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Two life members and the Sir Maurice Byers Address

Mon Jun 30 2014

The 2014 Maurice Byers Address will be delivered by the Hon Justice V Bell, High Court of Australia on Wednesday, 20 August 2014. A small ceremony will be held following the address, at which Justice Bell and Phil Boulten SC will be presented with their life membership certificates.

Common Law Practice Update 60

Mon Jun 30 2014

The Bar Association's Common Law Committee has published Practice Update 60, with case notes on sections 5D, 5O, 43 and 43A of the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW) and employment. Learn more here.

Family Law Courts Fees to increase from 1 July 2014

Mon Jun 30 2014

The following fees will apply in the Family Law Courts from 1 July 2014. More information is available from the Family Law Courts website.

Family Court of Australia
  • $155 Application for consent orders
  • $1195 Application for declaration as to validity/nullity*
  • $320 Initiating application (family law)
  • $530 Initiating application (children & financial orders)
  • $320 Response to initiating application (family law)
  • $110 Interim application
  • $805 Setting down for hearing fee (defended matter)
  • $805 Daily hearing fee (for each hearing day, excluding the first hearing day)
  • $370 Conciliation conference
  • $55 Issue subpoena
  • $1270 Notice of appeal to the full court including an appeal from the Federal Circuit Court
  • $1270 Application for leave to appeal
  • $110 Application under the Trans Tasman Proceedings Act 2010
  • $100 Filing an application to register a New Zealand judgment
Federal Circuit Court of Australia
  • $845 Application for divorce
  • $280 Application for divorce –reduced fee*
  • $320 Initiating application (family law)
  • $530 Initiating application (children & financial orders)
  • $320 Response
  • $110 Interim application
  • $590 Setting down for hearing fee (defended matter)
  • $590 Daily hearing fee (for each hearing day, excluding the first hearing day)
  • $370 Conciliation conference
  • $55 Issue subpoena
  • $110 Application under the Trans Tasman Proceedings Act 2010
  • $100 Filing an application to register a New Zealand judgment Please note: GST does NOT apply to the Family Law Court fees.

CPD in July

Mon Jun 30 2014

A number of seminars have been scheduled in the Common Room for the coming months. Coming up in July is:

Thursday 3 July: Unpacking Insurance. Presented by Amanda Levine from North City Group and chaired by Pat Knowles. For full details please download a flyer here.

Tuesday 15 July: The Pillars of Digital Security. Presented by Philippe Doyle Gray and chaired by Bruce McClintock SC. For full details please download a flyer here.

Tuesday 22 July: The Psychology of Influence. Presented by Pancho Mehrotra from Frontier Sales Performance. Details to follow.

Wednesday 23 July: The Smiler. Presented by Michael Pelly. Details to follow.

Monday 28 July: The Future of Disability Advocacy. Presented by Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes and chaired by Trish McDonald SC. For full details please download a flyer here.

Tuesday 29 July: Case Management and Practices in the District Court of New South Wales. Presented by Judicial Registrar James Howard and chaired by Gary Doherty. Details to follow.

Government Bail Act review is premature

Mon Jun 30 2014

The president of the New South Wales Bar Association, Jane Needham SC, today urged the NSW Government to exercise caution in relation to the premature review of the new Bail Act provisions which only commenced operation on 20 May 2014. Learn more here.

Review of Bail Laws

Fri Jun 27 2014

The Premier and Attorney General have announced a review of the Bail Act 2013. The review is to be conducted by former Attorney General the Hon John Hatzistergos. The review has been prompted by concerns that some recent bail decisions do not reflect the government’s intention to put community safety at the forefront of bail decisions. See the terms of reference for the Inquiry.

27 June 2014

Bar Association Committees for 2014-15

Fri Jun 27 2014

President Jane Needham SC has announced the Bar Association committees for 2014-15. The new committees formally come into effect on Tuesday 1 July 2014. Learn more here

27 June 2014

Fee recovery assistance

Thu Jun 26 2014

The Bar Association assists members with recovery from solicitors of unpaid fees, which have been outstanding for more than three months, but less than two years.

In providing this assistance, the Bar Association is not undertaking to act for the member in any legal capacity.

Assistance will generally be offered as follows:

  • The Association will write to the solicitor requesting payment.
  • In the event that payment is not forthcoming, the Association will telephone the solicitor seeking an explanation.
  • If the above efforts are unsuccessful, the Association provides names of firms of solicitors or costs consultants who are willing to provide the member with advice or professional assistance for the recovery of the member’s fees.

Requests for fee recovery assistance from the Bar Association should include the following:

  • A letter/email containing a brief chronology of events;
  • A copy of the costs disclosure and any costs agreement;
  • A copy of all invoices rendered; and
  • Any relevant correspondence.

The Bar Association can also provide assistance in relation to general enquiries concerning fee recovery. Email Megan Black or call her on ph: (02) 9232 4055.

More reforms to Victoria’s courts and judiciary

Thu Jun 26 2014

Responsibility for the administration of Victorian courts as of 1 July 2014 will be transferred from a government department to a statutory entity, Court Services Victoria. The state government has announced a range of other measures, including the formation of the Judicial Commission of Victoria and a Judicial Entitlements Panel to make independent assessments and recommendations regarding non-salary entitlements for judges, magistrates and VCAT members. Learn more here.

