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2016 Constitutional Law Conference and Dinner

Wed Dec 02 2015

The 15th annual Constitutional Law Conference and Dinner will be held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on Friday, 12 February 2016. The event is organised by the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law with the support of the Australian Association of Constitutional Law.

The conference will focus on developments in the High Court and other Australian courts in 2015 and beyond. It will be addressed by leading practitioners, judges and academics.

Speakers at the conference will review the key themes of constitutional law decisions in the High Court, Federal Court and State Courts in 2015, as well as giving focused attention to recent cases such as McCloy v NSW, CEPU v Queensland Rail, Plaintiff M68/2015 v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, ICAC v Cunneen, NAAJA v Northern Territory and Duncan v NSW. The final session will consider the topic ‘Governing and Constitutional Law’ through the prism of three public offices: Solicitor-General, Parliamentary Counsel and Attorney-General.

The conference will be followed by dinner at NSW Parliament House with the guest speaker being Mr Justin Gleeson SC, solicitor-general of the Commonwealth.

The cost of the event is $465 for the conference and $115 for the dinner (total $580). There is an early-bird conference registration rate of $415 if you register for the conference by 18 December 2015. To register, please see ‘Upcoming Events’ at www.gtcentre.unsw.edu.au. Alternatively, please email gtcentre@unsw.edu.au or contact the Centre on (02) 9385 2257.

Swearing-in for John Murphy

Wed Dec 02 2015

John Murphy, barrister at Frederick Jordan Chambers, has been appointed to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC). A ceremonial welcome for Commissioner Murphy will be held on Friday, 4 December 2015 in Court 4.1, Level 4, 47 Bridge Street, Sydney. Arthur Moses SC will speak on behalf of the New South Wales Bar.

Papers to note: the first prison experience and recidivism

Wed Dec 02 2015

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has published Crime and Justice Bulletin No.187, which examines the question of whether short prison sentences (up to 12 months) exert a special deterrent effect. The study found that the subsequent time to re-offend did not depend on the type of sentence received. This "suggests that there is no particular deterrent effect in receiving a prison sentence for people who had not previously been sentenced to prison". View the bulletin here.

Learned Friends Lord Howe Island Conference

Wed Dec 02 2015

In April 2016 (2–9 April) Learned Friends is holding a Conference on Lord Howe Island. This conference will mark the 5th Anniversary of the commencement of Learned Friends and to celebrate we are returning to Lord Howe Island, where we held our first conference in April 2011. Speakers include John Wallace, Louise Byrne, Grahame Berecry and Penelope Watson. Please note that April is a busy time of year on the island and as such flights and accommodation are becoming limited. For more information visit the website or email admin@learnedfriends.com.au.

New Barristers' Committee December Breakfast and Junior Drinks

Tue Dec 01 2015

The New Barristers’ Committee would like to invite you to attend the December breakfast catch-up at Silks Coffee Shop on Tuesday, 8 December. Drop in for a short (or long) period of time from 8:00am – 9:30am. Richard Weinstein SC, Julia Lonergan SC from the Bar Council will be hosting the breakfast. For RSVP purposes, if you think you might be able to attend please send an email to Corrie Goodhand (cgoodhand@eightselborne.com.au).

The Junior Drinks will held on Thursday, 10 December, at Metro St James starting at around 5:30pm.

Swearing-in ceremony for his Honour Judge Philip Dowdy

Tue Dec 01 2015

Philip Dowdy will be sworn-in as a judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in Courtroom 13.1, Floor 13, 80 William Street, Sydney, at 1.00pm on Monday, 7 December 2015. Arthur Moses SC will speak on behalf of the New South Wales Bar.

WA silks announced

Tue Dec 01 2015

The Hon Wayne Martin AC, chief justice of Western Australia, has announced today that Paul Yovich SC and John Blackburn SC had been appointed as senior counsel.

For the diary: Start at the Top Family Law Conference 2016

Tue Dec 01 2015

The Start at the Top Family Law Conference will be held in Darwin on 21 and 22 January 2016. Join family court judges, Federal Circuit Court judges, expert presenters and other practitioners to start 2016 by expanding your understanding of family law. This year’s program covers a range of topics designed to help provide participants with a practical overview of the highly specialised and topical issues in family law. Learn more here.

NSW Lawyers Orchestra Season 1 Concert 2016

Tue Dec 01 2015

The NSW Lawyers Orchestra invites you to join them for their first concert on 26 June 2016 at 2.30pm at The Playhouse, SCEGGS Darlinghurst, 215 Forbes Street, Darlinghurst. In their first season the orchestra will bring Russian theatre and ballet music alive for young and old, with performances of Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev, the Masquerade Waltz by Soviet-Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian and end the season with the second movement Allegro meno mosso of Dimitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No 1 in F minor. To reserve seating and for any enquiries, including membership email Sarah Haddad.

Ticket prices

Adults $30; Concession $20 (Under 5 free); Family $80; Membership Fee $50 per annum.

Federal Circuit Court registries: A message from President Noel Hutley SC

Mon Nov 30 2015

There is an article in today’s edition of The Australian written by Nicola Berkovic, which claims that Chief Judge John Pascoe of the Federal Circuit Court is ‘seriously considering’ closing the court’s Parramatta and Wollongong registries (‘Threat of family law registry closures’, The Australian, p5). Understandably, this has caused deep concern among practitioners, court staff and litigants.

