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inprint (books)

Every Issue

Cite as: (2004) 78(9) LIJ, p. 72

A wide range of subjects including effective work practices, Islamic law, trade marks, international business transactions, Corporations Act compliance and telecommunications are covered in this month’s reviews.

Lewis & Kyrou’s Handy Hints on Legal Practice (3rd edn)

Gordon D Lewis, Emilios J Kyrou and Albert M Dinelli, Lewis & Kyrou’s Handy Hints on Legal Practice (3rd edn), 2004, Lawbook Co, paperback $90.

Break out the champagne – the 3rd edition of Lewis and Kyrou’s fabulous little practice companion is finally here.

Actually the book is no longer so little, being nearly 50 per cent longer than the 2nd edition, with the original authors ably assisted this time by Albert Dinelli.

Despite its growth, Handy Hints manages to retain its delightful mix of frightening warnings, common sense, practicality and good humour. With many years of combined experience on all sides of the Bench, the authors have pulled together a vast range of issues faced by lawyers in everyday practice and talk the reader through some of the options. Will privilege apply to this document? Will the words “without prejudice” really do me any good? Isn’t a little emotional involvement actually in my client’s interests? Must I follow such absurd instructions? And even, does the judge’s line of vision really allow her to see the racing guide around which I have wrapped a legal document?

I was sad to discover the loss of my favourite index entry: “contempt of court – throwing dead cats at judges”. What a relief to find that a careful and straight-faced read of chapter 30 still tells this and other classic contempt stories.

There are new chapters looking at common issues raised by technological advances, and new chapters dedicated to women in the law and working as corporate counsel, government lawyer, academic and judge’s associate. New practitioners will find the “Survival Kit” invaluable, while all of us could eventually benefit from the gentle help in recognising when it may be “Time to Quit”.

With the increase in information, several sections on common mistakes have now been conveniently divided into user-friendly practice areas. These chapters in particular help get us over a common first problem for practitioners – recognising dilemmas in the first place – so that we may then think constructively about how to deal with them. These chapters should be compulsory reading.

Handy Hints does not pretend to be a comprehensive guide to the law. On some issues there is limited analysis, presumably in the interests of space so that the book may retain its broad spread of subjects. It is nevertheless an extremely useful “nutshell” tool for everyday legal practice.

The format and practical style make it easy to dip into when the need arises. I encourage every legal office to obtain and make good use of a copy.

Sarah Gaden
LIV Legal Ethics Manager

Islam: Its law and society (2nd edn)

Jamila Hussain, Islam: Its law and society (2nd edn), 2003, The Federation Press, paperback $39.95.

This book, now in its second edition, continues to be a useful introduction to modern day Islam. Given that Islam is professed by more than a quarter of the world’s population – of which an estimated 300,000 live in Australia – it is important for us to have a clear understanding of the key legal and social tenets of Islam. The author, a law lecturer at the University of Technology in Sydney, has done us a favour in producing this work.

The book covers a broad swathe of the legal rules and traditions which affect the Muslim community. The first three chapters, covering an introduction to Islamic law, history and jurisprudence, provide a useful foundation for readers unfamiliar with Islam. Thereafter, there are more detailed chapters dealing with Islamic laws on war and peace, the role of women, marriage and divorce, inheritance and wills, as well as more recent issues such as new medical technology and Islamic banking. There are also interesting chapters on Islamic commercial law and a concluding chapter on Muslims in Australia. A useful glossary of Arabic terms appears at the end of the book.

Although written from an Australian perspective, the author often takes a comparative approach by describing the prevailing interpretations of Islamic law in other countries with significant Muslim populations, such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia.

This comparative flavour underscores one of the subtler points which run throughout the book – that there is not one universal interpretation of Islamic law held by Muslims worldwide.

A rather irksome irritation is the typographical errors which appear in this edition. For example, the surname of Samuel Huntington (of Clash of Civilizations fame) is misspelt twice in the first chapter.

