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About Me

Coutts Solicitors and Conveyancers

Narellan, New South Wales
02 4647 7577
Whether you are looking for a family lawyer, a civil litigation lawyer, property conveyancer, a will or local government and planning advice, Coutts have the expertise and experience to stand behind you and give advice in language you understand... without the legal jargon.

Coutts provide legal solutions within the Macarthur, Hunter and Sydney regions of NSW. You'll find our offices in Narellan, Picton, Campbelltown, Cessnock and the Sydney CBD.

My Activity

Q: Hi all, if a shareholder of an unlisted public company is wanting to sell their shares what information is the company obliged to provide in relation to the financials and performance of the business to allow the shareholder a reasonable chance of selling their shares?
A: Hi Paul,
The Corporations Act makes provision for a number of disclosure requirements for unlisted public companies generally. Unlisted public companies are required to prepare an annual report that includes the following:
1. A directors’ report;

2. A financial report; and

3. auditor’s report.
For a small proprietary company, a directors’ report and financial report are only required when directors holding at least 5% of the votes in the company direct the report to be issued.

The annual report must be distributed to its members (including shareholders) within the earlier of 21 days before the annual general meeting or four months after the end of the financial year.

The financial report must include the financial statements of the company including but not limited to a balance sheet, profit and loss statement, cash flow statement and a statement of recognised income and expenses. This report should also include notes to the financial statements and a directors’ declaration about the statements and the notes.
A shareholder may request the company send them a full annual report for a financial year not earlier than the one before the financial year that the request is made. This report would help the shareholder be in the best position to assess the performance of the company in order to sell their shares.

It is important to note that there are certain share sale disclosure requirements under the Corporations Act that a seller of shares must adhere to. These requirements include the seller issuing a prospectus or offering an information statement with the offer to sell the shares to the purchaser. Chapter 6D of the Corporations Act outlines these disclosure requirements, noting that there are a number of exemptions to these provisions, for example, if the seller of the shares is not a controller of the company (a majority shareholder or a director) then these requirements do not apply.

Some of the shareholder’s rights can be varied by the company’s constitution or the shareholder's agreement for example. It is important to be clear what these documents specify.
Coutts chats to Commercial Client - Upstairs at Fred's

Coutts is with you

blog post
Three common myths about executors & attorneys
"I can only appoint one executor under my will."
The truth: There is technically no limit on how many executors someone can appoint under their will. However, from a prac ...
blog post
Three common myths about wills
"I don't need a will. If I die, everything automatically goes to my spouse anyway."
The truth: In some respects this is true, as a person's spouse is the first in line to ...
Q: I have a couple of teenage children who are being invited to various social gatherings, many of which I suspect involve alcohol. I am not so naive to assume that nothing is going to happen, but what is the legal obligation of the parent host of a teenage birthday party where kids turn up with alcohol? I presume that the parents might be placing themselves in a bad position without knowing what the legal implications are....
A: Hi Brendan,

The legal drinking age in Australia is 18. Alcohol may be served (or brought and consumed by) minors on private premises (e.g. a house party) provided that certain conditions are met. You must:

Ensure you have written permission from the parent of guardian (for example, a letter, email or text message). This is essential regardless of if alcohol is being supplied at the event, or brought independently.

You must comply with the 'responsible supervision of a minor' provisions:
• You must make food available.
• You must not be intoxicated while supplying the minor.
• You must be responsibly supervising the minor's consumption of liquor.

Consider other factors listed under 'responsible supervision of a minor' provisions:
• The age of the minor.
• The type and quality of alcohol supplied.
• The extent of time alcohol is made available.

People under the age of 18 years are prohibited from:
• Obtaining, consuming or carrying away liquor from a licensed premises;
• Consuming alcohol in public spaces such as parks or beaches;
• Consuming alcohol in unlicensed spaces (such as restaurants) unless in the company and with permission of a parent or guardian.

There is no law which creates an offence relating to the minor drinking on private premises.

There are however laws relating to the supply of alcohol to minors, on private premises.

S 117 (6) of the Liquor Act 2007 (NSW) states it is an offence to obtain liquor from a licensed premises on behalf of a minor unless the person is a parent or guardian of the minor. Penalty: $11,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment.
• S 117 (7): A defence is available if the defendant was authorised to obtain liquor on behalf of the minor by the parent or guardian of the minor.

Under S 117 (4) of the Liquor Act 2007 (NSW): It is an offence to supply minors with liquor on any premises unless:
• The person is a parent or guardian of the minor, or is authorised to supply liquor to the minor by a parent or guardian of the minor, and
• The supply is consistent with the responsible supervision of the minor.
• A maximum court imposed penalty of $11,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment applies.
• Additionally, on the spot fines of $1,000 apply per minor served.

