Domestic Violence Hearings – Victims Providing Video Evidence

From 1 June 2015, the NSW Parliament introduced changes to legislation, which will see Domestic Violence hearings conducted differently in New South Wales.Now, victims of domestic violence can provide their evidence to the Court by way of video or audio recording, taken on the day the complaint was made. This means that the recording can be used as all or part of the victim’s ‘evidence in chief’ or perhaps their main evidence in the court proceedings.

One of the main reasons for this change is that victims who consent to the videos being taken will avoid having to relieve their experience multiple times by attending a police station, and reading out a written statement in court. Effectively, victims will no longer have to provide police with written statements and victims will spend significantly less amount of time reliving the trauma of their ordeal to the court.

Other reasons for the change include the following:

  • Reduce the time for victims giving statements.
  • Assist victims in giving an accurate account of what happened to the court.
  • Reduce the difficulty for victims in remembering details of incidents at a later date in Court.
  • Provide the Court with an insight into the experience and demeanour of the victim at the time of the alleged incident.

This process already exists in court proceedings involving children, particularly in relation to allegations of sexual abuse. For example, a child may provide a video recorded statement in relation to allegations of sexual abuse. The recording may be played at either the trial or a hearing, so that the child is not placed in an intimidating situation, and feel reluctant to provide information with the alleged accused just metres away. The recording provides the victim with the benefit of giving the evidence to police, away from the alleged accused.

The change will provide the victim (as well as Police) with an advantage, normally only afforded to children in Court proceedings. The Prosecutor will now be able to place the evidence of the victim in Court and have the benefit of a direct account shortly after the alleged violence. This can present difficulties for the defendant or the accused, particularly if the evidence provided by the victim at the time of the alleged incident is incorrect.

The victims may still need to attend court and be cross-examined if the defendant pleads not guilty. However, the change is designed to reduce the stress of the court process, and potentially increase the number of early guilty pleas.

If you have been charged with a domestic violence related offence, contact our Warwick Anderson on 9653 9466 for more information.

5 quick tips to consider when purchasing Real Estate

1. Finance: Will you need to take out a loan or are you a cash purchaser? Make sure you calculate how much money will be needed – including removalist costs, legal fees etc.

2. Property Enquiries: Make sure you research about the property and its surroundings because there may be plans for development around the area.

3. Stamp Duty: Remember to take into consideration the amount of stamp duty you will be required to pay.

4. Land Tax: If you are not eligible to pay land tax, however there is land tax owing on a property you may be left with having to pay what is outstanding. Query this before entering into a Contract for sale. Furthermore will your subsequent purchase mean that you will be liable to pay land tax in future.

5. Other ongoing expenses: What additional costs are associated with the property:
• Council rates
• Water rates
• Strata levies
• Community levies5 quick tips to purchasing real estate
• Land tax
• Gas
• Water usage
• Electricity

Should you be looking at either buying or selling, please contact us on 9653 9466.

Bush Fire Prone Land

Are you aware of the bushfire attack level of your property, or the property you are considering purchasing? Councils throughout NSW are required to publish maps that show areas of land that are classified as a ‘bushfire prone area’. These maps are available on Council websites.

If your property is in a bushfire prone area, this will also be recorded on the section 149 certificate. However, neither the maps nor the section 149 certificate indicate the ‘bushfire attack level’ or BAL of the property. The BAL can have implications for building and renovating, and a high rating can significantly increase the cost of the building works.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) publication Planning for Bushfire Protection (PBP), applies to all development applications on land that is classified as “bush fire prone land”.

