Hearsay ... the Journal of the Bar Association of Queensland
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Book Reviews Print E-mail

book-intropic.jpgReviewed in this issue ...

Law on the Internet by Dr Cate Banks and Dr Heather Douglas

Butterworths Intellectual Property Collection 2007 

The Law Affecting Rent Review Determinations by Alan Hyam



book_law_on_internet.jpgLaw on the Internet

Authors: Dr Cate Banks and Dr Heather Douglas

Publisher:  The Federation Press

Reviewed by: Jarrod Cowley-Grimmond

It is fair to say that, for better or for worse, the Internet has changed the practice of law.  Visit any group of chambers and you will, more than likely, witness counsel staring into computer screens and, in some cases, surrounded by a bank of them.  Indeed it is a rare practitioner who manages to practice without an Internet connection, most having subscriptions to several on-line services, begrudgingly, handing over their hard earned fees for the privilege of downloading the reports of cases in which they may have appeared. 

Of course it is possible to access most of that information for free but, alas, that would involve delving into the quagmire of the Internet, that most mysterious of things, containing a vast amount of information, most of which is difficult, if not impossible, to find easily.  As a result, most lawyers go no further than a handful of subscription services and AUSTLII, believing that anything else is too difficult, too time consuming, or both. 

It need not be that way!  Dr Cate Banks from Griffith University and Dr Heather Douglas from the University of Queensland have produced a handbook that can save you time, enormous sums of money (well, perhaps not enormous), and make legal research on the internet a breeze.  Quite simply Law on the Internet is a book full of essential bookmarks (or favourites for users of Internet Explorer).

Now in its third edition, Law on the Internet begins by providing a non-technical overview of the Internet, the World Wide Web, and a very brief discussion of other services accessible online.

Contained in chapter three is a guide to searching along with a useful checklist on how to use search engines effectively, efficiently and in such a way as to ensure that your research produces relevant results quickly.  There are links to the major search engines such as Google.  Google, the most popular search engine on the Internet, can be a valuable tool in preparing for trial. 

Google the names of key witnesses and you might be surprised at the results. It must be said that, for all its popularity, Google is not the only search engine on the internet.  Law on the Internet contains a list of excellent alternatives, as well as a links to a number of on-line training tools that can help you get the most out of your Internet connection. The chapter also contains links to online tools for evaluating the information contained on the web and links to directories to help find the massive amount of invisible material that can be missed by search engines.  The chapter shows how relying on only a few web sites can result in missing vast amounts of information.

Another popular feature of most commercial online services tools is the daily alert emails which help keep practitioners up to date with changes to the law. Law on the Internet provides links to absolutely free legal alert services, covering a wide range of specialities.

Part two of the book contains general legal research sites covering the major sites such as AUSTLII and Weblaw.  It also contains links to other services such as online dictionaries, both general and specialist, as well as links to all the major law schools and public libraries in Australia.  Perhaps of most interest is Chapter 7 which contains links to a range of on-line legal journals many of which are freely available.  These include, for example, the prestigious Melbourne University Law Review and the Sydney Law Review, both in full-text, both free. 

Part three of the book contains links to major legal institutions such as parliaments, governments, courts and tribunals, to name but a few.

Perhaps most useful is part four, where the authors have grouped links according to particular legal topics.  The part covers an incredible range of legal areas including Administrative Law, Commercial Law, Consumer Law, Environment and Heritage Law, Health Law, Immigration, International Law, Taxation, and Employment Law. Contained in each chapter is a collection of links covering major institutions, legal research and on-line journals relevant to each particular field, many, if not most, of which are free.

Law on the Internet is comprehensive and easy to use.  It is certainly a worthwhile purchase for Internet novices and wizards alike.  Well researched, well presented and well indexed, it is a pleasure to use and no doubt will become a constant companion during legal research. The Federation Press maintains a web site for the book.  This site is updated intermittently to reflect any changes that may occur.  With a recommended retail price of $39.95, Law on the Internet is an inexpensive way to expand your online library.  It may even save you money!

book_butterworths_int_prop.jpgButterworths Intellectual Property Collection 2007

Publisher: LexisNexis Butterworths

Reviewed by : Sarah SF Poon

Butterworths has been publishing intellectual property legislation collections for about a decade. Over the years, the format of the collection remains roughly divided into two parts. The former part is allocated to the municipal or national legislations whereas the latter part is to treaties or international conventions.

In the 2007 collection, the larger part, about two-third of the volume, contains the full text of the Copyright Act 1968, the Designs Act 2003, the Circuit Layouts Act 1989, the Trade Marks Act 1995, the Patents Act 1990 and the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994. The lesser part includes the full text of the Berne Convention, the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and the WIPO Copyright Treaty.

