MERIT gets a tick from the NSW auditor

Wed Aug 05 2009

New South Wales Auditor General Peter Achterstraat today called for an expansion of services for Aboriginal defendants in the NSW justice system. The MERIT (Magistrates Early Referral into Treatment) programme is a mainstream drug diversion initiative available to eligible defendants in the local court. The NSW Audit Office has assessed how well MERIT works for Aboriginal defendants in a report Helping Aboriginal Defendants Through MERIT, which was released today.

5 August 2009

Government gazettes bikie Regulation

Tue Aug 04 2009

The New South Wales Government has gazetted the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Amendment (Criminal Organisations) Regulation 2009. The object of this Regulation, as provided by the explanatory note, is to prescribe the form of criminal organisation search warrants and related documents under Part 5 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 as a consequence of amendments made to the Act by the Criminal Organisations Legislation Amendment Act 2009 (which has been proclaimed to commence on 7 August 2009)_. _This Regulation also makes some miscellaneous amendments in respect of other kinds of search warrants under the Act.

4 August 2009

The World Bar Conference April 2010

Tue Aug 04 2009

The 5th World Bar Conference will be held in Sydney, between Thursday, 1 April and Sunday, 4 April 2010. The conference theme will be "The New Legal Challenges". It will commence with a reception at Opera Point of the Sydney Opera House overlooking Sydney Harbour. The business sessions will be held in the ballroom of the Sheraton on the Park Hotel, Sydney and will be conducted on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 April. Download a brochure>

1 February 2010

Final reminder: 2009 Advanced Mediation Workshop

Tue Aug 04 2009

Following on from the sold out workshop last year, the 2009 Advanced Mediation workshop, to be held on Saturday 5 September 2009 from 9:00am – 4:45pm in the Bar Association Common Room, will feature prominent UK mediator David Richbell as keynote speaker and two of Australia's most experienced mediators, Joanna Kalowski and Alan Limbury. Mr Richbell is one of the UK's most experienced and highly regarded mediators and the founder of the UK based organisation, MATA (Mediation and Training Alternatives). Attendance will attract six CPD points. Learn more about the speakers >

This workshop is a must for members who would like to know more about mediation, those who are applying for accreditation in 2009 and also for those currently accredited.

1 September 2009

Minister invites submissions on reform of Indigenous heritage protection laws

Mon Aug 03 2009

The minister for the environment, heritage and the arts has invited written submissions on proposed reforms to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984. The Australian Government is proposing to reform this Act to improve Indigenous heritage protection laws nationally. The Act could be substantially amended or replaced. The government has released a discussion paper that contains the proposed reforms.

3 August 2009 �

Cases selected for reporting in FCR by V Kline

Mon Aug 03 2009

The following are cases selected by V Kline for reporting in the FCR:_

[_Ngo v United States of America]1� [2009] FCAFC 87 SZLSM v Minister for Immigration and Citizenship� [2009] FCA 537 Apache Northwest Pty Ltd v Agostini� [2009] FCA 534 National Union of Workers v Coles CDC Eastern Creek Pty Ltd� [2009] FCA 523 AZAAA v Minister for Immigration and Citizenship [2009] FCA 554 Walmbaar Aboriginal Corporation v Queensland [2009] FCA 579 NSX Ltd v Pritchard� [2009] FCA 584

3 August 2009

Compensation when governments get things wrong

Mon Aug 03 2009

The Commonwealth ombudsman, Professor John McMillan, today called for improvements to the delivery of an Australian Government scheme for compensating victims of deficient government advice, information or practices. The Scheme for Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration (CDDA) allows Australian Government agencies to compensate, on a discretionary basis, individuals or groups who have suffered loss as a result of poor administration. The ombudsman’s report, Putting Things Right: Compensating for Defective Administration, is available from

3 August 2009

Fees owed to counsel - Summit Law Pty Ltd

Fri Jul 31 2009

Pursuant to s623(2) of the Legal Profession Act 2004 (NSW), Raymond John Collins has been appointed manager of the�law practice of Summit Law Pty Ltd, principally situated at Level 3, 255 Castlereagh Street, Sydney. Counsel with outstanding fees should contact Mr Collins as soon as possible. Whilst Mr Collins has advised that he would do his best to assist counsel owed fees, it is each counsel's responsibility to ensure the adequacy of his or her commercial arrangements with instructing solicitors. He may be contacted on: ph: (02) 9926 0240, fax: (02) 9926 0166 or via e-mail:

31 July 2009

Invitation to the Women in Law Dinner

Fri Jul 31 2009

The Women’s College and The Women Barristers Forum invite you to The Women in Law Dinner on Friday, 28 August 2009 at The Women’s College. The guest speakers will be the Honourable Acting Justice Jane Mathews AO and the Honourable Justice Julie Ward. Cocktails start at 6.00pm followed by dinner between 7.30 and 9.30pm. To RSVP and purchase tickets please visit the college's web site.

