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Comcare changes threaten workers’ rights and workplace safety: ALA

Fri Nov 28 2014

The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has warned that state and territory-based workers’ compensation schemes are in danger of being abandoned by employers if changes to the Comcare scheme are approved.

The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 (Cth) was debated this week in the House of Representatives. It will encourage employers registered in more than one state to move their workers out of state-based compensation schemes and into the Comcare scheme, which provides inferior support to workers who face serious injury, and inferior safety oversight.

Read the ALA media release here.

Statement from the ABA on addressing Indigenous imprisonment rates

Fri Nov 28 2014

The Australian Bar Association has issued a statement regarding the unacceptable rates of Indigenous incarceration, which were highlighted by the Productivity Commission’s report, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage. The ABA again calls on federal, state and territory governments to adopt justice reinvestment as a guiding practice, whereby funds that would otherwise be allocated for imprisonment are instead directed to local communities with a high concentration of offenders addressing the underlying causes of crime within that community.Read the ABA statement here.

ABA voices concern over Timor Leste dismissals

Fri Nov 28 2014

The Australian Bar Association has joined the Judicial Conference of Australia in expressing deep concern over moves last month by the government and parliament of Timor Leste to dismiss foreign judges. Learn more here.

Coming up in CPD next week

Fri Nov 28 2014

A number of seminars will be held in the Common Room next week:

Wednesday, 3 December:"60 tips in 60 minutes". Presented by Nigel Cotman SC, Garry McGrath SC, Philippe Doyle Gray and Nicolas Kirby. For full details please download a flyer here

Thursday, 4 December:"It's 2014 so stop working like it's 1914". Presented by Philippe Doyle Gray, Stephen Walsh and Thomas Krober. For full details please download a flyer here

Hiring chamber staff through Jobsupport

Fri Nov 28 2014

The Bar Council of the New South Wales Bar Association encourages its members to consider hiring administrative staff through Jobsupport, an employment organisation that places, trains and maintains people with a significant intellectual disability in quality jobs in the regular workforce. Jobsupport’s clients are fully assessed in the areas of work skills, behavior, ability to travel and any other issues relating to maintaining successful employment.

What kind of work will a Jobsupport employee do?

Jobsupport employees can assist chambers with some of the more basic tasks currently performed by administrative staff including filing, faxing, photocopying, mail, deliveries, data entry and cleaning. A complete list of administrative tasks that can be performed can be found here.

What does it cost to hire someone through Jobsupport?

It is anticipated that Jobsupport clients will be employed on a part time or full time basis (between 14 and 30 hours per week). In some instances a casual position may be taken if there is the guarantee of stable, ongoing hours. Wages are generally set at 50% of the award rate for the first 10 weeks, and are then assessed by the Supported Wage Management Unit of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, which will determine how quickly the job is being performed and what percentage of the award rate the Jobsupport client should be paid. This rate of pay is reviewed annually. Approximately 50% of Jobsupport clients are able to complete their job as quickly as their co-workers, and are accordingly paid the award rate.  

Who trains Jobsupport staff?

Josbupport will:

  • Work with the employer to identify and analyse suitable tasks. A detailed job analysis is conducted to ensure that each placement work well for both the employer and the client. This includes determining the quality, productivity and workplace health and safety expectations for the position.
  • Provide one-on-one onsite training. Each training program is individualised and typically takes 4-6 weeks. Training is based on a Support Agreement document that details the required tasks, the quality and rate standards required for each task, the level of supervision available and any workplace health and safety considerations.
  • Provide free ongoing maintenance support to ensure that the placement continues to work well for both the client and the employer. This support will continue for the life of the job and includes monitoring the employee’s performance to ensure that standards are maintained. Jobsupport staff can provide additional training as required.
Why should I hire someone through Jobsupport?

You have the ability to give someone with an intellectual disability the chance to have a satisfying job and greatly improve his or her quality of life. Jobsupport employees also have an annual retention rate of over 80%.

Who else uses Jobsupport?

The Law Society of New South Wales has employed one of Jobsupport’s clients in its mail room for over 11 years. Other organisations in the legal sector employing Jobsupport clients include: DibbsBarker, Willis & Bowring, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Gilbert & Tobin, Watkins Tapsell & Nolan, Gadens Lawyers, Morgan Lewis Alter, Clifford Chance, Sutherland Local Court and the Department of Corrective Services. An article in relation to the scheme appeared in the Law Society Journal in August 2012.

I want to hire someone through Jobsupport, but I’m not sure I have enough work for them to do…

Call Megan Black at the Bar Association (contact details below). There may be the possibility of sharing an employee between one or more floors.

Find me someone to hire please!

Call Megan Black at the Bar Association. Megan can be reached on ph:(02) 9229 1739 or at mblack@nswbar.asn.au.

Bar Library hours over the Christmas-New Year period

Fri Nov 28 2014

The Bar Library will close at 6.00pm on Friday, 19 December 2014 and reopen at 9.00am on Monday, 19 January 2015. The library will be open from 9.00am to 5.00pm from 19-23 January 2015 and resume normal opening hours on Tuesday, 27 January 2015.

Web watch: Law Review Commons

Fri Nov 28 2014

Law Review Commons bills itself as the largest collection of free and open law review scholarship, with more than 200 titles and 150,000 articles (overwhelmingly North American). The Real-Time Readership Map, which tracks the location of downloads, from Iceland to Dunedin, is reason enough to check it out. Visit Law Review Commons here.

