Pitfalls to avoid when buying or selling a house

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, a first-home buyer, an investor, or a seasoned household owner, there are many mistakes that people make in conveyancing.  Here are a few of the most common mistakes:

  • using incorrect spelling or informal names on the contract
  • failing to meet contract deadlines
  • failing to obtain searches (as a buyer)
  • failing to include chattels/fixtures in the contract.

Incorrect spelling or use of informal names

For an agent:

  • When drafting a contract, ensure you write down both the seller’s and buyer’s names correctly. Obtain copies of all parties’ government-issued identification (drivers’ licence) so you can check.
  • Ensure you have a copy of the title search for the property you are selling as this will ensure you have recorded the seller’s name exactly as it is depicted on title.
  • Make sure you include all parties to the settlement i.e. multiple buyers must all be correctly listed.

For a buyer or seller:

  • Check that the contract has your name spelt correctly.
  • If you have a middle name, use it.
  • If your name is spelt incorrectly, change it.

Repercussions:

As a buyer or seller, if your name is spelt incorrectly on a contract and you proceed with the contract, your conveyancer will need to have this amended. This can incur extra costs with some fixed-fee conveyancing agreements.

If the buyer’s name is spelt in correctly in a contract and they are obtaining finance, the financier will require the contract to be amended to ensure the name is listed correctly on the contract. Depending on how long both parties take to agree to amend the contract, your finance could be delayed by weeks as a financier cannot progress a loan agreement until the application matches what’s on the contract.

If your incorrect name happens to slip past all these parties, the property will be transferred into the name of the person on the contract. This will not be your legal name and can have significant impacts on your estate should something happen to you. To change a name once it is registered on title, an application to amend needs to be lodged with the Queensland Titles Office. This will incur further costs and can take months to be amended.

The rule is simple: spell check before you sign.

Contract deadlines

The most common deadlines or dates in a residential contract of sale are:

  • cooling off
  • finance
  • building and Pest
  • special conditions
  • settlement.

On a standard Real Estate Institute Queensland (REIQ) contract, most of these conditions have a date within which they need to be met. This can be a certain number of days from the contract date (i.e. 14 days from contract) or have a specific date listed (i.e. 11 July 2019). A settlement date can be written in a few different ways which can be confusing to the parties of the sale.

Cooling off
A cooling-off period is automatically built into all REIQ residential sale contracts. You will find the disclaimer just above the execution panel on your contract. This disclaimer advises that you as a buyer have five business days, following the execution of your contract, to pull out of the contract for any reason.

A termination penalty of 0.25% of the purchase price is required to be paid by the buyer should they pull out under this condition. This is included as a protection for the seller to prevent people signing contracts and pulling out for no reason.

The cooling-off period does not apply to the seller. Once a seller signs the contract, they cannot terminate unless the purchaser is delayed in satisfying one of its conditions detailed under the contract.

Finance, building and pest, and special conditions
The date each of these conditions must be met will be listed on the contract. The most common timing for these conditions is 14 days from the contract date. Buyers should be proactive and start applications to ensure these conditions are satisfied within the specified timeframes.

A finance application with a general bank will take a minimum of seven days to be conditionally approved. However, they can take anywhere between 14 to 21 days to give formal approval. When you start looking to purchase a property, go to your financier or mortgage broker and get conditional approval. Once you are conditionally approved, the formal approval is much easier to obtain and you can become conditionally approved without a contract. The financier will advise you of the maximum amount you are conditionally approved for and you can proceed to look at purchasing houses for that amount and under.

In order to satisfy a finance condition, you need to provide your conveyancer with the following:

  • a copy of the formal approval letter you received from your financier
  • written advice (an email) from you advising you are happy with the offer from that financier and wish to satisfy this condition in the contract.

Your conveyancer must obtain these instructions from you in order to satisfy this condition.

Depending on the size of the property you are purchasing, a building and pest inspection generally takes between one and two hours to complete. Once you sign a contract, you need to call around to obtain quotes and book an inspection as soon as possible.  You should arrange a time for an inspector to attend the property when it is suitable for the sellers to provide access to the property. Liaise with the real estate agent to arrange a suitable day and time.

Once the inspection is done, most inspectors will give you a short verbal run down of the property. They will then forward you a written report.  Be patient as this takes time for them to write up (generally 24 hours following inspection).

It’s important to have this inspection done as soon as possible as issues may arise in the report that you may want to negotiate on.

