Practice Areas

Employment Law

The employment relationship is one of the most heavily regulated in our society. Whilst it is fundamentally a contractual relationship, terms and conditions of employment are imposed by the common law and a web of different State and Federal Acts. If you have any doubts about your legal rights or duties it is important to get good advice at an early stage. Trust and confidence are essential elements of a successful employment relationship. When the relationship breaks down, severe financial loss and damage to health and reputation can result. If it has deteriorated to the point where you need an advocate, that person should be able to act swiftly, with an eye to the big picture.

Unfair dismissal, general protections disputes and underpayment of wages claims

If you've been sacked, underpaid or treated unfairly at work, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. Industrial and workplace relations laws are technical and have changed frequently in recent years. Strict time limits apply (only 21 days for unfair dismissal and general protections claims) so don't delay getting advice from a specialist.

Workers Compensation

Workers compensation law has been in a state of almost constant flux over the last 30 years. In July 2015, the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act, 1986 was replaced with the Return to Work Act, 2014, which now governs claims for injuries both before and after that date. The Act provides for benefits to injured workers including weekly payments of income support, medical expenses, rehabilitation support and lump sum compensation for non-economic and economic loss. If you're unlucky enough to sustain an injury at work, it is likely that at some point you will need legal advice about your entitlements, and you may need to commence proceedings in the South Australian Employment Tribunal to dispute a decision made on your claim. Joseph and Donald are well-placed to assist and represent you.

Motor vehicle accident claims

If you suffer injuries in a motor vehicle accident, and the accident resulted from another driver's negligence, you may be entitled to recover damages for economic and non-economic losses. It is unwise to seek to resolve such claims without legal advice and representation. Time limits apply so it is important to seek advice quickly.

Discrimination

Under both State and Federal legislation it is unlawful to discriminate against another person in relation to employment, goods, services and accommodation on the basis of that person's personal attributes such as sex, sexuality, disability, race and age. It is also unlawful to harass, vilify or victimise another person on such grounds. These laws are technical and the processes for pursuing a complaint can be complex. Obtaining advice and representation is essential.

Defamation

If someone has said or written something about you that causes you offence or damages your reputation, you may be entitled to damages. The law of defamation is complex and often poorly understood. If you believe that you have been defamed, you should seek legal advice as quickly as possible. Your lawyer may be able to persuade the wrongdoer to apologise or retract the allegation, so that the damage can be minimised.

"During a difficult employment situation where I was being bullied by my manager I sought legal advice from Joseph Wearing. His advice and support were key in my placing my trust in his ability. In dealings between my employer and Joseph his confidence, knowledge and experience allowed me to be reassured that the issue would be resolved.

Joseph was always available to advise and help with issues as they arose and provided a measured, clear and professional response during a highly stressful and emotionally charged period. In all I was extremely pleased with the final resolution of the issue and would not have achieved such a favorable outcome without Joseph's expertise."

- Todd W

Wills and Succession Planning

If you have assets of significance, it may be time to make or update your Will and/or your succession planning. Marriage, divorce, separation, entering or exiting a registered relationship*, a significant change in financial or family circumstances, or even just a change in your wishes, may mean you need a new Will.

For example, did you know:

  • Marriage, or entry into a registered relationship, cancels your Will (unless your Will is expressed to be in contemplation of the marriage or registered relationship).
  • Divorce, or ending your registered relationship, removes your former spouse/registered partner from your Will, but separation by itself does not automatically disentitle them.

If you divorce or end your registered relationship and you don’t update your Will, you may be left without an executor, or worse still, without an effective Will. The results when you die may be at best surprising, and at worst, disastrous!

There’s an easy solution: Review and redo your Will!

Karin and Kris are able to assist you with preparation of simple Wills through to succession planning where there are family trusts, self-managed superannuation funds, family businesses and/or other complexities. Where appropriate, we can liaise with your accountant about succession planning and tax-minimisation issues. Our solicitors are also familiar with and can advise on estate planning where a second marriage, de facto relationships, or other family complexities are involved.

Effective prior planning can make all the difference to ensure that your wishes are carried out and to minimise the potential for legal disputes.

If your Will is prepared through WearingLaw, we are happy to store your original Will for safekeeping at no additional cost.

* Since 1 August 2017, couples in South Australia, irrespective of their sex or gender identity, have been able to register their relationship pursuant to the Relationships Register Act 2016, giving the relationship legal recognition.

Deceased Estates - Your Role as Executor or Administrator

If you have been appointed as executor of a deceased estate, or a close relative has died without a Will, we can advise and, if necessary, assist you to apply to the Supreme Court for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

Estate Administration

Administering an estate is not always straightforward. Timely advice can be invaluable. Karin or Kris can assist you with estate administration.

Claims against an Estate

Whether you are a claimant seeking a greater share in an Estate, or an Executor or Administrator anticipating or defending such a claim, effective early advice is essential. Time limits apply. In South Australia, any claim against a deceased estate must be filed and served within six months of the date of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. With early advice, significant Court costs may be avoided.

Enduring Powers of Attorney

In addition, we can assist you to prepare an appropriate Enduring Power of Attorney. This important document allows you to appoint someone to manage your financial affairs should you lose capacity during your lifetime, or if you are travelling and unable to attend to your own financial affairs.

Sometimes, carrying out the role of attorney may be challenging and legal advice may be required along the way. We can assist you to understand your obligations as attorney and to avoid or navigate any difficulties if they arise.

Advance Care Directives

It is important to plan for your health, welfare and medical treatment, should you lose capacity to make decisions about these matters for yourself. We can advise you about this and can prepare an Advance Care Directive on your behalf.