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New fees for civil litigants in the Supreme Court

Tue Nov 11 2008

As part of today's mini-budget, the�NSW Government has announced that it will increase fees for civil litigants who use the NSW Supreme Court.�Attorney General John Hatzistergos has announced that the measure will result in an estimated $1 million in additional revenue each year. Learn more>

11 November 2008

Conference to focus on justice for all

Mon Nov 10 2008

Law Council President Ross Ray QC and NSW Attorney General John Hatzistergos will open the Access to Justice conference this Friday,�14 November. Guests of note will include Commonwealth Attorney-General Robert McClelland, West Australian Chief Justice Wayne Martin, Timor Leste Bar Association President Jose Pedro M.N. De Camoes, and Robin Knowles QC, chairman of the Bar Pro Bono Unit of England and Wales. For more information, visit www.a2j08.com.au

10 November 2008

2009 Bar Council Election and Annual General Meeting

Mon Nov 10 2008

Voting for the 2009 Bar Council closes at 1.00pm on this Friday, 14 November 2008.� If you have not voted please return your ballot papers as soon as possible. The Annual General Meeting will be held in the Bar Association’s Common Room, 174-180 Phillip Street, Sydney, this Friday 14 November 2008 at 1.00pm.�The formal notice of the AGM was mailed to all members on Friday, 26 September along with the 2009 Bar Council nomination forms.��

PA Selth Executive Director & Returning Officer

11 November 2008

AustLII presents FREE online legal research seminar

Mon Nov 10 2008

AustLII has organised a training programme for online legal research, which�aims to assist users to obtain the maximum benefits from AustLII, WorldLII, and other Internet legal research tools. The next training�programme is being presented in conjunction with the Centre for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) at UNSW�on 24 November 2008, between�9:00am�and 5:30pm. To register your interest for a course in a particular city, please contact Ms Annelies Moens, external relations manager, AustLII, on ph: (02) 02 9514 4930 or e-mail annelies@austlii.edu.au.

10 November 2008

Bar Library hours over Christmas

Mon Nov 10 2008

The Bar Library will be closed from 12 noon Friday, 19 December 2008 to Friday 9 January 2009 inclusive. The�library�will be open from 10.00am to 4.00pm from Monday, 12 January 2009 to Friday, 30 January 2009 and will resume normal opening hours (8:00am to 6:00pm) on 2 February 2009. The Law Courts Library is closed from 19 December 2008 to 30 January 2009 inclusive (external clients with a current library card may access the collection from 5 January 2009). Please return all items on loan to the Library by Friday, 19 December 2008.

17 December 2008

Well off criminals in the UK may have to pay for their public defence

Fri Nov 07 2008

Faced with a staggering legal aid bill of more than two billion pounds, and 117,000 legally aided defendants in Crown Court each year,��the Ministry of Justice in the UK has released�two consultation papers�exploring ways of�"recouping costs from comfortably off, convicted defendants who can afford to pay towards their defence".

According to the Crown Court Means Testing�poposal, "everyone who is tried at a Crown Court will be offered legal aid, but those who fail the new means assessment and are found guilty will have to reimburse the taxpayer for the cost of their defence. Safeguards will remain in place so those defendants on benefits or low incomes, who make up a large proportion of those who appear before the Crown Court, will continue to receive free legal aid".

In the other consultation paper published today, the Ministry of Justice is consulting on possible reforms to the system of payment of acquitted defendants' legal costs.

7 November 2008

SCAG drafting a Model Bill on spent convictions

Fri Nov 07 2008

The Standing Committee of Attorneys-General is working on a uniform spent convictions scheme, which provides that certain convictions do not generally need to be disclosed after the offender completes a qualifying period of crime-free behaviour. Victorian Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Rob Hulls is calling for community input into�the national proposal.

Mr Hulls said a draft Model Bill for the proposed national scheme would mean a spent conviction may no longer be relevant for someone seeking accommodation or employment but would still be relevant in certain circumstances, such as those relating to national security, and applications for some professions that require a character test, such as policing.

Under the proposed national scheme, serious sexual offences would never be able to become spent.

7 November 2008

New WorkCover Guidelines gazetted today

Fri Nov 07 2008

The WorkCover Guidelines for the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment,�known as the “WorkCover Guides”, have been gazetted today, Friday 7 November. These guidelines�are issued under section 376 of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998� for the purpose of assessing the degree of permanent impairment that arises from a work related injury or condition in accordance with section 322(1) of the 1998 Act. View the guidelines>

7 November 2008

SCAG releases discussion paper on non-consensual DNA testing

Fri Nov 07 2008

The Model Criminal Law Officers' Committee of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General has released a discussion paper, entitled Non-consensual Genetic Testing.�The closing date for comments is 31 January 2009.�When announcing the release of the discussion paper, Minister for Home Affairs Bob Debus said: "“Non-consensual genetic testing may involve physical harm, where a bodily sample is taken by force, or emotional harm, where the paternity or identity of the individual is questioned, or genetic predisposition to illness is identified without that person’s consent."

