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Amendments to the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules

Fri Dec 07 2007

Amendments to the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules were gazetted this afternoon.

Uniform Civil Procedure Rules (Amendment No 19) 2007: view the explanatory note >

Uniform Civil Procedure Rules (Amendment No 20) 2007�: the object of these Rules is to amend the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 in connection with the application of Parts 3–9 of the Civil Procedure Act 2005 to the Land and Environment Court. View the explanatory note>

7 December 2007

Solicitors v Bench & Bar Golf Day

Fri Dec 07 2007

The annual Solicitors v Bar and Bench Golf Day is to be held at Manly Golf Club on Thursday, 24 January 2008.�The cost for the day is $135.00 including dinner for non Manly members and $75.00 for Manly members.

The event will be the usual�two ball event with matches between the Bar and Bench v Solicitors based on their respective 2BBB score.� There will be a shot gun start at 12 noon.� We ask that you advise us if you have booked a cart so we can group you accordingly and send you to an appropriate tee.�

The organisers for the event are John Newnham and Glenn Thompson (ph:9264 7788) for the Solicitors and Denis Flaherty (ph: 9233 3517) for the Bar and Bench.�

Kindly return the�acceptance form with your remittance to:

‘Solicitors Golfing Society’ Events Coordinator, Bar Association DX 1204 SYDNEY

or�

Law Society of New South Wales DX 362 SYDNEY Attention:� Robyn Cross.

16 January 2008

Position vacant: Homeless Persons

Thu Dec 06 2007

A rare opportunity exists for an exceptional lawyer to join the highly successful Homeless Persons’ Legal Clinic (HPLC). The HPLC is a project of the Public Interest Law Clearing House (PILCH). PILCH is a leading Victorian, not-for-profit organisation which is committed to furthering the public interest, improving access to justice and protecting human rights.

The HPLC provides free legal assistance to, and advocacy on behalf of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. In addition to delivering direct legal services, the HPLC also aims to use the law to promote, protect and realise the human rights of people experiencing homelessness; to redress unfair and unjust treatment of people experiencing homelessness; and to reduce the extent to which homeless people are disadvantaged and marginalised by the law. To these ends, it undertakes extensive law reform work, public policy advocacy and community legal education.

In 2005, the HPLC was conferred with the National Human Rights Law Award in recognition of its outstanding work in protecting and promoting the rights of some of the most marginalised members of the community.

The lawyer will be responsible for contributing to HPLC casework and advocacy, law reform and policy work and the continued development and promotion of the HPLC.�

Interested applicants should view the position description and selection criteria attached. Applications are due by 18 January 2008 and should be sent to: Executive Director, PILCH, PO Box 13121 Law Courts, Melbourne 8010, or by email to Rachel.brown@pilch.org.au.

Please direct inquiries about the position to Caroline Adler at PILCH on ph:�(03) 9225 6680.

6 December 2007

�

Online Court in the Equity Division

Thu Dec 06 2007

As part of the NSW Supreme Court’s aim to improve access to services, Online Court will be available for Equity and Corporations direction hearings from January 2008. Online Court, sometimes referred to as ecmCourt or eForum, is a virtual court designed to replace the need for physical court attendance for case management.

Learn more>

18 January 2008

Supreme Court policy on audio recordings

Thu Dec 06 2007

A new policy has been issued that outlines the conditions that must be met by members of the media who wish to use tape recorders during court proceedings. This policy has been developed in the interest of ensuring the preparation of fair and accurate reports of those proceedings.

The policy applies to journalists who work for recognised media organisations and who can provide appropriate professional identification. Approval must be sought from the presiding judge, in advance, before a journalist is permitted to take a tape recording of court proceedings.

View�the ‘Tape Recording of Court Proceedings Policy’ on the Supreme Court’s web site for more information and for the application form that is to be used to seek approval.

6 December 2007

Fourth AIJA Law & Technology Conference: a call for abstracts

Wed Dec 05 2007

The Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration will hold its�fourth�Law and Technology conference�on 26 and 27 June 2008 at the Law Faculty, University of New South Wales.�The aim is to discuss the technological advances that Australasian and international courts have made in recent years, particularly in relation to e-discovery and other aspects of e-courts.

The conference organisers welcome the submission of abstracts of papers for consideration. Visit the LawTech08 web site for more information>

5 December 2007

English barristers support wigs in civil and family cases

Wed Dec 05 2007

A survey conducted by the Bar Council of England and Wales�has found that the majority of respondents back the retention of wigs in civil and family cases.��The survey follows an announcement in July 2007�that judges sitting in�civil and family�cases will wear a newly designed gown, but no wigs. Learn more>

5 December 2007

Legislation to note: Courts and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2007

Tue Dec 04 2007

The Courts and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2007�was introduced�in the�NSW Legislative Assembly on 30 November, when it received its agreement in principle speech.�

The objects of the Bill, as expressed in the explanatory notes include:

>>�to amend the _Coroners Act 1980 _in relation to the suspension and continuation of inquests and inquiries;

>> to amend the _Land and Environment Court Act 1979 _in relation to privilege and conciliation conferences;

>>�to amend the _Legal Profession Act 2004 _in relation to a transitional matter; and

>>�to amend the _Young Offenders Act 1997 _in relation to miscellaneous matters and to make consequential amendments to certain Regulations.

