The university policy on extensions of time

Extensions policy:

The university policy on extensions of time will be strictly enforced. Extensions will usually only be considered if made via the online system and 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.

Plagiarism:

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 Brief

Your overall task is to advise a client or clients on how to structure their business – either as a sole trader, partnership, joint venture, or company. You do not have to consider all four of these in your advice – which ones are relevant will depend on the clients’ circumstances. You should not consider trusts, as they are used primarily to minimise tax, and tax law is not part of this course. (Assume that the clients instruct you that they had a bad past experience with trusts because of the extra administration and accountancy fees that trusts create, and they don’t want to do that again). You should generally avoid any substantial advice on tax, although you can make some basic comments. The tax implications of business structures are a lot more complicated than websites (such as the ATO) suggest, and since tax is not part of this course, it is best to avoid it.

In order to provide this advice you need to perform these 4 sub-tasks:-

1. Draw up a list of questions to ask your client so as to gather the information and instructions necessary for you to advise.

2. Write down your clients’ answers to the questions, including any follow-up queries to clarify the answers.

3. Research the law relevant to your advice.

4. Write an advice directed to the clients’ situation, including a recommendation on the best form of business structure for their needs.

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The Client

The intention of the assignment is that you will obtain instructions from a real person who is in a business, or is interested in setting up a business. The person is 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 a real existing business; it may be a business that they dream about setting up. (Perhaps, by talking to them about it, you will encourage them to fulfil their dream!) 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.

If you can’t find anyone to assist, you could try searching the Internet for a business that would be suitable for your advice, but remember that you have to be able to get the necessary information to answer your questions. You could also ask a few friends to make up a business and talk amongst themselves about it before answering your questions. The important thing is that the information they give you should be sensible and consistent, so that the advice is based on a realistic case.

Preliminary

Probably the biggest mistake students make in doing assignments is that they do not study as they would for an exam. Instead, they start by looking at the assignment and then try to look up only the parts of the course that look like they are relevant to the assignment. The trouble is, you cannot say what the relevant parts of the course are without knowing the course first. In real life you need to understand all the concepts so that you can identify the relevant issues when a client approaches you. So the best preparation for the assignment is simply to study the course properly. Understanding of the modules preceding the assignment due date will be sufficient, but you can go beyond that if you wish. You will need a good conceptual understanding of the legal principles before you work out what questions to ask your client. You will also need a good conceptual understanding to work out what to research and, more importantly, what NOT to research. And you will need a good conceptual understanding to formulate your advice. If you try to isolate your study to the areas raised directly by the assignment, your advice is likely to be disjointed and omit some important aspects.

You also need to start work on your assignment early. This is not the sort of assignment that you can do within a day or so of the due date.

The Questions

Before providing advice to a client, you need to get the necessary information or instructions. There will be some information that is essential to your advice, and other information that is useful as background. You should have a general understanding of a business before advising on it. You need to think about what a client will want to know in this situation so that they can make their decision, what law will be relevant to it, and what information you need in order to apply that law to the facts. You will be assessed on the quality of the questions you ask, especially on their relevance to the advice.

The Answers to the Questions

As stated above, the answers to the questions should be real, or at least realistic. That is why it is much better to use a real life situation with a real person, because they are likely to give sensible, consistent information. If you start making things up, it is harder for the information as a whole to be

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coherent. The answers should be submitted along with the questions, but you will not be assessed on the answers. However, clients often give incomplete answers, and as a professional you may have to ask extra questions to get the information you need. If you fail to do this, leaving a hole in your instructions, your marks for the questions may be reduced. Inevitably, clients are very wordy in their answers, so you may have to summarise here to meet the word limit for this section.

Legal Research

In practice, you would not give a lot of detail about technical law in your advice to a client, but for the purposes of the course you should describe the law you regard as relevant to your advice, including references to sections of statutes and relevant cases. You also need to explain WHY the law you are describing is relevant to the issues in the assignment. Remember, you are advising a client on what business structure to adopt. This does NOT mean that you simply write out all the law related to the various business structures. Not all of it will be relevant to a decision about what business structure to adopt. In marking your research component, the marker will be comparing it to a similar situation in practice. In practice, unnecessary research is costly to your client and to your employer.

Recommendations to the Client

Having conducted the necessary research, you need to apply it to the facts of your clients’ situation and make a recommendation about the structure that the client should adopt. You need to consider the pros and cons of the alternatives, firstly because the client will have to weigh up the alternatives (it’s their decision, not yours), and secondly because they may not accept your first recommendation.

What you submit

You need to submit one file including:-

A Title Page – including your name, student number, and total word count

Part 1 – Questions with your clients’ answers. Each question should have its own answer immediately following it: (maximum: 600 words, 7.5 marks)

Part 2 – Relevant law: 

Part 3 – Reasoned recommendations to the client: 

Presentation 

A mark between 0 and 5 is available for the professional qualities of your work. This includes things like: written presentation, structure and formatting with consistent headings, fonts and page numbering; spell-checking; logical flow of explanations; conciseness and relevance; general readability. Your answers must be expressed in your own words. You will not receive marks for copying slabs of text (even if they are referenced) if there is no genuine attempt to summarise. Generally, law in any part of your answer should be properly referenced in accordance with the Guide to Legal Citation linked on the moodle site. Poor referencing will adversely affect your presentation mark. Citations in footnotes or endnotes are not included in the word counts, but substantial text in footnotes or endnotes is.

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