The discussion paper proposes the following draft model offences for consideration:

• Obtaining bodily material for genetic testing • the use of bodily material for genetic testing • and the disclosure or use of results from genetic testing.�

Download a copy of the discussion paper in pdf>

7 November 2008

Great Bar Boat Race 2008: change of date

Thu Nov 06 2008

The date�for the 2008 Great Bar Boat Race�has been changed to Monday,�22 December. The registration form will be sent via In Brief later this week.

10�November 2008

Barristers prefer pro bono

Thu Nov 06 2008

The National Pro Bono Resource Centre has released the findings of a survey,�which looked at the pro bono practice of 355 barristers from all states and territories, covering a range of practice areas, ages, and levels of seniority. The survey found that 87 per cent�of respondents had done pro bono legal work in the previous 12 months, but only 43 per cent�had done paid legal aid work.�New South Wales barristers reported doing a median of 41-50 hours of pro bono work in the last 12 months, on par with their colleagues nationally. View the results of the national survey | View the New South Wales results� |� View the media release from the National Pro Bono Resource Centre>

6 November 2008

Launch of Macquarie Law School's new Master of Laws in Legal History

Wed Nov 05 2008

Members are invited to�a keynote address on Thursday, 20 November by visiting Emeritus Professor John McLaren (Faculty of Law, University of Victoria, British Columbia) on the subject "Dewigged, Bothered and Bewildered: Colonial Judges on Trial and the Allure of Legal History". This event is FREE, but registrations are essential as light refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP by 14 November 2008.

Location: The Banco Court, Level 13, Supreme Court Building, Queens Square Audience: Everyone Time and Date: 5:00 PM on Thursday, 20 November 2008

For further information, contact: Fran Chandler� phone: (02) 9850 7097 e-mail address: fran.chandler@law.mq.edu.au

13�November 2008

New Supreme Court Rule amendments

Wed Nov 05 2008

On Monday, 3 November 2008 the Supreme Court Rule Committee approved the following amendments to the Supreme Court Rules 1970, and the Service and Execution of Process Act (Courts other than the Supreme Court) (Repeal) Rules 2008.

1.�Supreme Court Rules 1970 - (Amendment No 415) 2008

Explanatory note

The object of these Rules is to omit Part 66A (court appointed referral for legal assistance) of the Supreme Court Rules 1970, together with an associated prescribed form, as a consequence of Part 66A having been replicated in the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005.

2.�Service and Execution of Process Act (Courts other than Supreme Court) (Repeal) Rules 2008

Explanatory note

The object of these amendments�is to repeal rules that became obsolete on the commencement of the Service and Execution of Process Act 1992 (Cth). The rules have since been superseded by Part 71A of the Supreme Court Rules 1970.

The amendments have been gazetted.

The Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 amendments (No 23) were published in today's gazette.�View the explanatory note>

7�November 2008

US election results live in the Bar Common Room

Tue Nov 04 2008

Continuous coverage of counting in the US elections will be available via the big screen projector in the Bar Common Room today, beginning around 2.30pm and finishing at 5.00pm. All members are welcome to come and savour the excitement of this important presidential race.

7 November 2012

Increase in interest on unpaid legal costs

Tue Nov 04 2008

At its meeting on 4 May 2010, the Reserve Bank Board decided to increase the cash rate by 25 basis points to 4.50%, effective 5 May 2010. Accordingly the rate of interest on unpaid legal costs, prescribed by clause 110A(3) of the Legal Profession Regulation 2005, as of 5 May, is 6.50%.

Section 321 of the Legal Profession Act 2004 ‘Interest on unpaid legal costs’ provides:

(1) A law practice may charge interest on unpaid legal costs if the costs are unpaid 30 days or more after the practice has given a bill for the costs in accordance with this Part.

(2) A law practice may also charge interest on unpaid legal costs in accordance with a costs agreement.

(3) A law practice must not charge interest under subsection (1) or (2) on unpaid legal costs unless the bill for those costs contains a statement that interest is payable and of the rate of interest.

(4) A law practice may not charge interest under this section or under a costs agreement at a rate that exceeds the rate prescribed by the regulations.

(5) ...

