Charity Wine Makers Masterclass and Wine Symposium

The annual Slater and Gordon Group Wine Makers Masterclass in support of SunnyKids was held earlier this month at the Events Centre Maroochy RSL. With 330 guests in attendance the event was a huge success! Over $48,000 raised for SunnyKids through live auctions and raffle tickets purchased on the day. Thank you to everyone who came along and supported the lunch. It was also wonderful to have 4 wine makers join us on the day to show their wares and speak about their wines. A huge thank you to Mark Messenger of Juniper Estate, Darren DeBortoli of DeBortoli Wines, Adam Peren of Two Sisters and Justin Nugent of Bird in Hand.   

The Wine Symposium was another great evening with over 360 guests joining us throughout the event to mix and mingle with new and old friends and to taste a few wines. We appreciate all the support from our clients and referrers who continue to work with us and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Term 2 – $5k School Pay Day

A huge congratulations to St. Andrew’s Anglican College for winning the $5k School Pay Day. The Year 7 students will put the $5000 towards projects they are undertaking within the local community.

The students are working on a range of projects. Some include brightening the lives of very sick children in Nambour hospital, helping the homeless on the Sunshine Coast, raising money for cancer foundations, helping the elderly with chores, improving the recycling and composting efforts within their school.

Glass House Mountains State School held their Run4Fun

This morning, Glass House Mountains State School held their Run4Fun. It was great to be there and watch on as the students and their parents climbed up, over, through and under obstacles, sliding down the hill of foam and water with a little help from the fire brigade to hose them off. It is wonderful to see the $5k contribution go a long way by providing a fun event for the school, students and the local Glasshouse community.

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Slater and Gordon Group recognise high academic achievement on the Sunshine Coast

(left to right) Bronte Newcombe, Sarah Dennis, Kent Olive

(left to right) Bronte Newcombe, Sarah Dennis, Kent Olive

Slater and Gordon Group have donated $1,500 to the highest achieving law students from University of the Sunshine Coast, recognising their outstanding academic results.

Slater and Gordon Lawyer Sarah Dennis presented the donation at the Sunshine Coast Awards Night and congratulated the students on their outstanding efforts.

“Slater and Gordon Group are proud to provide support to excelling students to reward their high academic achievements,” Ms Dennis said.

“Many students go above and beyond during their studies, going that extra mile to ensure they are getting the most out of the opportunities available to them.

“The time and effort that they put into their studies should be commended and exemplified for future students to aspire to.”

Ms Dennis said the 2016 recipients had exceeded expectation and were sure to have prosperous futures ahead of them.

“The two winners were awarded high distinctions in their respective subjects, one scoring a flawless 100% overall,” Ms Dennis said.

“They have both set extremely high standards for their classmates and on behalf of the Slater and Gordon Group, I would like to wish them all the best through their future study and career.”

Each year the Slater and Gordon Group sponsor the Legal Awards, donating two prizes valued at $750 each to two of the highest achieving students.

Slater and Gordon Group Support the Sunshine Coast Surf Season


Coolum Beach Surf Club – Sarah Dennis

Dicky Beach - Liz Catton

Dicky Beach Surf Club – Liz Catton

Mudjimba Surf Club

Mudjimba Surf Club – Michael Callow

Surf clubs across the Sunshine Coast have received a cash bonus to support their nippers as part of the Slater and Gordon Group Surf Cheque initiative.

The initiative which ran throughout the lifesaving season recognized the important contribution surf clubs make to the Sunshine Coast community by awarding $1000 towards their junior nipper program.

The winning surf lifesaving clubs included:

  • Dicky Beach SLSC
  • Alexandra SLSC
  • Mudjimba Beach SLSC
  • Coolum Beach SLSC
  • Sunshine Beach SLSC
  • Metropolitan Caloundra

Principal Lawyer Michael Callow said it is important to support our local surf clubs to ensure our beaches are kept safe.

“The Sunshine Coast surf lifesaving clubs are the heart and soul of our beaches and many members volunteer their time each summer to ensure the safety of beachgoers,” Mr Callow said.

“It is important that we continue to support these clubs and the hard work and dedication their members deliver to the community, especially when it comes to the great training programs they provide to the nippers.”

