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LAW2480 Business And Corporations Law

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1. Elena was the owner of a beauty salon in North Melbourne. The salon was quite successful and had won a number of creative styling awards. In 2014, the salon had been featured by InStyle magazine and became a popular hot spot for fashion icons.
In early 2015, Elena's brother Ringo decided to develop a new shopping centre on the outskirts of Williamstown. Ringo's dream was to establish a fashion hub for elite brands. Impressed by the success of his sister's salon, Ringo decided to approach Elena to see if she would lease one of his ‘prime location' stores. He tells Elena that a number of big brands had already signed long-term leases, including a number of high-end fashion shops and a cinema, and that he would pay for her store to be ‘fitted-out'.
Elena, excited by the prospects of the development, agrees to a 5 year-lease at $3000 per week. The development was partially completed on 1 January 2016 and Elena's new store opened two weeks later. Although her store was in a prime location, she was disappointed to find that a number of the big brands promised by Ringo had not actually signed leases and that construction on the cinema was still another 12 months away.
With a lack of big brands, the shopping centre struggles to attract customers and a number of shopkeepers begin to leave. On 23 November 2016, Ringo publishes the following add in the Herald Sun:
Short time offer! Special rate of $1,500 per week for all businesses that sign a new 2-year lease at our Williamstown Shopping Centre. 
On 24 November 2016, Elena reads the advertisement and is furious that she is paying double the amount offered in the newspaper. On the same day, she writes to Ringo demanding that he reduce her rent to $1,500 per week. On 27 November 2016, Ringo writes back to Elena stating that he could not reduce the rent of her premier store to $1,500, but instead would reduce the rent to $2,000 per week.
For the next 6 months, Elena pays the reduced rent. She uses the $1,000 saved each week to advertise and redecorate the salon. She also purchases a new massaging chair on credit (the credit was only available to Elena based on the stores reduced weekly expenditure).
The shopping centre continues to struggle, and Elena fed up with the lack of business, confides in her mother Maria that she is thinking of terminating the lease. Ringo hears from Maria that Elena is considering terminating her lease. Worried about his cash flow and the number of business leaving the centre, Ringo sues Elena to recover $6,000 that he claims is ‘rent in arrears'.
Using case law, advise Elena of the likelihood of Ringo's success.
2. Albert is a poorly educated immigrant who knows very little English. He owned and operated a small fruit orchard in the Kinglake ranges for over 40 years, and following the passing of his wife Maria, decided it was time to sell the orchard and move closer to his daughter Josephine in Essendon.
Josephine held a large parcel of land in Essendon, and upon hearing of her father's plans, offered Albert the opportunity to build a small unit at the back of her property. The only condition was that Albert would need to arrange and pay for the construction himself. Albert thought this was a perfect idea and told Josephine that he would start looking for a builder straightaway.
The next morning Albert met with his neighbour Steven at the Flying Tarts Bakery for a cup of coffee, where he told Steven about his plans. Steven was sad to hear that Albert was leaving Kinglake, but explained that his brother George owned a construction company and would be able to help. Steven made a quick phone call and advised Albert that George could meet with him on Sunday.
George visited Albert on the Sunday with a number of unit plans for Albert to look at. Overwhelmed by the number of plans, Albert asked George for his advice on which unit would suit him best, pointing out that he wanted something small and cheap. George responded, “ah, you cannot go past the Mirage unit plan. It is one our most popular designs, and not to mention our cheapest!' In fact, the Mirage was one of the most expensive options.
George knew that Albert could not read the contract, but insisted that he sign that day ‘to lock in the price'. Albert thought George looked trustworthy enough and proceeded to sign the contract without reading it. The contract provided that George would build one (1) unit to the specifications of the Mirage Unit plan for $250,000, payable upon completion of the project.
Construction commenced on the unit shortly after and the build went smoothly. The project was complete within a couple of months, from which time Albert moved into the unit. However, Albert was disappointed to find that the flooring was lopsided, resulting in the doors and cabinetry not closing properly. Small cracks were also appearing in the walls and some of the ceilings had begun to sag.
An upset Albert sought advice from an independent building consultancy firm, who explained that the concrete slab had been laid incorrectly and that it would cost $75,000 to fix. Albert was forced to rent an apartment at a cost of $300 per week while the repairs took place (he had already sold the orchard and Josephine did not have enough room in her house). Albert paid the consultancy firm $75,000 for the repairs, which took 3 months to complete.
Albert has now received an invoice from George for the full contract price ($250,000). Albert is very upset and refuses to pay George a cent. Albert has now come to you for advice.
Using case law, advise:
a) WhetherAlbert has any obligations to pay George; and,
b) Whether Albert would have access to any remedies under contract law.
3. Harry Harbinger operates a sole-trader computer software business that specialises in developing software applications for accountancy firms. Harry has dedicated the past 10 years growing his sole-trader business, but is beginning to find it difficult to attract new clients. The feedback he has received from recent demonstrations suggests that his product is out-dated and looks like something ‘straight out of the 90s.'
Harry decides that it is time to freshen up his product. He wants to hire a team of high-quality programmers and a physical space to develop his product, but understands that additional financial capital is required. Harry would also like to establish a side-business that specialises in the supply of computer products and hardware to complement his software business.
Harry attempts to borrow money from Seedy Bank, but is told that he does not have enough security for the amount required. Disappointed by this, Harry is considering raising capital by offering part-ownership in his business.
Harry has now come to your for advice on which business structure would best serve his purpose. He tells you that his biggest concern is retaining absolute control over the direction of the business, but that he would like to implement a structure that will attract and keep the right employees.
In your discussions with Harry, you discover that he is unmarried and has no living family.
Advise Harry of the potential ways to structure his business, including the strengths and weaknesses of each option for Harry's specific circumstances.
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