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  • #55017

    Any tips about personal legal pitfalls that a committee member in Victoria needs to be aware of.

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  • #55028

    There’s a lot of good advice on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website, so read up on that.

    Also, don’t be too timid in doing or saying what you believe to be right and proper.  Provided you have acted in good faith, section 118 (below) of the Owners Corporation Act offers wide-ranging protection from liability, even when it comes to questions of defamation.

    I mention that because I know of one notorious strata committee here in NSW where the chair deflects all criticism in committee minutes by threatening legal action if they are published, so the owners never know what’s really going on and the chair gets re-elected every year.  It wouldn’t happen under my watch: if I was sure of my ground my response would be “bring it on”.

    The courts tend to favour lively and open discussion over compensating thin-skinned committee members for perceived hurt feelings. This case is not a legal precedent (certainly not in Victoria) but it shows how the judiciary can think in these cases.

    By the way, acting in good faith means that you have good reason to believe something is correct, and that you haven’t gone ahead and done something despite reliable advice or knowledge to the contrary.

    Section 118: Immunity of committee members

    (1)     A member of a committee or a sub-committee is not personally liable for anything done or omitted to be done in good faith—

    (a)     in the exercise of a power or the carrying out of a function under this Act or the regulations; or

    (b)     in the reasonable belief that the act or omission was in the exercise of a power or the carrying out of a function under this Act or the regulations.

    (2)     Any liability resulting from an act or omission that, but for subsection (1), would attach to a person, attaches instead to the owners corporation.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by .

    Don’t get caught with your hand in the money jar

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