LAWS20059 – CORPORATIONS and BUSINESS STRUCTURES
TERM 1, 2019 ASSIGNMENT
Marks: 40% of the overall assessment for the course
Submission: Online via Moodle
Format: One file in doc or docx (MS Word) format.
Submissions in any other file format (e.g. zip) will be treated as a non-submission.
Due date: 11.45pm, Thursday 25 April 2019
Word limit: Word limits are set out below for each part.
Referencing: Referencing should be in accordance with the Australian Guide to Legal
Citation (AGLC), which is linked on the Moodle site.
References should be by footnote, NOT end notes or reference lists or
bibliographies. References to Acts should include section numbers.
References are only necessary in Parts A, B and C.
The university policy on extensions of time will be strictly enforced. Extensions will only be considered if made via the online system and must be based on medical or compassionate grounds. Any extension application should be made before the due date for submission. Medical conditions should be supported by a medical certificate, and, since students are expected to start the assignment early, temporary or last-minute conditions are usually not grounds for an extension. Professionals are expected to manage their time to meet their obligations, so work or personal commitments are insufficient grounds for an extension.
The university’s plagiarism policy will also be strictly enforced. If plagiarism is found, a minimum penalty is likely to be zero marks for the assessment. It could be worse.
Your overall problem is to learn how to advise a client about business structures. You should assume that you are a business consultant whose client is proposing to set up a business, and they will seek advice on an appropriate legal structure for their business. They do not want advice on tax because they will get tax advice from their specialist tax accountant, but they do want advice on the legal aspects of choosing a business structure. They also tell you that they do not want advice on trusts, because they previously had a trust and found it too confusing. You should limit your advice to the three most common structures – sole traders, partnerships and proprietary companies.
You should assume that I am your supervisor and I have set you these tasks, and I want you to provide reports to me on each stage of the task so I can be sure that you are doing a good job. Parts A, B and C are written reports, and Part D is a YouTube video.
You should review the main legal features of sole traders, partnerships and proprietary companies. You will need this knowledge, as well as the more detailed research that you do in Parts A, B and C, to interview your client and give advice.
Part A (maximum 350 words, 5 marks)
Business structures need to be set up at the outset and then administered throughout the life of the business. In this part, you need to explain and compare the set up and administration costs and the administrative burdens of sole traders, partnerships and proprietary companies.
Part B (maximum 700 words, 12.5 marks)
In this part, you need to compare the liability of partners to the liability of individuals involved in a proprietary company under contracts entered into with outside parties.
Part C (maximum 800 words, 12.5 marks)
In this part, you need to compare the duties owed by partners to each other and the duties owed by directors in companies.
Part D (YouTube video, maximum duration 6 minutes, 10 marks)
In this part, you report on an interview with a client in which you give advice and get their responses. This is NOT a video of the interview itself. It is a video of you reporting back to your supervisor after interview. You conduct the interview first and then do the video.
The purpose of this part is for you to use the research you have done on the business structures to conduct an interview with a real person or persons (pretend clients) who are in a business, or interested in setting up a business. You advise them on the various business structures they might use for their business, and to get their feedback on what factors would be important to them for their particular business. They are likely to be a friend or family member, but in any event they need to be willing to answer your questions. It doesn’t have to be an existing business; it may be a business they dream about setting up. You should tell them that it is an imaginary exercise for the purpose of your studies, but you would like real information if they don’t mind giving it. You must make sure that they do NOT think that they are getting real legal advice from a qualified person, or that the advice will be verified or approved by the university.
After you have conducted the interview, you then report back on it in the form of a YouTube video. You have a lot of freedom about how you structure your report and what weight you give to various aspects, but I am interested in things like:
• how the client responded to your advice;
• how you followed that up by providing more advice or discussing certain aspects;
• any particular features of the client’s business that impacted the decision on business structure;
• what you learned from the interview process and how you might do it differently in the future if you had another opportunity;
• whether you think the client was acting sensibly or making poor decisions (despite your best efforts to advise them properly).