View the Bill>

4 December 2007

Counsel

Tue Dec 04 2007

CCL's Offices have been temporarily relocated to Level 2 National Dispute Centre.�They will be�there until the completion of the BCA upgrade and renovation and will re-occupy�their offices on Level 1 Selborne in late January/February 2008.

During this time, construction will be taking place on Level 1 of Selborne Chambers and on the pedestrian link to the NDC. The link will remain open, however in the interest of safety will need to be closed periodically throughout construction.�

Be sure to check the information screens in the foyers for up to date information.

4 December 2007 �

Family Law Courts December - January opening hours

Tue Dec 04 2007

The Family Law Courts will maintain limited services throughout the 2007–08 New Year period.�The smaller regional registries of Albury, Alice Springs, Cairns, Dubbo, Launceston, Lismore, Rockhampton and Wollongong will close on Tuesday, 25 December 2007 and will re-open on Wednesday, 2 January 2008.

During this time, phone calls from the closed registries will be re-directed to the National Enquiry Centre which will have a small number of staff on duty to deal with urgent matters.

The majority of larger metropolitan registries and the National Enquiry Centre (NEC) will maintain limited services throughout the period with the exception of the following public holidays:

>>�Tuesday, 25 December 2007 >> Wednesday, 26 December 2007 >> Thursday, 27 December 2007 (Additional Public Service Holiday) >> Tuesday, 1 January 2008

The after hours service will continue to operate as normal over this period.

Contact details for the NEC are as follows:

National Enquiry Centre Phone: 1300 352 000 TTY Phone: 1300 720 980 Fax: 02 8892 8585 E-mail: enquiries@familylawcourts.gov.au

4 December 2007

Restore the rule of law in Pakistan: ABA

Tue Dec 04 2007

The Australian Bar Association yesterday joined with the leaders of the Bars of England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland in calling for the return of the rule of law in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

View the ABA�media release>

4 December 2007

Legislation to note: Motor Accidents Compensation Amendment (Claims and Dispute Resolution) Bill 2007

Mon Dec 03 2007

The Motor Accidents Compensation Amendment (Claims and Dispute Resolution) Bill 2007�was introduced in the NSW Legislative Assembly�on 27 November, and has received the agreement in principle speech. The object of the Bill, as expressed in the explanatory notes, is to amend the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999, to:

>> make various amendments to provisions concerned with the assessment of medical disputes between claimants and insurers about motor accident injuries and the review of those assessments, including amendments with respect to the matters within the jurisdiction of medical assessors and the independence of medical assessors, and

>>�to make various amendments to provisions dealing with the procedures for assessment by the Motor Accidents Claims Assessment and Resolution Service (CARS) of motor accident claims and disputes.

View the Bill>

3 December 2007

Legislation to note: Civil Liability Amendment (Offender Damages) Bill 2007

Mon Dec 03 2007

The Civil Liability Amendment (Offender Damages) Bill 2007 was introduced into the Legislative Council on 28 November, when the minister's second reading speech was made. The object of the Bill, as expressed in the explanatory notes,�is to amend the Civil Liability Act 2002 _to make the following amendments to Part 2A of that Act, which makes special provision in relation to the recovery of damages (**_offender damages**) for injury suffered by a person while an offender in custody:

>>�to include in Part 2A definitions of terms that are currently defined by reference to their meaning in another Part of the Act, to make it clear that limitations on the operation of that other Part do not also extend to those terms when used in Part 2A,

>>�to make it clear that a dispute about whether the degree of permanent impairment of an injured offender is at least 15% (which is the threshold for an award of offender damages) cannot be referred for medical assessment unless the offender has provided a medical practitioner’s report that assesses permanent impairment to be at least 15%,

>>�to make it clear for the purposes of Part 2A and savings and transitional provisions of the Act that proceedings are not “finally determined” until any period for bringing an appeal has expired and any

>>�to clarify the operation of transitional provisions relating to 2006 amendments to the Act (dealing with provisions that require offender damages to be held in trust for the payment of claims by the offender’s victims) so that it will be absolutely clear that the amendments extend to cases in which offender damages were awarded before the commencement of the amendments.

The amendments overcome the effect of recent court decisions (State of New South Wales v Bujdoso [2007] NSWCA 44, Hiron v State of New South Wales & Anor [2007] NSWSC 152 and State of New South Wales v Napier Keen Pty Limited [2007] NSWSC 644).

View the Bill >

3 December 2007

Legislation to note: Road Transport Legislation (Breath Testing and Analysis) Bill 2007

Mon Dec 03 2007

The Road Transport Legislation (Breath Testing and Analysis) Bill 2007 was introduced into the Legislative�Council on 28 November, when the minister's second reading speech was delivered.

The objects of this Bill, as expressed in the explanatory notes,�are:

>>�to amend the _Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999 _and other legislation permitting breath testing or breath analysis to enable the concentration of alcohol revealed by a breath sample to be expressed in terms of the amount of alcohol in grammes in 210 litres of breath (as well as by reference to alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood for older breath measuring devices), and

>>�to make consequential amendments to certain other legislation.

