Best Lawyers for Commercial Law in Australia

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Practice Area Definition

Commercial Law Definition

The practice of corporate/commercial law in Australia touches on a very broad range of legal specializations.

At its heart, corporate/commercial law involves:

  • The consideration of the Law of Contract as it applies to corporations engaging in trade and commerce; and
  • The interpretation and application of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) which is the central statute governing corporate law in Australia.
    As such, the practice of corporate/commercial law in Australia requires:
    • A deep understanding of the Law of Contract which is largely derived from the Common Law (i.e. case-based and Court-developed precedent) with certain parameters imposed by statute (such as legislation dealing with consumer protection, unjust contracts, competition/anti-trust law, and time-bars on claims)
    • Considerable knowledge and experience of corporate law, in particular the Corporations Act which applies to bodies corporate and includes foreign incorporated bodies carrying on business in Australia and certain trust structures such as managed investment schemes.

The Corporations Act governs: the establishment of corporations; membership rights and obligations; corporate governance (e.g. director's duties and requirements for meetings of members and directors); solvency; funding (both debt and equity) and the associated financial services licensing regime which regulates offers of financial products, providing financial advice and related services; capital management (e.g. share buybacks, capital reductions, and financial assistance); continuous disclosure, disclosure of direct and indirect share ownership and related issues such as insider trading, where company securities trade on a financial market; and acquisitions (including public company takeovers, schemes of arrangement, and compulsory acquisition of securities).

It is also important in the practice of corporate and commercial law in Australia to have an understanding of a number of important regulatory bodies, such as the Takeovers Panel (which has a significant oversight of takeovers and schemes of arrangement involving companies with 50 members or more) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) (the main Australian corporate regulator, which operates under a separate statute and is responsible for both the regulation of bodies corporate and the development of policy and guidelines for the operation of the Corporations Act). Additionally, in the listed company environment, an understanding of the financial markets and financial markets operators that carry on business in Australia, (principally ASX Ltd and the listing rules of ASX Ltd) is required.

As a consequence, corporate/commercial lawyers are required to have the skills and experience to canvass a very wide range of issues at some depth.

The practice of corporate/commercial law in Australia touches on a very broad range of legal specializations.

At its heart, corporate/commercial law involves:

  • The consideration of the Law of Contract as it applies to corporations engaging in trade and commerce; and
  • The interpretation and application of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) which is the central statute governing corporate law in Australia.
    As such, the practice of corporate/commercial law in Australia requires:
    • A deep understanding of the Law of Contract which is largely derived from the Common Law (i.e. case-based and Court-developed precedent) with certain parameters imposed by statute (such as legislation dealing with consumer protection, unjust contracts, competition/anti-trust law, and time-bars on claims)
    • Considerable knowledge and experience of corporate law, in particular the Corporations Act which applies to bodies corporate and includes foreign incorporated bodies carrying on business in Australia and certain trust structures such as managed investment schemes.

The Corporations Act governs: the establishment of corporations; membership rights and obligations; corporate governance (e.g. director's duties and requirements for meetings of members and directors); solvency; funding (both debt and equity) and the associated financial services licensing regime which regulates offers of financial products, providing financial advice and related services; capital management (e.g. share buybacks, capital reductions, and financial assistance); continuous disclosure, disclosure of direct and indirect share ownership and related issues such as insider trading, where company securities trade on a financial market; and acquisitions (including public company takeovers, schemes of arrangement, and compulsory acquisition of securities).

It is also important in the practice of corporate and commercial law in Australia to have an understanding of a number of important regulatory bodies, such as the Takeovers Panel (which has a significant oversight of takeovers and schemes of arrangement involving companies with 50 members or more) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) (the main Australian corporate regulator, which operates under a separate statute and is responsible for both the regulation of bodies corporate and the development of policy and guidelines for the operation of the Corporations Act). Additionally, in the listed company environment, an understanding of the financial markets and financial markets operators that carry on business in Australia, (principally ASX Ltd and the listing rules of ASX Ltd) is required.

As a consequence, corporate/commercial lawyers are required to have the skills and experience to canvass a very wide range of issues at some depth.