I do not expect you to report on all these things, and some of them might not arise in your case, but they give you an idea of the sort of things that are of interest. Although the report has to give me an idea of what law you are explaining to the client so that I can understand the client’s responses, you do not have to repeat legal details that you have already given in Parts A, B and C. So you can say things like: “I gave him advice about the duties of partners and he responded ...” OR “I explained the liabilities involved in a company and she said ...”. OR “I described the fiduciary duties of directors of a company and he said ...”. If you advise on things not in Parts A, B and C you might need to give more detail so that I can understand it. So this part shouldn’t have a lot of law. I’m more interested in your interactions with the client about their business situation and how the law impacts that.
In most initial interviews with the client, you need to: (a) find out a bit about the business, so that you can work out what options are inappropriate (For example, if you find out that the client will be operating on his own, you do not need to advise on partnerships); (b) start out by giving some general advice; (c) get some initial feedback and then focus the advice when you figure out what is important to the client; (d) respond to questions asked by the client to improve their understanding; (e) possibly get a decision from the client on which business structure they will adopt (but a final decision is not required for this assignment). Remember your advice needs to be given in a user-friendly way so that the client can understand it.
Part D is important, because it lets me see how much you have used the assignment to develop your practical skills. There are no right answers to this Part, but I expect to see learning happening.
You need to submit one MS Word file comprised of:
• A cover page including your name and student number, and word counts for Parts A, B and C, and time duration for Part D.
• Your written reports for Parts A, B and C;
• A link to your Part D YouTube video which is accessible to the marker. This means that the link must be set to ‘Public’. It is possible to set it to a more private setting, but many students seem to mess that up, so it is not recommended. If your video will not play for the marker, you will get no marks for it.
• Proper referencing in Footnote form using the Australian Guide to Legal Citation.
The marking rubric follows on the next page.
GRADE MARK CRITERION
HD 85%+ Demonstrates imagination, originality or flair, based on proficiency in all the learning outcomes of the unit; work is interesting or surprisingly exciting, challenging, well read or scholarly.
COMMENT: Here, the student will have done everything well, provided some original insights, and formulated their answer in a tight, efficient, thoroughly professional manner. Their presentation both written and oral will have a strong logical flow and the advice will be consistent with their research.
D 75-84% Demonstrates awareness and understanding of deeper and less obvious aspects of the unit, such as ability to identify and debate critical issues or problems, ability to solve non-routine problems, ability to adapt and apply ideas to new situations, and ability to invent and evaluate new ideas.
COMMENT: Similar to a C, but for a D the student has identified issues specific to the client’s situation that are insightful and not obvious.
C 65-74% Demonstrates ability to use and apply fundamental concepts and skills of the unit, going beyond mere replication of content knowledge or skill to show understanding of key ideas, awareness of their relevance, some use of analytical skills, and some originality or insight.
COMMENT: True learning involves not only knowing principles or concepts but also the ability to apply them to a real life situation. This will be revealed in choosing what is relevant to the client’s circumstances.
P 50-64% Demonstrates the learning outcomes of the unit, such as knowledge of fundamental concepts and performance of basic skills; demonstrates sufficient quality of performance to be considered satisfactory or adequate or competent or capable in relation to the learning outcomes of the unit.
COMMENT: Students who get a mark in this range usually demonstrate some knowledge of principles and concepts, but do not apply them consistently to the actual fact situation in front of them. Their answers often contain a lot of regurgitation of law but very little analysis of it or application of it to the live situation. Advice is often generic (it could apply to any situation, not specifically to the client’s situation) and research is often just lifted from the textbook or a generic website.
F 40-49% Fails to demonstrate the learning outcomes of the unit.
COMMENT: Students in this range usually make some effort to perform the assignment task but fail to achieve what is prescribed for a P.
Low F 40% COMMENT: Students in this range usually fail to properly carry out the instructions or perform the task specified in the assessment.