If you want to negotiate under the building and pest condition on a contract, you need to provide your conveyancer with a copy of the report and detail in writing (email) exactly what the issues are and what you want the seller to do about it. Once they have that information, your conveyancer will contact the agent and the seller’s conveyancer to begin negotiations.

Negotiations can take days or even weeks to resolve and generally take one of two forms: either a price reduction or a request for repairs. If you request a price reduction this means you are willing to accept the property as is, if the seller agrees to reduce the purchase price by an agreed amount. This reduction will then be accounted for at settlement. If you request repairs be done by the seller, they need to undertake these repairs/works prior to settlement and provide you with a copy of the invoices showing the work was completed by suitably qualified tradesperson.

Once you satisfy the building and pest condition, no further negotiations take place. So, you should ensure everything is agreed in writing before your condition date under the contract.

Special conditions can take many forms. They can be for due diligence (generally when you need further information on the property because you are wanting to do something like build), or for when the seller needs to do something prior to settlement (repair something broken or replace something in the property), concurrent settlement (of your sale property) etc. There are many special conditions that can be written into a contract of sale.

You should discuss these with your conveyancer prior to signing a contract containing special conditions to ensure you are aware of their implications during the sale process.

Generally, settlement date is listed in the contract as 30 days from the date of the contract. When it comes time for your contract to settle you need to ensure you are ready.

As a buyer you need to ensure:

  • Your financier is ready to provide funds.
  • Any extra funds you are putting into the purchase are with your financier or conveyancer.

As a seller you need to ensure:

  • Your mortgagor (if any) is ready to release your mortgage on the property.
  • You are packed up as you need to be out of the property by settlement time.
  • You have completed any repairs under negotiations made during the process of the contract.

What happens if you don’t meet a condition by its due date?
This is a question that not many people ask, but all parties involved with a sale contract should. As a purchaser, if you miss a deadline, you give the seller an opportunity to terminate the contract. Under REIQ contracts, a condition is not assumed satisfied simply because the due date has passed. All conditions are due by 5pm on the due date.

If the due date passes and a condition has not been satisfied, then the first email received by either party is taken to have precedence, that is, if the purchaser doesn’t satisfy the building and pest condition by 5pm on the due date, then the seller is within their rights to terminate. If you have your conveyancer send an email at 8:31am the following morning to satisfy, but they already received an email from the seller’s conveyancer terminating the contract prior to this time, the contract will be terminated. If they haven’t received any email, then your satisfaction email is taken to have precedence and the contract is still on foot or valid.

If you are still in negotiations on a condition and the due date is looming, you need to request an extension of that condition prior to 5pm on the due date. Please note that until the seller agrees in writing to that extension, at any time between 5pm on the due date and receipt of that extension agreement, the seller can terminate the contract.

This is why it is extremely important to start on contract conditions immediately after executing the contract. This allows enough time to negotiate, extend and receive a response before the due date.

Searches
As a seller, you don’t need to obtain any searches. It is the purchaser’s responsibility to obtain the searches required to complete settlement. Sometimes you may be asked to provide copies of your latest rates and water searches to assist in a quick settlement.

As a purchaser, there are a couple of standard searches that you need to obtain so your conveyancer can adequately prepare for settlement. Upon your instruction, your conveyancer will order searches. These standard searches include:

  • rates
  • title
  • special water meter read
  • land tax clearance certificate
  • body corporate (if applicable).

There are many other searches you can obtain in addition to the required searches. Depending on what you want to do with the property, you may wish to obtain further searches.

For example, if you want to dig in the yard to build a shed you will most likely need to get a sewerage and drainage search. If you are buying a property with a pool, you’ll want to do a pool register search. If you know there is development in the future that might affect you at the property, you could seek a copy of the Department of Transport and Main Roads search.

A due diligence special condition is inserted as a special condition when there are specific searches that you want to get and if the result is unsatisfactory to you as the purchaser, you may wish to terminate the contract. These generally occurs in sales where the purchaser intends to demolish and rebuild on the property.

In a standard purchase, if you don’t obtain the above standard searches, you are putting yourself at risk of having to pay outstanding fees. These searches advise what has/hasn’t been paid for each service. For example, there might be outstanding land tax payable on a property, but if you as the purchaser don’t obtain the search to find out and subsequently request this amount be paid by the seller at settlement, then you become responsible for paying this amount. This is the same for outstanding rates, water, and body corporate bills.

