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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

The New South Wales Bar Association Regional CPD Conferences 2009

Fri Nov 14 2008

Registrations are now open for The New South Wales Bar Association Regional CPD Conferences. Full attendance at a conference will attract 10 CPD points, covering the four strands required for the practising certificate year. Conferences will be held in:

  • Newcastle������� 14 February 2009
  • Canberra���������21 February 2009
  • Parramatta������ 7 March 2009
  • North Coast���� 14 March 2009
  • Orange����������� 21 March 2009
  • Sydney����������� 28 March 2009

Some conferences have limited places available. There will also be post-conference dinners at the Canberra, North Coast and Orange conferences.

For further details, download a registration form. Programmes will be made available in early December. Please contact Katie Hall (khall@nswbar.asn.au, 9229 1720) or Jo Musumeci (jmusumeci@nswbar.asn.au, 9229 1722) for more information. Please note, registrations will only be accepted when accompanied by full payment.

15 December 2008

Reminder: entries for 2008 Great Bar Boat Race close on 5 December

Fri Nov 14 2008

The Great Bar Boat Race will now be held on Monday, 22 December 2008. The deadline for entries is Friday, 5 December. The starting line is in the vicinity of Shark Island, finishing at Store Beach. Presentation of trophies and a post-race picnic will take place on Store Beach. All members who own or can borrow yachts or otherwise may take part in what is expected to be a most enjoyable day on the harbour can download a flyer for more information or a registration form to enter the race.

Insurance

The Bar Association’s current insurance policy does not cover this activity. It is a strict condition of entry that all skippers have arranged appropriate third party, property and personal injury insurance, to cover themselves, their crew and their guests for the duration of the event. Boats will not be entered into the race without a copy of this certificate being presented to the Bar Association – prior to Friday, 5 December.

Indemnity

All participants are required to sign the indemnity incorporated in the entry form in order to compete in the race.

19 November 2008

Speeches to note: the inaugural Neville Wran Lecture, delivered by Kirby J

Fri Nov 14 2008

High Court judges should not linger on beyond their 'used by' date, according to the Hon Justice Michael Kirby, who delivered the inaugural Neville Wran Lecture last night.�In speaking about the career of Neville Wran, law reform and the High Court of Australia, Justice Kirby spoke about the constitutional requirement for justices to retire at age 70. He said:

The experience of most of those who have served on the Court is that, after about ten years, the same types of problems re-present themselves in new guises.�Nothing is stable and certain in the law.�Challenges are constantly being made to old doctrines as their instability is demonstrated by new applications.�This is what the philosopher Heraclites taught in Ancient Greece.� It remains true in Australia today.� It suggests the need for a thoroughly healthy phenomenon of renewal.� Change tends to produce anxiety and resentment in at least some old people.� Which is why it is a good idea to provide for their compulsory departure.� Without a little encouragement, some might never conclude that they should move on.� Reversing the constitutional amendment that requires all High Court judges to retire at age 70 would be quite the wrong way to go.� In my experience most of the voices critical of the 1976 amendment for compulsory retirement in the High Court have tended to be judges.� It is an inescapable fact of nature that older people are sometimes disconnected from the values and aspirations of younger generations.� I am, of course, an exception.

Download a copy of the Neville Wran Lecture>

14 November 2008

Telephone conferences in the Common Law Division

Thu Nov 13 2008

Since March 2007, the Supreme Court has made a telephone conference service available in the Common Law Division for matters at the directions hearing stage. The court recommends this service to the profession, specifically in matters where the parties have previously conferred and directions can be made by consent.

It is essential that parties discuss any proposed orders before seeking entry into the telephone directions list. The efficient operation of the list depends upon both sides engaging in meaningful dialogue before the date of the directions hearing.

Briefly, telephone conferences are conducted each Tuesday morning before the Common Law case management registrar, and at other times by special arrangement.

To have a matter added to the list, parties should send a fax to the registrar on ph: (02) 9230 8827.

Once the matter is in the list, parties should fax any proposed orders to the registrar by 5pm on the day before the scheduled telephone hearing.

On the day of the directions hearing, parties must phone in five minutes before the allotted time. This ensures the list runs on-time and no one is kept waiting unncessarily.

For those interested in using the telephone conference service, go to http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/sc and click on the link "Telephone Directions in the Common Law Division"

13 November 2008

Never assume that the microphone is off

Thu Nov 13 2008

The Queensland Government has legislated to prevent the misuse of courtroom recordings and transcripts made when cases are not being heard. In a media statement issued today, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Kerry Shine said concerns had been raised about�equipment that records continuously.

"[T]he concern related to private conversations when court was not in session and the silence of existing laws on whether such recordings could be legally accessed. That would never have been allowed in any case involving legal professional privilege, but we took the view that public confidence required a total ban to remove any shadow of doubt", said Mr Shine.

