Legal Environment

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In this page: Business Contract | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework of Business | International Dispute Resolution


Business Contract

General Observation
You must define precisely the seller's obligations and the methods of quality control.
Law Applicable to the Contract
You must be vigilant about the law applicable to contracts and the methods of conflict resolution. Australia is a signatory to the Vienna Convention on international contracts. International laws, generally accepted in contracts signed with Australian firms, can be used or a system of arbitration be called on.
Advisable Incoterms
It is preferable to choose FOB or CIF. EXW is also often used if you do not want to take care of the transport in Australia.
Language of Domestic Contract
Other Laws Which Can Be Used in Domestic Contracts
If Australian law is not used, the law of the other contracting party must be chosen.

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Intellectual Property

National Organisations
The Patent Trade Marks and Designs Office is the organisation responsible for the protection of intellectual property and any requests should be made to them (administration of patents and registration of trade marks and designs). For copyright, there is also the Australian Copyright Council.
Regional Organisations
The Asian Patent Attorneys Association (“APAA”) is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting and enhancing intellectual property protection in the Asian region (including Australia and New Zealand).
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property
Membership to the TRIPS agreement - Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

National Regulation and International Agreements

Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
Patent Act 1990 & 1999
Valid for 20 years
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Mark Act 1995
Valid for 10 years Trademark Law Treaty
Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
Trademark Law 1984 & Design Act 2003
Valid for 10 years  
Copyright Act 1968
Valid for 50 years Berne convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
Rome ConventionFor the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
WIPO Copyright Treaty
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Australia is a constitutional State. Foreign nationals can benefit from the same treatment as citizens in judicial matters (including commercial disputes). It is one of the least corrupt nations in the world, and women have the same freedoms and rights as men.
The Language of Justice
Recourse to an Interpreter
Legal Similarities
The main source of the law is the constitution of 1901, based on English Common Law. The country accepts the obligatory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.

The Different Legal Codes

Accounting regulations Corporation Act 2001 and Corporation regulations 2001.
Contract and Property Law Contract law, Property Laws
Customs Law Customs Act
Consumer Law Trade Practices Act 1974
Labour Law Fair Work Act 2009
Checking National Laws Online
National Library of Australia Portal
Other Useful Resources
Australian Government Attorney-General's Department
Country Guides
Country Guide Lexmundi

The Jurisdictions

The High Court The highest jurisdiction. Resolution of cases of particular federal importance (constitutionality of laws, resolution of appeals)
The Federal Court of Australia Federal Court. Family, administrative, and commercial disputes, bankruptcy, copyright, discrimination, etc.
The Family Court of Australia Jurisdiction for family affairs.
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia Second federal chamber. This court shares jurisdiction with the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Court of Australia. Family, administrative, and commercial disputes, bankruptcy, copyright, discrimination, etc.

Court Officials

The profession of « lawyer » is separated into two categories in Australia (barrister and solicitor).
They decide if the law has been broken or not, as well as the penalties which ensue.
Barristers plead.
Solicitors advise.
They are like solicitors and represent justice.
Court agents
Agents employed to facilitate the course of justice.

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International Dispute Resolution

Arbitration is a way of solving disputes which arrives at a final decision.
Australia is a world leader in the development and provision of non-court dispute resolution mechanisms. It is a signatory to all the major international dispute resolution conventions and has organizations that provide international dispute resolution processes.
Arbitration Law
At the State level: Commercial Arbitration Act 2011 (national uniform legislation)
Victorian Commercial Arbitration Act 1984
Queensland Commercial Arbitration Act 2013

South Australian Commercial Arbitration Act 1996
Commercial Arbitration Act 2011 (national uniform legislation)
Tasmanian Commercial Arbitration Act 1986
ACT Commercial Arbitration Act 1986 (en anglais)
Commercial Arbitration Act 2011 (national uniform legislation)

New South Wales Commercial Arbitration Act 2010 (en anglais)

Conformity to International Commercial Arbitration Rules
Party to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Party to the Geneva Protocol on Arbitration Clauses.
Party to the Geneva Convention of the Execution of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Arbitration Procedure
Any person or company facing a dispute can resort to arbitration on condition that both parties wish to resort to this procedure. The sentence decided by the arbitrators is not binding. If the person sentenced refuses to carry it out, the other party will have to resort to a state tribunal for a ruling. The person sentenced can refer to the Court of Appeal to request the quashing of the sentence.
Permanent Arbitration Bodies
Australian centre for commercial arbitration (Sectors Covered: All)

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Latest Update: June 2024