All Development Applications on bush fire prone land need to:

  • Include a bush fire assessment report with the statement of Environmental Effects
  • Demonstrate to the RFS or consent authority that the proposal satisfies the broad aim and objectives of PBP
  • Residential/ rural residential subdivision and ‘special fire protection purporses’ proposal have additional compliance requirements and performance criteria
  • Meet the planning requirements of the PBP as well as any bush fire construction requirements under the Building Code of Australia (BCA)

There are 5 categories of Bushfire Attack Levels (BAL) based on heat flux exposure thresholds:

Category: Risk Level: Construction requirements: Approval:
BAL – LOW There is insufficient risk to warrant specific construction requirements No construction requirements Consent authority
BAL – 12.5 Ember attack Set out in sections 3 and 5 of AS3959 Consent authority
BAL – 19 Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux Set out in sections 3 and 6 of AS3959 Consent authority
BAL – 29 Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux Set out in sections 3 and 7 of AS3959 Consent authority
BAL – 40 Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux with increased likelihood of exposure to flames Set out in sections 3 and 8 of AS3959 Must be referred to RFS for review
BAL FZ (Fire Zone) Direct exposure to flames from front in additional to heat flux and ember attack Set out in sections 3 and 9of AS3959 Must be referred to RFS for review



Complying development is permitted on bush fire prone land for the lower risk bush fire attack levels (12.5,19 and 29) subject to meeting the development standards complying with Planning for Bush Fire Protection. However, any development with a BAL level of 40 or FZ (Fire Zone) must be referred to the Rural Fire Service for review.

For further information general information, you can follow the links below, however if you would like advice on how your property may be affected, call our office for an appointment.

Australian Standard 3959

AS 3959 sets out the detailed requirements for construction of building in bushfire-prone areas:

Bush Fire Prone Areas:


The Hills Shire Council:

Is it time to update your Will?

Many people prepare a Will and leave it “tucked away” for many years, never turning an eye to it. Alternatively others consider it to be one of those tasks that is “just too hard”, and gets put aside for another month, year or decade.

There are many reasons to have a Will or review and update your Will. Wills, POA and EG

Below is a checklist of events that may prompt you to do so.

  • The individuals you have named are deceased.
  • New people need to be named in your will (e.g. birth, adoption)
  • Divorce or marriage
  • Change in guardians of infant children, executors, or trustees.
  • Children reach the age of eighteen
  • A substantial increase or decrease in the value of your estate
  • The passage of time is reason enough. You should review your will and estate planning documents every three to five years


If you think any of the above apply to you, or you would like to discuss further if it may be time to review your will (or even get your first will) please call Marissa, Kylie or Lisa on (02) 9653 9466

Community Title


Community title divides land to create lots and common property in a similar manner to strata.

Community schemes however have the ability to include a development lot which can be retained by the developer for division into further lots at a later time.


You own the land in your lot, however you are restricted and limited as to its use by the rules of the community.

For example, community plans are becoming more popular in Kellyville. What may appear to be a free standing home on its own block of land may be part of a community scheme. You still own the block of land, however as part of the community there may be rules you need to comply with (i.e. only single storey with a colourbond roof) and you also pay association levies and garden restriction.


As an owner, you will be responsible for the maintenance and insurance of any structures on your lot, for example your house and your garage.

You have no obligation to maintain other lot owner’s buildings.

The community association insures the common property.


The common property is land that does not form part of any owner’s lots and generally includes any service infrastructure that is not for the exclusive use of a lot.

Common property may include a common road, common garden, a swimming pool, gym, community hall etc. It is entirely dependent on the plan you belong to.


You are responsible for your usual expenses as with any other property such as council rates and water rates. However, you are also responsible for a portion of the expenses for the common property, known as “community levies”.

The community association raises levies, in much the same way a strata scheme does. These levies go towards two things:

  1. Administrative Fund – for the general running and upkeep of the community; and
  2. Sinking Fund – for long term contingencies, repairs and upgrades of community property.



There will be a set of by-laws you need to abide by. Penalties can apply should you breach the by-laws.

The by-laws can be very similar to strata plan by-laws, so while you may think you are buying your own block of land ‘to do as you want on’, the by-laws may state differently.

The by-laws can cover important points such as keeping a pet, changing the appearance of your home, landscaping and parking to name just a few.