Senior Associate Liz Catton said Slater and Gordon Group are proud to support surf clubs on the Sunshine Coast.

“Surf Clubs are often run by volunteers and rely heavily on donations from the community,” Ms Catton said.

“The Slater and Gordon Group Surf Cheque initiative recognize the importance of these training programs and are proud to assist in the training of our future lifesavers.”

Mudjimba Beach Surf Club Junior Activities Chairman Adam Amos said the club were extremely grateful for the donation made by the Slater and Gordon Group.

“The $1000 went towards paying for half of the registration fees for our surf sport participants who competed at the branch championships,” Mr Amos said.

“We were also able to pay for half of the registration fees for 12 youth to undertake SLSQ Camp Commando Program.”


Protecting your property

Leisa Toomey Leisa Toomey, Practice Group Leader of STOLaw, part of the Slater and Gordon Group explains the importance of engaging a lawyer when separating and that not all matters will end up in court if all appropriate avenues and steps are been taken.

Q1. Why is it important to engage a lawyer in the early stages of separation?  To understand your rights and obligations and to ensure you make an informed decision on matters regarding children and property settlement.

Q2. How can a lawyer assist someone going through a separation? By providing relevant advice and guide them through those things that have to be considered to ensure a fair and just outcome for them.

Q3. What is the most important factor/s to consider when separating? Seeking out skilled and informative advice from a lawyer that specialises in this type of work to understand what options are open to you to resolve your matters.

Q4. There is a common misconception that seeing a lawyer will mean you will have to go to court. Is that correct? No, this is not correct. Lawyers in this area of law should always investigate settlement prospects through mediation to avoid unnecessary expense and the wasting of valuable time for the client.


It’s a short tune consisting of only six notes, but one which is known and used around the globe yet until earlier this year, “Happy Birthday to You” was considered to be subject to copyright held by Warner/Chappell Music.  The birthday compilation is thought to have had its genesis in a Kentucky kindergarten in around 1893 at which it was sung to kindergarten children as “Good morning to you”.

Since then, the copyright has changed hands a number of times and has resulted in Warner/Chappell Music reaping millions of dollars in royalties each year because whenever it is used in television shows, movies, print or even publicly, Warner/Chappell claimed to be entitled to a royalty fee.

But all that has now changed because a US Federal Court Judge has recently ruled that the copyright originally filed by another entity in 1935 only gave them rights over specific arrangements of the music rather than the actual song itself.

The decision may seem rather trivial but it means that people can sing or play the song now in restaurants, schools, clubs,  and other public venues  without fear of being hit with a law suit by a music industry behemoth from across the globe.

So now, when it’s that special day of the year for you, feel free to sing that familiar tune as loudly and boldly as you like, because you can’t be made to pay for the privilege!


by Travis Schultz

The Basics of Negotiation

NegotiationThe word ‘negotiation’ tends to conjure images of suits, handshakes, boardrooms, leather briefcases and fresh notepads. This vision is not necessarily incorrect. What used to be known as ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution’ is no longer truly alternative as many law firms and companies embrace negotiation and mediation over the more expensive route that is litigation.

In reality though, negotiation is not reserved for corporate high-fliers. Most of us need to negotiate constantly in daily life. If you’re a small business owner, you will need to negotiate with suppliers, customers and retailers. We also negotiate with our spouses, children and friends. There are few parents who have not given into bargaining tactics that look a little something like this: ‘if you want to have/eat [insert shiny new toy or sugary snack du jour] you will have to eat/do [insert some form of green vegetable/household chore].’

Whether your negotiation takes place in a sleek boardroom, over coffee meetings or in the back of a family SUV, having some clever negotiation tricks up your sleeve are always useful. So, if you identify with any or all of the above scenarios, you can brush up your negotiation skills by getting your hands on a copy of Getting to Yes.  This hugely successful negotiation guide by Fisher and Ury, was first published in 1981. Some excellent negotiation tips to take from it are:

