Category: General Articles

Saving Mack, Our client story

Often law can be seen as a negative area of work; people suing each other, families breaking down or those being found guilty of crimes. However, there are many cases that have a happy ending, and we here at Stanley & Co believe that this joy should be shared. As such, with permission from the client, we would like to share a story of one of our client’s being reunited with her beloved family pet. 

The children of Our Client, Laura, had been gifted a small chihuahua, Mack, from a friend of theirs at school who could no longer look after it. The children had not had a pet dog before and were thrilled. Mack became an integral part of their family as the children grew up. 

In November 2017, tragedy struck when an ex-partner of Laura’s, believing himself to have equal rights to Mack’s ownership, stole Mack from Laura’s home and refused to return him. The children were devastated, as was Laura, who came to us looking for help in retrieving Mack. 

Our Lawyers have years of experience in debt and property recovery. In South Australia, pets are considered property, however a case such as this is incredibly unusual. The exact method of approach was unprecedented, but we were determined to help Laura and her children. 

After considerable communication with the ex-Partner, Court Proceedings were issued in the Adelaide Magistrates Court, to have a Magistrate determine the matter. Upon application, it became clear that the Court had not previously seen such as an issue, as they were initially uncertain how to classify the matter. Was it a debt? A detinue (wrongfully detaining property)? A conversion of property? This matter was somewhat unexplored territory, for all parties involved. 

The ex-partner in question was not making things any easier, as it took 12 attempts for 2 sets of documents to be served. This, unfortunately, extended the matter, dragging it out across the Christmas Holidays and into March 2018. This meant that Our Client, and her children, were without their precious Mack for the Holidays which was obviously upsetting. 

By March 2018, we had attended Court a number of times on behalf of Laura. We had received judgement in favour of retrieving Mack, but no ruling for how to enforce this judgement. There was an impression that no Magistrate really wanted to deal with this matter due to its unpredictable and unfamiliar legal nature.  

Upon a further application, we requested a Magistrate give us some instruction as to how the Court would like us to return Mack to his family. The Magistrate replied candidly, “I am happy to grant enforcement, if you can tell me what that would be”. Once again, it became clear that the theft, retention and attempted return of a dog was not something the Court frequently saw, let alone had to rule upon.  

After a short adjournment to seek second opinions, it was eventually determined that a ‘Warrant of Possession’ would be issued. This would grant power to an Officer of the Court to attend the ex-partner’s residence and remove the dog. If he did not comply, the Officer would be able to take Mack by force. The Court also granted Laura her costs in the matter, as the Defendant had been far from helpful. 

In the end, the Warrant was successfully executed. Mack was retrieved and returned to Laura completely unharmed. After 6 months of no contact, significant costs and high-strung emotions, the family was reunited with Mack, who was just as happy to see them. Although getting her dog back would have been victory enough, the Court found in our Client’s favour and awarded her the costs of the matter as well. 

Here at Stanley & Co, we pride ourselves on our practical, hands on and personal approach to the law. This is not just a mission statement, but something we actively engage in. Clients like Laura remind us that what we do is to help people, and that is what we want to do. 

If you need a lawyer, even if your matter is a little unusual, contact Stanley & Co. Lawyers today on (08) 7001 6135. We do law, differently. 


How do Lawyers Charge?

Giving our clients certainty about their legal fees is very important to us because we know that the potential cost of engaging a lawyer may be daunting. Lawyers charge for their services in different ways but typically most matters are charged on either an hourly rate or by a fixed fee. Here at Stanley & Co. Lawyers we are one of the few firms who offer fixed fees in all of the areas that we practice. With a fixed fee you can contact us with any questions or issues you have, without fear of being hit with additional costs. Below we have an outline of our main services:  

  • Wills & Estates 
  • Family & Divorce 
  • Criminal & Traffic  
  • Commercial & Busines 

 Please note we can fix the fee of any service that we offer. In addition to these fixed fees, depending on your matter there can also be disbursements such as court fees, government fees, other reports, medical fees, and expert witness fees.  

We would like to tell you more about this so please feel free to call us to discuss our fee arrangements.  


How do I get out of Jury Duty?

If I have been selected for jury duty, how may I get out of it? 

In South Australia there are three jury districts located in Adelaide, Port Augusta and Mount Gambier. If you have been selected to be part of a jury, you have been randomly chosen by a computer selection from the electoral rolls which make up the jury districts. If you are between 18 years of age and 70 years of age and are on the electoral roll for the jury districts you are then qualified and liable to be summonsed to attend jury service. The Juries Act provides that jurors are chosen at random, thus not allowing anyone to volunteer to do jury duty. 

How can you be disqualified from serving as a juror? 

