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Evidence Amendment Bill approved by the Senate

Fri Nov 28 2008

Attorney-General Robert McClelland today welcomed the passage through the parliament of the _Evidence Amendment Bill 2008, _describing it as�a "significant step towards the harmonisation of evidence laws throughout Australia". During the final stage of the Bill's passage through the Senate, the Opposition's legal affairs spokesperson, Senator George Brandis, described it as�"a very, very important bill" and congratulated "those at the Australian Law Reform Commission, those in the Attorney-General’s Department and the legislative draftsmen who have brought this bill to fruition". View the Bill | View the attorney-general's media release>

28 November 2008

Legislation to note: Crimes Amendment (Sexual Offences) Bill 2008

Thu Nov 27 2008

The Crimes Amendment (Sexual Offences) Bill 2008�was yesterday introduced in the Legislative Council by Attorney General Hatzistergos and has received�its second reading speech.�

The object of the Bill, as provided by the�explanatory notes, is to amend the Crimes Act 1900 and other criminal legislation as follows:

  • to provide for an aggravated offence of having sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10 years, with a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life;
  • to make kidnapping (or deprivation of liberty) an additional circumstance in which sexual intercourse with a child aged between 10 and 16 years is treated as an aggravated offence;
  • to make breaking and entering, and kidnapping (or deprivation of liberty), additional circumstances in which sexual intercourse without a person’s consent is treated as an aggravated offence;
  • to create a new offence of aggravated act of indecency, with a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, where an act of indecency is committed with or towards a child under the age of 16 years and the offender knows that the act of indecency is being filmed for the purposes of the production of child pornography;
  • to increase the maximum penalty for the offence of indecent assault against a child aged between 10 and 16 years;
  • to create a new offence of meeting a child, or travelling to meet a child, following grooming that child for sexual purposes;
  • to increase the maximum penalty for the aggravated offence of causing a person to enter into or remain in sexual servitude;
  • to create a specific statutory offence of inciting a person to commit a sexual offence (carrying the same maximum penalty as the offence incited);
  • to increase the maximum penalty for the offence of receiving money or a material benefit derived from child prostitution, where the offence involves a child under the age of 14 years;
  • to increase the maximum penalty for possession of child pornography and make other changes to child pornography offences;
  • to create new offences of voyeurism and filming a person’s private parts and to transfer to the Crimes Act 1900 and extend the existing offence of filming a person engaged in a private act;
  • to make various changes with respect to the sentencing of sex offenders and young offenders;
  • to provide for other miscellaneous matters (including consequential and savings and transitional matters).

27 November 2008

Appointment of acting magistrate

Thu Nov 27 2008

Mr John Anthony Bailey has been appointed as an acting magistrate and as a mining warden for the period commencing on 20 November 2008 and expiring on 30 June 2009.

27 November 2008

Victorian Bar's senior counsel appointments for 2008

Thu Nov 27 2008

The Victorian Bar announced its senior counsel appointments yesterday. They are, in order of precedence:

William Ross Middleton Philip Anthony Jewell John Paul Dickinson Craig Warwick Harrison Joshua Douglas Wilson Douglas Andrew Trapnell Maryanne Beatrice Loughnan Michael Harry Tinney Caroline Majella Kenny Samuel Richard Horgan Adrian James Ryan Michael Glennon O’Connell Sturt Andrew Glacken Christopher John Townshend

Download the Victorian Bar's media release>

27 November 2008

Law Vacation: registrars' sitting arrangements

Wed Nov 26 2008

New South Wales Supreme Court registrar’ lists will operate as usual until 19 December 2008 and from 12 January 2009.

On 22 and 23 December 2008, registrars will sit at:

9.00am - combined Common Law Division List and Return of Subpoena List 9.15am�- combined Equity General List and Corporations List.

On 6 and 9 January 2009, a registrar will sit at 9.00am to deal with matters in the Common Law Division List, the Equity General List, the Corporations List and the Return of Subpoena List.

