Taking your child overseas needs parental consent

THERE can often be an argument between parents as to whether a child or children should be allowed to travel overseas and the ability for parents to take a child overseas really depends upon the child having a valid passport.

As both parents are required to sign the passport application for an Australian passport, the lack of a passport for a child or children might suffice to stop the child travelling overseas as one parent can refuse to sign the passport application.

If a child already has a valid passport, which is in the possession of the other parent, or if the child is entitled to another passport from more than one country and the other country does not require consent of the parent to issue a passport, then additional difficulties might arise.

In these circumstances, an urgent application to restrict the child from travelling might need to be made to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia seeking orders that the child shall not be removed from Australia without the written consent of the parent, or further court order that the child or children’s names be placed on a watch list at all airports and major ports.

There are relevant factors a judge will give consideration to when considering such an application.

Until next week – Keep it Legal.

Kevin Murray
kmurray@walkerpender.com.au

*The legal information in this article if of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon

Sprains and strains a pain for everyone

ACCORDING to WorkCover Queensland and Workplace Health and Safety, “sprains and strains account for more than 60 per cent of non-fatal workers’ compensation claims.

“The two most common causes are hazardous manual tasks and slips, trips and falls at levels.”

This clearly represents a significant portion of workplace injuries and an area that Workplace Health and Safety has identified as needing improvement across all industries.

In response to this, Workplace Health and Safety has initiated a whole of industry intervention, which has been referred to as the Sprains and Strains Assessment.

Any workplace in the state who has recently had a workers’ compensation claim for a sprain or strain injury may be captured by the assessment.

For those workplaces selected, an inspector will visit the workplace and be tasked with the following:

  • assess work tasks that expose workers to risk factors; and
  • determine if adequate action has been taken to control the risk factor.

Of course, these are things that employers already have an obligation to do in order to comply with the various duties placed upon them, such as the primary duty they have to their workers set out in section 19 the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

If you are not confident that your workplace would pass the Sprains and Strains Assessment (regardless of whether you’ve had a recent claim) then now is as good a time as any to review this area and get on top of your legal obligations!

Until next week – Keep it Legal!

* The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.

Sounding the horn on rules of the road

IT IS a common occurrence – sounding the horn in a motor vehicle when you arrive at or leave someone’s house.

Did you ever stop to think about whether or not you may be breaking the law by engaging in this (seemingly) socially accepted practice?

Queensland’s road rules are set out in the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Road Rules) Regulation 2009 (“TORUM”) and there are rules relating to the use of the horn.

Specifically, rule 224 states a driver “must not use, or allow to be used, a horn” unless:

  • The driver is warning other road users or animals of the approach or position of the vehicle; or
  • The horn is being used as part of an anti-theft device, or an alcohol ignition interlock, fitted to the vehicle.

Rule 291 deals with unnecessary noise and states in sub-rule three that a driver or passenger must not sound the horn except where allowed under rule 224.

Both rules attract a maximum penalty of 20 penalty units if you breach the rule (currently that amount is $2,669).

So whether you are the driver or passenger of the vehicle, if you sound the horn otherwise than in compliance with rule 224 you risk a hefty fine.

The TORUM contains many road rules – at 406 pages that is hardly surprising. You may be surprised by the number of rules you don’t know. The TORUM is readily accessible online.

Until next week – Keep it Legal!

Katie Caldow
kcaldow@walkerpender.com.au

* The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.

Managing risks of hazardous chemicals

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (“Act”) sets out some key duties and includes addressing risks of injury, illness or death caused by hazardous chemicals.

Many work places are home to hazardous chemicals.

In the past year I know of at least two incidents involving injuries caused by exposure to chemicals in a work place that resulted in the Magistrates Court issuing fines of $50,000 to the responsible entities for breach of the Act.

Depending on the category of the offence, fines can be as much as $1.5 million.

The first was a catering company that instructed a teenage employee to use cleaning product, but did not enforce the wearing of closed in shoes.

The worker’s foot came into contact with the undiluted product and caused severe burns requiring repair by skin graft.

The second took place at a school.

A teacher was undertaking science experiments in front of students for “science week”.

The experiments involved the use of sodium hydroxide.

Unfortunately, a bottle containing the chemical exploded and sprayed out over students in the front row.

Many students came into contact with it, but a grade 1 student received burns to her face, neck and abdomen.

For guidance on how to manage the risks created by hazardous chemicals you can access the “Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace Code of Practice 2013” online.

Until next week – Keep it Legal!

Katie Caldow
kcaldow@walkerpender.com.au

*The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.

Comply with VOI or risk penalty

THERE were changes to the Land Title Act 1994 (“LTA”) and Land Act 1994 (“LA”) recently increasing verification of identity (“VOI”) requirements for the witnessing of signatures on instruments and documents.

