On 18 March 2021, Parliament passed the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2020 minus a number of provisions that were proposed in the first reading version of the Bill. Key amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 as a result of the Bill surround the imposition of an obligation on employers to make an offer to convert casual employees to permanent employees if certain criteria are met. The Bill therefore has wide reaching implications for employers of casual staff.
In Freedom Foods Pty Ltd v Blue Diamond Growers  FCA 172, the Federal Court of Australia was asked to ascertain if an agreement could be classified as “franchise agreement” and thus avoid the application of an arbitration dispute resolution clause and if a matter concerning Australian Law, namely claims of misleading and deceptive conduct and unconscionable conduct, was suitable to be heard through an arbitration in California. This case illustrates the importance of understanding your rights in agreements in respect of dispute resolution and whether agreements not identified as relating to franchises can be classified as “franchising agreements”.
In Sprowles (Liquidator), in the matter of CWCN Pty Ltd (in liq)  FCA 159, the Federal Court of Australia ordered a private and confidential examination of a director who had been charged with serious federal crimes. The case provides guidance about when ongoing criminal proceedings will give rise to ‘special circumstances’ justifying a private examination by a liquidator.