26 November 2008

Victorian barristers to hold a rally over legal aid funding

Wed Nov 26 2008

Victoria’s barristers will be among the�criminal lawyers�to hold a public meeting�(before court, at 9.15am) on the forecourt of the County Court tomorrow to discuss increased legal aid funding. The meeting will be addressed by Victorian Bar chairman, John Digby QC; Criminal Bar chair, John Champion SC; Law Council of Australia Access to Justice Committee member, Dr David Neal SC, LIV president, Tony Burke and LIV Criminal Law Executive Committee member Rob Stary. View the Victorian Bar's media release>

26 November 2008

Vexatious Proceedings Act to commence on 1 December

Tue Nov 25 2008

The Vexatious Proceedings Act 2008 (NSW) has been proclaimed to commence on 1 December 2008. The objects, as provided in the explanatory notes to the Bill, are:

(a) to enact provisions (which are largely based on model provisions developed by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General) that expand the power of the Supreme Court to make orders restricting proceedings by vexatious litigants, including provisions that enable the court: (i) to make such orders if satisfied that a litigant has frequently instituted or conducted vexatious proceedings, and (ii) to make such orders against persons acting in concert with vexatious litigants, and (iii) to make such orders in relation to proceedings instituted or conducted by litigants in tribunals as well as in courts, and (iv) to take into account, when making such orders, conduct in the courts and tribunals of other Australian jurisdictions, and (b) to confer comparable powers on the Land and Environment Court in relation to vexatious litigants in that court and on the Industrial Court in relation to vexatious litigants in the Industrial Relations Commission, and (c) to repeal section 84 of the Supreme Court Act 1970 and section 70 of the Land and Environment Court Act 1979 and to make provision for matters of a savings and transitional nature consequent on the repeal of those sections.

25 November 2008

Law Council awaits speedy release of Haneef report

Tue Nov 25 2008

The Law Council has welcomed indications made by Attorney-General Robert McClelland that the Australian Government will publicly release the findings of the Clarke Inquiry into the Haneef case before the end of the year.�President Ross Ray QC said, “Having been extensively involved in the Clarke Inquiry, the Law Council was concerned by suggestions that the contents of the report would not be released for some months.�Given the strong public interest in the Haneef case, this would be an unacceptable delay.” View the LCA media release>

The Honourable John Clarke QC handed over his report on the handling of the Haneef case to the Attorney-General on 21 November.�The highly anticipated report followed an eight month inquiry into the arrest, prosecution and detention of Dr Mohamed Haneef.�

25 November 2008

Cases selected for reporting in FCR by V Kline

Tue Nov 25 2008

The following cases will be published in a forthcoming volume of FCR: ����������� Harding v Deputy Commissioner of Taxation [2008] FCA 1403 Australian Olives Ltd v Livadaras [2008] FCA 1407 Bryant v Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission [2008] FCA 1424 Re Opes Prime Stockbroking Ltd [2008] FCA 1425 Telstra Corporation Ltd v Australian Competition and Consumer Commission [2008] FCA 1436 Urquhart v Automated Meter Reading Services (Aust) Pty Ltd [2008] FCA 1447 Priestley v Godwin (No 2) [2008] FCA 1453

Kafataris v Deputy Commissioner of Taxation [2008] FCA 1454 Boumelhem v Commonwealth Bank of Australia [2008] FCA 1568 CSR Viridian Ltd v Claveria [2008] FCAFC 177

25 November 2008

Practice Note SC Eq 2 (Admiralty List)

Mon Nov 24 2008

The Chief Justice, J J Spigelman AC, issued an amended version of Practice Note SC Eq 2 (Admiralty List) on 13 November 2008.� The revised Practice Note commenced operation on Friday, 21 November 2008. Paragraph 5 has been amended to include the assignment of business and entry in the list of matters involving the Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims Act 1989 (Cth).� This Practice Note replaces the previous version of SC Eq 2 issued on 17 August 2005.

