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Client Outcomes

We work in partnership with our clients to find them the best and most cost-effective legal solution. We work collaboratively to keep them informed every step of the way. The outcomes described below provide a snapshot of our diverse capability.

This client was a landlord and encountered a tenant who moved out of his property having not paid rent for about a year, and with one year remaining on the lease.

After advising the client of their rights, we drafted and sent a letter of demand to the tenant. When the tenant did not pay, we advised the client of their options for debt recovery. The client decided to issue a statutory demand under the Corporations Act. 

The tenant decided to pay and a settlement was negotiated with the tenant paying what it owed, with a further smaller payment of make good and also some further lost rent. 

The client obtained certainty without the need for expensive and uncertain court action. The client could relet the premises to another tenant without any risk.

Area of Expertise: Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Hillhouse has acted for this client since 2015, from the purchase of their first property when they had no kids, through to their fourth property purchase and fifth child. We have provided the full spectrum of legal services for them including property purchases; employment law issues; estate planning; and land rights and mining.

This client provided the following testimonial: 

Several years ago, we were recommended Hillhouse Legal Partners by another of our professional advisors. After that first experience, Hillhouse Legal Partners 'sold' us with their professionalism, knowledge, diligence and efficiency. Michael Morris and the Hillhouse team have since continued to provide us with valuable, thorough and straightforward advice and representation for our property purchases, contractual documentation, HR matters and ultimately any aspect of our cattle and property enterprise that we require. We, too, would recommend Michael and Hillhouse Legal Partners to others in our industry and to anyone seeking proficient and caring legal representatives.”

We believe the real value is the relationship and knowledge we have of their business, their family and how they do things. We know what they want, their risk profile and what matters to them and just get on with it.

Area of Expertise: Corporate & Commercial

Our client was a small company with 10 staff. They were entering into a new Lease as a Lessee with a different landlord in the same suburb. We provided a review of and advice on the Lease and associated documents, including incentive to enter into the lease and a parking licence. 

With our advice, the correction, negotiation and execution of the Lease documents was completed and the risk of any non-compliance within the lease documents was removed, avoiding the possibility of disputes down the track. By remaining in continual contact with our client and their relevant staff, we ensured that they attended to all lease obligations. In doing so, we obtained early access to the building so that our client could commence fit-out, a very desirable outcome for the client.

Area of Expertise: Corporate & Commercial

Our client, who was in the process of retiring, received a claim from an employee alleging they were entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars in underpayments.

On the client’s records it was unclear as to the amounts owing to the employee. We advised our client on the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and the relevant award. On our advice, the amount actually owing to the employee was approximately $100,000 less than the employee asked for.

We sent correspondence to the employee’s representatives setting out our calculations and the amount our client believed to be owing to the employee.

Within a week of us sending our client’s correspondence, the employee accepted our client’s offer to settle the matter for substantially less than the amount originally requested by the employee.

Area of Expertise: Employment & Industrial Relations

Our client engaged a supplier to develop bespoke software for their company. After certain milestones were reached, our client attended to payment for the software. The supplier then failed to produce the final deliverable. The client reached out to the office of fair trading who corresponded with the software developer, however the dispute was not resolved.

We advised the client of their options and legal rights under the terms of their agreement with the supplier. The client instructed us to send correspondence to the supplier offering to settle the matter in return for a refund. 

Within two weeks of sending correspondence to the software developer we received an offer to settle the matter which our client was happy to accept.

Area of Expertise: Debt Recovery, Insolvency & Restructuring

This client had a major change of clientele and needed to reorganise its business in several states. Part of this restructure and reorganisation was how to practically and legally deal with its employees and the necessary changes to their roles this would result in.   

We advised the client of their rights and obligations under employment law. As part of that advice we reviewed the client’s employee agreements and the relevant Award as well as liaising with the client as to their business and the reasons and plan for reorganisation. On behalf of the client and with the client we negotiated with the various employees and/or the employees’ representatives. 

The client was able to (with our assistance) successfully navigate a way forward with all except one affected employees.  Some were made voluntarily redundant, some were redeployed, and some moved from full time to part time status.

The client saved significant costs in redundancy pay and also in defended Fair Work actions. The client obtained certainty for its business position going forward. 

Area of Expertise: Employment & Industrial Relations Law

This client required assistance after purchasing a business with either non-existent, minimal, or non-compliant employment agreements and contractor agreements. 

We reviewed the client’s staffing needs, current documentation and compliance. We gave the client advice on their current agreements and policies or lack thereof and provided general advice as to what they should have in place given their business, their staff and their requirements. We also gave advice as to the Awards under which various staff were governed.

After our involvement, the client has up to date contactors agreements, employment agreements, policies and workplace practices. They also knew where to come if there was an issue with an employee or contactor. In this event, the client would have less exposure to an adverse outcome either in Court or the Fair Work Commission, and there was now certainty for employees and contractors leading to a better workplace for everyone, and a better and more productive business for the client.