Generally, I found the book to be informative, fair and quite open in its treatment of issues. In particular, the treatment of sensitive questions, such as the right of Muslim men in traditional Islamic society to have up to four wives simultaneously, is clear and pointed. Such openness is laudable because it is only through open discussion and dialogue that we can ensure mutual understanding among people of different faiths and cultures.

Dr Benny S Tabalujan
Principal Fellow,
Melbourne Business School, The University of Melbourne

Practical Guide to Australian Trade Mark Law

Colin J Oberin and Benjamin J Fitzpatrick, Practical Guide to Australian Trade Mark Law, 2004, Lawbook Co, paperback $120.

This text, which is intended to supplement other books that concentrate on Australian trade mark law including the recently updated Shanahan’s Australian Law of Trade Marks and Passing Off, is intended to be a down-to-earth guide that follows the course of trade marks from selection and initial searching through to lodgment, examination, opposition and infringement.

Authored by experienced patent and trade marks attorneys Colin Oberin (leader of Allens Arthur Robinson’s trade mark registration practice) and Victorian barrister Benjamin Fitzpatrick, the guide aims to be a useful resource for the student, businessman and occasional user of the system as well as the trade mark specialist.

The book is laid out in an easy to read and chronological order, starting from the process of selecting a trade mark through to the trade mark registration “life cycle”, including a chapter called “Using not losing” and an overview of international issues at the end.

The book includes a number of checklists which, while somewhat basic for trade mark practitioners or attorneys, would be very useful for commercial lawyers and inhouse counsel with little background in trade marks law. For example, there are checklists on factors to take into account when selecting a trade mark; what must be stated in a Federal Court notice of appeal; and considerations to be taken into account when contemplating trade mark protection in Australia when protection overseas may also be required.

The text is extremely practical and focuses more on the procedures that apply to the trade mark registration process than the cases and theory. For example, there are basic overviews of procedures and considerations relating to extensions and deferment of trade mark applications, considering the first examiner’s report, evidence of use and citations made by the Trade Marks Office.

The book also has an 11-page table of definitions, a table of cases and a relatively comprehensive index.

Interestingly, the guide makes no mention of domain names and their interrelationship with trade marks. This would have been a useful addition.

Overall, while somewhat basic for trade mark practitioners, this book is a useful basic reference guide written in plain English. Those practising in trade marks law, however, would use it (as acknowledged on the text itself) “as a first source of information” rather than a comprehensive guide to trade marks law.

Sharon Givoni
Solicitor

Law of International Business Transactions (3rd edn)

Robin Burnett, Law of International Business Transactions (3rd edn), 2004, The Federation Press, paperback $75.

Many of the general international trade law texts on the market seem to be primarily aimed at students. Robin Burnett’s book stands out from them through its level of breadth and detail.

The author covers much ground in this work in a logical manner, commencing with the basics (e.g. the contract of sale, Incoterms etc.), then moving through the associated matters of carriage of goods, and finance of such trade. The second half of the volume deals with matters of international regulation, the role of the WTO, import and export controls and so on, and how they impact on trade.

The book is clearly up to date with the latest developments in trade, most notably the use of electronic methods of communication and the business and legal infrastructure generated to deal with them. Finally, the author has provided a substantial bibliography which includes many of the titles of other recognised leading texts – always the sort of hallmark the reader might seek out to determine the pedigree of a work. In this case it will also be useful for pointing readers seeking more information in the right direction.

Perhaps in this brief summation of the topics covered the work does not seem that different from its competitors. Yet while the author does not suggest it is the last word on the topic (in the preface he states he was seeking to provide a text which “junior practitioners could turn to when required to advise clients on international sales of goods and services”), the constant referencing of law – briefly and concisely – gives the reader confidence. In addition, it is not merely that the material presented is of a higher order than some other texts. With only one or two reservations regarding presentation of some of the material (e.g. I found the discussion of Incoterms a little perplexing, although this is probably a matter of personal preference), this is a well-structured and well-written book.

This is a text which is easy to recommend. Not only is it current, but it is also generally well-written and concise. These are the real tests of its practical value which will draw readers to its pages.