For more information please contact Jacinta Walpole on ph: 02 9517 5008, e-mail:

The bus leaves Martin Place at 5.30pm outside Sydney Hospital. Limited spaces are available. Cost: $85 per person, $800 corporate table of ten.

24 August 2009

Recent decisions of the House of Lords

Fri Jul 31 2009

Media bouquet for Indigenous Barristers Strategy

Thu Jul 30 2009

On 25 July _The Weekend Australian's _careers section (page 2) ran a story on the Bar Association's Indigenous Barristers Strategy, under the heading 'Mentoring ways help indigenous law students'. The story began as follows:

A mentoring scheme for Aboriginal law students conducted under the auspices of the NSW Bar Association aims to improve the balance between the number of indigenous legal practitioners and the percentage of Australians of Aboriginal descent. In NSW there are only four indigenous barristers among the 2500 licensed to practise. A more representative number would be 75. There are only seven indigenous barristers throughout Australia. This disappointingly small figure has not been lost on the NSW Bar Association, which began a strategy to address the situation almost a decade ago under the leadership of its president then, Ruth McColl.

A copy of the article may be obtained from the Bar Library.

30 July 2009

Australia to sign up for UN disabilities protocol

Thu Jul 30 2009

Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services Bill Shorten today announced that Australia will accede to the Optional Protocol on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Learn more >

30 July 2009

Heather Ridout guest speaker at WLA Corporate Lunch

Thu Jul 30 2009

Members are invited to a lunch time seminar hosted by the Women Lawyers Association on Monday, 10 August 2009. The guest speaker will be Heather Ridout, chief executive of the Australian Industry Group and a leading figure in the public policy debate. Mrs Ridout will discuss current and emerging issues on the Australian policy agenda. Download a registration brochure.

30 July 2009

Refurbished Courtrooms and facilities on Level 9 Queens Square

Thu Jul 30 2009

The Supreme Court is pleased to announce that following the completion of the refurbishment of Level 9 at Queens Square, the courtrooms and public areas will be reopened on Monday, 3 August 2009. As well as a general upgrade to all the public areas and meeting rooms, the courtrooms themselves have been refurbished and equipped with new audio visual technology including TV monitors and microphones.

The court would be very pleased to receive any feedback that you may have in relation to the refurbished facilities. Please email your feedback to Nick Sanderson-Gough at the Supreme Court.

30 July 2009

Countdown to return match against the Vic Bar

Wed Jul 29 2009

Organisers have announced the touring squad for the New South Wales Bar football team, which will travel to Melbourne this Saturday, 5 September to defend the Suncorp Perpetual Trophy. They are (in no particular order): John Harris(c), David Patch, Penny Sibtain, Houda Younan, Colin Magee, Carlos Mobellan, Simon Philips, Greg Watkins, Gillian Mahony, Mark Gibian, David Stanton, Scott Goodman, Cameron Jackson, John Marshall SC and Anthony Lo Surdo. Nick Tiffen (clerk, 7 Selborne Chambers) will be the neutral referee for the match. Anthony Lo Surdo is always keen to hear from any members of the bar who would like to support the team. Enquiries should be directed to Anthony via DX 389 SYDNEY; ph: (02) 9223 3181; mob: 0407 015 945; Fax:� (02) 8028 6063.

1 September 2009�

Jury Directions: the final report by the VLRC

Wed Jul 29 2009

The final report by the Victorian Law Reform Commission on jury directions has been tabled in parliament today. While launching the report, Attorney General Hulls also announced the Victorian Government would release a discussion paper before the end of the year on broadening the jury pool, examining changes similar to those recently adopted in New South Wales.

"At the moment, a range of occupations are excluded from serving on juries, including judges, police officers, lawyers, bail justices, court reporters, office holders such as the auditor-general and ombudsman and members of parliament,” Mr Hulls said. "There is an argument that some of these professions could be considered eligible for jury duty to ensure our juries are as broadly representative as possible."