It is absolutely crucial that you familiarise yourself with the by-laws prior to entering into (exchanging) a Contract.


  1. Do I have a copy of the by-laws and do I understand exactly what I can and cannot do?
  2. How are disputes resolved with regard the Community Association?
  3. What are the rules with people visiting and parking?
  4. Is there any money owing in relation to the levies over my lot?
  5. What are the contribution levies?
  6. Is there a sinking fund? If so, is the balance appropriate for the plan?
  7. What maintenance services are provided and what am I to maintain?
  8. What are the restrictions on the use of my unit/lot?
  9. Can I store my caravan/bike/boat?
  10. Are pets permitted?

Swimming Pool Requirements – More time to get your pool ready!

Last year we posted a blog about the new swimming pool requirements that were to become effective on 29 April 2015.
New Swimming Pool Requirements extended - Get registered now before it's too late
 The NSW Office of Local Government has recently announced that they will again extend this date by 12 months.

As of 29 April 2016, you will be unable to sell or lease a property with a swimming pool without a valid Certificate of Compliance evidencing that your swimming pool complies with all the compulsory safety requirements.

You can obtain a Swimming Pool Certificate of Compliance from your local council or from an accredited certifier under the Building Professional Act. An application form can usually be found on your local councils website.

Your Swimming Pool Certificate of Compliance is valid for three years from the date of issue.
If you are intending to sell or lease your property in 2016 you may wish to obtain a Certificate of Compliance sooner rather than later. Remember, you may not receive your certificate on the first inspection. The Council may require you to undertake further work to make your pool compliant. If this is left until the last minute it may delay any sale or lease until you have complete the work required, organised another inspection and received your certificate.

Finally, a reminder that your pool should be registered on the NSW Swimming Pool Register located at The requirement for registration is already in effect, if you have not already done so do not delay and register today!

New Swimming Pool Requirements

Earlier this year, we posted a blog about changes in the swimming pool requirements that were effective from 29 April 2014. However, the NSW Office of Local Government has recently extended the compliance certificate date by 12 months.

What does this mean?Pool-safty-in-seven-hills-nsw

From 29 April 2015 all homeowners who have a pool must have a valid certificate of compliance issued by either your local council or an accredited certifier.

We take this opportunity to remind you that you must also have your pool registered – this must be done immediately (this should already have been done).

If you are selling your property you must attach a certificate of compliance, and evidence that the pool has been registered, to the contract of sale. If these documents are not attached to the contract of sale then purchaser has the right to rescind the contract after exchange.

If you are leasing your property, and the property has a pool, then from 29 April 2015 you must ensure the pool is registered; there is a valid certificate of compliance and the certificate of compliance must be given to the tenant.

Please contact our property lawyer Fiona Makisi to obtain further information on (02) 9653 9466.

Benefits of Family Dispute Resolution

Before family law proceedings concerning parenting matters are commenced, it is a requirement of the Family Law Act, that both parties make a ‘genuine effort’ to resolve the family dispute by Family Dispute Resolution (FDR). However, there are exceptions to this rule.

Benefits of FDR

There are numerous benefits associated with resolving a matter outside of court including:
–       Encouragement of flexible solutions.
–       You can make your own decisions, rather than having one imposed on you by a judicial officer.
–       Avoids legal arguments.
–       Promotes individual responsibility.
–       Encourages a positive relationship between parties for the future.
–       Generally much cheaper than going through the courts.
–       Emotional costs may be less.

Upon attending Family Dispute Resolution, if the matter remains unresolved then the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner will generally provide a 60I Certificate. If the Family Dispute Resolution was unsuccessful or parties want to proceed to court, then this Certificate must be provided with your application to the court.Family Road Sign

Disadvantages of going to court

There are disadvantages of commencing a family law proceeding at the Family Court of Australia. The disadvantages include:

–       A decision will be imposed on each of the parties. Each party may not necessarily agree to the decision of the court.
–       Delays with the court system may increase legal fees, and potential for emotional costs. Further, the matter could be before the courts for at least 12 months.
–       Discourages active involvement of participants in decision-making.

