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Australian Government announces review of domestic violence laws

Tue Sep 22 2009

Attorney-General Robert McClelland today launched Domestic Violence Laws in Australia, a report by the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) for the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children. The report examines, among other things, the registration process for domestic violence protection orders and their "portability" between jurisdictions, with a view towards developing a national register of protection orders.�

22 September 2009

Professional Certificate in Arbitration: University of Adelaide & IAMA (ADVERTISEMENT)

Tue Sep 22 2009

The Professional Certificate in Arbitration results from a joint venture between the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia (IAMA) and the University of Adelaide Law School combining expertise to provide high quality education in the field of Arbitration.

The course will provide you with the knowledge and an appreciation of Arbitration and alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and their role within the Australian legal system. It comprises two parts:� a General Course and an Advanced Course. Taught over two University semesters each course is 13 weeks and includes a mix of face to face workshops and online learning.

For more information, contact Jo Carrick: joanna.carrick@adelaide.edu.au , call 08 8303 34777 or visit our web site: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/arbitration/

22 September 2009

Bret Walker SC awarded the 2009 Law Council President's Medal

Mon Sep 21 2009

Bret Walker SC has won the 2009 Law Council President's Medal for his outstanding contribution to the Australian legal profession. Law Council President John Corcoran made the announcement on Friday at the 36th Australian Legal Convention in Perth.

In presenting the medal, Mr Corcoran said, "Both his practice at the Bar and his time spent giving pro bono assistance to a wide range of causes reflect both his incredible legal skill and deep understanding of people from all walks of life."

"His commitment to social justice and his ability to interpret and apply the law at the highest level make him an invaluable member of the profession, as well of the wider community," he said.

Learn more>

21 September 2009

Michael Kirby appointed honorary member of the Law Council of Australia

Mon Sep 21 2009

The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG was made an honorary member of the Law Council of Australia on Friday, in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to law, academia and the community. Law Council President John Corcoran said Mr Kirby has been "a tremendous ambassador for the Australian profession overseas and was held in high esteem as a great communicator". Learn more>

21 September 2009

Announcement regarding Practice Note SC Gen 14 - Freezing Orders

Mon Sep 21 2009

It has come to the Supreme Court's attention that a legislative reference in paragraph 9.1(b) of the form of freezing order annexed to Practice Note SC Gen 14 is now out of date.� The reference to section 87 of the Civil Procedure Act 2005 should be replaced by the inclusion of the regime as set out in section 128A of the Evidence Act 1995.

Section 128A of the Evidence Act 1995 now deals with privilege in respect of self incrimination in connection with a freezing order. Following the introduction of section 128A of the Evidence Act, section 87 of the Civil Procedure Act now only deals with protection against self incrimination in relation to interlocutory matters, not freezing orders.

Arrangements are being made to update the Practice Note. Until this occurs, practitioners are asked to amend paragraph 9.1(b) of the form of freezing order by substituting the reference to section 87 of the Civil Procedure Act 2005 with a reference to the regime as set out in section 128A of the Evidence Act 1995.

The court will post a new announcement to its website once Practice Note SC Gen 14 - Freezing Orders is reissued with the necessary amendments.

21 September 2009

Fair Work ombudsman appoints legal panels

Mon Sep 21 2009

The Fair Work ombudsman has appointed one national and four regional panels.� Fair Work Ombudsman Chief Counsel Natalie James says the panels will be used for a broad range of litigation, advice and corporate legal services. The Fair Work Ombudsman spent $5.7 million on external legal services last financial year and the new panels have been appointed until June 30, 2012, with an option to extend for two years. Learn more>

21 September 2009

AG takes aim at the billable hour

Fri Sep 18 2009

Attorney General Robert McClelland has address to the Law Council's 36th Australian Legal Convention in Perth. The attorney touched on issues such as national security and counter-terrorism legislation, but focussed most of his attention on access to justice. In particular, he criticised the billable hour, noting that:

...the cost of legal services is undoubtedly a major barrier to people accessing the justice system. The perception, true or otherwise, that engaging a lawyer will be too costly discourages many from seeking legal advice. This perception is difficult to shift when many lawyers remain wedded to a time sheet costing that is based on time rather than outcomes. In some ways that system rewards inefficiency over value.

