Key issues in the upcoming federal election

Mon Oct 15 2007

Legal aid funding, client legal privilege, same sex marriages and a Bill of Rights are just a few of the major issues the Law Council of Australia has invited political parties to address in the federal election on 24 November. View the Law Council's Federal Election Key Issues document>

15 October 2007

Reminder: 2007 Forbes Lecture

Fri Oct 12 2007

The Francis Forbes Society for Australian Legal History invites all members of the Bar to attend its annual lecture, to be held tomorrow, 8�November 2007�at 5pm in the Bar Association Common Room. The subject of this year's lecture, to be delivered by Andrew Tink, will be the career of William Charles Wentworth.���

For more information about the Forbes Lecture and other activities promoted by the Forbes Society, visit their web site at

7 November 2007�

Speeches to note: "Throwing Stones", by the Hon Justice Keith Mason, 6 October 2007

Fri Oct 12 2007

This speech, delivered by the Hon Justice Keith Mason at the Judicial Conference of Australia,�"explores the motivation of studied harshness, when it is legitimate, and its impact upon the effective working of the judiciary."

"We can give offence without intending it. But judges, of all people, ought to know the meaning of their words. Sometimes the sting is intended, especially in a reserved judgment. Sometimes it is personal", said Justice Mason.

View a copy of the speech>

12 October 2007

Federal Court (Corporations) Amendment Rules 2007 (No 2)

Fri Oct 12 2007

The Federal Court (Corporations) Amendment Rules 2007 (No 2) will commence on 16 October 2007. A copy of the Amendment Rules will be available from the ComLaw site at

The Amendment Rules make the following amendments to the Federal Court (Corporations) Rules 2001:

  • insert references to a company’s 'Australian Business Number’.
  • amend Schedule 2, which sets out the powers of the court that a registrar may be directed to exercise in corporations matters, by inserting the power under subsection 601AH(3) of the Corporations Act 2001.

12 October 2007

Bar Brief: the newsletter of the New South Wales Bar Association

Thu Oct 11 2007

Bar Brief No.143 (October 2007) is now available online. This issue includes: an update on the association's efforts to fight mental illness at the Bar; an Indigenous law student from UTS gives his impression�of the National Indigenous Legal Conference; and�Sue Kluss�reports on�how some orphans in East Timor have benefited from donations made by the silks of 2006. There�is the usual update on Bar Council business, as well as the president's regular column.

View Bar Brief No.143 >>

11 October 2007

Today: Practising at the New Zealand Bar

Thu Oct 11 2007

We are privileged to welcome the president of the New Zealand Bar Association, Jim Farmer QC, to present this CPD seminar on practice at the New Zealand Bar. The president of the NSW Bar Association, Michael Slatttery QC will chair the presentation.

Today's lecture�is the latest in the series on international practice. For more information, download a flyer> Drinks will be served.

This seminar will commence at 5.15pm and take place in the NSW Bar Association Common Room (Lower Ground Floor, Selborne Chambers, 174 Phillip Street, Sydney, NSW 2000).

17 October 2007

On the tube: Lex Lasry QC discusses capital punishment on ABC TV

Thu Oct 11 2007

On Wednesday, 10 October 2007, Lateline featured an interview with Lex Lasry QC regarding the need for the Australian Government to hold a consistent policy towards capital punishment, particularly as it applies in neighbouring Asian countries.

In response to the controversy surrounding a speech by the Labor Party's spokesperson on foreign affairs,�Robert McLelland, Mr Lasry QC noted that tacit support for the execution of convicted terrorists in Indonesia is "completely at odds with Australia's declared position. We don't have the death penalty here in Australia, we haven't had it since the 1970s. We don't execute terrorists. We support, internationally, the abolition of capital punishment."

View the�Lateline web site to download a transcript and a videostream of the interview>

11 October 2007

Local Court sitting arrangements during the Christmas-New Year period

Wed Oct 10 2007

In accordance with the fixed leave period for magistrates, normal rostered sittings of the Local Court will cease on Friday, 21 December 2007 and recommence on Monday,�7 January 2008. The following sitting arrangements are to occur during this period:

Persons in custody

Weekdays that are not public holidays: One magistrate will be rostered at Parramatta Local Court and one magistrate will be rostered at Central Local Court. All persons remanded in custody within the Sydney Metropolitan area are to be dealt with at either Parramatta or Central local courts.

In addition, a magistrate will preside at Parramatta Children's Court to hear bail applications for juveniles in custody within the metropolitan area and any urgent care applications state wide.

Weekends and public polidays: bail courts will operate in accordance with normal arrangements.

Apprehended violence orders A magistrate will be available at Parramatta and Central local courts on week days that are not public holidays to determine urgent applications only during court sittings hours.

•�Parties are not to attend Parramatta or Central Local Courts during the above period for the purpose of obtaining apprehended violence orders.