Chattels/fixtures
The general rule to determine whether an item is a fixture or a chattel is to consider the degree to which that item is affixed to the property. For example, if you must unscrew something which will damage what it is screwed into to remove the item, it is generally considered a fixture.

There is a specific section on an REIQ contract where both the buyer and seller need to write down what will be staying/leaving the property upon settlement.

If you are expecting to take anything as a seller, include it in the contract.

If you are expecting anything to stay as a purchaser, include it in the contract.

The rule is that any fixtures are required to stay with the property and any chattels are required to be taken away following settlement unless specified in the contract.

General examples of fixtures:

  • carpets
  • blinds
  • pool filter
  • solar panels
  • clothesline.

General examples of chattels

  • fridge
  • washing machine
  • pot plants
  • television.

Remember: it all comes down to the degree of affixation. If in doubt, include it in the contract.

These are just some of the common mistakes that agents, buyers and sellers make on a contract of sale/purchase. To avoid these pitfalls, remember that the more information you put into a contract, the safer and easier the transaction will be. If you want to include special conditions, discuss it with your lawyer or conveyancer prior to signing the contract to ensure it gives you the protection you want.

Let us help you avoid these pitfalls
At Cornerstone Law Offices, we are a full-service, general practice law firm. We specialise in Family Law, but also practice in property, crime and traffic, migration and wills and estates. We pride ourselves on providing our clients with the highest quality of service to assist them in any matter they may experience in their lives. We have specialist lawyers in all areas of law, with offices in North Lakes, the Brisbane CBD, Logan and the Gold Coast. We can be contacted on 07 3806 4354 or email info@cornerstonelawoffices.com.au

What are the benefits of using a lawyer over a conveyancer?

This is a question we are often asked. When it comes to a generic, run of the mill sale or purchase – the answer is, there isn’t much difference. However, there aren’t many matters in the conveyancing world that don’t have any issues or and when those issues arise, you may want a qualified lawyer in your corner.

Before signing a contract, as a seller or a buyer, you should have your lawyer/conveyancer read over the contract to make sure there are no nasty surprises. Qualified lawyers have the added bonus of years of study and experience to ensure that when they draft special conditions for you, they are airtight and acting for you in the way you desire. Special conditions can have a significant impact on a contract, so it is important to ensure they are drafted correctly and afford you with the protection as required.

Generally, lawyers don’t take on as many files as conveyancers as they may be working in other areas of law at the same time. At Cornerstone Law Offices, we pride ourselves on not taking on quantity but working for the highest quality in all our matters.

There are always sticky situations that arise in a conveyancing matter. You may require negotiations following the results of a building and pest inspection. Whilst conveyancers and lawyers are both able to make negotiations, sometimes it is beneficial to have a lawyer acting for you especially if the issue extends past the conveyance and you need further representation.

Should there be a dispute between parties during the settlement process, a lawyer can give you specific legal advice on that issue, where as a conveyancer will direct you to seek independent legal advice. This can become common when parties are selling due to separation.

The biggest advantage a lawyer provides over a conveyancer, is the opportunity for parties to utilise their services for other matters following their sale or purchase, i.e. retain representation. There are many reasons that someone sells or buys a property, and generally there is another issue which they will need legal advice on. For example, as a seller, you may be going through a separation where you will need to engage a lawyer to represent you in future family matters. Or you might be selling the property as you are moving into a retirement village and you will need a lawyer to help you with your wills and estate or power of attorney and advanced health directives.

The same applies for a buyer, once you purchase a property – you have an asset to your name. You should review and update your will so that this asset is protected should something happen to you. This ensures the property passes to someone as per your wishes.

At Cornerstone Law Offices, we are a full-service general practice law firm. We specialise in family law, but also practice in property, crime & traffic, migration and wills & estates. We pride ourselves in providing our clients the highest quality of service and assisting them in any matter they might experience throughout their lives. We have specialist lawyers in all areas of law, and have multiple offices from North Lakes, to Brisbane CBD, to Logan and the Gold Coast. We can be contacted on 07 3806 4354 or email info@cornerstonelawoffices.com.au

What is a property settlement and can you get it done before you divorce?

If you are separated and heading for divorce, consider finalising your property settlement as soon as possible to secure the best outcome for your future.

What is property?

Property refers to all your assets, financial resources, superannuation and liabilities. The Family Law Act defines property as being the ‘net asset pool’ which can include:

  • matrimonial home
  • investment properties
  • bank accounts
  • family Trusts
  • jointly owned assets
  • superannuation
  • shares/interests in a business or companies
  • cars and/or any other vehicles
  • debts

Why is it better to finalise your property settlement before you divorce?

