December 3, 2019

The Benefits of Legal Retainers for Company Secretarial

It can be prohibitively expensive for a mining and resources business to engage an in-house lawyer to manage the recurring legal matters characteristic of these sectors. Fortunately, there is an alternative.

A bespoke legal retainer arrangement is an efficient and cost-effective strategy that provides access to not just one, but a team of qualified and highly skilled lawyers, with professional specialisations that are critical for successful mining and resources businesses. The advantages of a legal retainer arrangement for managing your company secretarial responsibilities are significant.

Bespoke Legal Retainer Arrangement vs In-house Legal Advisor

A retainer arrangement is a scope-of-work agreement between your business and an appropriately qualified and experienced legal firm. Drawn up to address the specific needs of your business with the aim of providing a high level of certainty in relation to cost-effective access to specialised legal advice for the business.

A retainer arrangement will enable the business to avoid the high salary requirements that would be inevitable in the engagement of an in-house lawyer who has the necessary commercial experience to manage the complexity and multiplicity of mining and resources legal matters.

Further, implementing a bespoke retainer arrangement means that legal advice for your mining and resources business will not be limited to what are usually one or two areas of interest for your in-house lawyer. You will therefore avoid the additional expense resulting from the necessity to seek advice from appropriately qualified or specialised external lawyers.

This benefit is particularly apparent in relation to the company secretarial obligations of your mining and resources business.

Company Secretarial – Retainer Benefits

The role of company secretary is to manage your business’ corporate governance obligations by ensuring that the board processes run efficiently and effectively. A company secretary holds office on terms and conditions determined by the company directors and as prescribed in the Company Constitution and the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Tasks undertaken by the company secretary are generally categorised under meetings and minutes, compliance and governance administration.

The greatest advantage of implementing a retainer arrangement for company secretarial is that the burden of compliance and administrative obligations for the company are significantly reduced. As a consequence, the board and directors can focus on the areas where their own expertise, experience and enthusiasm lie: namely business, managerial and operational matters.

A further clear benefit of having a retainer arrangement that includes company secretarial services is a qualified lawyer attending board meetings. This will allow the board to make informed decisions based on the lawyer’s detailed understanding and explanation of the relevant points of law. Matters can therefore be progressed as opposed to delayed while legal advice is sought (and the usual expense this entails can also be avoided).

Through our involvement with Resources Unearthed, we have observed longer term positive outcomes of retainer agreements for mining and resources businesses. For those with retainer arrangements for company secretarial services, they regularly report outcomes far in excess of what they thought was achievable.

Among the benefits is the corporate memory that arises naturally over the course of a retainer relationship and that allows seamless and continuing effective communication among the lawyer, upper management and directors.

In turn, this can lead to improvements in internal systems, documentation and procedures as incidental, but highly valuable, consequences of having a retainer in place that, overall, makes the business stronger.

Your next step…

To find out more about how a bespoke retainer arrangement for company secretarial could benefit your business, please contact Ian or Craig on +61 (0)7 3007 2000 or


Resources Unearthed is a solutions hub that provides integrated financial, legal, property and accounting & business advisory services for executives, professionals and business owners in mining and resources. 

No responsibility will be taken by Hillhouse Legal Partners for loss occasioned directly or indirectly to any person acting or refraining from acting wholly or partially upon or as a result of the material in this publication.



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