At Anderson Boemi Lawyers, our Marissa Boemi is an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, and is able to assist you in any family law matter.  Please contact our office if you would like further information, or if you would like to make an appointment.


Changes to Privacy Laws that WILL affect your ability to obtain credit

Most people find laws that relate to privacy and credit boring and irrelevant, however changes to the privacy laws from March 2014 will change the way credit providers will assess applications for credit.149151881

This will apply from everything from credit card applications to home loans and therefore has the ability to affect every Australian.

Your “credit rating” is a file that records applications for finance, any defaults and some agencies also give you a score or rating as to your credit worthiness.  This information is then used by banks and other credit providers in assessing whether to lend you money.

These changes will increase the amount of information licensed credit providers are able to share with each other via your credit report and you should be aware as to how the new regime will operate.

In the future, your credit report will show your monthly repayment history (reliability) on your consumer credit – including information as to  whether you make your loan and credit card repayments on time, and if not, how late you are in making payment.  If you make a part payment, the information available will also show that amount.

The new laws allow financial institutions to go back two years and this will be the amount of information available to credit providers in the future.  A history of poor repayments may mean that you already have these matters recorded against your name.

The effect that the new laws will have on you depends entirely upon the manner in which you have managed your credit obligations in the past.  A strong and reliable repayment history should have a positive influence on a new credit application, however those with a habit of late or irregular payments may be penalised.

As well as including repayment history information, the changes to credit reporting will also include the following information:

  1. The dates on which  credit accounts  were opened and closed
  2. The type of credit account opened
  3. The current limit of each open credit account.

At this stage, the changes apply only to licensed credit providers and NOT Telecommunications or utility providers.  If you feel that you have been unfairly treated, or that there are some errors on your credit history, you should first speak with the credit provider, however if you are unable to resolve the matter, one of our experienced lawyers may be able to assist you.

For more information, call our office for an appointment.

“You have the right to remain silent!”


Last year, we wrote an article in relation to some serious changes to your right to silence. Historically, the right to silence has been one of the cornerstones of our criminal justice system.

One of the main reasons for the existence of this right is the fact that people under investigation are often vulnerable either because of their background or alternatively because of the amount of pressure that may be applied to them to answer questions. One of the other problems is the fact that not all officials act properly or fairly when carrying out their investigations.

In NSW, the Government introduced changes to the law, making a significant impact upon this protection. Instead of having a right to remain silent, the law has been changed to require people who are at Police Stations with their lawyer to be given a “special caution”. This has the effect of requiring an accused person to provide information to investigating authorities or risk being prevented from relying upon that information later at Court as part of their defence.

In countries such as the United Kingdom, the right to silence has been removed, however, there is a balance in that system because an accused person has immediate access to legal advice- this additional protection will not be available in NSW. In fact, it may not be a good idea to attend the Police Station with a lawyer. Of course, there is already legislation requiring people to provide the information they are requesting. Common examples of this occurring are in connection with traffic and driving offences.

Now that this law has come into effect, it will be necessary for a person accused of a crime to have access to specialist legal advice quickly. Decisions in relation to whether or not to participate in a recorded interview and or whether to agree to forensic procedures will have to be made at the time of arrest and probably with legal assistance being provided by telephone as the new laws require a “special caution” to be given when a lawyer is actually present at the Police Station. Whilst remaining silent has not always been the best advice after a person has been arrested, it may not be the only real option for a person who has been accused of a criminal offence.

Warwick Anderson is an Accredited Specialist in Criminal Law with experience as a qualified Detective, Police Prosecutor and almost twenty years as a criminal defence lawyer.

If you have been arrested or need urgent legal advice, Warwick is available for your assistance on (02) 0414 587 200.