•�Urgent apprehended violence applications will be referred to the duty magistrate by facsimile during court sitting hours

•�Authorised justices will adjourn matters involving persons in custody to the next sitting day of the court (or circuit if applicable) from which that matter arises on or after 7 January, 2008, not to Parramatta or Central Courts on the next working day, except in exceptional circumstances.

The approval of the duty magistrate at Parramatta and Central Local Courts or Lidcombe Children's Court must be obtained by the authorised justice prior to referring any matter involving persons in custody to the duty magistrate.

Mental health inquiries

Mental health inquiries will be conducted during this period.

Local arrangements will be made regarding the attendance of magistrates for the purpose of conducting inquiries in the Metropolitan, Hunter, Central Coast and lllawarra regions.

In country areas mental health inquiries will be conducted via audio visual link.

10 October 2007

Attorney General’s Department moving to Parramatta

Wed Oct 10 2007

The Attorney General’s Department of NSW is set to move next month�to its new corporate headquarters at the Parramatta Justice Precinct.

“By relocating to this state-of-the-art building at Parramatta, the department will be able to improve its services and make them more accessible to the booming western Sydney community,” said Laurie Glanfield, director general of the NSW Attorney General’s Department.

The following�agencies and sections�will be moving their headquarters to the Justice Precinct Offices:

For further information, visit the LawLink web site>

10 October 2007

Reminder: hearings in the Federal Magistrates Court have moved

Wed Oct 10 2007

As of Tuesday, 2 October 2007,�general federal law hearings in the Federal Magistrates Court have been relocated from Queens Square to John Maddison Tower, 88 Goulburn Street. All enquiries and filing of documents for the Federal Magistrates Court will continue to take place at the Registry of the Law Courts Building at Queens Square (level 16). The registry’s telephone number is 02 9230 8567.

View a notice from the FMC>

10 October 2007

Position available: Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Sydney Office

Wed Oct 10 2007

**(Package in the range of $250,000 per annum)

**Expressions of interest are sought from highly motivated and suitably qualified legal practitioners for the position of in-house counsel to be appointed for a period up to�three years. The successful applicants will be responsible for preparing and conducting major and complex prosecutions and appeals as counsel for the CDPP along with appearance work associated with the CDPP's proceeds of crime functions.

In addition, the successful applicants will provide high level advice and opinions relating to complex areas of law.

The successful applicant must be admitted to practise as a barrister and/or solicitor of the Supreme Court of a state or territory and should have seven years post admission experience including experience in superior court trial advocacy.

Further information�may be obtained�from the�CDPP�web site

12 October 2007

Web watch: Mental Health Links for Lawyers

Wed Oct 10 2007

Yesterday, New South Wales Attorney General John Hatzistergos launched a new web site called Mental Health Links for Lawyers.�

The web site, which�is a project of the Criminal Justice Research Network(CJRN), acts as a ready reference for legal practitioners whose clients or colleagues may need urgent assistance for a mental health problem. Resources include the _Mental Health First Aid Manual, _the _Checklist in Defended Local Court Hearings, _a variety of NSW Government sponsored helplines and databases of service providers. Visit the web site >

The Bar Association is a co-sponsor of Mental Health Links for Lawyers.

10 October 2007

Law Council laments leadership vacuum on the death penalty

Tue Oct 09 2007

The Law Council of Australia has described Labor’s hasty backflip on the death penalty as disappointing.�

"Consistent, public opposition to the death penalty is desperately needed in this region. The hypocrisy of the current Government’s silent consent to the impending execution of the Bali bombers is not lost on our Asian neighbours. The Australian Government can hardly expect that last minute rallying to save the lives of Australians will succeed, when other executions are met with tacit approval", said Mr Ross Ray QC, president of the Law Council.

View the Law Council's media release>

10�October 2007

Income tax lodgment obligations: a message from the Australian Taxation Office

Tue Oct 09 2007

The deputy commissioner of taxation, Mr James O'Halloran, has�written to the legal profession with a reminder to lodge income tax returns for the year ended 30 June 2007 by the due date.� Due date for lodgment can vary from year to year, depending on the circumstances, so the deputy commission has attached an information sheet outlining the usual circumstances that can affect due dates.�

View the letter to the legal profession> |� View the ATO information sheet>

9 October 2007

The National Pro Bono Resource Centre online survey: take part and enter the competition

Mon Oct 08 2007

The National Pro Bono Resource Centre helps lawyers help the neediest of the needy.�It is conducting a national on-line survey of barristers across Australia in conjunction with the NSW Bar Association.� As a measure of thanks for taking part in the survey, the centre will give�six bottles of Wirra Wirra Church Block 2004 red wine to the respondent in NSW who provides the best answer to the survey competition question: What is a collective noun for a group of pro bono lawyers?

The survey is anonymous and should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. So far the members of the NSW bar comprise only 15% of the total participants across Australia.

A strong response rate is crucial to the success of the project – all members are encouraged to respond irrespective of whether you have undertaken pro bono work recently.

