act 1956 and the Perpetuities Act 1964 contain provisions which need to be read in conjunction with case law regarding their operation, and do not keep up with present-day trust practices. Therefore, the updates regarding trust law under the current Trusts Bill (“Bill”) are long overdue, being the first significant reform for at least...

Trading on Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday is not a public holiday, yet most businesses used to have to be closed on this particular day. However, changes to the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 (the “Act”) that came into effect in August 2016 mean that all territorial authorities (city and district councils) now have the power to have a local Easter Sunday shop trading policy to permit shops to open on Easter Sunday in areas comprising the whole or part(s) of an authority's district. At...

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Employees-What are we allowed?

When asking Kiwis what their entitlements are when it comes to annual leave, holidays and resignation, the responses are generally vague. Government statistics show that over 50% of working Kiwis have held their current employment position for less than 18 months, therefore, it is imperative for them to be familiar with employment law and employee rights. Resigning An Employment Agreement (“Agreement”) generally allows for employees to resign at any point in employment given they provide notice of resignation (“Notice”). Notice can be...

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Intellectual Property Licensing

Intellectual property (IP) forms a fundamental element of most businesses. It encompasses creativity, innovation and in some instances, education. In certain circumstances, intellectual property rights may be registered, thereby making provision for particular, exclusive rights over an invention, creative expression or brand. Securing protection for intellectual property, may provide for a competitive market place advantage, and facilitate an increase in profit margins and growth. Multiple forms of rights are available for intellectual property. Available rights include, but are not limited to...

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Plant Variety Rights

Grants of Plant Variety Rights (PVR) are available for any plant variety with the exceptions of algae and bacteria. Currently, New Zealand has a noteworthy plant breeding industry. New Zealand growers and breeders take the lion’s share of some of the plant variety registered crops that include kiwifruit, clover and apples. There is a potential for New Zealand to generate significant income not only from the sale of produce but also from obtaining and licensing new varieties from other countries. In...

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Best vs Reasonable Endeavours

Have you ever seen a contract or agreement including terms such as “best endeavours”, “reasonable endeavours”, or “all reasonable endeavours”? What do these terms mean? What is a party expected to do under these terms? These common terms are generally misunderstood. However, as a general rule, these terms are used to compel a person to take action to fulfil an obligation or condition that might be, to some extent, beyond that person’s immediate control. However, as with any contractual obligation, the devil...

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Sharemilking Agreements

What is Sharemilking? For a number of years dairy industry has been an integral part of New Zealand’s economy and a sharemilking arrangement provides a stepping stone for farmers looking to become farm owners themselves. Two parties exist under a sharemilking agreement, the farm owner and the sharemilker. Essentially, the parties enter into a sharemilking agreement on the basis that the sharemilker is responsible for operating the farm on behalf of the owner, but does not own the land and in return...