Area of Expertise: Employment & Industrial Relations Law

A married couple had 3 children all under 18 years of age. They had wills drawn up prior to having children but required an updated estate plan that properly dealt with their assets and incorporated their children. They owned properties in two states, part of a medical practice and a small pension in the UK (one of the clients being a doctor who had worked in the NHS). The doctor also stood to inherit UK property when his elderly parents passed away. 

We met with the clients and their financial planners, advised them on what we thought would be their best estate plan, drafted Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney and Statement of Wishes. We went to the clients’ home to witness the documents and finalise matters.

Following our involvement, our clients had up to date Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney that dealt with their current situation especially with the guardianship of their children under 18 should both parents pass away. Their Estate Plan also consisted of Testamentary Trusts that if used would best deal with that part of the Estate in the trusts for that beneficiary, most probably their children.

The actual and possible UK Estate was considered as part of the Estate Plan and specific advice was given and the clients referred to a UK lawyer and accountant in this regard.

Area of Expertise: Wills, Estates & Trusts

This client was going through a breakdown of their second marriage and hoped for an amicable divorce and final separation.  Both parties had children from first marriages but did not have any children together. The main assets of the marriage were their house and superannuation, but our client also had shares in the company that employed him. 

After advising the client, and following negotiations with other party’s lawyers, we drafted and negotiated Consent Orders of the Court, secured severance of joint tenancy and drew up a new Will. This ensured the client’s interests were protected during and after the separation. Once the Orders were made with the assistance of the other lawyers, the Orders were put in to effect by transferring property and money and notifying superannuation funds. The separation was legally effected.

Instead of being done with hostility or even worse, with court proceedings being pursued with the associated large cost, the separation was completed efficiently, civilly and with certainty. While it does take two to tango (the other lawyer and their client were also sensible) we negotiated sensibly and efficiently with the other lawyer, saving our client time and money, and perhaps more importantly reduced the likelihood of future issues for our client. 

Area of Expertise: Family Law

This client was part of a family business that he wanted to exit and be “bought out” of by the other family members. The difficulty was that the business was operated via a discretionary trust so our client had no actual legal interest in the business that he could sell.

We advised the client about his rights and options including alternative bases outside of his strict legal rights upon which he may be entitled to a share of the business or other money in respect of his contribution. 

We successfully negotiated a settlement to reflect our client’s contribution to the business that our client was satisfied with. We were able to think “outside of the box” by going beyond the client’s strict legal position and looking at how equitable remedies might entitle the client to a satisfactory resolution. 

We ensured our client was released from all financial liabilities including personal guarantees, affording them a “clean break” from the business.

Area of Expertise: Corporate & Commercial

A government department unexpectedly refused to consent to the issue of fresh permits to our client. The effect of this was to gradually “ground” our client’s fleet as existing permits expired. We engaged the services of a senior barrister who specialised in administrative law to provide urgent advice and assist in correspondence with the government department. We convened an urgent meeting with relevant stakeholders including the government department and relevant regulator in order to resolve the concerns. Having been given further information and being satisfied that its concerns were addressed, the government department consented to the issue of the permits. Without these permits the business would not have been able to continue operating. We effectively assisted to “save” the business.

Area of Expertise: Litigation & Dispute Resolution

A husband and wife had property over two lots and intended to separate them to build over them. On review of the provided documents, we identified that no legal work was required for the separation of titles. We directed the clients to update their records with Brisbane City Council, and relevant advice was provided suggesting they obtain approval to build to boundary on the separated lots.

Area of Expertise: Property & Projects

Our client came to us recently separated from their partner and wanted to ensure their assets and estate would be passed to their children, at the exclusion of their partner.

Our Wills and Estates team prepared a new Will for the separated client to ensure the children would receive the Estate, and not the soon to be divorced partner. The joint-tenancy for the matrimonial property was also severed to ensure the client’s children would receive the client’s share of the property in the event of their death prior to the finalisation of the family law proceedings.    

The outcome was peace of mind for the client in that the children would receive the assets and the estate as per their wishes, at the exclusion of the soon to be divorced partner. The client was very appreciative of the sensitivity and understanding Hillhouse brought to the handling of the matter.

Area of Expertise: Wills, Estates & Trusts

In this matter, a brother and sister who were appointed the Executors of a deceased estate engaged Hillhouse Legal Partners to attend to the distribution under the terms of the Will. We drafted the required Probate documents, lodged these with the Supreme Court and then obtained Probate from the Supreme Court. We then liaised with the required entities including a nursing home for release of the deceased’s funds to the Estate. 

The outcome was that the probate was obtained, and funds were received from the required entities and distributed to the beneficiaries under the Will. The client was of the expert and professional management of the matter and the overall to support to the family during a difficult time.

Area of Expertise: Wills, Estates & Trusts