Regardless of consent or permission, 'responsible supervision of a minor' principles apply. These are listed under S 117 (5) of the Liquor Act 2007 (NSW).
• The age of the minor.
• Whether the person supplying the liquor is intoxicated.
• Whether the minor is consuming the liquor with food.
• Whether the person is supplying the liquor is supervising the minor's consumption responsibly.
• The quantity and type of liquor supplied.
• The period of time over which it is supplied.
• Such other matters as may be prescribed by the regulations.

• Consent should be in writing, as it must be capable of being proved in court.
• This applies regardless of if alcohol is being supplied or independently brought.

Kind regards,
Luisa Gaetani, Solicitor
blog post
Australian court rules that an unsent text message is a valid will
The Supreme Court of Queensland has ruled this week that a man’s unsent SMS text message which cut out his wife and son was a valid will and was admitted to probate.
Mark Nichol, aged 54, t ...
Q: I have been separated for 2 years, and have just sold the family home. I believe a 50/50 split of the equity is fair but my estranged partner believes she is entitled to more as my father passed away 10 months ago and she is wanting some inheritance as well. My fathers estate is still in probate and overseas. I am self employed, pay maintenance for our child, the ex does not work and has never worked.
Does my ex have claim on my future inheritance, or for a higher split in the equity?
A: It is important to complete a formal Family Law property settlement to end the financial relationship between you and protect and any future assets you may receive. You may be able to try and argue that you have received your inheritance after separation but it’s possible that it may form part of the property pool. In relation to the split of the equity, we are not aware of all the details of the relationship but in circumstances where your former spouse has a lower income earning capacity than you and care of the child then she may be able to receive an adjustment in her favour. It is important to seek advice from a Family Law Solicitor in relation to your inheritance and the potential split of the equity.

Kind regards,
Rebecca Watts, Solicitor
blog post
Unfair contract terms and small businesses: Examples and practical considerations
What are some examples of unfair contract terms?
There are a number of examples regarding the types of clauses which could be found to be unfair terms. The table below shows some but not all ...
blog post
Spotlight on unfair contracts and small businesses
The unfair contracts regime under the Australian Consumer Law was extended to apply to small businesses on and from 12 November 2016 and is already in force. It covers contr ...
blog post
What happens if I can't afford to buy my land when it registers?
This is an extremely common question that we are asked when we have clients purchasing unregistered land.
The short answer is that regardless of the change in your circumstances, you are still locked ...
Q: I am thinking of buying a apartment in Brisbane can Coutts do the conveyance from Sydney
if so what would the fee for this be ?
A: Hi Jody,

Coutts can definitely do the conveyance for your property purchase in QLD. Licensed conveyancer's can only practice in the state that they are licensed in, however solicitors admitted to the High Court can practice interstate - I am the property solicitor here at Coutts that does so.

Depending on what and how you are purchasing (the purchasing entity, the property itself etc.) we are currently charging $1,599 (plus disbursements, if any) for our interstate transactions. All we would need is the property details/ Contract for Sale to get the ball rolling.

Kind regards,
Allyce Silm
E: Allyce@couttslegal.com.au | D: 02 4607 2119
P: 1300 268 887 | F: 02 4647 7447
W: couttslegal.com.au
Coutts chats to commercial client Ausure Insurance Brokers Macarthur

blog post
A guide to first home buyer incentives
In a move to improve housing affordability and more specifically assist first home buyers to enter the market and compete with investors, incentives for first home buyers have been reformed.
If you'r ...
Coutts chats to commercial client The Lighting Centre

blog post
Workplace law breaches: Third party business advisors beware
It is extremely common nowadays for small businesses with limited ...
blog post
Not a first home buyer? Property reforms may affect you too
The recently announced property reforms commence from 1 July 2017. While they are aimed at assisting first home buyers, such reforms will also affect non-first home buyers as follows:
blog post
First home buyers: What do the latest stamp duty reforms mean for you?
Stamp duty incentives for first home buyers in New South Wales currently include;
- Exemption from stamp duty on vacant blocks of residential land valued up to $350,000. ...
blog post
Privacy Awareness Week 2017
Monday 15 May to Friday 19 May 2017 is Privacy Awareness Week. With consumers being more conscious than ever before with where and how they hand over personal data, and what it's used for, both consum ...
Q: Hi simplyaskit community,

I'm looking for a lawyer to draw up agreements for my small business. I need to draw up a business agreement for new parties to sign and help write T&Cs for contracts and competitions. What sort of lawyer would I need to approach? Can an expert on this platform assist?

