Home' micenet eMag : micenet October 2018 Contents LEGAL ISSUES | MATT CROUCH
ere is a short description of the
major issues I encounter on a
daily basis. If you are not
confident that you have got it
right with any of them, seek advice!
Your business entity – Do you operate as a
sole trader or partnership? So many small
businesses I encounter are still set up that
way. While there may be some small initial cost
savings, your personal assets are at risk if you
operate as a sole trader or partnership. No
matter how small your revenue might be initially,
the risks and potential downside are infinite!
I recommend to all my clients that they use a
company structure to gain the benefit of
limited liability as shareholders. This liability
protection far outweighs any small savings
that might be made initially – the cost of
establishing a company are in fact minimal.
Your internal company arrangements – Do
you have a shareholders’ agreement to
manage the relationships of the sharehold-
ers within your business? This is important
even if your co-shareholders are close friends
or even family members. A Shareholders’
Agreement will protect the friendship and
help to manage many issues such as financ-
ing, dividends, sale to third parties, new
shareholders and decision-making.
Your contracts – Your contracts with clients
and suppliers are so important. Have you
reviewed your terms and conditions recently?
Laws change and so do business practices.
Do your contracts describe your services and
fees? Do your contracts contain appropriate
limitations of your liability, cancellation and
Matt Crouch this edition presents readers with a quick legal health check
for their meetings and events, travel and hospitality businesses.
Your contract procedures – How do you get your clients and suppliers to agree to your terms
and conditions? Do they accept online or by sending you an email or do you get a signed
document in hard copy? Is it clear that the other party must have seen and agreed to your
terms and conditions before you started work and before the “deal was done”?
Intellectual property – If you are acquiring creative works (including website design, software,
etc) from other businesses, is it clear who will own the intellectual property? Remember, just
because you pay for creative work to be done, that does not mean that you will own the copy-
right. This is a very common problem. Your contracts need to cover it!
Have you checked your trade marks and logos for availability and that they do not infringe
others? Have you registered them with IP Australia and in other countries where you trade?
documents you need to comply with privacy laws such as a collection statement? Have you
checked your business for privacy law compliance?
trade mark and copyright notices, a privacy statement and links warning? Does the website
show your company identity in full, including your ACN/ABN? If your website is interactive and
you contract with clients or customers via the site, how are the terms and conditions arranged
so you can be sure there is a binding contract?
Insurance – Do you know what risks your insurance policies cover and what they don’t? Do
you have sufficient cover to meet the potential risks of your business? Are your contractual
limitations of liability synchronised with your insurance cover? Do you fully understand your du-
ties of disclosure and notification and the procedures you need to follow to preserve your cover
if something goes pear-shaped? Have you given indemnities to others in your contracts (they
won’t be covered by insurance!)? Does your business have any connection with North America
(as this is often excluded from cover)?
Advertising and promotion – Do you always consider the content of your promotional material
(including on your website) to ensure that it is clear, truthful and not misleading? Do you always
quote your prices inclusive of GST and itemise all components of the price?
Dealings with other businesses – Are you confident that your business complies with the anti-
trust rules in the Competition and Consumer Act? Deals with competitors are a serious risk as
are any exclusivity or other arrangements with customers or suppliers that fix or restrict freedom
to set prices, deal with customers or choose suppliers. Do you have a Competition and Con-
sumer Act compliance program/training in place for you and your staff?
Employees – Do you have updated employee contracts? Do they cover confidential information
and intellectual property? Do you have appropriate policies for staff to comply with workplace
rules including WHS, use of IT, email and social media? m
Matt is the principal of Matt Crouch Legal and can be contacted at email@example.com.
A QUICK LEGAL
88 | micenet
EVENTS | STU KATZEN
head into Christmas – yes, I said
it... I figured I needed to put
things into perspective a little
before we hit the wall. What better way to do
this and take the edge off (like a Friday
afternoon Serepax), than to share some of
my crazier event stories with you.
One of my most lasting memories was a
very large corporate dinner at the Australian
Museum. I had been engaged to organise
the entertainment for the night – a Latin
theme. Halfway through the Latin show, the
performers left the stage to do a fast change
and two couples came on stage to tango
and salsa. Cute, fun (not the most exciting)
The event manager runs over to me in
panic and informs me this is boring and to
immediately remove them from stage. My
answer: it’s mid show, it will look really bad to
pull the performers off stage and then wait
with a dark stage for the dancers to return.
She looked at me and I saw the madness
cross her eyes. She walked over the distro
and pulled the hot, three phase cable out of
the wall, sending the whole event into
What followed was complete
pandemonium. The tech director screaming,
the client screaming, and the event manager
screaming. Amidst all the screaming, the
three phase got plugged back in and the
dancers took to the stage. But what a night!
There are some events that are just slated
to never succeed. They not only cross over
Into the second half of the year and I don’t know about everyone else,
but things are starting to get cray cray.
into Murphy’s Law, but embody them!
This was a charity event (again not my event thank goodness). I was there pre-guest arrival
when I saw the headline magic act rehearsing. He was (with the aid of an EA) trying to get the
MD into a wooden crate for a later reveal.
The MD was explaining he got claustrophobic, but eventually was convinced to get inside. Guests
were ushered in and the magician was introduced. As the act began, there were a few bungles
due to a funny noise, but no one really noticed, except a few of us back stage and the magician.
About 10 minutes into the act, the magician was introducing his pretty assistant. She did a
twirl, hand outstretched, which the magician was to catch in a snazzy “ta da” moment, when a
blood curdling scream started.
With a crash the wooden crate, stage centre, disintegrated, and the MD came thrashing out
in a mad panic. The magician lost concentration, missed the girl – who went flying off the stage
into the audience – all to a background of screaming profanity from the MD. Needless to say a
memorable start to an event.
This next story is not mine, but was told to me in a “you won’t believe this” events story swap.
The client was a large corporate with a lion as their logo. The idea was to have a real lion on
stage during the show and this had taken months to get sorted with the venue.
It was decided to put the lion in a clear Perspex box (with air holes) during the show – see
folks no bars!
The client decided the agency quote for the box was too much and organised a box made
up themselves for less than half the price.
The box arrived and was installed. It was noted that the box looked much smaller than
originally planned and was glued not bolted together.
The lion was brought in asleep and placed in the box. An hour later, the lion started to wake
up and due to the smaller size of the box was starting to show tension and standing up a lot,
trying to move around. The room was in the final stages of lighting and audio checking. The lion
started making sounds and moving around even more. There was a splintering sound and the
box broke apart.
So, large hotel ballroom, staff and crew everywhere and a real lion... loose!!! Oh... and guests
starting to arrive for pre-dinner drinks.
Everyone ran screaming; the doors were bolted and Taronga Zoo was called for a lion handler
to come and help, as there was no trained personnel onsite to take care of this.
Eventually the handler arrived and sedated the lion who was placed back in the box asleep
and sleep he did; for the whole night!
So, when things get really crazy and don’t go quite to plan, just stop, take a breath and count
yourself lucky there isn’t a lion in the room. m
micenet | 89
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