Pro bono work is an important part of practice often overlooked by the public and your attitude and opinions are crucial to the success of the survey.

The survey is available at\_NSW.asp and is endorsed by the Australian Bar Association.

Members with questions regarding the survey can contact the National Pro Bono Resource centre on 02 9385 7381 or for more information.

Information collected in these surveys will be published by the Centre. Details of how the data will be used are available on the website .�

The centre, based in the UNSW Law Faculty, is an independent, non profit organisation that encourages pro bono legal services.��

17�October 2007

England and Wales bid to become global centre for international dispute resolution

Mon Oct 08 2007

The Law Society of England and Wales has launched a campaign to promote the Old Dart as the jurisdiction of choice for the resolution of disputes arising all over the world. To support the campaign the society has produced a brochure, aimed at international in-house counsel, to explain why English law is the international law of choice, why English courts are the international forum of choice and why London is the internationally preferred seat of arbitration.

Download the brochure >� | More information�>

8 October 2007

Reminder: New court fees start today

Mon Oct 08 2007

From� today, 15 October 2007, some fees payable in the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia will change. These changes have occurred in an effort to align the fees between the two courts. Other court fees will be reviewed in line with the normal fee review process. More information>

15�October 2007

Naming of children in criminal matters

Mon Oct 08 2007

A NSW parliamentary committee will review laws that prohibit the publishing or broadcasting of the names of children involved in criminal proceedings. NSW Attorney General John Hatzistergos announced the review on Friday, 5 October.

“This is a particularly sensitive area of the law which must balance the interests of open justice with the need to protect young people, including those who are victims,” Mr Hatzistergos said.

The Standing Committee on Law and Justice will examine s11 of the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 and report on whether the policy objectives of the prohibition remain valid, including to:

  • reduce trauma for victims and allow them greater privacy during the recovery process
  • reduce stigma for siblings of the offender and the victim
  • allow child offenders to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into the community after they have served their sentences.

The committee will also look at whether the Act’s prohibition on publishing names should cover:

  • children who have been arrested, but not yet charged
  • children, other than the accused, who are reasonably likely to be involved in the criminal proceedings
  • any other relevant circumstance.

8 October 2007

Register now for child support seminars

Mon Oct 08 2007

Australia's Child Support Scheme is undergoing radical change, the biggest since its inception in 1989.� New formulae and new rules will change the effect of the Scheme. New consent arrangements and a completely new system for determination will operate.

The Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, in conjunction with the Child Support Agency, will present�the National Seminar Series on the Child Support Reforms commencing in Melbourne on Monday, 15 October 2007.�The seminars will be held in 18 locations across Australia.� Topics covered will include:

> the new formulae > changes to s117 – Departure Orders > Child Support Agreements > change of assessment process > Social Security Appeals Tribunal > international issues > payee enforcement.

The seminar and associated handbook (free to each registrant) is designed to help lawyers understand and advise clients about the new scheme.�Register early as places are limited at each venue.

Download a registration brochure.� The brochure is also available on the Family Law Section's website at

8 October 2007

Late delivery of reserved judgments: contact the Bar Association for assistance

Mon Oct 08 2007

Although most courts and tribunals have their own systems in place for monitoring the timing of the delivery of reserved judgments, if a practitioner is concerned with a delay in a court or tribunal delivering a reserved judgment in a case where he or she acted, they can contact the president of the Bar Association in writing requesting that enquiries be made of the court or tribunal.�

In deciding whether a delay is unacceptable and warrants an enquiry to be made, practitioners should take into account any benchmark which the particular court may have set regarding the delivery of reserved judgments, for instance, the Federal Magistrates Court has set a three month benchmark.

Should a practitioner wish the president to make an enquiry, the following information should be provided:

>>�state or territory in which the case was heard; >>�length of the hearing; >>�name of the parties; >>�number of the proceeding; and� >>�name of the judge(s) whose decision is reserved and the date the decision was reserved.

Without disclosing the identity of the practitioner, the president will make appropriate enquiries regarding the delay with the court or tribunal.�

The president will notify the practitioner of the response from the court or tribunal, including any advice received regarding when the judgment is likely to be delivered.

Please address correspondence to:

The President New South Wales Bar Association Selborne Chambers 174 Phillip Street Sydney� NSW� 2000

5 October 2007

Speeches to note: Gleeson CJ describes "Some Legal Scenery"

Mon Oct 08 2007

In this�speech, which�was delivered at the Judicial Conference of Australia on 5 October,�the Hon A M Gleeson AC, chief justice of Australia,�observes that, "Delay can be both a form and a cause of injustice".

Delay in the legal system, he said,�"is like inflation; it feeds on itself. Just as in financial markets, inflationary expectations, when factored into planning, themselves contribute to further inflation, so courts and lawyers build upon expectations of delay. Delay, like inflation, is sometimes convenient for those who are part of the system; altering expectations and reversing trends may cause pain. Yet there comes a time when that is necessary."��

View the chief justice's speech>

5 October�2007