  1. Separate the people from the problem.
    This can be easier said than done. The foundation of this principle is to view the person you are negotiating with as a partner in negotiation rather than an opponent. Where either or both parties are emotional about an issue, those emotions can hinder the negotiation process. Sometimes, emotions can be effectively diffused by one party making an apology. You can express regret over a situation without necessarily accepting guilt or blame.
  2. Focus on interests, not positions.
    Your position in a negotiation is your end goal, and represents what you want to get out of the negotiation. Your interests are your underlying reasons for wanting that particular end goal. When the parties focus on their interests, rather than their positions, they might find that they have more in common than they realise. Focussing on mutual interests can go a long way to helping the parties find common ground and ultimately achieving an end goal that will serve the interests of both.
  3. Invent creative solutions.
    Once negotiation partners have established some common interests, it will be easier to brainstorm creative solutions. Often there are a myriad of possible outcomes or options. Many of those solutions will not be win/lose situations, but instead, will have benefits for both parties. Think as creatively as possible. Sometimes wild ideas can lead to alternative solutions that will ultimately produce a successful resolution.

Maria van der Walt
Lawyer, North Lakes
STOLaw, part of the Slater and Gordon Group
07 3482 0500

Be careful of the promises you make….

PropertyA recent judgment handed down by the Supreme Court of South Australia has highlighted the dangers that exist in making rash promises, particularly where family members are concerned.

In Rodda v. Rodda, the Supreme Court of South Australia found that a son was entitled to a proprietary interest in the family farming business and properties as a result of promises that had been made many years earlier that the family farm would one day be his. The trial judge accepted evidence of the son that he had worked on the family farm for 18 years accepting a relatively low wage in the expectation that he would one day benefit from taking over the family business. He had conducted renovations to a house on the farm at his own expense and had not pursued any other career or form of self-employment because of the expectation that he would eventually take over the farming operations.

When the relationship between father and son broke down in 2002, the father attempted to deny the son any interest in the property and claimed that the family business was still owed $135,000.00 by the son for a loan that had been given some years earlier.

At the end of the day, the court found that the representations and promises had been made and that based on those assurances, the son had continued to work in the family business, not sought any alternate career, had expended his own time, money and energy in improving the property and had done so as a consequence of the inducements that had been made. Accordingly, it was found that it would be inequitable for the son to be denied a proprietary interest in the property.

Whilst the case is a rather extreme example, it serves as a reminder of the need to be careful about what you promise and to ensure that any commercial arrangement is well documented, less there be no misunderstanding.

Travis Schultz
Practice Group Leader
Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers, Part of the Slater & Gordon Group
Ph: (07) 5413 8900
Fax: (07) 5413 8958

Emails can form binding contracts

Emails can form binding contractsIn the 21st Century, email has become an important means of communication and, in fact, almost essential for effectively conducting any business; but the apparent informality of the medium can often give the misguided impression that it is somehow of lesser legal significance. A recent decision of the Brisbane Supreme Court underscores the importance of ensuring that all email communication is carefully crafted and well considered because emails themselves can be sufficient evidence in writing of an agreement, to satisfy the legal requirements of the Property Law Act.

In the case before Justice Martin, Stellard v. New Queensland Fuel Pty Ltd, the parties had been negotiating for the sale and purchase of a service station and site. The negotiations resulted in an email being sent by the proposed purchaser which made an offer which was said to be “subject to contract and due diligence as previously discussed”. The proposed sellers’ representative responded by email saying ‘we accept the below offer which we understand will be subject to execution of the contract provided”.

Later, when the seller had a change of heart, a dispute arose as to whether, in the absence of a signed contract, there was in fact a valid and binding contract which was sufficient to satisfy the relevant statute of frauds. The statute is legislation which requires a contract for the sale of an interest in land to be in writing and signed by the parties, unless a rare exception applies.

In his decision, Justice Martin considered the Electronic Transactions (Queensland) Act 2001 and applied it to the facts and circumstances and found that the email exchange was sufficient to satisfy the legal requirements and that a contract had been formed.

For those of us who use email regularly in the course of our business activities, the lesson is simple. Emails must be carefully considered, appropriately structured and should fully and properly articulate your position so that there can be no misunderstanding. If an important subject matter is the subject of the exchange, perhaps it is best to not hit send until it has been proof read a couple of times!

Travis Schultz
Practice Group Leader
STOLaw, Part of the Slater and Gordon Group
Ph: (07) 5413 8900
Fax: (07) 5413 8958