View a copy of the Bill>

3 December 2007

Papers to note: local government area crime reports

Mon Dec 03 2007

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has released of the local government area crime reports for Wollongong, Marrickville and Wollahra. Each�report contains maps showing the location of all the major crime hotspots. They also contain graphs indicating what times of the day, days of the week and months of the year, crime rates in the area tend to peak.

The first in the series - Sydney Local Government Area� - was released through the BOCSAR web site on 9 November 2007.

Note: some files are large (up to 3.5 Mb).

3 December�2007

Papers to note: US report critical of harsh juvenile justice laws

Mon Dec 03 2007

The US Center for Disease Control has released a report on recidivism among juvenile offenders tried in the adult criminal justice system. A number of legislatures in the United States passed laws to try violent young offenders as adults and impose longer sentences. This report, Effects on Violence of Laws and Policies Facilitating the Transfer of Youth from the Juvenile to the Adult Justice System, shows that the trend has backfired.

"You couldn't ask for any worse results," said one academic, in response to the report. "We're getting faster recidivism for more serious crimes."

View the report by the Centers for Disease Control>

3 December 2007

Web watch: the 50th anniversary of Wentworth Chambers

Mon Dec 03 2007

In August 2007 Counsel's Chambers Ltd celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of Wentworth Chambers.� To mark the occasion, and to record at least a portion of the company's history, CCL has published a commemorative booklet. The booklet is now available from the Counsel's Chambers web site. Learn more>

3 December 2007

The naming and shaming approach to professional conduct

Fri Nov 30 2007

The Law Society of England and Wales is challenging a radical proposal by the Legal Complaints Service to publish complaints records.

The Law Society has conducted polls and focus groups. The results�suggest that the proposed reforms would:

>> reduce access to justice for clients in areas of practice which traditionally generate more complaints; >> encourage firms to act defensively, thereby driving up costs; and >> fail to encourage a customer focused culture within the profession and instead encourage a compensation culture among clients.

Learn more>

30 November 2007

Speeches to note: Concurrent Expert Evidence, by Justice McClellan

Fri Nov 30 2007

In his keynote speech�delivered yesterday at�the Law Institute of Victoria's Medicine and the Law Conference, the Hon Justice Peter McClellan�argued�in favour of allowing�concurrent evidence. It was, he said "a modification to the adversarial system, but one which is worth making".

Justice McClellan defined concurrent evidence as "a discussion chaired by the judge in which the various experts, the parties, advocates and the judge engage in an endeavour to identify the issues and arrive where possible at a common resolution of them. In relation to the issues where agreement is not possible a structured discussion, with the judge as chairperson, allows the experts to give their opinions without constraint by the advocates in a forum which enables them to respond directly to each other".

A copy of the speech may be obtained from the Supreme Court web site>

30 November 2007

Fees owed to counsel

Fri Nov 30 2007

Pursuant to s623(2) of the Legal Profession Act 2004 (NSW), Andrew Brown has been appointed manager of the following practices:�

Pragma Legal Solicitors M D Nikolaidis & Co.

Counsel with outstanding fees should contact Mr Brown as soon as possible. Whilst Mr Brown has advised that he cannot guarantee fees outstanding would be paid in total or recover of any fee due from any source, he would do his best to assist counsel owed fees. Andrew Brown may be contacted on:

ph: (02) 9926 0321 fax: (02) 9926 0166 or via e-mail: asb@lawsocnsw.asn.au

30 November 2007

NSW courts are keeping up with the workload

Thu Nov 29 2007

The Audit Office of New South Wales has published the Auditor-General's Report to Parliament 2007 Volume Five. In its commentary on government agencies, the state's auditor has reported on the efficiency of�the courts. It found that NSW courts had�a�clearance rate "close to or above 100 per cent in the majority of courts for both criminal and civil matters in 2005-06."

The clearance rate indicates whether a court is keeping up with its workload. It measures the number of cases finalised as a percentage of the cases registered in the same period. A clearance rate above 100 per cent indicates a court is clearing its backlog of cases.

The report is available from the�Audit Office web site�>

29 November 2007

New federal attorney general announced

Thu Nov 29 2007

Prime Minister-Elect Kevin Rudd has announced the new federal ministry. The new attorney-general will be Mr Robert McClelland MP, while the Hon Bob Debus has been named minister for home affairs and territories.

29 November 2007

Legal Aid web site updates its state civil law policies

Thu Nov 29 2007

Legal Aid NSW has amended its state civil law policies in relation to mental health matters. The amendments relate mainly to the commencement of the Mental Health Act 2007 (NSW). Information relating to the policies and the amendments is available on the Legal Aid NSW�web site�via "Info centre". The mental health policies and the tests which need to be applied are set out in Policy Online at 6.15.

Should you have any questions about the policies you can contact Aideen McGarrigle Legal Policy Branch, Strategic Planning and Policy Division, Legal Aid NSW on aideen.mcgarrigle@legalaid.nsw.gov.au�

29 November 2007