24 November 2008

Changes to the Legal Aid NSW grants application process

Mon Nov 24 2008

From March 2009, barristers who receive direct assignments of legally aided matters will see the following changes:

  • A new grants management system will replace the current Grants Online and the associated back-office system.
  • Practitioners registered to use Grants Online will -find that it looks different and provides access to a much wider range of features than the current Grants Online.
  • Registered practitioners will be able to submit all applications for grants of legal aid electronically using Grants Online, accessible from the Legal Aid NSW web site (www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au). Practitioners will also use Grants Online to submit claims for fees and disbursements and to request extensions of grants and transfers of assignments.
  • Standard online forms will be provided for tasks such as appeals to the Legal Aid Review Committee, advising matter outcomes and general correspondence.
  • All communications from Legal Aid NSW to registered practitioners relating to legal aid applications and grants will be electronic.
  • Grants Online will incorporate a notice board where registered practitioners will be able to retrieve these communications, and links on the notice board will enable users to view associated documents.

These changes will have minimal impact on barristers who are not receiving direct assignments of legally aided matters.

Assistance

To help practitioners with the new Grants Online, a user guide will be available on the Legal Aid NSW web site. Assistance will also be available from the Grants Support Desk ((02) 9219 5999 or by email to qrants.supDort@Jeaalaid.nsw.gov.au). � Barristers who are not registered to use Grants Online may continue to submit their invoices to their instructing solicitors, but for speed and efficiency I would recommend that they register for Grants Online to allow them to submit claims directly to Legal Aid NSW. Practitioners can register by going to the Legal Aid NSW web site, or by contacting the Grants Support Desk.

Practitioners should note that Grants Online will not be available during the installation of the new grants management system. The precise installation dates are being finalised and will be advised at the earliest opportunity. Some additional short-term disruption is also possible as staff and practitioners become familiar with the new system, but the Grants Support Desk will be available throughout the implementation period and beyond to provide assistance.

Should you have any questions about the introduction of the new system, please do not hesitate to contact Annmarie Lumsden, acting director grants, on ph:�(02) 9219 5671.

24 November 2008

Review of the International Arbitration Act 1974

Mon Nov 24 2008

Attorney-General Robert McClelland has announced a review of the International Arbitration Act 1974, with a view to improving the�efficiency of the arbitral process.�The Attorney-General's Department has�published a discussion paper and seeks submissions by 16 January 2009. Comments and submissions may be e-mailed to: iaa.review@ag.gov.au�or sent in hard copy to:

Stephen Bouwhuis Office of International Law Attorney-General’s Department Robert Garran Offices 3-5 National Circuit BARTON� ACT� 2600 Facsimile: (02) 6250 5931

24 November 2008

Bar Association office bearers for 2010

Thu Nov 20 2008

At a Bar Council meeting on 19 November 2009, the following were elected as office bearers of the New South Wales Bar Association for 2010: President: Tom Bathurst QC Senior vice president: Bernie Coles QC Junior vice president: Phil Boulten SC Treasurer:� Ian Temby QC Secretary: Garry McGrath

PA Selth Executive Director

20�November 2009

Attorney-General Robert McClelland releases report on improvements to federal courts

Thu Nov 20 2008

Attorney-General Robert McClelland today released Future Governance Options for Federal Family Law Courts in Australia - Striking the Right Balance, and an accompanying discussion paper on improvements to the delivery of family law services by Australia’s federal courts. Among the report’s key recommendations are the creation of a single federal family law court by combining the Family Court and the Federal Magistrates Court, and the use of savings identified through streamlined administration to enhance family law services. Read the discussion paper.

Submissions are invited by 6 February 2009 and may be provided by email to fedcourtsconsultation@ag.gov.au, mailed or faxed to:

Federal Courts Branch Australian Attorney-General’s Department Robert Garran Offices 3-5 National Circuit BARTON� ACT� 2600

20 November 2008

Bar Council business for October

Wed Nov 19 2008

Matters reported elsewhere in In Brief are omitted from this summary of Bar Council business. Bar Council regularly considers requests by the attorney general, the courts and other agencies for advice on proposed legislation. Because that advice is sought on a confidential basis, it is not noted in this summary. Any member interested in a particular matter should contact the executive director for further information.