Mr Shine said the amendments to the Recording of Evidence Act banned access to all out-of-session recordings and provided explicit legal authority to destroy them.

"The new provisions will formally take effect from the date of assent by the Governor in Council, expected within weeks. But the ban is effectively in force from today, because the transitional arrangements now ensure no one can access out-of-session recordings or transcripts before assent", he said.

13 November 2008

Tomorrow: retirement ceremony for Windeyer J in the Banco Court

Thu Nov 13 2008

The retirement ceremony for the Hon Justice Windeyer of the Supreme Court will be held at 9.15am on 26 November�in the�Banco Court. Barristers should wear robes and wigs - but senior counsel should not wear full-bottomed wigs. Phil Hallen will speak on behalf of the bar.

25�November 2008

Surfabout 2008

Thu Nov 13 2008

The Australian Lawyers Surfing Association invites members of the bar to dust off their long boards in preparation for the 2008 Surfabout on 22 December at Queenscliff Manly.�ALSA has teamed up with the�Indigenous Barristers Trust to provide�a free day at the beach for Aboriginal kids from the Deerubin Local Aborignal Land Council, where they have a surfing lesson and a BBQ. Learn more >

13 November 2008

Commencement of the Civil Liability Legislation Amendment Act

Wed Nov 12 2008

The lieutenant governor today issued a proclamation for the commencement on 12 November 2008 of�the provisions of the Civil Liability Legislation Amendment Act.�Among other things, the�Act amends the Civil Liability Act 2002, the Motor Accidents Act 1988 and the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 to make it clear that damages are to be awarded for gratuitous attendant care services only if the services are provided (or to be provided) for at least six hours per week and for at least six consecutive months. The amendment overcomes the effect of the Court of Appeal decision in Harrison v Melhem [2008] NSWCA 67.

12 November 2008

Indigenous Law Students Forum

Wed Nov 12 2008

The Indigenous Barristers Trust - the Mum Shirl Fund - invites members�to attend a forum for Indigenous law students on Thursday, 27 November 2008 in the Bar Association Common Room.

Download a registration brochure>

24�November 2008

Additions to the Bar Library collection

Wed Nov 12 2008

The Bar Library has�accessioned the following new titles into its collection. The librarian says�that whilst it is�satisfying to see�the number of new books being�written by members of the bar, it would be more pleasing if�the authors�were�to donate a copy�to the library.�

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Book Edition � Classification No.
Arnould's law of marine insurance and average / Jonathan Gilman and Robert Merkin �17th � N335/ARN/2008
Australian insurance law : a first reference / Greg Pynt � � N290/PYN/2008
Australian medical liability / Bill Madden and Janine McIlwraith � � N185/MAD/2008
Directors' and officers' liability insurance / Adolfo Paolini and Deepak Nambisan � � N290.D2/PAO/2008
European Union law : an Australian view / Matt Harvey and Michael Longo � � C1001/HAR/2008
Freezing and search orders : Mareva and Anton Piller Orders / Peter Biscoe �2nd � N232.2/BIS/2008
Gale on the law of easements / Jonathan Gaunt and Paul Morgan �18th � N65.1/GAL/2008
Global climate change : Australian law and policy / David Hodgkinson and Renee Garner � � N95.1/HOD/2008
Macken's law of employment / sixth edition by Carolyn Sappideen, Paul O'Grady and Geoff Warburton �6th � N192/MAC/2008
Marine cargo claims / William Tetley �4th � N337.1/TET/2008
Marketing law / Peter Gillies and Niloufer Selvadurai � � N284.1/GIL/2008
Odgers' Australian Senate Practice / edited by Harry Evans �12th � M84/ODG/2008
Rediscovering rhetoric / Justin Gleeson and Ruth C A Higgins (eds) � � A55/GLE/2008
Restraint of trade doctrine / J D Heydon �3rd � N266.2/HEY/2008
Securities and financial services law / Robert Baxt, Ashley Black and Pamela Hanrahan �7th � N304.1/BAX/2008
Shanahan's Australian law of trade marks and passing off / Mark Davison, Tracey Berger and Annette Freeman �4th � N114.2/SHA/2008
Statutory demands : law and practice / Farid Assaf � � N312/ASS/2008
Takeovers law and strategy / Rodd Levy and Neil Pathak �3rd � N266.12/LEV/2008
The Garnaut climate change review : final report / Ross Garnaut � � N95.1/GAR/2008
Unjust enrichment in commercial law / Simone Degeling and James Edelman (eds) � � N20.2/DEG/2008
William Blackstone : law and letters in the eighteenth century / Wilfrid Prest � � B15/BLA/2008

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12 November 2008