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Refurbishment of Parramatta Local Court

Mon Mar 31 2008

The planned refurbishment of Parramatta Local Court�will commence in July 2008. As a result, alternative listing arrangements are necessary. Effective Monday, 7 July 2008, the following arrangements will commence:

1.�Parramatta Local Court Sitting at the Parramatta Trial Court Complex

One magistrate will be rostered to sit at Parramatta Trial Court Complex. This magistrate will be responsible for:

a.�the Centralised Committal List; b.�Listing from Parramatta Local Area Command; c.�civil lists; d.�Traffic and Summons lists; and e.�Apprehended Violence List*.

Defended matters will be directed to Bankstown Local Court for hearing.

*Apprehended Violence Complaints that relate to a charge should be listed with the charge at the Local Court for that local area command.

2.�Bankstown Local Court�

Every day four magistrates will sit at Bankstown Local Court, which will absorb the following additional work from Parramatta:

a.�Listings� from�� Rosehill�� Local� Area� Command�� (including� custodial matters); and b.�Defended work from Parramatta Local Court.

3.�Hornsby Local Court

Two magistrates will sit at Hornsby Local Court each day. Hornsby will absorb from Parramatta�listings from the Hills�Local Area Command (including custodial matters).

4.�Manly Local Court

It will be necessary for Manly Local Court to return to previous arrangements where each Monday, Thursday and Friday it will sit two courts. Each Tuesday and Wednesday one magistrate will sit at Manly and the second magistrate will be rostered at North Sydney Local Court.

5.�Ryde Local Court

Ryde Local Court will sit five days per week and each Monday will hear short defended work from Parramatta Local Court.

The refurbishment work at Parramatta Local Court is expected to last twelve months. Court users are encouraged to contact the Local Court registrars for further information as to listing arrangements at each of these local courts during this time.

2 April 2008

New South Wales Government reducing discounts for guilty pleas

Mon Mar 31 2008

The NSW Government will introduce new legislation to restrict discounts offered to defendants in return for guilty pleas. Under the legislation introduced into the parliament today, defendants will be offered a 25 per cent discount off the sentence they face if they make the plea before the committal hearing, but less than 12.5 per cent if the guilty plea is after the committal hearing. View the attorney general's media release>

2 April 2008

Federalism under the microscope in Brisbane

Mon Mar 31 2008

Brisbane will play host in July to an international panel of experts to discuss the major challenges and opportunities for federal systems around the world. Under the patronage of the Hon Sir Gerard Brennan AC KBE, former chief justice of the High Court of Australia, The Future of Federalism conference will be jointly hosted by the Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law at the University of Queensland’s TC Beirne School of Law; and the European Focus Group of the Law Council of Australia.

Download a conference�programme | download a registration form | visit the conference web site

2 April 2008

2008 Bench and Bar Dinner invitation - RSVPs close today

Mon Mar 31 2008

The president and Bar Council have the pleasure of inviting all members of the New South Wales Bar Association and the judiciary to the 2008 Bench and Bar Dinner. The guest of honour is the Hon Justice Susan Kiefel and Ms Senior, Jane Needham SC and Mr Junior, Brad Hughes. The dinner is on Friday, 9 May at the Hilton Sydney. Tickets are $185 and $145 for Under 5s. Full payment must accompany RSVP.�

RSVP's close today, Thursday, 24 April.

Download an invitation>

Seating arrangements of 10 per table will be accepted, as will smaller bookings. Seating will be offered on a first-in basis. If you have any questions regarding the dinner, please contact Katie Hall at khall@nswbar.asn.au or ph: (02)�9229 1720.

