Tales from the Tinny

Published on:

The ABC interviewed Kevin Stephens regarding the implications of Aboriginal land claims on popular fishing spots around Darwin.  You can read here  ? or watch here ?


Fallen Trees and Dividing Fences: Who is Liable?

Published on:

By Sarah Borrows

The Greater Darwin region is still recovering from the damage caused by Cyclone Marcus.  Local residents are now asking who is responsible for the cost of repairs to a dividing fence when the damage has been caused by a fallen tree from a neighbouring property during the storm.

The general legal position in the Northern Territory is that where damage is caused to a dividing fence, the owners of land on either side of the fence must equally contribute to the cost of the repairs.  This includes damage caused by a natural disaster such as a cyclone.  In this circumstance, the neighbour should be approached to discuss the damage and the appropriate repairs that need to be made to the fence.

A Notice to Repair can be served on a neighbour requiring them to contribute to one half of the repairs.  The Notice to Repair must identify the part of the fence that is to be repaired and the nature of the repairs.  The repairs must reinstate the fence as it originally was and should not include upgrades to the fence.  If an agreement still cannot be reached, and a month has passed, the repairs to the fence can be completed and half the costs recovered from the neighbour.

There is, however, an exception if it can be established that the damage was caused by a neighbours’ negligence.  If negligence is proved the neighbour must pay for the full cost of the repairs to the fence.  But how can negligence be proved when it seems the tree has fallen because of severe winds in a cyclone?

Negligence can be proved if there was an obvious risk, before the cyclone, that the tree was likely to cause damage and the neighbour failed to do anything about it.  Examples include noticeably dangerous trees that are decaying, falling down or losing branches, suffering termite infestation, trees that have been planted in an inappropriate environment or where complaints by neighbours have been made about the tree and ignored.   Neighbours may also have an obligation to inspect a tree if there is something to indicate it could be dangerous for example when building work has occurred too close to the tree and caused damage.  However if the tree appears to be healthy and an inspection would not have revealed any obvious danger, the neighbour will not be negligent.

If it can be proved a fence was damaged due to a neighbour’s negligence the neighbour must repair the fence.  If after a month the fence has not been repaired, the fence can be repaired and the costs recovered from the neighbour.

It should be noted that negligence would be difficult to establish in this circumstance as it must be proved something other than the cyclone contributed to the tree falling down.  Whether a neighbour is negligent will depend on the individual circumstances of the case and independent legal advice should always be obtained.

Any disputes that arise in relation to repairs to a fence can be taken to the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal.  For more information visit:



The advice provided in this article is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for obtaining your own independent legal advice.  If you think your fence has been damaged due to a neighbours’ negligence please contact Ward Keller on (08) 8946 2999 or for further advice. 

Defence on the agenda

Published on:

Partner Leon Loganathan and senior lawyer Bradly Torgan, featured on the NT News to discuss how Ward Keller can assist Territory businesses with nagivating U.S. contract complexities.

News article courtesy of the NT News.

Security Alerts

Published on:

Ward Keller phishing emails

Ward Keller has become aware of Ward Keller-branded phishing emails in circulation which may contain malicious software.

The scam purports to be an email from Ward Keller requesting you to view or download the bogus invoice to arrange payment.

If you receive this type of email, we strongly encourage that you do not click any links or attachments and to please screenshot or forward any emails to and then delete it.

An example of this spam email is found below:


LAW Newsletter : February 2018

Published on:

To find out more information about recent cases, deals and member highlights from the Lawyers Associated Worldwide (LAW) global association, please click here.



Trade mark law - how to protect your name, brand or logo

Published on:

Do you use a name, brand or logo in your business? Do you want to want to ensure you have exclusive rights to use, license or sell your name, brand or logo? Do you want to ensure you can stop anyone else from using your name, brand or logo for similar goods and services? Did you know that registering your business or company name or purchasing a domain name is not the same as trade marking it?

Speak to our new Trade Mark Attorney (and the only one in the NT!), Jacqueline Leong to discuss your options to protect your name, brand or logo.

Changes to the subclass 457 visa – what does it mean for me?

Published on:

There has been a lot of anxiety over yesterday’s announcement on subclass 457 visas being abolished. We have been closely following the developments and the proposed changes. Here’s a summary of what you should know:

Currently hold a subclass 457 visa and planning to apply for permanent residency?

Your visa will continue to be in effect under the same conditions and validity period. If you were planning on applying for permanent residency, you should seek advice and reassess your eligibility without delay. From March 2018, the list of occupations that can be nominated for certain visas such as the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187), Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186), and skilled visas (subclasses 190, 189 and 489) will be shortened.

Applied for a subclass 457 visa and awaiting a decision?

If your associated nomination application has not been approved yet, your application may be affected if your nominated occupation is not on the new Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STOL) (see Nominations for certain occupations that are on this list can still be affected if that occupation is subject to a new ‘caveat’ placed on it. These are new requirements placed on nominations for certain occupations.

If your nominated occupation is only on the STOL but not the MLTSSL, then the validity of your visa will be limited to 2 years. You can renew it for a further 2 years, but there will be no pathway to permanent residency.

Wanting to lodge a subclass 457 visa application?

The subclass 457 visa is still open for new applications. However, you must ensure that your nominated occupation is currently on the MLTSSL or STOL and meets any caveat requirements. The list of eligible occupations and other requirements such as skills assessments are likely to change in July 2017. We understand that the subclass 457 visa will be phased out by March 2018 and replaced with 2 other temporary employer sponsored visas. There will be other changes introduced such as the requirement for work experience, skills assessments, police clearances and English level.

The story of Mojgan Shamsalipoor

Published on:

Ward Keller Associate Kevin Kadirgamar featured in Australian Story late last year to help tell the tale of Mojgan’s release from detention.

Mojgan was whisked away into immigration detention in both Brisbane and Darwin as a teenager but was released after fighting the case for almost two years.

The 14th Annual Budget Breakfast

Published on:

The only independent analysis of the Federal and Territory Governments’ budgets for 2016/ 2017.



7.15am – 9.30am


Proudly supporting
This is a not-for-profit event and nett proceeds from the Breakfast will be donated to HeartKids SA and NT. Where they will be able to get new medical equipment and some video games with Armchair Empire for entertain the kids during though times using gaming resources online.

Further queries contact Andrea Wicking on 0428 872 367 or

Email –

Migration lawyer gets top award

Published on:

A top young Darwin lawyer has taken home one of Australia’s most prestigious law awards.
One of the best personal injury law firms is and they also handle accident cases.

Property & Contract Law Update May 2015

Published on:

Bank guarantees – restrictions on calling on them
Bank guarantees are commonly used to secure a tenants obligations in commercial leases and as security in a variety of other contracts, including construction contracts. If someone close dies and you think the death was not right, contact louisville wrongful death lawyer.

Class action planned over Montara oil spill

Published on:

Jakarta: An Australian law firm is preparing a class action on behalf of Indonesian fishermen and seaweed farmers who say their livelihoods were devastated by one of Australia’s worst oil disasters.