Any person who has been convicted of a criminal offence may be disqualified from performing jury duty. However, the disqualification depends on the type of offence and when the person was convicted. Disqualification periods range from approximately five years to lifetime. If you are unsure about whether you are qualified or not to serve as a juror, contact the Sheriff’s Office as they will be able to clarify this for you. 

How can you be ineligible from serving as a juror? 

The Juries Act provides those that are ineligible from serving as a juror: 

  • Persons who are mentally or physically unfit to carry out the duties of a juror. This includes persons who suffer from hearing loss or any other medical condition which may affect their jury service
  • Persons who have insufficient command of the English language to enable them to properly carry out the duties of a juror
  • Persons who fall within the following categories:
  • The Governor, the Lieutenant-Governor and their spouses 
  • Members of Parliament 
  • Members of the Judiciary and their spouses 
  • Justices of the Peace who perform court duties and their spouses 
  • Legal practitioners actually practising as such 
  • Members of the Police Force and their spouses 
  • Persons employed in a department of the Government whose duties of office are connected with the investigation of offences, the administration of justice or the punishment of offenders 
  • Persons employed in the administration of courts or in the recording or transcription of evidence taken before the courts. 

Any person who is summonsed for serving jury duty and considers he or she is ineligible must claim this by completing and application form explaining these particular reasons.  

If you are not an ineligible or disqualified person you must attend for jury duty in accordance with your jury summons. However, if there is a special urgency or importance that you know about it, you can apply to the Sherriff to have your service deferred to a period of time that may be more appropriate for yourself. The request must be made on the application form which can be found on the Court Administration Authority website. The Sheriff, in some circumstances, may require that your application should be in the form of a statutory declaration. A statutory declaration is a written statement of which you would swear, affirm or declare to be true in the presence of an authorised witness. 

If you have any queries, contact the Sheriff’s Office or visit at their location at Sir Samuel Way Building, Victoria Square, Adelaide SA 5000.  All applications that are submitted are based on their own individual merit. 

If you would like further information regarding jury duty, please contact us on 08 7132 5636 to speak with one of our experienced Adelaide lawyers. 

 

 

 

 

 


Social Media and the Law

The rise of social media has created a range of new legal issues. Problem areas frequently encountered include defamation, family law, and false or misleading advertising.  

 Defamation 

The law of defamation protects individual reputation and assumes all people are of good character until proven otherwise. Defamation may include: 

  • posting untrue comments to social media about an individual or company, so as to damage their reputation; or 
  • sharing (but did not creating) defamatory material. 

Defamation laws already encompass posting online, including on social media. 

 Family Law 

Social media is becoming increasingly prevalent in family law. Family law matters are often emotional, and there is a growing tendency for this emotion to be expressed online. Posts and messages may be used against you in court.  

Additionally, Facebook is now a recognised platform for serving documents to individuals avoiding service, or who are otherwise unable to be located.  

Advertising 

Consumer protection laws already prohibit businesses from making misleading or deceptive claims about their products and services. These rules apply to social media in the same manner they apply to other marketing platforms. Businesses who use Facebook and other social media platforms must ensure they do not display false or misleading advertising. 

 If you require legal assistance, please contact us on 08 7132 5636 to speak with our experienced lawyers. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Ins and Outs of Attending Court

Attending court can be a daunting thought, and for many, a new experience. Without having been to court previously, it is difficult to know the protocols of attending. There are a number of reasons why there is a requirement to attend Court. You might be:

  • An accused person
  • A witness in either a criminal or civil trial
  • A party in a civil trial
  • A victim of crime
  • A juror
  • An interested party
  • Paying fines.

Key Protocols
There are several key protocols to follow when going to court, and there is an expectation that they are met by every person who enters a courtroom:

  • Upon entering and exiting the room, acknowledge the judge and jury by pausing at the door and bowing your head towards the Coat of Arms located behind the Judicial Officer.
  • Stand when the Judge or Magistrate enters the room
  • Stand whenever the Judge or Commissioner is talking to you, or if you are talking to them
  • The following are not permitted in the courtroom:
    • Talking
    • Wearing hats
    • Smoking
    • Eating or chewing gum
    • Video or other cameras, tape recorders, two-way radios or other electronic equipment
  • You must turn off your mobile phone
  • Dress code is neat and smart – a suit is not necessary. It is inappropriate to wear singlets, thongs, hat or sunglasses
  • Addressing the Judge or Magistrate as ‘Your Honour’, ‘Sir’, or ‘Madam’

We are qualified to attend any court or tribunal in Australia, and can so represent you in metropolitan or regional courts. Call us today on 08 7132 5636 to speak to our experienced Adelaide lawyers and discuss how we can help you in attending court.