Author: Fortitude Legal Admin

Congratulations to Cameron Cowan, Tom Burgoyne and Fleur Jackson for being acknowledged as Finalists in the 14th Victorian Legal Awards.

The Victorian Legal Awards is the most prestigious legal awards program in Victoria celebrating the “best of the best” and publicly recognising those who demonstrate excellence in legal practice.

At Fortitude Legal we are thrilled that our very own Cam has been acknowledged in this way and that we will soon be welcoming into our team the also amazing Fleur and Tom.

Fortitude Legal – bringing the best to regional Victoria!

The theme for this year’s international women’s day is gender parity.
Today is a reminder that as a community we need to continue the momentum to aim for gender parity across the globe. This is not just about equal pay and the workplace, but about equal rights across the board.

The Gender – World Economic Forum 2017 Global Gender Gap Report tells us that gender parity is over 200 years away, however women in Australia continue to make significant progress toward equality.

The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) makes sex discrimination and sexual harassment unlawful across various parts of public life and gives effect to Australia’s human rights obligations.

Whilst women on the Board’s of ASX listed companies have grown from 8.3% in 2009 to 26.2% in 2018, the average full-time weekly wage for a woman is 15.3% less than a man’s. In 2015-2016 average superannuation balances for women aged 60-64 were just over half (58%) those of men. 1 in 2 mothers reported experiencing workplace discrimination as a result of their pregnancy, parental leave or return to work plan and 1 in 5 mothers indicated that they were made redundant, restructured, dismissed or did not have their contract renewed.

And for women in the law, we are not immune. The Australian Bar Association Statistics reported in 2015 that whilst 23.13 % of Australian barristers are women, only 1.52% of senior barristers are women. A 2013-14 study by the Australian National University revealed male barristers report a 184% higher taxable income than their female counterparts.
Whilst we can be proud of what we have achieved, we cannot stop the progress for all women.
#PressforProgress

Successful litigation is about knowing our clients and their case and most of all, ensuring we always know more than our opponent.
Our best shot at settling your case is to make sure we’re ready to run it. If a lawyer is not ready to run your case – they have no place talking to the opposition.
At Fortitude Legal we work hard for our clients so they can get the results they deserve.

Recent media coverage reported that a Ballarat construction company was convicted and fined $25,000 for “ignoring WorkSafe directions to fix unsafe scaffolding”.
Employers and others responsible for erecting and maintaining scaffolding cannot cut corners on measures that are put in place to protect our workers.
According to the Safe Work Australia 2016 report “Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities, Australia”, in the 14 years from 2003 to 2016, 3414 workers in Australia lost their lives in work-related incidents. This is horrendous.

In 2016 alone that number was 182 with 8% being female and 92% being male workers. 14% of the fatalities in 2016, 25 workers, involved falling from height, and the construction industry finds itself in the top three industries for fatalities.

Whilst the fatality rate has trended downwards since 2007, even one fatality is one too many. That’s one father, sister, son or friend, whose loss will trigger a ripple effect throughout their family, friends and the community.

Your employer has a duty to ensure that your workplace is safe. Falls can occur from areas including scaffolding, ladders, through roofs, and from trucks, to name a few.
If you identify a hazard or risk in your workplace make sure you speak up, let your OH & S representative know immediately. Your actions in assisting to keep your workplace safe may save you or your workmates from death or serious injury.

The DOMESTIC ANIMALS ACT 1994 provides various laws and penalties pertaining to dogs and other animals but the ones we thought you might be interested in include:
– Dogs over 3 months old must be registered with the relevant Council and failure to do so can lead to a fine of up to 20 penalty units;
– Council can refuse to register a dog that is not desexed;
– For dogs found at large, such as Killer, an owner can be fined up to 10 penalty units.
– For dogs that are not defined as a “dangerous dog” or “restricted breed dog” and the dog attacks or bites a person or animal, the person in apparent control of the dog, whether or not the owner, can be liable for a penalty of up to 40 penalty units;
– That if a dog rushes or chases any person, the person in apparent control of the dog at the time, whether or not the owner, can be liable for a penalty of up to 4 penalty units;
– Where the dog is defined as a “dangerous dog” or a “restricted breed dog” and it attacks or bites a person or animal, the person in apparent control of the dog at the time of attack or biting, whether or not the owner of the dog, can be liable to a term of imprisonment or a fine of up to 120 penalty units;
– There are some defences that apply.
One penalty unit in Victoria as at 1 July 2017 is $158.57.
The Courts are given quite broad powers in dealing with offences under this legislation, including but not limited to:
– The power to seize, take custody of, dispose of or destroy the dog;
– The power to prohibit ownership;
– The power to order that a person pay compensation for any damage caused by the conduct of the dog.
The CRIMES ACT 1958 also provides penalties for owners who fail to control a dangerous, menacing or restricted breed dog that kills a person or places a person in danger of death. Such penalties can be up to 10 years imprisonment.

LOCAL COUNCIL
Local Councils are required to have in place a Domestic Animal Management Plan. The Ballarat Council Draft Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017 provides that:

– in addition to registration newly registered animals must also be micro-chipped before registration can be accepted.
Furthermore, where the dog is outside the owner’s premises, Ballarat City Council require that:
– Council identification tags be worn by the dog;
– The owner must carry a litter device; and
– The person in apparent control of the dog must have the dog on a lead unless the dog is in a Designated Off Leash area.

DOG ATTACKS
According to Ballarat City Council’s Draft Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017, there were 116 dog attacks investigated in 2016.
Dog attacks can have devastating consequences both from a physical and psychological perspective and can at times cause death.
In addition to the power of the Courts to award compensation under the DOMESTIC ANIMALS ACT 1994 , a dog attack victim may have the right to bring a claim for damages which may include a claim for medical expenses, loss of income and pain and suffering.
It does not matter whether or not the owner has been prosecuted in relation to the attack.
A dog owner’s home and contents insurance, sometimes provides cover for circumstances such as this, even if the incident occurs off the owner’s premises.
As a dog owner it is your responsibility to ensure that you have control of your dog, whether that be at home, or when out walking.