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Our legal experts will keep you up to date on all relevant and current developments.

Context Must be Considered Where There is Ambiguity in an Insurance Policy
Thursday 29 July 2021 / by Stephanie Davis & Heather McIntosh posted in Insurance Property Opal Tower Construction Insurance Insurance Policy Construction Contract

In the Full Federal Court decision of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company Australia Branch trading as Liberty Specialty Markets v Icon Co (NSW) Pty Ltd [2021] FCAFC 126 given on 20 July 2021, the Full Court addressed the construction and scope of thirdparty liability policies in the context of claims made by a building and construction company for losses occurring as a result of the manifestation of serious defects within a building, during the defects liability period.

Key Take Away
  1. The Full Court maintained that in the event of ambiguity in an insurance policy, the context (including the market) in which the parties are operating, as well as the commercial purpose of the policy, must be considered (Icon’s Cross Appeal); and
  2. Similarly, the Full Court considered that the context of Insurance Policies must always be considered in circumstances where the definition of ordinary words are not clear (QBE Appeal).
  3. The Full Court ultimately prefers Policy Interpretation which refers to extrinsic contextual material where Policy terms are not clear.

Retail and Commercial Leases During COVID-19: A History and 2021 Update

Retail and Commercial tenants in NSW are likely familiar with the operation of the provisions of the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct – SME Commercial Leasing Principles and the NSW Government’s regulations that followed to give effect to the Code in response to COVID-19 pandemic during 2020 and, for some tenants, the first quarter of 2021.

This piece includes a summary of the Code and the regulations that were made to give legal effect to the Code from April to December 2020 and, to a more limited extent, the first quarter of 2021.


The Impact of COVID-19 on Property Contracts: Dyco Hotels Pty Ltd v Laundy Hotels (Quarry) Pty Ltd [2021] NSWSC 504

The recent case of Dyco Hotels Pty Ltd v Laundy Hotels (Quarry) Pty Ltd [2021] NSWSC 504 reminded me of a matter I was involved in last year during the first COVID-19 lockdown.

In that matter, Holman Webb acted for the seller of the freehold and business of a hotel.  Contracts were exchanged when knowledge of COVID-19 was only just starting to spread - although settlement was due after the public health orders had been implemented.

The lockdown caused hardship for many people.  Fortunately, in this particular matter, the parties came to a sensible settlement and the sale was able to proceed.

Contrastingly, in the recent NSW Supreme Court case of Dyco Hotels v Laundy Hotels (Quarry), the parties were unable to settle the dispute – with the seller terminating the Contract and keeping the deposit of $562,500.


Cancellation of Paper Certificates of Title: 100% eConveyancing From 11 October 2021

The Registrar General recently made two important announcements relating to certificates of title within Australia.

  • On 11 October 2021, all certificates of title ('CTs') will be abolished, known as 'cessation day'; and
  • From 11 October 2021, paper dealings will no longer be accepted for lodgment and only electronic dealings will be accepted.  

This means that from 11 October 2021, New South Wales will have 100% e-conveyancing.


Holman Webb Announces Six Promotions Across Three Offices

​Holman Webb is pleased to announce six promotions across our Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane offices – effective 1 July 2021.


Holman Webb Listed as Finalist - Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards 2021

Holman Webb Lawyers is proud to relay that the firm has been listed as a finalist in two categories in the Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards 2021:

  • Law Firm of the Year
  • Insurance Team of the Year

Click through for more information on this year's finalists, and upcoming winner announcements.


Warning for Property Buyers: One Crucial Step to Take Prior to Transferring Money to a Third Party!

In August 2020, Holman Webb published warnings regarding cyber safety, scammers, hackers and dodgy money transfers - with a particular focus on the crucial need to take extra precautions when transferring money to third parties.

In the recent case of Deligiannidou v Sundarjee [2020] NSWSC 437, we see just how cunning hackers have become, and why not doing your due diligence prior to transferring large sums of money can be financially devastating.


Significant Changes to Bankruptcy Notices and Body Corporate Levy Recoveries
Monday 21 September 2020 / by Shane Roberts, Chris Hadley & Sam Marsh posted in Property Bankruptcy Notice Statutory Demand Creditors Insolvency

The temporary measures put in place by the Government in March this year which:

  1. increased the monetary threshold at which creditors can issue a Bankruptcy Notice to $20,000; and
  2. increased the time period in which a recipient of a Bankruptcy Notice has to respond to a Statutory Demand from 21 days to 6 months,

have now been extended until 31 December 2020.


Update on the Residential Property Market in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs

As property lawyers, we are often asked about what is happening in the property market.  We are currently living in time of great uncertainty, with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting not only how we go about our daily lives, but also the economy – in a significant way.  With this said, and despite what you may hear, the Eastern Suburbs’ housing market continues to strengthen – much of which stems from a chronic shortage of listings, combined with low interest rates.


New South Wales Building Industry Reforms

Two new laws have been passed to restore public confidence in the NSW building industry and to stop 'dodgy' builders and developers:

The laws are part of the reforms promised by the NSW government in order to improve the quality of construction and provide better protections for consumers against non-compliance within the building sector. 


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