24�April�2008

Federal Magistrates Court notice of change to duty lists procedure in Wollongong Circuit

Mon Mar 31 2008

Federal Magistrate Altobelli will implement on a trial basis new duty list procedures, commencing with matters listed for a first return date on 20 August 2008. The changes also constitute part of a trial program in parenting matters. The court is currently investigating less-adversarial processes in parenting cases for application on a wider scale, with Federal Magistrate Altobelli undertaking the first phase of this pilot programme in his Wollongong Circuit. Learn more>

1 April 2008

Ceremonial sitting for the swearing-in of Magistrate Michelle Goodwin

Mon Mar 31 2008

On Monday, 7 April 2008 there will be a�ceremonial sitting of the Local Court�for the swearing-in of Michelle Goodwin as a magistrate.�It will take place at 9.00am�in�Courtroom 5.2 of the Downing Centre. Chrissa Loukas will speak on behalf of the Bar.

4 April 2008�

Papers to note: Diversionary and Other Intervention Programmes, by Chief Magistrate Henson

Mon Mar 31 2008

On 14 February�2008 Chief Magistrate Graeme Henson presented at the Bar Association's�Sydney Mini-Conference�a paper entitled Diversionary and Other Intervention Programmes within the Local Court of New South Wales.

In the introduction, the chief magistrate observes that: "For many years Governments through a combination of policy decisions have used the flexibility that resides within the Local Court or legislated interventions to address many of the issues related to criminal offending behaviour that the hard taskmaster of sentencing for serious indictable offences makes difficult if not impossible in higher jurisdictions. Those opportunities can be grouped together under the umbrella description of Diversion or Intervention Programmes."

View the chief magistrate's paper>

1 April 2008

Native title system gridlocked, says Tom Calma

Sun Mar 30 2008

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma has warned that 15 years after the Native Title Act was passed, the�system�had become�too complex, too legalistic and effectively gridlocked. Speaking at the launch of the�Native Title Report 2007, Mr Calma said:�“The system does not seem to be effectively recognising and protecting native title. We need to rethink the entire system with an open mind and focus on increasing the recognition of native title and strengthening its protection."

The Native Title Report 2007 can be obtained from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission web site>

31 March 2007

Standing Committee of Attorneys-General reports on its first meeting under the Rudd government

Sun Mar 30 2008

On�Friday, 28 March the Standing Committee of Attorneys‑General held its first meeting��since the November 2007 election.�The SCAG held discussions on over 30 matters of substantive legal reforms for all jurisdictions.�

According to�the�communique,�"significant progress was made in areas including reform of personal property securities law, interstate fine enforcement, a judicial exchange program, indigenous justice, harmonisation of criminal laws, litigation funding, victims of crime and work towards a national register of suppression orders".

View the communique and summary of decisions > View the attorney general's media release >

31 March 2008

Cases selected for reporting in FCR by V Kline

Sun Mar 30 2008

The following cases will be published in a forthcoming volume of FCR:

Rainsford v Victoria�[2007] FCA 1059�Sundberg� Mayne Industries Pty Ltd v Advanced Engineering Group Pty Ltd�[2008] FCA 27�Greenwood� Coal Developments (German Creek) Pty Ltd v FCT�[2008] FCAFC 27�Spender, Ryan, Emmett� Bahonko v Sterjov�[2008] FCAFC 30�Gyles, Stone, Buchanan� Rainsford v Victoria�[2008] FCAFC 31�Tamberlin, North, Mansfield� Minister for Home Affairs v Tervonen�[2008] FCAFC 24�Jacobson, Bennett, Buchanan�

Hadgkiss v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union�[2008] FCAFC 22�North, Lander, Buchanan� Employers Reinsurance Corporation v Ashmere Cove Pty Ltd�[2008] FCAFC 28�Heerey, Sackville, Siopis� Digga Australia Pty Ltd v Norm Engineering Pty Ltd�[2008] FCAFC 33�Lindgren, Bennett, Logan� Selim v Lele�[2008] FCAFC 13�Black, Finn, Lander� Minister for Immigration and Citizenship v SZKPQ�[2008] FCAFC 21�Branson, Emmett, Bennett� Ajinomoto Co Inc v NutraSweet Australia�[2008] FCAFC 34�Black, Sundberg, Weinberg� Parker v Western Australia�[2008] FCAFC 23�Moore, Branson, Tamberlin� Minister for Immigration and Citizenship v SZHXF�[2008] FCAFC 36�Tamberlin, Gyles, Stone�

31 March 2008

Cases selected for reporting in CLR by J D Merralls QC

Sun Mar 30 2008

The following cases will be published in a forthcoming volume of CLR:

Bennett v Commonwealth [2007] HCA 18 SZAYW v Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs [2006] HCA 49 Z v NSW Crime Commission [2007] HCA 7 Attorney-General (Cth) v Alinta [2008] HCA 2 Ayles v The Queen [2008] HCA 6

Gypsy Jokers v Commissioner of Police [2008] HCA 4 Mahmood v Western Australia [2008] HCA 1 Walker Corporation v Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority [2008] HCA 5

31 March 2008

Diarise for next week: general meeting of the New South Wales Bar

Fri Mar 28 2008

A general meeting of the Bar will take place at 5.15pm in the Common Room on Monday, 7 April 2008 to discuss the proposed changes to Barristers’ Rules concerning cross-examination.

In accordance with the requirements under the Legal Profession Act, the Bar Council published the proposed amendments to the rules and invited comment.�Over the last few weeks,�many submissions have been received�in response to the draft rule change, and a number have called for an extended consultation period, given the importance of this issue to the Bar.

In view of the nature and extent of the comments received, the Bar Council has resolved to extend the period for consultation for a period of two weeks from Monday, 31 March to enable further submissions to be received up until the close of business on Monday, 14 April 2008.�

2 April 2008

Identity theft being targeted

Thu Mar 27 2008

Minister for Justice Bob Debus has released a report which examines the nature, impact, extent and cost of identity crime, as well as the response of other countries to the problem. Mr Debus says he will be "pushing the states and territories to introduce new laws which will help victims of identity theft to re-establish their credit histories." View the minister's media release> | View the report>

1 April 2008

Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill

Thu Mar 27 2008

While the debate over a Charter of Rights for NSW gathers momentum, the�Governance of Britian initiative has been busy preparing a Constitutional Renewal Bill. That draft has just been released by the Ministry of Justice. Its provisions include�a rebalancing between�Parliament and the Executive,�a clear process to approve decisions about going to war, greater scrutiny of treaty ratification and reforming the role of the attorney general. View the draft Constitutional Renewal Bill�>

1 April�2008

Drink and Food Spiking Act commences tomorrow

Thu Mar 27 2008

The�Crimes Amendment (Drink and Food Spiking)�Act 2008 will commence�tomorrow, 28 March 2008. The�object of this Act is to amend the Crimes Act 1900�to create a new summary offence of spiking a person’s drink or food with an intoxicating substance with intent to harm the person (maximum penalty�two years imprisonment or $11,000 fine, or both), and�to ensure that other more serious related offences apply to the use of intoxicating substances (namely, using intoxicating substances to commit indictable offences, to endanger life, to inflict grievous bodily harm or to injure or cause distress or pain).

View the Act>

6 March�2008

2008 Bench and Bar Dinner invitation

Thu Mar 27 2008

The president and Bar Council have the pleasure of inviting all members of the New South Wales Bar Association and the judiciary to the 2008 Bench and Bar Dinner. The guest of honour is the Hon Justice Susan Kiefel and Ms Senior, Jane Needham SC and Mr Junior, Brad Hughes. The dinner is on Friday, 9 May at the Hilton Sydney. Tickets are $185 and $145 for Under 5s. Full payment must accompany RSVP.�

Download an invitation>

Seating arrangements of 10 per table will be accepted, as will smaller bookings. Seating will be offered on a first-in basis. If you have any questions regarding the dinner, please contact Katie Hall at khall@nswbar.asn.au or ph: (02)�9229 1720.

1 April�2008

A message from the president

Wed Mar 26 2008

Today’s press, together with a number of radio programmes, featured a story on the findings of a NSW Audit Office report titled Efficiency of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.�

At first glance the report, with its dry recommendations for the appointment of an executive director and improved reporting and accountability systems, seems unlikely to excite much interest on the part of the public.�

Closer inspection of the recommendations betrays the residual tension between the touchstones of efficiency in public sector management on the one hand and the principles of criminal justice on the other.