Thank you,
A: Hi Natalie,

For all things small business you will benefit from a Commercial Lawyer. A Commercial Lawyer will be able to help you find the right business structure, especially if you are bringing in new parties, and will be able to help prepare an agreement to govern that business relationship. A Commercial Lawyer can also assist with preparing agreements between the business and its customers or clients and setting out all the terms and conditions of that service from the beginning.

Kind regards,
Kaisha Gambell, Solicitor
blog post
How does compulsory property acquisition work?
Here's a quick start guide to understanding how compulsory property acquisition works. 
All levels of government can acquire privately owned land for public purposes, for example road wideni ...
Q: How do I set up a will for a blended family with overseas assets a complication?
A: Hi Michael,

Estate planning for blended families is hardly straightforward, and the standard DIY will kits are generally only set out to cover the traditional nuclear family. With blended family structures becoming more common, there are certainly a few ways to ensure that your spouse will be looked after once you pass away, as well as maintaining your assets for your children of a previous marriage. These legal solutions will depend on the nature of your estate assets (including your overseas assets) and your family dynamics. I would recommend that you seek legal advice to understand your options and be able to prepare a will that provides for your loved ones as you intend.

Kind regards,
Kaisha Gambell, Solicitor
Q: Wife and I seperated 2yrs trying to negotiate a settlement.
We had a joint account in both names that she froze. The funds have been released by a cheque issued in both names, I asked it to be sent direct to the solicitor acting on both our behalf, but they said they could only send it to the account holder.
My wife received the cheque and has cashed it into her personal acc, she now tells me she has spent the money.
Was it legal to cash a cheque issued in both names? I think not.. Thanks
A: Hi John,

Generally speaking, you should speak to a family lawyer urgently to discuss negotiating a formal property settlement or commencing proceedings in the Family Court.

Kind regards,
Rebecca Watts, Solicitor
Coutts chats to commercial client Southwest Automotive

blog post
What happens to our online life after we die?
Everyone who comes to us to have their will done has already thought about what they would like to do with their house, personal items and bank accounts. But only very few consider their digital asset ...
blog post
Should I buy or build a house?
Everyone has their own reasons for why they might buy or build a house. We wanted to take a quick moment anyway, with the help of Domain, to list a few considerations for if you're torn betwe ...
blog post
I'm separated, can I buy a new property?
If you have recently separated from your partner, you may be looking for a new place to live. You may find yourself chatting to a charming real estate agent who is showing you around the perfect new h ...
blog post
Difference between NSW & QLD property purchasing
Purchasing interstate is a great way to expand your property portfolio however not everyone is aware that each state differs in their processes and procedures.
If you choose to diversify your portfol ...
blog post
To buy or sell first? Part two
If you are looking to buy a new home and sell your existing home you’ve most likely wondered whether you should buy or sell first.
There are several things to consider when making this deci ...
blog post
To buy or sell? Part one
If you are looking to buy a new home and sell your existing home you’ve most likely wondered whether you should buy or sell first.
There are several things to consider when making this deci ...
blog post
What you need to know about domestic violence laws
At Coutts Solicitors and Conveyancers, we wanted to take a moment to make sure you’re in the know when it comes to domestic violence legislation and what it could mean for ...
blog post
Conveyancer's top tips for buying & selling
Here’s a quick guide to buying and selling from Coutts, your local solicitors and conveyancers. 
- Make sure you have your finance sorted prior to making an offer, taking i ...
Q: I need to write a will. As it is likely to be rather simple (leave everything to my wife, then daughter) can I simply type it out and store it securely, or is legal advice necessary?
A: Hi Michael,

Whilst your wishes may be rather simplistic and legally you are allowed to write your will yourself, a DIY will template is not always a great idea! Will drafting can be quite complex. There are certain ways of writing clauses in wills that have been tried and tested over the years, so as to remove any confusion or uncertainty about what you are trying to achieve with your will. There are also very strict rules about signing your will and having it witnessed. Common mistakes in signing your will could mean that your will is invalid.

There are some situations where I would consider it absolutely necessary to obtain legal advice:

• If you own property or investments in another state or overseas.
• If you own a business or are an officer of a Company.
• If you are financially responsible for someone other than your immediate family.
• If you are trying to set up a testamentary trust for a particular beneficiary.

Whilst you might save money with a DIY will today, there may be large costs to your Estate if you get anything wrong.

Kind regards,
Kaisha Gambell, Solicitor