18 September 2009

Chief Justice French delivers The State of the Judicature Address

Fri Sep 18 2009

Chief Justice Robert French has delivered his address on The State of the Australian Judicature at the 36th Australian Legal Convention today, in Perth. The chief justice spoke about a conception of a national judiciary and a common law of the Commonwealth. He observed that:

The Australian courts, Federal, State and Territory, which administer justice according to that one system of jurisprudence, reflect the federal character of our constitutional arrangements in their geographical locations and jurisdictions, and have continued to do so despite powerful arguments for their rationalisation and unification. ... Many proposals for rationalisation of the judicial system have followed over the years .� None have come to fruition in any formal sense.� Nevertheless, there is today a substantial amount of personal and institutional interaction and even exchange between judges and their courts across Australia.� ... Broadly what has happened is the growth of a kind of extra-institutional judicial community and an institutional convergence supported by the activities to which I have referred.� It is also supported by principles emanating from the High Court in relation to the unity of Australian law, the integration of our judicial institutions and the implications of those things for mutual respect and recognition accorded to decisions of courts across national, state and territory jurisdictions.

18 September 2009

Legal profession well equipped to handle challenging times, says Law Council president

Fri Sep 18 2009

Law Council President John Corcoran has highlighted challenges facing the nation’s legal assistance sector. In his State of the Profession Speech to the 36th Australian Legal Convention, which opened in Perth today, Mr Corcoran said the global economic crisis, lack of funding for the legal assistance sector and issues facing country lawyers all presented significant challenges for legal practitioners.

Fortunately, he said, the Australian legal profession is healthy and robust enough to address the many challenges it currently faces, and that efforts to promote a national legal services market and to open up overseas markets will benefit much of the profession.�� �

18 September 2009

Commonwealth AG considers a National Legal Services Board

Thu Sep 17 2009

Attorney-General Robert McClelland has criticised Australia's disparate and unwieldy regime for regulating the legal profession, with 55 different regulators and nearly 5,000 pages of legislation, during an address this morning on "National Legal Profession Reform" at the John Curtin Institute for Public Policy in Perth.

"I have not met one lawyer that has read, let alone digested, this massive amount of material that regulates their practice", he said. "Australia’s nine largest national law firms waste nearly $15 million each year just duplicating procedures for each jurisdiction’s requirements. That’s hardly an intelligent or sustainable outcome for any profession."

The attorney announced the release of initial proposals by the National Legal Profession Reform Taskforce in their regulatory framework paper. The taskforce has proposed the establishment of a National Legal Services Board.

17 September 2009

Vale the Hon John Nagle AO QC

Wed Sep 16 2009

The Hon John Nagle AO QC, former chief judge of the Common Law Division of the Supreme Court, died yesterday, 16 September. A funeral service will be held at 11am on Tuesday, 22 September at Sacred Heart Church, Cardinal Street, Mosman.

16 September 2009

Australian Government introduces new organised crime legislation

Wed Sep 16 2009

Attorney-General Robert McClelland has introduced into parliament the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Serious and Organised Crime) Bill (No. 2) 2009. The object of the Bill, as provided by the Explanatory Memorandum is to:

• strengthen criminal asset confiscation and anti-money laundering laws (Schedule 1 and Schedule 5, Part 2); • enhance search and seizure powers and the ability of law enforcement to access data from electronic equipment (Schedule 2); • improve the operation of the National Witness Protection Program, including by increasing protection for current and former participants and officers involved in its operation (Schedule 3); • introduce new offences that would target persons involved in organised crime, and facilitates greater access to telecommunications interception for the investigation of new serious and organised crime offences (Schedule 4); • improve the operation and accountability of the Australian Crime Commission (Schedule 7); • improve money laundering, bribery, and drug importation offences (Schedule 5, Part 1, and Schedules 8 and 9); and • make minor and consequential amendments to correct references to provisions dealing with the extension of criminal liability (Schedules 10 and 11).

The Parliamentary Library has also published a digest on the Bill.

16 September 2009

EPLA conference 2009 (ADVERTISEMENT)

Wed Sep 16 2009

The Environment and Planning Law Association (NSW) is holding its 21st annual conference at the Powerhouse Museum on 22-23 October 2009. The speakers at the conference will be addressing issues relevant to all persons interested in environment and planning law in NSW, and will focus on: changes to the approval processes in NSW, including the adoption of model residential and commercial codes; planning for bushfire protection and the lessons learned from the Victorian bushfires; and heritage.

The dinner will be held on 23 October at the historic Vaucluse House Tearooms.

