With the internet being such a valuable tool now it sounds a great idea to save a few bucks to just do it yourself. It seems a popular thing if you are not sure about something or need something to just look it up on-line and have a go yourself. We are seeing a lot of this now with legal documents and we are often presented with something that looks like a legal document, has the basic attributes but the usual question is whether it has covered all the issues for the transaction. Probably more important is whether it complies with the law, when you consider even in Australia the differences between State legislation can be wide. Online many documents come from overseas. When preparing legal documents lawyers, in addition to just putting the words together, need to take into account common law rules, from earlier court proceedings and the relevant laws for the subject. Many areas of law can be affected by more than one piece of legislation and differing local rules which all need to be combined to be valid, compliant and most importantly effective. Take the humble lease for a property for example, a very important document, often understated in its importance but it is the next thing to holding a title of ownership for land as it secures your rights to use and occupation which could mean running a successful business and securing profits for the future. Not done correctly they can be the cause of problems rather than solving them. I saw one such downloaded lease recently where the tenant stopped paying rent and then tried to pack up and leave owing thousands of dollars. When looked at closely the lease was missing crucial clauses to make it effective in the situation. Important parts normally contained in professionally drafted leases were missing. There ended up being a quantity of equipment and product left in the building which the landlord could not properly deal with as the usual clauses in that regard were missing and he was bound to rely on an old law about Uncollected Goods. The company turned out to be worthless but the landlord had not obtained personal guarantees, usually included in a lease to a company, so it was no good suing the company. Often with the time spent reviewing documents to ’check if they are okay’ it would be cheaper to use a properly drafted document anyway. Give us a call at Johnston Tobin Solicitors if you have any concerns.