Articles

Commercial and Consumer Law

High Court Finds Level 4 'Lockdown' Unlawful for First Nine Days, Considers Lawfulness of Non-Essential Business Closures

The High Court has found that the Government's announcement of an Alert Level 4 'Lockdown' for four weeks from 26 March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic was unlawful and potentially unenforceable for the first nine days (Borrowdale v Director-General of Health [2020] NZHC 2090). The Court also reviewed the closure of all non-essential businesses, which is significant for business owners hoping to file civil liability claims for lost revenue during this period.
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Medicinal Cannabis - Sponsorship and Advertising

Individuals or entities who are involved or are interested in getting involved in the medicinal cannabis industry may wish to use advertising or sponsorship to increase brand recognition. An entity may also wish to advertise its products. There are currently no specific guidelines on advertising and sponsorship of medicinal cannabis. Sponsorship and advertising may, therefore, depend on compliance with the Medicines Act 1981 and whether the company supplies products which have been approved under that regime.
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Medicinal Cannabis in New Zealand – An Overview for Getting Started

Medicinal cannabis is a relatively new market and there are ways for you to get involved in the different elements of manufacturing medicinal cannabis products. The first thing that needs to be done is to apply for a Medicinal Cannabis Licence which is issued by the Medicinal Cannabis Agency. This is a lengthy process and requires the applicant to have given their project consideration in certain areas.
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Health and Safety Protocols for the Construction Industry - Covid-19 Alert Level 2

There is an important update on the health and safety requirements in the construction sector we wish to share with you if you have not yet been updated. Over the last few weeks, the situation with Covid-19 in New Zealand has noticeably improved. However, it is too soon to celebrate, and there is no room for complacency as we will still be under Covid-19 Alert Level 2, starting this Thursday 14 May 2020. It will remain critical, perhaps more than ever, for everyone in the construction industry to take all necessary steps to keep the virus under control until we are down to Alert Level 1.
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Hardship - Consumer Credit Contracts Under a Covid-19 Related Lockdown

Section 55 of the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 ("CCCFA") provides that a person who is unable reasonably, because of illness, injury loss of employment, the end of a relationship, or other reasonable cause, to meet their obligations under a consumer credit contract and who reasonably expects to be able to discharge their obligations if the terms of the contract were changed as provided for under the CCCFA may apply to a creditor to agree to that change. In the present Covid-19 lockdown, we expect these provisions to be tested and both debtors and creditors need to know their rights and responsibilities in these sorts of situations.
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Unfair Contract Terms

A recent decision in the High Court of New Zealand has provided the first instance of the Courts using the Fair Trading Act 1986 ("FTA") to declare specific terms in a standard form consumer contract unfair, and therefore unenforceable. The decision in Commerce Commission v Home Direct Limited1 was made pursuant to sections in the FTA which were introduced in 2013 and give the Commerce Commission power to apply to the District Court or High Court for a declaration that a term in a standard form consumer contract is unfair.
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Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Discussion Document - Better Protections for Contractors

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has released a discussion document late last year, inviting public consultation on an important subject affecting a large sector of New Zealand's working public: self-employed 'independent contractors', and companies and people who engage the services of such independent contractors, not just in the course of business, but even in some cases individual consumers utilising those services, for example ordinary member of the public using a 'ride sharing' platform. The deadline for members of the public to provide their feedback to MBIE expires at 5.00 pm on 14 February 2020.
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Enactment of Partnership Law Act 2019

The Partnership Law Bill was introduced to Parliament in May 2019 as a revision bill, subject to the revision powers set out in s 31 of the Legislation Act 2012. Therefore the 2019 Act does not make any substantive policy changes. Nevertheless, re-enactment of the 111 years old Partnership Act 1908 in contemporary language, style and format is intended to make the law more accessible, clarify Parliament's intent, and reconcile inconsistencies within the old Act.
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Mainzeal: Reckless Trading

In Mainzeal1 the former directors were held liable for a breach of section 135 of the Act. Richard Yan, (who was the founder and main shareholder of Mainzeal's parent company, Richina Pacific) was ordered to pay compensation of $36M. Each of the other directors (Shipley, Tilby and Gomm) were held liable to contribute $6M each towards that $36M.
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Heavy Fines Given to Retailers for Misleading Consumers

Recent decisions of the District Court highlight the need for businesses to adhere to the Fair Trading Act 1986 ("FTA") and not mislead their customers, particularly if their customers are 'consumers' under the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 ("CGA"). Both decisions involved prosecutions by the Commerce Commission against high profile retailers and resulted in substantial fines being awarded against these retailers.
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