Clause 110A of the Legal Profession Regulation 2005 prescribes the relevant rate of interest. It provides:

110A Interest on unpaid legal costs—section 321 (4) (b) of the Act

(1) This clause is made for the purposes of section 321 (4) of the Act and prescribes the rate of interest in excess of which a law practice may not charge interest under section 321 of the Act or under a costs agreement.

(2) The rate for the period commencing with 1 October 2005 and ending immediately before the date of commencement of subclause (3) is 9.0%.

(3) The rate for the period commencing with the date of commencement of this subclause is the rate that is equal to the Cash Rate Target as at the relevant date, increased by 2 percentage points.

(4) In this clause:

Cash Rate Target means the percentage (or maximum percentage) specified by the Reserve Bank of Australia as the Cash Rate Target.

Relevant date means the date the bill was issued by the law practice concerned.

The Cash Rate Target increases to 4.50% from 5 May 2010 (visit the Reserve Bank web site)

Accordingly the rate of interest prescribed by clause 110A(3) as of 5 May 2010 is 6.50%.

4 May 2010 �

Don't forget to cast your vote for the election of the 2009 Bar Council

Tue Nov 04 2008

Ballot papers for the election of the 2009 Bar Council have been mailed to all those eligible to vote. Any member who has not received their ballot paper and who wishes to cast a vote should contact the association’s certification officer, Mr Barrie Anthony, on ph: (02)�9232 4055 or e-mail certification@nswbar.asn.au. Members should take care to complete the ballot paper in accordance with the instructions provided.�If any member has a query concerning the completion of the ballot paper they should contact the Bar Association for assistance. The ballot closes at 1.00pm on Friday, 14 November 2008.

P A Selth Executive Director & Returning Officer

5 November 2008

Casual markers for UNE administrative law exams

Mon Nov 03 2008

Dr Eric Ghosh, the coordinator of administrative law at the University New England�is looking to hire�readers or barristers in their first year at the bar�as casual markers for the November exams. Interested members would need around 25 hours of time between 21 and 26 November. The pay rate is $32.25 an hour. It would be a question of marking a problem question. A marking guide will be provided. Ideally,�respondants would have�some exposure to administrative law.

Contact: Dr Eric Ghosh School of Law, University of New England Armidale, NSW, 2351 Ph: (02)�6773 5208; fax:�(02) 6773 3602

3 November 2008

Reminder: Law Council to host free ADR seminar in Sydney

Mon Nov 03 2008

The Law Council’s Standing Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution and The European Focus Group will co-host a seminar in Sydney on 13 November 2008 from 2:30pm.�This free seminar will provide a forum for discussion on civil justice reform and ADR, an update on the latest developments in online dispute resolution and a scenario asking the question:� should judges mediate? Downloard a flyer>

Speakers and panel members will include Justice Preston, chief judge of the NSW Land and Environment Court, Justice Bergin, Supreme Court of New South Wales and Acting Justice Gyles AO, Supreme Court of New South Wales (previously justice of the Federal Court) and members of the Law Council ADR Committee.

Please RSVP to:

Mr Hendryk Flaegel International Law Section Ph: 02 6246 3726 hendryk.flaegel@lawcouncil.asn.au

11�November 2008

�

Cross-border insolvency administrative arrangements in the Federal Court

Mon Nov 03 2008

The NSW District Registry of the Federal Court of Australia has issued the Notice to Practitioners - Corporations Matters (Administrative Arrangements).�This Notice outlines the procedures for proceedings under the Corporations Act 2001, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission Act 2001 and the Cross Border Insolvency Act 2008 in the New South Wales District Registry of the Federal Court of Australia.

3 November 2008

Votes and proceedings in the House of Representatives, 1901-

Mon Nov 03 2008

The Parliamentary Library�recently�announced that the�House of Representatives has loaded the complete set of its Votes and Proceedings, 1901- on the Australian Parliament's web site. The V&P are a detailed record of business in the lower house and include references to each stage of a bill as well as the text of amendments made to bills.�Although there is no search facility provided (except for more recent years which are also available in Parlinfo Search)�they are indexed by Google.

3 November 2008

Webwatch: Initiatives and referenda in the forthcoming US elections

Mon Nov 03 2008

Amidst the festival of democracy that is the US presidential election, an often overlooked electoral contest occurs in the form of initiatives and referenda for�state constitutional and legislative amendments. Some of these intiatives have been known to emerge as contentious 'law reform' proposals in other countries - such as 'Megan's Law' for registering sex offenders. This year, Californians will be voting on, amongst other things,�Proposition 8 to amend the state constitution to eliminate the right of same sex couples to marry. The National Conference of State Legislatures maintains the Ballot Measures Database, a fully searchable collection of referenda from elections both past and present.

3 November 2008