The criminal jurisdiction of the Federal Court

Thu Dec 04 2008

The Australian Government has introduced�Bills to give the Federal Court indictable criminal jurisdiction and to�enable it�to conduct jury trials in cases of serious cartel conduct. Download the Federal Court of Australia Amendment (Criminal Jurisdiction) Bill 2008, the explanatory memorandum and the attorney-general's second reading speech. The Summer 2008-2009 edition of _Bar News,�_due to arrive next week,�features an article by the Hon Justice Weinberg on the criminal jurisdiction of the Federal Court.

4 December 2008

Position vacant: research associate at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law

Wed Dec 03 2008

An opening has become available for a research associate at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at the University of New South Wales. The successful applicant will be a member of a team working on a project funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant titled “Federalism for the 21st Century – A Framework for Achieving Reform and Change”, under the supervision of Associate Professor Andrew Lynch. The project will construct a framework against which proposals for federal reform may be developed.

The research associate will have responsibility for assisting the four chief investigators on research which forms part of the project as well as conducting research independently on certain aspects of the project themselves. The Research Associate will be located within the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, at the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales. This is a full-time fixed term position available for�three years from time of appointment. Learn more >

3 December 2008

Legislation to note: Federal Justice System Amendment (Efficiency Measures) Bill

Wed Dec 03 2008

Attorney-General Robert McClelland today introduced legislation�which he claims will�assist judges to reduce the cost and length of trials for litigants. The�Federal Justice System Amendment (Efficiency Measures) Bill (No. 1) 2008 will amend the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 to allow the court to refer questions arising in proceedings to an expert referee for inquiry and report. View the Bill� | View the explanatory memorandum� | View the attorney-general's media release>

3 December 2008

Webwatch: AustLII launches two new services

Wed Dec 03 2008

AustLII has announced the launch of two new services, which it has developed during 2008:

>> Free access to the English Reports, 1220-1873; and >> LawCite, a free access international citator.

The English Reports

The English Reports� are located on the Commonwealth Legal Information Institute (CommonLII). The data has kindly been provided by Justis�as part of its cooperation with AustLII in an Australian Research Council Linkage grant.

The English Reports database contains 124,882 cases from 1220-1873. The full text of the Reports are searchable. Users are then provided with the original image of a case when it appears in the search results, sorted in likely order of relevance (date ranking may also be used). The cases are may also be browsed by year or alphabetically.

The English Reports are searchable either as a separate database or in combination with all of the other databases from common law jurisdictions available via CommonLII (in cooperation with other legal information institutes in the Free Access to Law Movement).

All reports have been given an additional citation of the style '[1869] EngR 69' in addition to their original ER and nominate reports citations.

The English Reports have not previously been available for free online access.

The LawCite citator

A�test version of�LawCite has been released for trial public use. Feedback is welcome. There are over two million cases for which LawCite holds citation records at present. This number is expected to increase very significantly as LawCite develops.

LawCite is constructed by purely automated means, by the extraction of citation information from the content of AsutLII and from other legal information institute data available through the cooperation of the Free Access to Law Movement. It therefore includes numerous citations of Australian cases by overseas courts.

LawCite also provides citation records for many cases decided by overseas courts. It is an international citator. LawCite data will be available to other LIIs to republish on their systems if they wish to.

Lawcite does not include editorial judgments of whether a case was distinguished, reversed, etc by subsequent cases. It concentrates on demonstrating the patterns of case citation, and also provides parallel citations for cases.

No free access citator has previously been available in Australia.

Both databases were developed as part of an Australian Research Council Linkage grant concerning improvements to online case law involving seven industry partners including four courts and tribunals and two legal publishers.

3 December 2008

Papers to note: parliamentary committee report on the immigration detention system

Tue Dec 02 2008

The Australian Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Migration has�published Immigration Detention in Australia: A New Beginning,�the first of three such�reports.

Under its terms of reference, the committee is charged with examining:

  • the criteria that should be applied in determining how long a person should be held in immigration detention;
  • the criteria that should be applied in determining when a person should be released from immigration detention following health and security checks;
  • options to expand the transparency and visibility of immigration detention centres;
  • the preferred infrastructure options for contemporary immigration detention;
  • options for the provision of detention services and detention health services across the range of current detention facilities, including immigration detention centres, immigration residential housing, immigration transit accommodation and community detention options for additional community-based alternatives to immigration detention by: a) inquiring into international experience b) considering the manner in which such alternatives may be utilised in Australia to broaden the options available within the current immigration detention framework c) comparing the cost effectiveness of these alternatives with current options.