The changes came into effect on September 30, 2019.

The specific witnessing requirements are in section 162 of the LTA and 311 of the LA, including VOI records now required to be retained by the witness for seven years.

The Registrar may call on the witness to produce the records.

The word “instrument” is defined in Schedule 2 of the LTA and the word “document” is defined in Schedule 6 of the LA.

They have the same meaning and include a request, application or other document that deals with a lot and may be registered under either Act.

The Titles Registry publishes the “Land Titles Practice Manual” setting out the practices and procedures to be followed when preparing and lodging Titles Registry forms.

Part 61 of the Manual has been updated to assist in understanding how to comply with the new VOI requirements.

If you are a solicitor or other qualified witness make sure you are complying with the new VOI requirements.

If you need a document or instrument witnessed that attracts these VOI requirements you will be asked to prove who you are and that you are in fact entitled to sign.

You will need to prove it to the satisfaction of the witness. Be prepared.

Until next week – Keep it Legal!

Katie Caldow
kcaldow@walkerpender.com.au

* The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.

Private conversations and who may record them

CAN you record a private conversation?

Interestingly, whether or not it is illegal to record a private conversation depends on the legislation governing that topic.

The legislation is different in each state and territory.

Here in Queensland the relevant legislation is called the Invasion of Privacy Act 1971 (“Act”).

The Act tells us that, if you are party to a private conversation then you can record the conversation. You do not need consent.

However, just because it may be legal to record a conversation that you are having does not mean that you can then do what you want with the audio.

You can only use the recording in a manner that complies with the Act (generally with the consent of all other parties to the conversation).

Breaching the Act could constitute an offence under section 45(1), which can attract a hefty financial penalty or imprisonment of up to two years.

There are, of course, some exceptions to the general rule that you cannot use the recording without consent and this usually relates to using the recording in legal proceedings (assuming that it is admissible and able to be used).

There are some exceptions that apply to the use of devices to record conversations that someone is not party to, for example recordings made by police with relevant authority.

You’re best getting legal advice on whether or not use of a recording may breach the Act before you use it!

Until next week – Keep it Legal!

Katie Caldow
kcaldow@walkerpender.com.au

*The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.

Title deeds only worth the paper they’re written on

CAN you believe September is almost over?

October is sneaking up on us and there are some important changes happening in the Queensland Titles Office in October that you need to be aware of.

Currently, there are approximately 11 per cent of titles in Queensland for which a paper certificate of title exists (also known as “title deeds”).

Those certificates of title are important documents and one of the principal reasons for having a paper certificate issued is to stop the lodgement of other dealings (e.g. transfer of title) without the paper certificate being deposited with the dealing.

However, as of October 1 this year, if a paper certificate has been issued for a property the Titles Office will no longer require that certificate to be lodged to allow the lodgement and registration of other dealings.

What does this mean? It means that once October 1 rolls around any paper certificate of title will cease to have any legal effect.

The Titles Office will also stop issuing paper certificates from that date.

There will be no requirement to physically return paper certificates to the Titles Office and some people may wish to hold on to the certificate for historical reasons or as a keepsake.

If you are holding a paper certificate as a form of security then October 1 is a particularly important date and you should ensure you have obtained legal advice regarding the implications of that document ceasing to have legal effect.

Until next week – Keep it Legal!

Katie Caldow
kcaldow@walkerpender.com.au

*The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.

Do-it-yourself car maintenance on the safety radar

ON JUNE 21, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (“ACCC”) issued a media release urging consumers to be more cautious when undertaking DIY maintenance on their vehicles.

This was in response to statistics revealing that 120 people had been killed and many hundreds injured whilst maintaining their own vehicles since 2000. …

Of the 120 people killed since 2000, the majority were men aged between 40-49.

To further assist in raising awareness of the health and safety risks associated with DIY vehicle maintenance, the ACCC also created a webpage and videos showing the correct procedure for the most common maintenance tasks.

Whilst there are many unsafe DIY practices that can cause injury, the ACCC identified the following as some of the most common:

  • performing the maintenance on unsteady ground, sand or sloped surfaces;
  • using improvised support stands such as bricks or wood;
  • failing to apply the handbrake or put the vehicle in park;
  • not “chocking” the wheels on a raised vehicle;
  • improper use of vehicle jacks;
  • using faulty jacks despite knowing they are faulty.

If you are a DIY’er and maintaining your own vehicle, then you need to take safety seriously and put precautions in place. Head on over to the ACCCs DIY Car Safety page at www.productsafety.gov.au/ news/diy-car-safety and check out their hints, tips and videos.

Until next week – Keep it Legal!

Katie Caldow
kcaldow@walkerpender.com.au

*The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.