Andrew Field
Lecturer,
Department of Business Law and Taxation, Monash University

Corporations Act Compliance Guide (2nd edn)

Ian Tunstall, Corporations Act Compliance Guide (2nd edn), 2004, Lawbook Co, paperback $99.

This is the second edition of a book originally published in 1996 by Ian Tunstall, a NSW-based solicitor and economist. It is not another corporations law textbook of the likes of Ford or Lipton and Herzberg. Instead it is designed as a compliance guide for the non-lawyer company officer who needs to know about the obligations imposed on companies and their personnel by the Corporations Act.

This book contains chapters on company officers, including directors and their duties, the company’s identity, including a discussion of company types, shares, meetings, management and administration, including corporate governance, financial benefits and penalties, knowing the persons with whom you deal, dealings with creditors, going out of business, ASIC investigations, inspections and examination.

The final chapter called “Companies and the law” introduces topics such as unconscionable conduct, pure economic loss and negligence, insider trading, due diligence, taxation, trade practices, employment law, privacy law and environmental law.

There is a useful index of 19 pages, a table of cases and a table of statutes, with reference mostly to the Corporations Act, but no list of further readings or website addresses.

Consideration could be given to some input from the author’s non-legal side with some checklists and practical pointers for the book’s non-legal readers.

Paul Latimer
Associate Professor of Law, Department of Business Law and Taxation, Monash University

Australian Telecommunications Regulation (3rd edn)

Alasdair Grant (ed), Australian Telecommunications Regulation: The Communications Law Centre guide (3rd edn), 2004, UNSW Press, paperback $69.95.

The telecommunications industry is a competitive, complex and heavily regulated sector. Telecommunications providers are often aligned with media and technology companies and, when taken as a whole, there is a lot of money at stake in the so-called TMT sector. Little wonder then that players in this market seek to exploit every legal avenue available to them.

The Communications Law Centre and UNSW Press have recently published the third edition of their popular book Australian Telecommunications Regulation.

Over the book’s seven chapters, the six authors manage to present a very well-written, clear and comprehensive guide to a range of telecommunications specific issues in just under 300 pages.

Many “sector specific” books tend to devote half the work to various areas of general law which might relate to the specific subject in some way. This book avoids this mistake by focusing only on issues which actually relate to the Australian telecommunications industry.

The book begins with a concise introductory chapter covering policy and historical issues which put the modern Australian telecommunications market into context. It then moves on to substantively addressing a range of issues under six broad headings: the regulators and the primary telecommunications licensing regime; interconnection pricing; the (often contentious) access regime; the telco-specific anti-competitive conduct provisions of the Trade Practices Act; spectrum management; and consumer issues. The chapter on consumer issues covers the universal service obligation, the self-regulatory frameworks that exist in the telecommunications sector, and a range of consumer protection issues.

It is the breadth of topics covered which makes Australian Telecommunications Regulation such a useful book for any practitioner in the area. With telecommunications deregulation there are now many companies in Australia wishing to provide some form of telecommunications services, and thus the earlier chapters of this book will be useful to those advising such entrants to the telecommunications market on their licensing rights and obligations. By contrast, some of the material on interconnection pricing and the access regime is quite detailed, and would be of use to a carrier or adviser looking at interconnecting to the network of a third party, for example seeking access to the Telstra network.

Not surprisingly, the book is all about Australian telecommunications. So if you are looking for a detailed analysis of international interconnection arrangements, the WTO agreements relating to telecommunications (e.g. the Fourth Protocol) or Australia’s international obligations, you will find little, if any, useful information.

However, for those interested in the Australian telecommunications market, I would highly recommend this book as a very useful resource.

Julian Lincoln
Freehills

Mastering Communication (4th edn)

Nicky Stanton, Mastering Communication (4th edn), 2004, Palgrave Macmillan, paperback $36.

