Articles

Commercial and Consumer Law

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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Section 131: Duty of Directors to Act in Good Faith and in Best Interests of Company

In accordance with Section 131 of the Companies Act 1993 ("Act"), directors have a duty to act in good faith and in what they genuinely believe to be the best interests of the company. While it may be expected that directors should always behave in such a manner, and not place their personal interests ahead of the company's, various judgments have explored the extent of this duty and provided more information about the considerations director should take account of when exercising their powers.
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''Best Endeavours'' or ''All Reasonable Endeavours''

Often in commercial contracts, parties agree that they will use their "best endeavours", their "reasonable endeavours" or their "all reasonable endeavours" to perform certain actions or to achieve a certain outcome. But what do these terms mean in reality? While there are no set definitions and much is dependent on the particular circumstances, we are able to make some practical comments about the requirements of each of these terms so you have a clear idea of what you are agreeing to.
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