In Australia, you cannot file an application for divorce unless you have been separated for 12 months. However, you can commence and/or finalise a property settlement at any time after you separate.

We strongly recommend people finalise their property settlement as soon as possible after separation and before getting a divorce order. This is because your assets at the date of settlement or trial are what is taken into consideration rather than your assets at the date you separate.

Because it is likely each party will continue with their lives after separation and in doing so, may buy or sell assets, unless there has been a property settlement, these transactions will affect both parties even though the couple is separated.

Are married and de facto relationships treated the same?

If you are married, you must apply for a property settlement within a year of a divorce order becoming final. A divorce order becomes final one month and one day after the date on which the order was made.

If you are in a de facto relationship, you must apply to the court for your property settlement within two years from the date of separation.

Failure to commence proceedings in the court within these timeframes means you will need to seek permission from the court to commence proceedings out of time. It is at the court’s discretion as to whether or not they grant permission and they will only do so in limited circumstances.

How is property divided?

When the court is deciding on a just and equitable division of the relationship property, each case is treated as unique. The court will consider the contributions each person has made to the relationship (both financial and non-financial), together with each person’s future needs.

Both parties will need to disclose all of their assets and the court has the discretion to split any of the property even if it’s under one party’s name. The factors the court considers when deciding are:

  • future financial needs of each party
  • earning capacity of each party
  • whether they have children and who cares for them
  • age
  • health
  • any other special circumstances
  • whether the division would be practical and in the party’s interests.

How is a property settlement finalised?

Property settlement can be finalised either by:

  1. an application for consent orders (which is filed in the Family Court) and orders are made by the court
  2. a binding financial agreement (which is not filed in court).

 

Cornerstone Law Offices can help you understand your entitlements, negotiate property settlement with your former spouse or partner, and obtain a just and equitable outcome. Call us on 1300 267 637 for a complimentary consultation or contact us by clicking here.

What happens to your assets if you die without a will?

If you die without a will, you are said to have passed away ‘intestate’. This means your estate (your assets) will be administered and distributed according to Queensland’s laws of intestacy.

Having a will allows you to legally protect your spouse, children, other family members and your assets. It also allows you to appoint an executor to administer your estate and to have control over how you want your estate to be distributed.

What is an asset?

An asset is anything you own that has a monetary value. An asset can be the home you live in, other properties you own, motor vehicles, investments, art collections, personal belongings, cash, bank accounts balance, superannuation, shares, and the list can go on. Your estate lawyer will be able to help you identify your assets during your estate planning discussion.

What makes a will current and valid?

A will documents the wishes you want to come into effect when you die. A valid will is your last written wish which is witnessed by two people while you have full mental capacity. All three parties need to be physically present to sign and witness the document. Your lawyers can also witness the documents. The costs of administering an estate where there is a current and valid will can be significantly less than where there is no will, or where the will is not valid.

Who administers my estate?

If you pass away intestate, an ‘eligible person’ must apply to the Court for a grant of Letters of Administration enabling them to become the legal representative of your estate. This grant will appoint someone as the administrator of your estate so they can deal with your assets (i.e. bank accounts etc) to finalise your estate.  The administrator will be responsible for paying off debts and ensuring the estate is divided appropriately in accordance with the intestacy rules.

In order of priority, the following people are eligible to apply to the Court to be appointed as the administrator of your estate if you die without a will:

  1. surviving spouse (including a de facto partner)
  2. children
  3. grandchildren or great grandchildren
  4. parents
  5. brothers and sisters
  6. nephews and nieces
  7. grandparents
  8. uncles and aunts
  9. first cousins
  10. anyone else the court may appoint.

How will my assets be distributed?

Part 3 of the Succession Act 1981 (Qld) sets out the entitlements of the next of kin of an intestate person. How an intestate estate is distributed depends on the circumstances of the deceased.

If you pass away intestate, your estate will be distributed to the closest next of kin, first being your spouse (including a de facto partner) and then your children.

If at the time of passing you had a spouse, with no children, then the whole estate will go to the spouse.

If you had a spouse, and have children, then your spouse will receive the first $150,000 of the estate and all household goods. The remainder will then be split equally between the spouse and your children.

If you are single and have children, the children will receive the balance of the estate in equal shares.