The problem, according to the report, was not that the Office was inefficient, but that the auditors were unable to decide whether it was efficient or not because of the insufficiency of measures to assess efficiency.

I note that the report praised the skilful, committed and hardworking staff in the ODPP and recognised the high regard in which the Office is held in Australia and internationally.�

Whilst the drive for efficient delivery of public services is laudable, as the Chief Justice has said about assessing court performance, “not everything that counts can be counted”.�� The report recognizes that many factors that affect efficiency are beyond the control of the ODPP.� Whatever measures are put in place to improve efficiency in the ODPP, I urge the Government to be careful not to damage the independence of the Office or impair the delivery of high quality legal services to the community in the process.� The ODPP is not comparable with a private legal firm, although the report seeks to draw such comparisons.�The Director of Public Prosecutions, his staff and the Crown Prosecutors act on behalf of all of us.�Unlike private solicitors, they cannot pick and choose the cases they want to run.� Unlike private legal firms, they can’t refuse work on the ground that it might be uneconomical or unprofitable to do it.�

Throughout the day, the Attorney General has emphasised in media interviews his commitment to the statutory independence of the DPP.� I welcome those comments.� The Bar Association will scrutinize carefully all initiatives aimed at improving efficiency in the ODPP to ensure that independence is not compromised in the name of efficiency.

26 March 2008

Review of the Legislative Instruments Act

Wed Mar 26 2008

Attorney-General Robert McClelland�has announced the establishment of a committee to review the Legislative Instruments Act 2003. The committee will shortly release an issues paper and will be calling for submissions from interested persons and organisations. Information about the review, including the terms of reference, is available from www.ag.gov.au/lia-review. View the attorney-general's media release>

26 March 2008

Make law week 2008 a special week by giving blood and saving lives

Wed Mar 26 2008

You can help improve and save the lives of fellow Australians.�Twenty-one thousand�blood donations are needed during Law Week 2008, to assist people with people with major medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease, people with haemophilia and to newborn babies and pregnant women.

Giving blood is simple and makes such a difference, with every donation saving three lives.

Donor centres and mobile donation units are conveniently located through out NSW, with many offering courtesy bus and group donation programs.

Make a difference this law week. Give blood.

For more information or to make an appointment visit www.donateblood.com.au or call 13 14 95.

26 March 2008

Audit Office report on the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

Wed Mar 26 2008

The Audit Office of New South Wales has tabled in parliament its report titled Efficiency of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The�auditor identified�what he described as "some significant opportunities for the ODPP to improve its management practices".

Among the recommendations is the appointment of�an "independent chair to the Audit and Risk Management Committee". The report includes a response from the director of public prosecutions, Nick Cowdery AM QC.

View the report>

26 March 2008

Wanted: volunteers for the Duty Barrister Scheme

Tue Mar 25 2008

The Duty Barrister Scheme is calling on senior members of the bar to cover shortfalls in the roster by volunteering one day of their time. Without reinforcements, the scheme will not be able to maintain its usual service. For further information,�contact�Wendy Incoll�as soon as possible�via e-mail: �wincoll@nswbar.asn.au�

11 February 2009

Treasury review of structured settlements

Tue Mar 25 2008

The Commonwealth Department of the Treasury commissioned Alan Cameron AM to assess the effectiveness of�Division 54 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, which�provides an income tax exemption for annuities and deferred lump sums made under structured settlements for people who have suffered a personal injury. The report of the review was tabled in the House of Representatives on 20 March 2008. Learn more>

25 March 2008

Community Open Day at the Parramatta Justice Precinct

Tue Mar 25 2008

The Attorney General’s Department host an open day at its new corporate headquarters at the Parramatta Justice Precinct. Free events on the day include a will making seminar by the Public Trustee, performances by the NSW Police Band and a mock trial at the Parramatta Local Court for high school and university students.

�

Date: Tuesday, 1 April� Venue: Heritage Forecourt, Parramatta Justice Precinct,� Contact: Sonja van de Pol on ph: (02) 8688 7631

28 March 2008