Victorian court administration transferring to statutory entity

Thu Jun 26 2014

Responsibility for the administration of Victorian courts as of 1 July 2014 will be transferred from a government department to a statutory entity, Court Services Victoria, answerable to parliament. The changes are intended to bring Victorian courts in line with the High Court, the Federal Court, the Family Court and courts in South Australia. Learn more here.

Common Law Practice Update 59

Thu Jun 26 2014

The Bar Association's Common Law Committee has published Practice Update 59, with case notes occupier's liability; jurisdiction / foreign state immunity and issue estoppel. Learn more here.

Archibald Prize exhibition tour

Wed Jun 25 2014

Following successful tours of the Sydney Moderns and the America Painting a Nation exhibitions last year, barristers and their friends are invited to a guided tour of the Archibald Prize exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery on Wednesday 23 July 2014, at 6.15pm. The tour costs $20.00. Anyone interested should contact Nicholas Newton nnewton@stjames.net.au or David Robinson SC robinson@sjtames.net.au

Subpoenaing the ATO

Wed Jun 25 2014

Legal practitioners are reminded that tax confidentiality laws prohibit the ATO from disclosing taxpayer records, even to a court.

Tax law subpoenas

If a client has a dispute with the ATO about a tax matter, you can request that the ATO release relevant information about disputes over:

  • their tax liability
  • their tax debt
  • a departure prohibition order, or
  • a decision under tax law Practitioners do not have to serve a subpoena to obtain client information from the ATO.
Non-tax law subpoenas

If a non-tax law dispute is being contested in court and is not against the ATO, the ATO cannot comply with a subpoena concerning the tax affairs of a person, company or other entity because of the confidentiality provisions of tax law (Division 355 in Schedule 1 to the Taxation Administration Act 1953). This can include cases involving:

  • family breakdown
  • personal injury claims, or
  • contractual disagreements.

If the ATO is served with a subpoena ordering it to disclose information covered by the confidentiality provisions of tax law, it has to contact the subpoenaing party and the court to explain why it cannot comply. If you do decide to subpoena the ATO, conduct money is not required. For more information go to ato.gov.au/subpoena.

Secretive editing by SCOTUS

Wed Jun 25 2014

The New York Times reports that the Supreme Court of the United States sometimes revises its decisions years after they were issued, without public notice. The revisions include “truly substantive changes in factual statements and legal reasoning,” according to Richard J Lazarus, a law professor at Harvard. Learn more here.

NSW AG comments on the new Bail Act

Tue Jun 24 2014

In response to criticism from some sections of the media, the New South Wales Government has established a bail monitoring group which includes representatives from NSW Police Force, the ODPP, Legal Aid and the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

Attorney General Brad Hazzard said: "In the four weeks since the Act commenced no evidence exists to suggest that bail is being more frequently or more leniently granted than under the old Act", but at the same time the AG undertook to make changes to bail if the need arises.

View the attorney's media release here.

Productivity Commission's Sydney hearings on access to justice

Tue Jun 24 2014

On 3 June 2014 the Productivity Commission's Access to Justice Arrangements inquiry conducted hearings in Sydney, at which Arthur Moses SC and Dominique Hogan-Doran represented the New South Wales Bar Association. A transcript of those proceedings is available here.

Bar Council business for May and June 2014

Tue Jun 24 2014

Bar Council met on 29 May and 5 June 2014 in the boardroom of the New South Wales Bar Association. 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. View the minutes for 29 May and 5 June.

Yoga interrupted

Tue Jun 24 2014

Today's lunch time yoga session has been cancelled. Classes will resume next week, as scheduled.

4th Annual International Family Law Conference

Mon Jun 23 2014

Join us at the 4th Annual International Family Law Conference, taking place in Shanghai, China between 17 and 19 September 2014. Throughout the three days of this unique conference, delegates will have the opportunity to hear presentations from acclaimed Australian and China based speakers plus actively participate in a number of hands-on panel sessions covering each of the conference themes.

Details of the conference are as follow:

Conference: 4th Annual International Family Law Conference

Date: 17-19 September 2014

Location: The Westin Bund Centre, Shanghai

Chair of Conference: The Hon. Peter I. Rose AM, Mediator, Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law, The University of Sydney and Former Justice, Family Court of Australia

Visit the conference website here and download a brochure here.

To register for this conference or to find out more about the program, please kindly contact Denise Tanner at (02) 9387 8133 or dtanner@legalwiseseminars.com.

Do not miss out on what has been quoted by past delegates as “A great conference in all aspects”. We look forward to welcoming you in September.

RACS needs your support

Mon Jun 23 2014

The Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) has set a fundraising goal of $250,000, which it needs urgently following the Australian Government's funding cuts. RACS invites members to donate generously before 30 June. Learn more here.

Judge Carmody should reconsider, says the Qld Bar Association

Mon Jun 23 2014

The Queensland Bar Association has issued a media release setting out its position on the appointment of Judge Carmody as the next chief justice of Queensland. The president of the Queensland Bar Association, Shane Doyle QC, said "the government’s decision, the processes employed and the manner in which it was promoted, did not have the support of the Bar Association, then or now". Learn more here.

Qld judicial appointment process seriously flawed: ABA

Mon Jun 23 2014

On 20 June 2014 the Australian Bar Association wrote to the editor of The Australian in response to Chris Merritt's article on the appointment of the new chief justice of Queensland. Since the letter was not published, a copy is available here.