For more information about the conference programme and activities, or to register, download a brochure>

8 October 2009

New titles in the Bar Library

Wed Sep 16 2009

**The Bar Library has added the following 19 items to its collection.

B15/DAR/2009 The old devil Clarence Darrow : the world's greatest trial lawyer / Donald McRae B34/KEV/2009 Baby barista and the art of war / Tim Kevan L241/BIR/2008** The art of judging / Greta Bird and Nicole Rogers (eds)

L462.K1/MCQ/2009 A social history of company law : Great Britain and the Australian Colonies 1854-1920 / Rob McQueen M177.7/KNE/2009 Refugees, asylum seekers, and the rule of law : comparative perspectives / Susan Kneebone (ed) M614/SAR/2009 The law of private security in Australia / Rick Sarre and Tim Prenzler, 2nd ed N15.1/BUC/2009 llegality and public policy / R A Buckley, 2nd ed N17/BUR/2004 Remedies for torts and breach of contract / Andrew Burrows, 3rd ed N192/CCH/2009 Australian Fair Work Act 2009 with regulations and rules N200/YOU/2009 On equity / Peter W Young, Clyde Croft and Megan Louise Smith N233/DHA/2009 Perspectives on declaratory relief / Kanaga Dharmananda and Anthony Papamatheos (eds) N306.2/CHA/2009 Chalmers and Guest on bills of exchange and cheques / A G Guest, 17th ed N312/SYM/2009 Australian insolvency law / Chris Symes and John Duns, 2nd ed N38.4/EGG/2009 Deceit : the lie of the law / Peter MacDonald Eggers N392/HOL/2009 Documentary evidence / Charles Hollander, 10th ed N74/YOU/2009 Annotated conveyancing and real property legislation New South Wales 2009 edition / Peter Young, Anthony Cahill, Gary Newton N92.6/BRA/2009 Commercial tenancy law / Adrian J Bradbrook, Clyde E Croft and Robert S Hay, 3rd ed. N96/LYS/2009 Environmental and planning law in New South Wales / Rosemary Lyster, Zada Lipman, Nicola Franklin, Graeme Wiffen and Linda Pearson, 2nd ed Damages in a commercial context / Sydney Jacobs, 2nd ed (online service)

16 September 2009

Proposed reforms to Commonwealth child sex-related offences

Tue Sep 15 2009

The Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department has invited the public to comment on proposed reforms to child sexual exploitation laws. The public has until Friday, 23 October to comment on the proposal.

The proposed reforms:

  • strengthen child sex tourism laws and introduce offences for dealing in child pornography or child abuse material overseas so all behaviour relating to sexual offences against children by Australians within Australia is also criminalised when committed by Australians overseas;

  • strengthen offences to ensure that child sexual exploitation is comprehensively covered, whether committed online, through the post or using convergent devices such as mobile phones;

  • increase the maximum penalties for the carriage service (online) child pornography and child abuse material offences to 15 years imprisonment, and

  • introduce new aggravated offences relating to child pornography networks that carry a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment.

15 September 2009

Constitutional law seminar on the Pape case

Mon Sep 14 2009

The Australian Association of Constitutional Law (AACL) is holding its first (and its only public) seminar for the year 2009/2010 on the Pape case. The speakers are Dr David Bennett AC QC (Sydney Bar), Dr Nicholas Seddon (special counsel, Blake Dawson), Associate Professor Anne Twomey (University of Sydney). The chairperson is The Hon Murray Gleeson AC.

The seminar will be held on Tuesday, 22 September 2009 at 5.30pm in Court 18D, Federal Court, Queens Square. Learn more about this and other AACL events>

21 September 2009

Litigation involving foreign states

Mon Sep 14 2009

The Commonwealth Attorney General's Department has identified a number of instances in which litigation involving foreign states has not adhered to the provisions of the Foreign States Immunities Act 1985 (Cth). In order to ensure that all legal practitioners are aware of the Act, particularly the procedures for service of initiating process on foreign states, and the subsequent conduct of proceedings under the Act, the AG's Department has updated and distributed an information paper on the subject and published on its web site a page on foreign state immunity.

14 September 2009�

Public forum on national security legislation takes place tomorrow

Mon Sep 14 2009

At the request of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, the New South Wales Bar Association and the Law Council of Australia are hosting a public forum on the National Security Legislation Discussion Paper. It will take place in the Bar Association Common Room at 5.15pm tomorrow, 22 September 2009. Phillip Boulten SC will share some preliminary views on the proposed changes. Learn more about the forum>

21 September 2009

Victorian legal profession introduces Indigenous briefing policy

Mon Sep 14 2009

Victoria has become the first state in Australia to introduce an Indigenous briefing policy. In a media release issued jointly with the Law Institute, the Victorian Bar chairman John Digby QC said the legal profession should reflect the diversity of the Australian population.

"We currently have three Indigenous barristers on the Bar Roll which is no-where near enough,” he said. "‘But we must ensure they have as much chance as any barrister to maintain practice – and that means getting briefs." Learn more about the policy> The New South Wales Bar Association takes a different approach with its own range of policies and initiatives to encourage Indigenous lawyers to come to the bar.

