Our lawyers keep up with the latest trends and issues in New Zealand law and business, and regularly publish articles and reports on current topics.

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When can lessors of a cross-lease withhold consent for renovations?

Written by Mark Sullivan PARTNER; Sarah McNulty ASSOCIATE on June 7th, 2024.    

An issue that commonly arises in the context of cross-leases is that an owner will usually be required, under the terms of their cross-lease, to obtain consent from the “Lessors” to undertake alterations. In other words, even though they wish to undertake alterations to their own house in their own exclusive area, they will usually first need to obtain the agreement of the other owner(s) of the cross-leased land.
Usually the terms of cross-leases include the proviso that consent “shall not be unreasonably withheld”. The Court has recently considered the legal test for what it means for consent to be “unreasonably withheld” - we discuss the resulting change to the law below.

Lifting the lid on NZS 3910:2023

Written by Mark Sullivan PARTNER; Oliver Denny LAWYER on May 9th, 2024.    

The new industry standard for construction contracts has arrived and its name is NZS 3910:2023. This latest evolution aims to lower the number of special conditions, improve understanding of obligations and clarify risk-allocation. Read on for the important changes.

Beware The Risks Of Interpreting Contracts

Written by Mark Sullivan, PARTNER on July 16th, 2018.    

Do you know the principles the Courts apply when interpreting contracts?  These principles were recently considered by the Court of Appeal in GTV Holdings Ltd v Harris [2018] NZCA 95, a case involving the sale of a business.  The same principles apply to other contracts but are often misunderstood and lead to conflict.

'Tis the Season - Tidying Your Affairs

Written by Mark Sullivan, PARTNER on October 27th, 2016.    

The days are getting longer, the sun is shining brighter and Christmas is coming.  But despite the spring air, there’s something keeping you from enjoying things quite as much as you know you should be.  If you have something lurking in the corner of your mind, now is the time to resolve it so that you can enjoy the holiday season with a clear desk and clear mind.

Mistakes in Contracts: How “Final” is a “Full and Final” Settlement Agreement If You Reach Agreement By Mistake

Written by Caroline Harris, PARTNER on August 5th, 2016.    

In Prattley Enterprise Limited v Vero Insurance New Zealand Ltd the Court of Appeal considered how “final” a “full and final” settlement clause was when a party argued that there had been a mistake when entering into the settlement agreement.  

Validating an Invalid Will

Written by Caroline Harris, PARTNER on July 28th, 2016.    

Many people are aware that in order to create a valid will a number of formal legal requirements must be met: A valid will must be in writing and must be witnessed in a particular way, by two witnesses.  The Wills Act 2007 introduced important changes that allow a Court, in certain situations, to validate documents that appear to be a will or that record the testamentary intentions of the deceased.

Paying the Price for Decision over Workplace Tantrum

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on July 12th, 2016.    

Until the robots take over, an essential feature of workplaces will be human interaction.  When combined with the pressures of modern employment, the broad range of personality types can often lead to conflict which an employer will need to step in and resolve.  However, a recent Authority decision is a handy reminder that the employer must act fairly in any steps it takes – as well as being realistic about the level of bad behaviour that will justify termination.  

Dismissed Employees May Not be Compensated - Even if Procedural Errors

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on August 10th, 2015.    

Until recently, it was generally accepted that if an employee was dismissed and the procedure was flawed, then they would be able to claim for lost wages (as well as compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings). However, a recent Employment Court case has taken a different approach in a situation where the flawed procedure did not affect the outcome.

Cash Remedies for Hurt Feelings

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on March 9th, 2015.    

When an employee is dismissed from (or disadvantaged at) work, there will inevitably be a degree of injury to feelings. When that action is not reasonable or justifiable, the impact can be far greater. The Employment Relations Act provides a remedy for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings an employee suffers as a result of unjustifiable dismissal and unjustifiable actions by an employer.

Privacy Breach Results in $168,000 Award for Offensive Cake Baker

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on March 2nd, 2015.    

Ms Hammond was employed by Credit Union Baywide, but had recently resigned to move to another company in the region. A friend of hers had also recently resigned, albeit by way of a mediated settlement. It was clear that Ms Hammond and her friend took a dim view of the circumstances of the friend’s exit. In order to cheer her friend up, Ms Hammond baked a cake which she iced with several abusive words describing Credit Union Baywide.

Port Fails to Follow Own Procedure

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on February 9th, 2015.    

It is not difficult for employers to make procedural errors when taking disciplinary action against employees. It is a regular complaint, particularly from small employers, that the procedural requirements for even simple disciplinary matters are complex and technical. This can lead to findings of unjustified dismissal, not because an employee hasn’t committed serious misconduct, but because a full and fair procedure was not followed to reach that conclusion.

Without Prejudice Conversations

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on August 11th, 2014.    

More and more frequently, people are looking to resolve their disputes without resorting to time-consuming, stressful and expensive formal litigation. Employment disputes are no exception, and have a high rate of out-of-court settlement.  A key feature in finding such a solution is the ability to speak “without prejudice”.

Unjustified Dismissal of a Contractor Employee Case Study

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on October 7th, 2013.    

A former employee of Sealord has been awarded over $80,000.00 in lost wages, compensation for humiliation and interest following his dismissal by Sealord.  The case highlights two important issues at the start and end of an employment relationship.

Employment Court Rules on Sick Leave Abuse Case

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on May 7th, 2013.    

Have you ever taken a sickie, thinking this is no big deal let alone something that you might get fired for?  Well, think again. The Employment Court has just confirmed the right of an employer to dismiss employees who take sick leave without there being a genuine sickness/injury.

Falsified Work References and Relevance to Remedies in Unjustified Dismissal

Written by Glenn Finnigan, PARTNER on May 6th, 2013.    

The case of an employer ordered to pay more than $10,000 to one of his refrigeration engineers who had falsified his work history, wrecked a customer’s equipment and almost electrocuted one of his fellow workers has attracted recent media attention.  So just how did the employer come to lose the case and be up to pay the employee compensation?

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