On 29 April 2016, in a Media Release, the Federal Government Attorney General George Brandis released the Government's response to the Productivity Commission's Access to Justice Report (The Report). The Report, delivered on 3 December 2014, included 83 recommendations to improve accessibility to the civil justice system.
As reported in a recent ACCC Media Release, the Federal Court in Brisbane has ordered four cement companies to pay more than $18 million in penalties for anti-competitive conduct. The corporations include Cement Australia Pty Ltd; Cement Australia Queensland Pty Ltd; Pozzolanic Enterprises Pty Ltd; and Pozzolanic Industries Pty Ltd.
The Productivity Commission has released a draft report on Australia’s intellectual property regime that recommends the Australian Government repeal parallel import restrictions on books, allow consumers to circumvent geoblocking technology, adopt a fair use system for copyright and abolish the innovation patent system.
The New South Wales Government has enacted model laws that would hold domestic violence perpetrators accountable nationwide. Under the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Amendment (National Domestic Violence Orders Recognition) Act 2016, assented on the 15 April 2016, domestic violence offenders cannot escape the law by moving interstate.
As reported in a recent ACCC Media Release, the Federal Court has made orders that Colgate-Palmolive Pty Ltd (Colgate) pay total penalties of $18 million for contraventions of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (now known as the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)) (the Act), following admissions by Colgate in proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The Tasmanian Government has committed to phasing out suspended sentences by the end of this year by adopting recommendations from a model developed by the Sentencing Advisory Council. The model involves replacing suspended sentences with a range of options, including home detention, alcohol and drug treatment orders, and a new intermediate sanction called a “community correction order” (CCO).
In a recent decision handed down by Justice Gilmour, the Federal Court has declared that a number of terms in Europcar Australia’s 2013 Standard Rental Agreement to be unfair, and therefore void, in proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in ACCC v CLA Trading Pty Ltd  FCA 377. Europcar was also ordered to pay a penalty of $100,000 for making false or misleading representations about consumers’ liability in the event of vehicle damage.
According to an ACCC Media Release of 21 April 2016, "freeing up laws around importing new cars will provide consumers with greater choice and create new business opportunities in a changing industry." Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Commissioner Roger Featherston addressed the Australian Auto Aftermarket Conference in Melbourne, referring to the proposed Government reforms to the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (Cth).
The Tasmanian Parliament, earlier this month, introduced the Supreme Court Amendment (Judges) Bill 2016 into the Legislative Assembly. The Bill was introduced by the Premier, Mr. William Hodgman, and sets out to amend the Supreme Court Act 1887 and the Supreme Court Act 1959. The principal purpose of the Bill is to provide for the appointment and payment of acting judges on a part time basis.
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