29 July 2000

Life membership presentation for The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG

Wed Jul 29 2009

The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG will be presented with life membership of the Bar Association at a ceremony in the Bar Common Room on Friday, 28 August 2009 at 5.15pm. Refreshments will be served. No RSVP is required.

The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, who retired from the High Court on 2 February 2009, has been a member of the Bar Association since October 1967. At its meeting on 29 January 2009 Bar Council resolved that the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG be made a life member for exceptional service to the profession of the law.

View the full list of life members of the Bar Association

27 August 2009

Bar Council business for 11 June 2009

Tue Jul 28 2009

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 president advised that in the past few weeks she had attended the following functions representing the association:

15 May 2009 – Welcome drinks for participants in the Bar Practice Course.

21 May 2009 – Opening of the new Banco Chambers in Chifley Square by Chief Justice Spigelman.

25 May 2009 – Swearing-in ceremony for the Hon Justice Michael Slattery at which the Hon John Hatzistergos MLC, attorney general, spoke on behalf of the bar.

26 May 2009 – Launch of 2009 Indigenous Literacy Project The president attended the launch at Customs House of the 2009 Indigenous Literacy Project.� The Indigenous Literacy Project is a partnership between the Australian Book Industry and The Fred Hollows Foundation. �

26 May 2009 – Meeting with Professor Gordon Parker of the Black Dog Institute. Mark Ierace SC and Cindy Penrose, the association’s project officer, had also been present.� They had discussed issues concerning the management of depression-related illness at the bar.

28 May 2009 – Memorial service for the late Paul Byrne SC The president advised that there had been a well attended function to celebrate the life of the late Paul Byrne SC. The president noted that the chief justice had graciously made the Banco Court available for the purpose and that the Bar Association had made the Common Room available for drinks after the Banco Court gathering. The costs of the evening were borne by some of Byrne’s friends. Bar Association staff donated their time to assist.

29 May 2009 – The president attended the Victorian Bar Association Bench and Bar Dinner and proposed a toast on behalf of the Australian Bar Association.

4 June 2009 – The first meeting of the 2009 Senior Counsel Selection Committee had been held in the morning.� That evening the president and Mark Ierace SC, a member of the 2008 Selection Committee, had presented an information seminar on the senior counsel selection process. The seminar was designed to inform barristers who are interested in applying for silk about the selection process.

Executive director’s report

The executive director advised that 2107 practising certificate renewal applications had been sent out.� As of a few minutes before the Bar Council meeting, 1544 renewal applications with payment had been processed. Staff had worked through the long weekend to process the documentation that had been received. The executive director asked that bar councillors do all they could to encourage barristers who had not yet returned their renewal documentation to do so as a matter of priority.

For consideration

Draft Submission to the National Human Rights Consultation

Bar Council resolved that the draft submission be adopted and forwarded to the National Human Rights Consultation Committee. The Bar Council asked that its thanks be conveyed to the following for the preparation of the submission.

Mark Ierace SC; Kate Eastman; Sarah Pritchard; Regina Graycar; Professor Andrew Byrnes; and Cindy Penrose. Application to the Professional Standards Council

Bar Council resolved that the draft application for the continuation of the association’s Professional Standards Scheme for the next five years be forwarded to the Professional Standards Council. The council expressed its appreciation for the work undertaken in relation to the application by the association’s projects officer, Jo Wilton.

Law Week Trial of the Barristers in Schools Programme

Bar Council noted the report of the Law Week trial of the Barristers in Schools Programme prepared by Margaret Cunneen SC and Karen Conte-Mills.

Bar Council resolved :

(a)�� �that the president write to the Minister for Education to provide a report of the Law Week trial and seek approval for the extension of the programme;

(b)�� �that the need for greater preparation time for students for individual sessions be raised and worked through with the Department of Education; and

(c)�� �that the Working Party on the Bar and the Community give consideration to the best method of training potential presenters, after which the association call for expressions of interest from the bar.

The Bar Council asked that its thanks be communicated to Margaret Cunneen SC, Karen Conte-Mills and Andrew Martin for presenting the programme so successfully during Law Week.

28 July 2009

Constitutional law seminars for 2009-2010

Tue Jul 28 2009

The Australian Association of Constitutional Law has just released its program of seminars for 2009-2010, beginning with a forum on 22 September on Pape v Commissioner of Taxation of the Commonwealth of Australia [2009] HCA 23. For details of the seminars and membership, click here.

28 July 2009