Laws, regulations and policy which affect your business are constantly changing. In fact during 2015 alone, 181 bills were passed by the Australian senate, creating new laws and regulations or altering existing ones. For those in business, this means that keeping track of current legal requirements that impact their commercial activities can be extremely difficult, or deleteriously time consuming at best.
Business owners are responsible for ensuring that every aspect of their commercial operations complies with relevant laws. For most businesses this will include: employment, tax, accounting, contract, insurance, privacy, intellectual property, and consumer and workplace health and safety laws, in addition to any industry specific laws that apply. Those in highly regulated fields must especially be aware of the need to continually realign their policies in order remain compliant with legislative amendments.
So if a recent change in law does slip through the cracks, can you expect the relevant authorities to cut you some slack?
The consequences of lagging legal awareness
When it comes to breaking the law, ignorance is never an excuse. Failure to comply with relevant laws is not viewed lightly by regulatory authorities. Harsh penalties may be imposed even for unintentional oversights, and failing to institute proper legal safeguards based on new case law may also expose a business to civil law suits and extensive liability.
So how can a business stay on top of legal and regulatory changes?
There is really no way around it: the only reliable source of advice and updates on changing laws that affect you is your legal team. Yes, you need one. Not necessarily on your payroll, but a group of legal professionals you retain on an ongoing basis, who know you and your business inside out.
Lawyers are trained to understand the law, they’re tapped into the most sophisticated channels through which daily legal updates are communicated; they know how laws affect the commercial world and if they are familiar with your business, they can easily advise you on what you need to do, if anything, to comply.
In fact, having your “own” legal team, to provide such ongoing support is one of the greatest safeguards you can have in place for your business. There’s two reasons why you can’t get this level of protection or peace of mind anywhere else:
- Your legal team is familiar with your commercial activities and how they interact with the law; and
- Your legal team thoroughly understands the law as it currently stands and how it will change as a result of any proposed or imminent amendments.
What if I don’t have my own legal team?
If you don’t currently have a legal team covering your back, make getting one a priority. No business is too small to have proper legal coverage.
Find a law firm that is familiar with your industry and has experience working for similar businesses and forge a lasting relationship. Your loyalty will be reciprocated and you’ll experience the peace of mind of knowing that you’re legally protected.
Do we fit the bill?
Why not check us out.
Talk to us about the industry experience and expertise we can offer your business.