If you have neither a spouse nor children, then the estate will be distributed to the following people in the following order:

  1. parents
  2. siblings, nephews and nieces
  3. grandparents
  4. uncles, aunts and first cousins
  5. The Crown.

 

Cornerstone Law Offices can help you with all of your needs in regards to wills & estate planning and estate administration of deceased estates. Call us on 1300 267 637 for an initial complimentary consultation (or contact us by clicking here).

An important message for this holiday season

An important message from Prav for this holiday season…

 

A Christmas message from Prav

Wishing you and your loved ones a very merry and safe Christmas, and all the very best for 2019!

 

Merry Christmas from all of us

What to look for when engaging an estate administration lawyer

Wills and estate administration is a highly litigated area of law requiring solicitors to be extremely vigilant.  A solicitor failing to ask a relatively mundane question can lead to terrible consequences for a client and beneficiaries of a will such as a beneficiary not acquiring their beneficial interest or ending up in a costly litigation.

The law is always changing

Estate laws are constantly changing because of new court decisions and amendments to old provisions. This area of law intersects with multiple other areas of law. For example, an ex-spouse may have a claim to the testator’s estate pursuant to family laws; a beneficiary may not be allowed to acquire corporate interests without having a shareholder vote pursuant to corporation laws; or a beneficiary may end up having to record his/her inheritance as an income for the year causing him/her to pay more capital gains tax pursuant to tax laws.

What to expect from your solicitor

When taking instruction, a solicitor should:

  • make detailed notes
  • determine and review any previous wills
  • determine the assets/liabilities/creditors
  • determine locations, identities and any aliases of appointers, trustees and beneficiaries
  • investigate the client’s capacity and level of urgency to make a will
  • verify the types of title ownership over assets
  • advise the client on the rule of ademption and pecuniary legacies
  • advise the client to speak to an accountant in relation to tax consequences
  • provide advice on the best and worst outcomes
  • ask probing questions to investigate the client’s family structure, make sure the estate is solvent, funeral arrangements, superannuation, life insurance, discretionary trusts, companies, enduring Power of Attorney, Advance Health Directives
  • advise on minimising risks from potential people having a claim to their estate regardless of being a beneficiary named in the will.

Solicitors are officers of the Court
As an officer of the Court, solicitors have a duty to collect and record all evidence that is relevant, not only evidence which may support the validity of the will, but also evidence that may cast doubt upon it. Solicitors must strive to remove ambiguity from wills and record all instructions and evidence. Where a person lacks testamentary capacity, s.21 Succession Act 1981 (Qld) may allow the Court to authorise a will to be made, altered or revoked on behalf of the incapacitated person.

Cornerstone Law Offices can help you with all yours and your loved ones Wills & Estate planning and Estate Administration of deceased estates. Call us on 1300 267 637 for an initial complimentary consultation (or contact us by clicking here).

Five Myths of Divorce and Separation – This Advice Will Make You Rethink Your Approach

We often hear that individuals know what to expect because a friend, a colleague or a family member went through a separation. More often than not, the advice they have been given is incorrect or misleading.

Every family law matter is different, and it is important that people facing such a situation seek specialist advice to enable them to make informed decisions in the future. Separation is confusing enough as it is without incorrect and misleading information from others.

MYTH #1 – All relationships end in a 50/50 property division

THE REALITY

There is no universal equation that is applied in a property division. Property can be divided according to a number of factors. These include:

  • The length of the relationship
  • The financial (direct or indirect) contributions of both parties
  • The non-financial contributions of both parties – homemaker and carer roles
  • The current and future needs of both parties – age and health of each individual

Because there are so many different factors to consider, the reality is that a 50/50 property division is actually rare.

MYTH #2 – You have to be divorced to do a property settlement

THE REALITY

You do not have to be divorced to do a property settlement. However there are time limits depending on whether the settlement is for a defacto relationship or a marriage.

Time Limits:

  • Marriage: 12 months from the date the divorce order takes effect
  • Defacto: 2 years from the date of separation

Once a divorce order is made, there is a 12-month time limit for you to commence proceedings for a property settlement. The 12-month time limit starts from date the divorce order comes into effect.

In the case of de facto couples, the time limit to commence property proceedings is two years from the date of separation.

If you do not commence proceedings within these time frames, you will need to seek permission from the court to commence proceedings. It is the Court’s discretion as to whether they grant permission or not and they will only do so in limited circumstances.

MYTH #3 – Assets within companies, trusts and superannuation funds are excluded from a property settlement

THE REALITY

The definition of property in Family Law is wide. The important word is control.