President’s report

The senior vice president advised that the president was in a trial in Newcastle that had gone over and so she was unable to make the meeting. He advised that among other duties in the past few weeks on behalf of the Bar Association the president had attended the following:

  • ‘15 bobber’ for Justice Nye Perram -�12 September
  • Tristan Jepson Memorial Lecture by Professor Ian Hickie of the Brain and Mind Research Institute -�18 September.�The president had introduced and chaired a panel discussion of law deans from Sydney University, UNSW, UTS and Wollongong University after the lecture given by speech Professor Hickie.
  • Dinner in Canberra to mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Law Council of Australia -�19 September
  • Directors’ meeting, Law Council of Australia, Canberra -�20 September
  • Clarke/Haneef Inquiry Open Forum, Sydney -�22 September
  • Public Interest Law Clearing House function -�24 September. The president had given an address entitled ‘Lawyering as Emotional Labour’ with James O’Loughlin, who spoke on ‘work/life balance’.
  • Federal Criminal Justice forum, Canberra -�28-29 September
  • new silks appointments announced - 2 October
  • Human Rights Conference, Melbourne -�2-3 October:

Parliamentary drinks

The senior vice president noted that on 24 September he had hosted in the Common Room the annual Bar Association drinks for state members of parliament with law qualifications.

Swearing in and welcome for the Hon Justice Julie Ward, Supreme Court of New South Wales - 29 September

The senior vice president advised that he had spoken on behalf of the Australian Bar Association and the New South Wales Bar Association at the welcoming ceremony for Justice Ward. The president had been at the bar table. The president was in Canberra at the time attending the Federal Criminal Justice forum.

Bar Council elections – polling officers

Pursuant to clause 14.7.1 of the Bar Association Constitution, the Bar Council appointed as polling offices for the forthcoming Bar Council elections the following members of the bar:

Lucan B Gorham Joshua P Knackstredt Caroline C Spruce Jennifer A English; Graham A F Connolly David A Lloyd Daniel J Tynan

Resignation of Robert Macfarlan QC as a director of the Barristers Sickness & Accident Fund and proposed appointment of Stephen Climpson

Bar Council resolved to approve the nomination of Stephen Climpson as a director of the Barristers Sickness & Accident Fund Pty Ltd as the replacement for Robert Macfarlan QC who tendered his resignation as a director on his appointment to the Supreme Court bench.

Common Law Committee paper – police ‘hurt on duty’ appeals

The Bar Council noted the history of this issue and the original correspondence from Richard Perrignon raising the possibility of legislative amendment in this area. The Common Law Committee’s paper was discussed and in accordance with its recommendation the council resolved that there was no need for legislative change in this area.

Practice Note DC (Civil) No. 13 – amendments to case management

The Bar Council considered the memorandum from the chair of the Common Law Committee and noted the committee’s view that that, given that the Practice Note was already in force, the court would be unlikely to make changes to it in response to representations at this early stage.

After discussion, the Bar Council resolved:

(a)�that the president write to the president of the Law Society in the terms of the draft letter attached to the memorandum prepared by Khandhar, drawing his attention to the Practice Note and suggesting that both organisations keep the operation of the new procedures under review;

(b)�that the president write to the chief judge advising that the association is concerned about the potential ramifications of the Practice Note and indicating that the association will be monitoring its impact over the next few months with a view to making further representations if that impact proves to be negative; and

(c)�an article be prepared for In-Brief drawing the attention of members to the Practice Note and suggesting that they can bring any examples of problems experienced under it to the association’s attention.

Workers Compensation Act 1987 – papers from the Common Law Committee

The Bar Council considered the memorandum from the chair of the Common Law Committee.

Khandhar and the director, law reform and public affairs outlined the effect of the proposed amendments to section 151Z of the Workers Compensation Act 1987. The Bar Council noted the committee’s view that those amendments were the most important of those proposed by the committee, as they would correct a substantial injustice posed to injured workers as a result of the operation of the current section.

It was resolved that the proposed amendments to section 151Z be submitted to the government by way of a single paper and covering letter.

It was further resolved that the proposed amendments involving contributory negligence and deemed employees be submitted to government by way of a paper and covering letter separate from that dealing with the correction of anomalies in the Act.