14 September 2009

ACT Bar elects office holders for 2009-2010

Thu Sep 10 2009

The ACT Bar Association has announced the results of its election for the 2009-2010 Bar Council. The office holders are: Stuart Pilkington (president), Harriet Donohoe SC (vice-president), Lorraine Walker (secretary) and Wayne Sharwood (treasurer). Learn more >

10 September 2009

Applications for arbitrators and mediators close this Friday

Thu Sep 10 2009

This is a final reminder that applications close this Friday, 25 September for members wishing to become an accredited mediator as well as those who may wish for their name to be included on the Bar Association’s Supreme Court list of mediators for 2010-2011 and for the Local Court 2010-2011 arbitrators list. The current lists expire on 31 December 2009. Please note that only the names of mediators accredited by the Bar Association will be put forward to the Supreme Court for appointment. Learn more>

22 September 2009

Renovations at Queens Square and Court of Appeal lists of authorities

Thu Sep 10 2009

The president of the Court of Appeal has advised the Bar Association that the Supreme Court building will be undergoing renovations from late September 2009. The renovations will commence with Level 12 of the Supreme Court building, which includes both the President’s Court and Court 12, where a number of Court of Appeal hearings are held. During the renovation period the Court of Appeal will be using the Old Banco Court located in the St James Court complex. This arrangement has a number of implications for the way authorities are used in Court of Appeal hearings.

The court has requested that, due to the limited space in the Old Banco Court, lists of authorities will need to be strictly limited to ten copies of CLR and NSWLRs.

All other cases will have to be provided in copy form by the parties. These should be attached to the list of authorities, or brought to court if that is more convenient. Please be aware that the court staff will not print out cases for use in court. Judges will not have access to any material which is not provided to the court.

The submissions box for lists of authorities will be moved to Level 11. Lists of authorities will still be due 24 hours prior to the hearing (in most cases 10am on the business day prior to the hearing).

On time lodgement of lists of authorities remains important.

These changes will need to be implemented from Monday 28 September 2009.

The court has emphasised that these are temporary arrangements which are necessary to deal with practical issues arising from the renovations.

The court has requested the assistance of all members of the New South Wales Bar in complying with these requests.

Due to the interim nature of the changes, the current version of the Court of Appeal Practice note will remain unchanged.

21 September 2009

Position vacant at Legal Aid NSW

Thu Sep 10 2009

Manage Legal Aid NSW’s Care and Protection practice to ensure that high quality legal advice and representation is provided to legally aided clients in care and protection matters and that the service is delivered in an effective and efficient manner across the state, in line with Legal Aid NSW policies, guidelines and practice management standards. Responsible for supervision and training of staff.

Solicitor in charge (Care & Protection), Legal Officer Grade VI, Family Law Division, Central Sydney (Haymarket). Temporary Full-Time. Job Reference No: FL09/074. Total remuneration package valued to $123,640 pa including salary ($109,732 - $112,044), employer’s contribution to superannuation and annual leave loading.

Download full advertisement >

Download application information and documentation from the Legal Aid NSW web site >

10 September 2009

Government introduces interim military justice measures

Wed Sep 09 2009

The minister for defence, Senator John Faulkner, has introduced the Military Justice (Interim Measures) Bill (No. 1) 2009 and the Military Justice (Interim Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2009 to put in place an interim military justice system after the Australian Military Court (AMC) was invalidated by the High Court last month in Lane v Morrison. Senator Faulkner said: "As an interim measure, the government is reintroducing the former system of trials by court martial and Defence Force magistrates.� This system has a number of safeguards within it to ensure that ADF members are treated fairly."

The interim legislation will also give effect to punishments (other than imprisonment) and orders that were imposed by the former Australian Military Court. Learn more>

9 September 2009

NSW Bar Football team beats the Vics 3-1

Wed Sep 09 2009

The New South Wales Bar Football Team has tightened its grip on the Suncorp Cup after a convincing 3-1 win over the Victorian Bar last Saturday. The team put in a gutsy and at times spirited performance at the Darebin International Sports Centre in Melbourne. Goal scorers for the NSW Bar were Philips, Jackson and Stanton. The team extends a huge thank you to its loyal supporters who made the trip to Melbourne. A full report will follow in the Summer edition of Bar News.

The team is looking forward to making it a hat-trick when it meets the Vic Bar again in Sydney next year. In the meantime, attention will turn to preparations for the Domain Soccer League (DSL) challenge in April 2010. Anyone wishing to play in the DSL competition should contact Anthony Lo Surdo.

The victorious team comprised: (in no particular order) [John] Harris(c), Patch, [Penny] Sibtain, Younan, Magee, Mobellan, Philips, Watkins, [Gillian] Mahony, Gibian, [David] Stanton, Goodman, [Cameron] Jackson, [John] Marshall SC and Lo Surdo.

9 September 2009

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