A small to medium enterprise or SME in Australia must have access to specific, fundamental types of legal advice. The failure to obtain this advice can result in an SME facing significant and costly legal problems. In the final analysis, there are several different areas in which a SME in Australia must seek and obtain reliable legal advice.
A main area in which business of all types, including a typical SME, ends up facing legal issues and in need of legal advice is in the employee arena. Legal advice to an Australian SME regarding employee related matters is rather extensive.
Legal advice can be useful in developing contracts for employees. A contract for employment needs to contain the terms needed by an SME but also must include provisions that comply with the law.
Many SMEs elect to develop employee handbooks. Creating these handbooks is easier said than done, specifically when it comes to ensuring that they meet legal muster. This represents another area in which legal advice related to employee matters is useful.
Each and every year, SMEs across Australia face complaints and even legal actions lodged by current or former employees. Employment law is a highly specialised legal scheme. An SME best protects its rights and interests — and its finances — be seeking and following reliable legal advice when this type of dispute or issue arises.
Another employee related area in which legal advice is a must involves workplace injuries. The workplace represents one of the most common places in Australia in which injuries occur. An SME really needs legal assistance to ensure that a claim for these injuries properly is processed, that an employee is appropriately cared for and the business itself suitable protected.
Contracts and contract-related issues is another area in which legal advice for an SME is vital. This includes a full range of different types of matters from drafting contracts in the first instance to reviewing agreements before they are signed. Many businesses rely on standard form contracts in their day-to-day operations. An attorney is in the best position to craft and create a standard form contract that will serve the short and long term needs of an SME effectively and legally.
Advice from an attorney is also necessary when a contract dispute occurs. The odds of negotiating a decent resolution of a contract dispute increases when legal advice and representation is sought. In addition, if a contract dispute ends up in court, legal advice and representation is imperative. Court process and laws surrounding contract disputes are complex and require a professional with legal expertise.
No matter how diligent an Australian SME may be in the operation and management of its operations, the day very well may come when that enterprise faces a lawsuit. An SME may find itself in the position of having to file a lawsuit or may end up being sued. In either event, an SME simply should not go it alone. The prospect of litigation represents a primary situation in which an SME must seek legal advice and retain representation.
With what is best classified as alarming regularity, SME owners in Australia believe they can handle effectively dealing with suing or being sued. The reality is that time and time again, an SME owner who elects to take the course of self representation in litigation, who fails to obtain legal advice and assistance, end up causing great harm to the business. A person who takes this course nearly always ends up having to retain an attorney — and spends and loses a considerable amount of money in the process.
In some cases an SME owner may face some sort of criminal charge arising out of the operation of the enterprise. In such a situation, legal advice from a criminal lawyer is a must. Retaining a criminal lawyer is absolutely necessary to best protect the rights and interests of an SME and its owner.
Any time an issue or matter arises that suggests the need for legal advice, an SME owner is wise to be proactive. Rarely does a legal issue improve with time. Rarely does a legal matter resolve without a concerted effort — and wise counsel from an attorney.
Most attorneys in Australia will schedule an initial consultation with an SME owner to discuss a legal issue. Typically, these lawyers charge no fee for this initial consultation.
About the Author:
Sarah Smith is the blog curator at the Quinn & Scattini blog, a legal firm in Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Sarah’s experience is within the legal blogging space, which sees her interacting with a lot of lawyers, writers, bloggers and web designers. Quinn & Scattini is a law firm dedicated to providing SME owners with sound advice relating to commercial litigation, partnerships, and franchising.