19 November 2008

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Fees owed to counsel

Wed Nov 19 2008

Pursuant to s623(2) of the Legal Profession Act 2004 (NSW), the Law Society of New South Wales has appointed Kelly-Anne Stanford to manage the law practice of R J Russell, Solicitors, Level 7, City Centre Building, 171-179 Queen Street, Campbelltown.�The practice is still operating but on a very restricted basis. Counsel with outstanding fees should contact the manager as soon as possible.

Whilst the manager will do whatever can be done to assist counsel to recover fees, it is each counsel's responsibility to ensure the adequacy of his or her commercial arrangements with instructing solicitors and the manager may not be able to assist.

Ms Kelly-Anne Stanford�may be contacted on ph: (02) 9926 0240, fax: (02) 9926 0166; DX 362 Sydney or via e-mail: lxt@lawsocnsw.asn.au

19 November 2008

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Law Council launches its revamped web site

Tue Nov 18 2008

The Law Council has launched its new website. Apart from being given a new look, the revamped website is easier to navigate and features an improved search engine facility as well as audio and video capability. It also features a dedicated library for speeches, submissions and federal inquiries, an initiatives section highlighting priority projects, and direct access to section and committee web pages. In addition, RSS subscriptions are now available throughout the entire site. Visit the Law Council's web site>

18 November 2008

Papers to note: effectiveness of the NSW Drug Court

Tue Nov 18 2008

The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has announced the results of its latest study into recidivism and the New South Wales Drug Court. The results show that although participants in the NSW Drug Court are significantly less likely to be reconvicted than offenders given conventional sanctions (mostly imprisonment),�the Drug Court is only marginally more cost-effective. Learn more>

18 November 2008

Supreme Court Practice Note on audio-visual links

Mon Nov 17 2008

Supreme Court Practice Note SC Gen 15 (NSW) was gazetted on Friday, 14 November. The Practice Note, which�relates�to the use of audio-visual links in criminal and certain civil proceedings, will commence on 1 January 2009. Learn more>

17 November 2008

Work2Suit Forum on flexible work practices

Mon Nov 17 2008

The Women Lawyers Association of NSW and the Law Society of NSW invite members to�hear Ann Sherry�AO, CEO of Carnival Australia, speak at�a�Work2Suit forum on 4 December at 5.30pm.�The forum will examine options�for�flexible work, including the transition from full-time work. Download a forum information and registration brochure>

1 December�2008

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Reminder: Lord Thomas Bingham to speak on a Charter of Rights

Fri Nov 14 2008

Lord Thomas Bingham, former senior law lord of the United Kingdom, will deliver a lecture�entitled "The Role of a Charter of Rights in Promoting Dignity, Fairness and Good Government" in recognition of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.�The lecture will take place�on Thursday, 11 December 2008 at�5.00pm in�the Banco Court.� Chief Justice Spigelman AC will chair the lecture, with President Anna Katzmann SC to deliver the vote of thanks.�

Lord Bingham of Cornhill retired after�eight years as senior law lord of the House of Lords in September 2008.�Described recently by The Times as ‘the pre-eminent lawyer of his generation with a brilliant, incisive mind’, Lord Bingham is a leading human rights jurist.�His landmark rulings under the Human Rights Act 1998 (UK) and the European Convention on Human Rights have contributed significantly to promoting and protecting fundamental rights and freedoms and the rule of law in the UK and beyond.

Lord Bingham took silk in 1972.� He was appointed a judge of the High Court in 1980 and promoted to the Court of Appeal in 1986.� His lordship became master of the rolls in 1992 and then lord chief justice of England and Wales in 1996.

3 December 2008

Victorian Bar voices concerns about legal aid funding

Fri Nov 14 2008

Chairman of the Victorian Bar Council, John Digby QC, has warned that the pool of specialist criminal barristers doing legal aid cases in Victoria has dropped dramatically over the last three years. Speaking at the Law Council of Australia's National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference in Sydney, Mr Digby QC released details of a PriceWaterhouseCoopers Report for the Victorian Bar, which raises "very serious concerns for the future of the criminal justice system". View the Victorian Bar's media release | Download the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Report>

14 November 2008