Property includes all assets that the parties have legal or equitable interest in, whether in their sole name, joint names or with a third party.

Superannuation comes into this definition and can be split so that some of it is given to the other spouse.

The issue of whether trust and/or companies are included in that definition can be quite a technical area. It is wrong for people to think it is possible or even easy for a party to hide assets by registering in the name of company or a trust. Just because it is not in your name does not mean it does not form part of the asset pool available for division.

The issue comes down to whether a party has control of the assets. An indicator of control is whether a party can decide what happens to those assets or whether they can appoint or remove trustee/s and beneficiaries.

MYTH #4 – All family disputes involving lawyers go to court  

THE REALITY

  • If settlement or agreement is the primary goal, then this can be established without the need to go to court as long as both parties can come to an agreement
  • Court should be seen as a last resort

Where possible, resolution through mediation or by negotiations with the other party should be made, thereby saving both parties in legal fees and time and allowing each to move on with their lives.  However, sometimes where further negotiations or mediation will not advance the matter in any substantial way, commencing court proceedings will be necessary to come to a resolution of the matter.

MYTH #5 – If you have agreed on a property division, you must involve lawyers

THE REALITY

There are ways to formalise an agreement that doesn’t necessarily involve lawyers. It is possible to do this with either of the following:

  1. Consent Orders
  2. Binding Financial Agreement

Consent Order means that the court has considered and formalised the agreement. Consent Orders can be done without lawyers.  However, we would strongly urge you to have a lawyer specialising in family law check over the documents to make sure they have been drafted correctly. This is particularly important in relation to transfer of property otherwise you risk incurring stamp duty and/or losing other advantages of formalising the agreement.

A Binding Financial Agreement effectively is a contract between the two estranged spouses. For this sort of agreement, you must involve lawyers for it to be enforceable. Independent legal advice must be obtained by each party and the lawyer must sign off on the agreement otherwise, to put it frankly, it is not worth the paper it is written on.

If you are going through a divorce or separation, and need help with any of the above, please contact Cornerstone Law Offices by on phone: 1300 267 637 or by email at: info@cornerstonelawoffices.com.au

 

GPS tracking as a bail condition

As of 31 March 2018 Queensland courts can now compel a person, accused of committing serious domestic violence offences, to be fitted with a GPS tracking device, as a condition of their bail.

This initiative was one of the recommendations of the report entitled, ‘Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland’.

The Court can impose this bail condition on any person, who might be granted bail. It is not specifically restricted to domestic violence related offences.

The fundamental purpose of fitting the tracking device to a person’s ankle, as a condition of their bail, is to allow police to locate and monitor the wearer twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Police will be able to know where and when the wearer goes to a location and it is regarded as a deterrent so that the wearer will not further breach an existing protection order, such as one providing an exclusion zone to protect the alleged aggrieved.

This tracking device could be fitted to a person, merely on the word of one person against their partner or former partner, without evidence having been formally tested by way of a hearing.

It must be said, the fitting of the device alone is not an adequate risk minimisation measure, it is merely a warning device and requires the Police or another authority to monitor the device and respond.

As a further condition of the wearer’s bail, Police can enter their premises to inspect equipment necessary for the device’s operation, without a warrant or permission from the wearer. If the wearer is to undergo a medical procedure, he/she will have to seek a bail variation from the Court, prior to the procedure, to permit the removal of the device. The wearer has to also inform the Police, at least two business days before flying as to why they will be flying, when they will be leaving and returning.

These devices are currently in use, being fitted to parolees or prisoners, who are subject to a continuing supervision order, as a dangerous prisoner. The expansion of the program means, people on bail, not yet convicted of having committed any offence could be required to wear the same, often visible device.

These devices are not inexpensive. In 2017 the Queensland government committed $265 million dollars over six years to fund the tracking of 500 parolees and 91 high risk sexual offenders. More of these devices will need to be purchased and maintained as the program is extended to include wearers, who are required to wear the devices as a condition of their bail.

These devices are not without problems in operation. GPS tracking relies on line of sight to several satellites, and various environmental factors can adversely impact on the signal quality leading to a loss of signal. Wearers must regularly charge the device, at least two hours of continual charging daily and carry their mobile telephones to resolve technical issues when required.

If you have been charged with a serious domestic violence offence, Cornerstone Law Offices can help.

For more information on how we can help you, contact Cornerstone Law Offices on:

Phone: 1300 267 637

info@cornerstonelawoffices.com.au