Worthy of note is the inclusion of the two selections, both in extract form, of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA). Those practitioners who are familiar with previous editions may notice that the size of the extracts from the Trade Practices Act has grown gradually over time since its first modest appearance in 2000. As for the AUSFTA, the chapters selected at its debut in the 2005 edition have been kept on.

Relevantly, the primary selection criterion of the extracts from the Trade Practices Act is premised on provisions relating to intellectual property. The selection has expanded from a humble choice in 2000 of only Part IV Restrictive Trade Practices, s 51, and Part V Consumer Protection Division 1, ss 52 and 53, to the 2007 inclusion of Part I – Preliminary; Part IV – Restrictive Trade Practices; Part IVA – Unconscionable Conduct; Part V – Consumer Protection with Divisions 1 and 1AA Subdivision A ; Part VI – Enforcement and Remedies; Part VII – Authorisations and Notifications in Respect of Restricted Trade Practices, Division I and Part VIII – Resale Price Maintenance.

For example, in Part IV – Restrictive Trade Practices, it includes ss 45, 46, 47, 48, 51 and 51AAA and, in Part IVA – Unconscionable Conduct, contains ss 51AAB, 51AA, 51AB, 51AC and 51ACAA. Under Part V Division 1, Unfair Practices, the extracted provisions are ss 51AF, 51A, 52 and 53. As for Part VII Division 1, s 88, Power of Commission to grant authorisations is the only provision selected. Conveniently, it includes three interpretation provisions:  they are s 4 in Part 1, s 51A in Part V and s 75B in Part IV.

Equally helpful is the selection of extracts from the AUSFTA. It is a precise and pertinent choice from the Agreement, canvassing Chapters 1 and 17 and some side letters. The range of the extracts has continued since its first appearance in the 2005 collection. Chapter 1, Articles 1.1, 1.2 and Annex 1-A were probably chosen because they were the definitional sections and set the tone of the establishment of the Agreement and highlighted its bilateral or international trade characteristics. Chapter 17, which is related to intellectual property rights, was, expectedly, selected in a legislation collection of this kind. It covers areas of trademarks, domain names, copyright, phonograms, encrypted programme-carrying satellite signals, designs, patents, measures related to certain regulated products and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

Interestingly, the publisher has chosen to include some items of correspondence dated 18 May 2004, exchanged between the two main negotiators of the Agreement, the then Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile and the United States Trade Representative Robert B Zoellick. These side letters are specially related to the formulation of the details of the articles in Chapter 17. It is a worthy read if you are interested in knowing more about how Chapter 17 was shaped.

The legislation in the collection is consolidated to include all amendments in force as at 1 January 2007. The edition incorporates amendments effected by the Copyright Amendment Act 2006, the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 2006 and the Trade Marks Amendments Act 2006. At the beginning of each Act, there is a Table of Amendments featuring currency details.

This compilation of 1054 pages is an indispensable desk reference for anyone practising in the intellectual property field or interested in the interaction between trade practices and intellectual property. The catalogue price of the collection on the LexisNexis website is a very reasonable $99.00.

book_the_law_affecting_rent.jpgThe Law Affecting Rent Review Determinations

Author: Alan Hyam

Publisher:  The Federation Press

Reviewed by: Gary Coveney

R ent reviews are the creature of contractual agreement and are, ordinarily, determined by an appointed third party pursuant to the terms of the agreement.  However, given the prevalence of rent review clauses in commercial leases, disputes will inevitably arise as to the basis or the correctness of a particular determination, such as to warrant the involvement of the Courts in assisting the resolution of such disputes.

It is at this point that Alan Hyam’s book comes into its own as a useful and authoritative exposition of, as the title suggests, the law affecting rent review determinations.

It is important to note at the outset that the book does not concern itself directly with rent reviews, focussing instead on the topic of rent review determinations. The introductory chapter informs the reader that the text discusses issues relating directly to the review of rental and the assessment of rent, pursuant to commercial leases.

This, however, should not be taken as indicating that the scope of the book is limited. To the contrary, the book is well organised and highly informative. It provides extensive case analysis, throughout, whether to explain fundamental principles or to give practical guidance.

The book is, usefully, divided into eight chapters, covering topics (some of which may lie close to the hearts of members of the Bar when engaging in reviews of their own leased premises) such as lease incentives, challenging determinations in the Courts, and retail shop leases.  Chapter 5 of the book contains a detailed analysis of the principles which are to be applied in the determination of rents, along with the application of those principles to particular circumstances.

All in all, the book is remarkably succinct and easy to follow. Whilst this area of law is somewhat specialised, the book would be a worthy addition to the library of property lawyers, particularly, those who advise generally on the content and construction of commercial leases.



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