This is a very useful handbook for anyone who wants to know how to communicate better. The book covers the process of communication; speaking and listening effectively; non-verbal communication including body language; talking properly on the telephone; how to conduct an interview; what to prepare for when being interviewed for a job; how to communicate in groups; running and taking part in meetings; how to give a talk using visual aids; reading faster and better; how to apply for a job; how to write effective reports, business letters, memos, messages, forms and questionnaires; and how to use forms of visual communication.

There is an excellent chapter on English grammar. The author explores why grammar is important; what grammar is; the parts of speech; and what the foundation of a sentence is. This is followed by a chapter dealing with common problems with the English language including verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, ellipses and negatives. Many of us were not taught proper English grammar at school and this sad fact is evident in much of what is spoken and written today. All of us would benefit from a close study of this book and a genuine effort to put into practice the instruction given.

The author includes several useful appendices which provide help with punctuation, the use of capitals, numbers and business cliches, and commonly misused and confused words. A list of commonly misspelled words is provided, along with tips on the modern business style of communication. The book also points out the differences between men and women in communicating.

Throughout the book there are exercises which give the reader the opportunity to put into practice some of the instruction given. The answers at the end of the book enable the reader to discover how good their communication skills really are. The author challenges the reader to ask whether the way they are thinking of communicating is indeed the best way. This book is a comprehensive manual which should be on the bookshelf of every communicator.

Euan Vance
Castlemaine Lawyers

The Simplicity Survival Handbook

Bill Jensen, The Simplicity Survival Handbook: 35 ways to do less and accomplish more, 2004, Basic Books, paperback $29.95.

This is a manual on how to avoid time-wasting material with which workers are bombarded. It focuses largely on emails and meetings to explain how the mantra of “doing less” does not equate to an encouragement for laziness. Rather, the author works from the presumption that the workforce could be more efficient if people learned to say “no” to attending meetings or taking on additional work.

The book is mostly directed towards large corporate environments where there are various levels of management. The author is particularly scathing about HR-type activities such as performance appraisals, time management courses and power point presentations, as tools generally misused and therefore a waste of time.

Unfortunately, the book suffers from fundamental flaws which tend to detract from its impact. The author writes with the fervour of a training course zealot which is in fact what he has spent the past 19 years of his career undertaking. As a result, the chapters are full of opinionative statements filled out with very few illustrative examples. He also fails to answer the obvious problem that if everybody says “no” to work crossing their desk, eventually output will grind to a halt. He implicitly expects that all employees will have the judgment to know what they should be doing, since apart from the occasional reference to named exceptions, most businesses are hopelessly mismanaged. The general tenet of the book is that each employee can individually change the culture of their organisation, failing which they should resign and find another place to work that operates efficiently. The rare example of such behaviour that he gives seems to involve people undertaking a complete sea change and working for themselves, which does not readily appeal as a broad-based solution.

Nevertheless, there are some positive instructions in the book. The outlines on how to write a proper email or make a presentation with impact are well-considered. The book clearly has more application to larger corporations and its value to the legal profession is therefore limited. It may be of use in larger firms with their own HR departments and greater activity in the non-legal side of practice.

Mark Worsnop
Kahns Lawyers

Remote Control: New media, new ethics

Catherine Lumby and Elspeth Probyn (eds), Remote Control: New media, new ethics, 2003, Cambridge University Press, paperback $39.95.

This Australian media studies text, which is notable for its hot pink cover, contains chapters by academics and interviews with journalists and media personalities. Some of the discussions of media ethics issues are topical and somewhat thought-provoking.

The chapters cover a range of subjects. Among the more interesting are the impact of reality television, the 1999 “cash for comments” scandal in talkback radio and media pranks and publicity stunts.

In chapter 3, Duncan Ivison seeks to identify some philosophical underpinnings for the book. He argues for the importance of debating media ethics, pointing to the need to encourage new and developing media that may enrich the public sphere with a diversity of perspectives.

Andrew Westcott
Clayton Utz


Reviewers Wanted
The LIJ is always looking to increase its database of book reviewers. Keen readers with specialist knowledge who are willing to write 400-word reviews should contact Alison Shield at ashield@liv.asn.au. Reviewers get to keep a copy of the book they review.

books@liv.asn.au

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