2 December 2008

Papers to note: Homicide in Australia

Tue Dec 02 2008

The International Homicide Conference begins tomorrow on the Gold Coast. Ahead of the conference, the Australian Institute of Criminology has released its 2006-2007 annual report for the National Homicide Monitoring Program. The report shows, among other things, that:

  • the rate for 2006–07 was 1.2 per 100,000, amongst the lowest for a century;
  • in 2006–07, there were 260 homicide incidents, involving 266�victims and 296 offenders. Of the victims, 185 were male and 81 were female;
  • twenty-seven children under the age of 15 years were killed in�2006–07, the overwhelming majority by a parent (84%).

Download a copy of Homicide in Australia>

2 December 2008

Federal Court Amendment Rules 2008 (No 2)

Mon Dec 01 2008

The Federal Court Amendment Rules 2008 (No 2) were registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments today,�1 December 2008.

The Amendment Rules make the following amendments to the Federal Court Rules:

  • amend Order 21 rule 5 to provide that an application by a person who is subject to an order under Order 21 subrule 1(1) or rule 2 (which deal with vexatious litigants) may be determined by the Court without an oral hearing;
  • amend Order 27 (which deals with subpoenas) by inserting a new rule 3A and amend subrule 6(4) and Form 41 to allow a party who has issued a subpoena to notify the addressee of a later date or time as the date or time for attendance or for production or both;
  • insert a new Order 35 rule 7A to prescribe a rate of pre-judgment interest for the purposes of section 51A of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976;
  • amend Order 41 subrule 2(3) and insert a new Order 41 subrule 2(3A) to provide that a document may be printed single-sided or double-sided;
  • amend the rules in Order 52 and Order 53 dealing with the requirements for primary and supplementary appeal papers;
  • amend Order 62 subrule 43(4) to correct a cross-reference to Order 62 rule 41;
  • insert a Note at the foot of Order 63 subrule 5(2) to refer to Practice Note No 28 which deals with investment accounts established by the court;
  • amend Forms 55A, 55B and 141 to remove the requirement that the members of the Tribunal which made the decision the subject of the appeal be named;
  • amend Schedule 2 to adjust the quantum of prescribed costs.

The amendments mentioned in items 1 to 8 above will commence on the day after registration. The amendment mentioned in item 9 will commence on 1 December 2008.

1 December 2008

Appointment to the Defence Force Appeal Tribunal

Mon Dec 01 2008

Attorney-General Robert McClelland today announced the appointment of the Hon Justice Margaret White, of the Queensland Supreme Court, as deputy president of the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal. Learn more >

1 December 2008

Fees owed to counsel - Duncan Li

Mon Dec 01 2008

Pursuant to s623(2) of the Legal Profession Act 2004 (NSW), the Law Society of New South Wales has appointed Mr Con John Georgas to manage the law practice of Duncan Li, situated at Lower Ground Floor, 29 Glenhope Road, West Pennant Hills. 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.

For further information, contact Lucy Tang on ph: (02) 9926 0240, fax: (02) 9926 0166; DX 362 Sydney or via e-mail:

1 December�2008

Women Barristers Forum Annual General Meeting

Mon Dec 01 2008

The annual general meeting� of the Women Barristers Forum, a section of the NSW Bar Assocation, will be held on�2 December 2008 at 5.15 pm�in the Bar Association Common Room for the election of committee members to act as office bearers and other general business.�Download the Notice of the AGM and proxy forms.

If you are interested in nominating to act as a committee member of WBF, then please complete the nomination form or feel free to contact one of the secretaries of WBF (Julie Soars - or Nicolette Bearup - ) for further details. � WBF does not have a formal membership and considers all women at the bar to be members and entitled to vote. All are welcome to attend and to nominate as committee members. � If you would like to have your professional contact details listed on the WBF web site, then please also complete the WBF Questionnaire form and send it to Nicolette or me. � A copy of the WBF accounts for the financial year ended 30/6/08 will be available at the meeting.� Download a report of the WBF committee. � Julie Soars Secretary WBF

1 December 2008

Speeches of a Chief Justice: James Spigelman 1998-2008

Mon Dec 01 2008

All members of the bar are cordially invited to the launch of a special edition volume of speeches of Chief Justice Spigelman AC to mark his tenth anniversary, on Wednesday, 10 December 2008 at 5.00pm. The launch will be held in the Banco Court, Level 13, Supreme Court Building, Queen Square, Sydney, with drinks afterwards in the foyer. The collection has been edited by Tim Castle. The book will be launched by Lord Thomas Bingham of Cornhill, KG, PC, FBA, who had a distinguished judicial career in the United Kingdom from 1980 until his retirement earlier this year. During this period Lord Bingham served as Master of the Rolls and as Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, before becoming the Senior Law Lord in 2000.

The launch is open to all members of the legal profession and interested members of the public. RSVP is not essential but you may register your interest by purchasing a copy of the book on the publisher’s website A limited stock of books will also be available for purchase at the launch.

1 December 2008

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