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National rolls out new SME initiative

National rolls out new SME initiative

contract law

Henry Davis York has announced it has developed a platform for Australian SMEs, which aims to help them combat the challenges of new “unfair contract terms”.

HDY launched the Unfair Contract Law Challenge interactive quiz to help small Australian businesses and organisations understand the scope and application of the new contract terms regime that applies to “standard form” small business contracts.

The interactive quiz enables users to test their knowledge and understanding of the new contract terms regime, which commenced on 12 November 2016.

The quiz features 20 questions, with each taking the user through a different scenario relevant to the scope and application of the new regime.

The user is asked whether a contractual provision constitutes an “unfair term” under the new laws, with users receiving a detailed summary of their results upon completion. 

HDY partner Peter Mulligan said the idea came about due to the confusion that has plagued the SME community since the new regime launched.

HDY developed the learning tool because of the significant nature of the reforms to Australian contract law and because this kind of tool makes a big difference to client understanding,” he said.

“It helps them navigate through the new regime and learn as they go.

HDY senior associate Monique Azzopardi helped develop the quiz and said so far the feedback from users has been overwhelmingly positive.

The scenarios in the tool are designed to assist participants to discover for themselves how the different exceptions apply to individual circumstances,” she said.

“The problem we have found in this area is there is not a strong understanding in the market of the complexities in the regime and the layers of exceptions.

Ms Azzopardi believes the quiz results reflect the concerns of the ACCC from August this year that many sectors remain unprepared [for the new laws].

While, over time, case law will hopefully provide additional clarity, this will take quite a while and it will therefore be important for businesses affected by the new laws to urgently upskill and ensure they are compliant, she said.

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