Retirement of Judge David Halligan

Fri Nov 28 2014

Judge David Halligan of the Federal Circuit Court is soon to retire and the court will hold a ceremonial sitting to mark the occasion on Friday, 5 December 2014 at 4.30pm on L3 of the Garfield Barwick Commonwealth Law Courts, 1-3 George Street, Parramatta. John Shaw of Lachlan Macquarie Chambers, will speak on behalf of the bar.

Indigenous imprisonment is a national crisis: LCA

Fri Nov 28 2014

Law Council of Australia president-elect, Mr Duncan McConnel, has issued a media release deploring Indigenous imprisonment rates, which have doubled since the time of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Learn more here.

No evidence that drug seizures reduce drug-related harm

Fri Nov 28 2014

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) has released a report on narcotics, entitled Supply Reduction Policy and Drug-related Harm. It found no evidence that "increases in drug seizures and drug supplier arrests reduced the number of ED [emergency department] admissions relating to [amphetamine-type substances], cocaine and heroin". View the report here.

The report comes days after the Bar Association launched its discussion paper on drug law reform.

Coming up in CPD next week

Wed Nov 26 2014

A number of seminars will be held in the Common Room next week:

Wednesday, 3 December:"60 tips in 60 minutes". Presented by Nigel Cotman SC, Garry McGrath SC, Philippe Doyle Gray and Nicolas Kirby. For full details please download a flyer here

Thursday, 4 December:"It's 2014 so stop working like it's 1914". Presented by Philippe Doyle Gray, Stephen Walsh and Thomas Krober. For full details please download a flyer here

Tomorrow: Legal History Discussion Group meeting

Tue Nov 25 2014

The Forbes Society's Legal History Discussion Group will hold a meeting tomorrow, 26 November 2014, commencing at 5.30pm in the Bar Common Room. Professor Shaunnagh Dorsett of UTS will present a discussion on: "NSW Court of Claims 1833-1835". The meetings provides an opportunity to engage in informal, but structured, discussions of an important branch of Australian legal history. Everyone with an interest in Australian legal history is welcome. Further enquiries, or expressions of interest, can be directed to Professor Shaunnagh Dorsett of UTS, the Co-ordinator of the Discussion Group Meeting program.

Tonight in CPD

Tue Nov 25 2014

A seminar will be held in the Common Room tonight at 5.15pm:"60 Web Sites in 60 Minutes" presented by Nigel Cotman SC, Philippe Doyle Gray, Nicolas Kirby and James Mack. For full details please download a flyer here

It's time to discuss changes to drug laws

Tue Nov 25 2014

The Criminal Law Committee of the New South Wales Bar Association released a discussion paper in relation to drug law reform today. The chair of the Criminal Law Committee, Stephen Odgers SC said: ‘As lawyers we have a responsibility to speak out if we conclude that the law needs reform. That point has been reached’. View the discussion paper here and the Bar Association's media release here.

Tomorrow in CPD

Mon Nov 24 2014

A seminar will be held in the Common Room tomorrow at 5.15pm:"60 Web Sites in 60 Minutes" presented by Nigel Cotman SC, Philippe Doyle Gray, Nicolas Kirby and James Mack. For full details please download a flyer here

Attention bar yogis

Mon Nov 24 2014

There are only four yoga classes remaining in 2014. Whether you're a regular student or a novice you are most welcome to come along. BYO your own mat. Tuesday @ 1pm in the Common Room. For more information, please call Jolie on 0414092502.

ALRC Report 124: Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws

Mon Nov 24 2014

The Australian Law Reform Commission’s Final Report Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws (ALRC Report 124), was tabled in the Australian Parliament today. The report makes 55 recommendations for reform that will better provide people with disability equal recognition before the law—in particular, in relation to the right to make decisions that affect their lives and to have those decisions respected. View the report here.

Coming up in CPD next week

Fri Nov 21 2014

A seminar will be held in the Common Room next week at 5.15pm on Tuesday, 25 November:"60 Web Sites in 60 Minutes" presented by Nigel Cotman SC, Philippe Doyle Gray, Nicolas Kirby and James Mack. For full details please download a flyer here

Ombudsman's review of police terrorism powers

Fri Nov 21 2014

The NSW ombudsman has completed a report on police use of terrorism-related preventative detention and covert search powers. The Terrorism (Police Powers) Act 2002 gives police and the NSW Crime Commission powers to apply for court orders to detain people without charge for up to 14 days or to search premises, but postpone notifying the owner until a later time. The ombudsman is required to report to the attorney general and minister for police every three years in relation to the exercise of the powers under Parts 2A and 3 of the Act. View the report here.

Timor Leste sacks foreign judges in closed session of parliament

Fri Nov 21 2014

Justice Steven Rares, president of the Judicial Conference of Australia, has censured the Parliament of Timor Leste for dismissing the country's foreign judges during a closed session in late October. Justice Rares said this raises "real issues about the integrity of the administration of justice in Timor Leste". Learn more here.

Cultural diversity and the law

Fri Nov 21 2014

The Australian Institute of Judicial Administration (AIJA) and the Migration Council of Australia will host the 2015 Cultural Diversity and the Law Conference, to be held in Sydney on 13-14 March next year. Panels will discuss, among other things, best practice for judicial officers in a multicultural courtroom; strategies for tribunals in dealing with culturally diverse cases; and what every practitioner should do to ensure justice for culturally diverse clients. To learn more, or to register, visit the conference website.