Case Study Commonlaw

8 August 2016

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Identify the areas of law that are relevant to the chosen media report, and explain how they are relevant to the matters outlined in the report. This article reports on the security/safety issues surrounding a vacant Peppermint Grove mansion. The mansion is unable to be sold by Radhika and Pankaj Oswell due to unresolved issues regarding unpaid taxes of up to $186 million. Contract Law Earning money in Australia, a contract is entered into with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to pay taxes according to the amount of income being made.

As there has been a dispute with Mrs Oswell owing the ATO a very large sum of money, there is an issue regarding contract law, as she is obligated to pay the money that she owes. Criminal Law Neighbours have reported that the vacant mansion has been used for many loud parties, this is a form of trespassing which is a breach in the law. If caught offenders could be prosecuted with either jail time or a fine, depending on whether damage to the property has occurred or not. Property Law The Oswell’s case also involves property law.

The ATO has put a freeze on the property meaning that until the dispute has been settled, the Oswell’s are not allowed to sell the property. Nearby residents are now claiming that the responsibility of monitoring and securing the building falls to the ATO, furthermore an online survey showed that the public is in favour of converting the vacant property into something of community benefit as the missing $186 million was effectively owed to the other tax payers. 2. Demonstrate how the law functions in these various ways, by reference to specific examples within the chosen media report and the areas of law you identified in question 1.

Ensures reasonable predictability in daily life; A contract is a good example of reasonable predictability in daily life, as it is expected that people will follow what is put forth in said contract. An example from the article is the money owed by Mrs Oswell to the ATO. When people begin to earn enough income to begin paying their taxes they enter into a contract with the ATO, stating that they will pay their taxes. That being the case, the prediction would be that Mrs Oswell would pay the $186 million owed to the ATO.

Encourages and discourages certain conduct; Criminal law can be used to discourage certain conduct. An example to be taken from the article can be the rangers the council has patrolling the vacant property. If these rangers were able to catch out the children trespassing on the private property they would be able to discourage the behaviour. This could be done with either a warning or a fine. Both of which will add an element of criminal law to their behaviour, thus discouraging them from doing it. Grants rights and powers to individuals and groups of people;

Tort Law is a good example of granting rights to individuals. In the article there is mention of assumptions that the ATO has put third party insurance on the property, as the property is an “accident waiting to happen” as there is unfinished staircases without railing and various building materials around the place. As this is only an assumption and not a known fact, if someone was to get hurt inside on this property, they would be able to sue under tort law as the ATO is liable for the property in its current state.

Tort law has granted the individual the right to compensation for their injuries. Imposes obligations on individuals / organisations to meet their legal responsibility; Contract law can also be used as an example of a law to impose an obligation on an individual in relation to a legal responsibility. The article states that Mrs Oswell had a discrepancy with the ATO regarding a sum of $186 million. There is a contract formed with the ATO by all tax payers that they will pay the amount of tax that is owed at the right time.

That being the case, that Mrs Oswell has a legal obligation to pay the $186 million owed to the ATO. Allows for the enforcement of recognised rights and duties; Criminal law can also be used an as example of the enforcement of recognised rights and duties. It is an accepted duty for all people to follow the law, it is also an accepted right for everyone to feel safe. Both of these things can be enforced with criminal law. For example if people breach other’s rights to feel safe or simply choose not to follow the law, they can be prosecuted through criminal law.

For example in the article the rangers who inspect the vacant property have the ability to enforce the recognised duties of the surrounding community which is to not trespass on the private property. Provides remedies when an injustice has been done. Tort law also provides an example in this function of the law. An example from the article can be seen from the surrounding the property labelling it an accident waiting to happen. If someone was to get hurt on this property, tort law would provide the remedy to the injustice which is lack of security and carelessness in leaving the area unsafe.

Tort law would allow for compensation to occur. 3. By reference to the legal issues contained in the chosen media report, explain why it was important for the relevant party/parties to know the law in the circumstances? How did, or could, the party/parties have applied the law to their advantage? Knowledge of the law not only allows us to know what we are able to do, but also what we are prohibited to do. The Oswell’s need to know what the law is regarding their unpaid taxes, specifically because they have claimed to not be returning to Perth in the future and whether or not they can be charged with tax evasion under criminal law.

The teenagers throwing parties in the vacant block need to know what they can be charged with in regards to trespassing and damage of property, as well as possible underage drinking and drug use. The ATO must have sufficient knowledge on property law in regards to the freeze they put on the Oswell’s vacant property and the rights and responsibilities that come with that. For example, third party insurance, security and monitoring of the property. 4. How do the media influence public perceptions about the law and its administration?

How might public pressure impact legislators and judges in establishing the law? The media has a massive influence on the opinions and perceptions that people form. They are able to spin a story in any way and are very good at persuading people to feel certain things. For example media cartoons displaying the similarities between police officers and pigs were extremely popular in recent years along with many articles depicting people being unnecessarily beaten by police who then got away with it.

Because there is so many outlets for the media to display their content it is easy for them to put across a successfully persuasive message. Public pressure could impact legislators in such a way that with enough pressure they have the ability to change the outcomes of events. For example, large protests and petitions could cause enough public pressure on a legislator to have another look at a certain aspect of a law. Reference List MacDonald, Kim. 2014. “Call to monitor party mansion. ” The West Australian, January 8.

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