I have sought, and received, an urgent clarification from the Federal Circuit Court. During a recent teleconference with the Law Council’s Family Law Section, Chief Judge Pascoe raised the possibility that Federal Circuit Court judges might need to be transferred from Parramatta to the Lionel Bowen Building in Sydney, where they would be needed to cover a number of pending retirements.

Federal Circuit Court registry staff were assured this morning that there are no plans to shut down court registries.

That said, a key point made by The Australian article and some subsequent commentary deserves reiteration. The Federal Government cannot ignore the widening gap between the crushing caseload of the Federal Circuit Court and the number of available judges who can hear them. It is an urgent matter that needs to be dealt with – it will not go away but will worsen if steps are not taken to deal with the issue.

In 2014-15 more than 95,300 cases were litigated and divorce cases processed in the Federal Circuit Court. More than 83,000 family law filings were finalised. The number of appeals filed increased from 179 to 216 (an increase of 21 per cent). However, during 2014-15, nine Federal Circuit Court judges retired and not all of them have been replaced. One judge who retired from the Adelaide registry more than a year ago has onlyrecently been replaced. The Parramatta Registry’s operating strength has reduced from a full complement of five judges to just three, one of whom is on long leave.

Recent experience at the Newcastle Registry of the Federal Circuit Court demonstrated how quickly court lists can become unmanageable if the Court is not resourced properly. In that Registry, Federal Circuit Court Judge Giles Coakes retired on 30 June 2015, but was not replaced until November by Judge Steven Middleton. During that time, family law disputes still needed resolution and there were significant delays which could have only caused anguish for families caught up in such cases. The family law system exists to minimise the potential for family disputes to cause anguish or result in serious harm to all family members.

The Federal Government rightly attracted widespread praise when it invested $100m to tackle the urgent problem of domestic violence which it correctly identified as an important and critical issue. The issue of delays in family law disputes being resolved by the Courts is equally critical and important . The NSW Bar calls upon the Federal Government to take immediate steps to secure adequate judicial resources for the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court benches in NSW and throughout Australia.

Revised Legal Aid NSW Children’s Criminal Law Practice Standards

Mon Nov 30 2015

Members of the Children’s Criminal Law Panel are advised that the Children’s Criminal Law Practice Standards have been revised. The new practice standards take effect from 30 November 2015. Panel members are required to comply with panel practice standards.

The revised practice standards contain important updates on panel members' responsibilities to legally aided clients and Legal Aid NSW and file management requirements.

A copy of the revised practice standards is available at the Practice standards in legally aided matters web page.

Law Council Elections

Mon Nov 30 2015

The following have been elected to the Executive of the Law Council of Australia for 2016.

  • President: Stuart Clark AM, (nominated by Law Firms Australia)
  • President-elect: Fiona McLeod SC, (nominated by the Victorian Bar)
  • Treasurer: Morrie Bailes, (SA Law Society)
  • Arthur Moses SC, New South Wales Bar
  • Konrad de Kerloy, WA Law Society
  • Michael Fitzgerald, Qld Law Society

Revised Legal Aid NSW Children’s Criminal Law Practice Standards

Mon Nov 30 2015

Members of the Children’s Criminal Law Panel are advised that the Children’s Criminal Law Practice Standards have been revised. The new practice standards take effect from 30 November 2015. Panel members are required to comply with panel practice standards.

The revised practice standards contain important updates on panel members' responsibilities to legally aided clients and Legal Aid NSW and file management requirements.

A copy of the revised practice standards is available at the Practice standards in legally aided matters web page.

BOCSAR seminar on domestic violence and recidivism

Mon Nov 30 2015

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research will host a seminar on Friday, 4 December 2015 at 10.00am to 11.30am. BOCSAR will present the findings from two of its recent research projects:
"Do domestic violence offenders receive more lenient sentences than non-domestic violent offenders?" and "Does going to prison reduce the risk of further offending: The impact of an offenders first prison episode?".

The seminar will be held in Room 029, Building 02 at UTS, Broadway. The seminar is free of charge, but for catering purposes it is essential to RSVP to bocsar_seminars@agd.nsw.gov.au

Learn more about the papers and their authors here.

2015 Law Council President's Medal

Mon Nov 30 2015

The 2015 Law Council of Australia President’s Medal has been awarded to Ian Kennedy AM. Speaking about the award, Law Council President Duncan McConnel said: "Ian has given his extraordinary commitment and made enormous contributions to the development of family law in Australia. He has improved its reputation and standing – and the professional standards of those who practice it – both in the Australian and international legal communities." View the LCA media release here.

Pink and Blue Ribbon Success!

Mon Nov 30 2015

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Pink and Blue Ribbon Breakfast held last month. It was the most successful fundraising event organised by the Bar Association to date, with over $7,000.00 raised for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation.

The breakfast was very well attended, but the highlight of the day was easily the outstanding raffle. Over 40 businesses donated prizes, including Fairfax & Roberts, the Art Gallery of NSW, Opera Australia, Oscar Hunt Tailors, Quay Restaurant, Bianca Spender and many more. The Bar Association would like to thank the Equal Opportunity Committee for organising the event and in particular, Sally Dowling SC, Caroline Davoren and Melinda Morris, for their excellent work in organising the raffle.

Legal Aid NSW Children’s Criminal Law Panel

Mon Nov 30 2015

The Legal Aid NSW Children’s Criminal Law Panel (the panel) is reopening on Monday, 30 November 2015 for new applications and applications for reappointment by current panel members. Current panel members due for reappointment need to apply for reappointment to the panel if they wish to continue to undertake legally aided children’s criminal law work. These panel members will receive an email from Legal Aid NSW providing further information. Current panel members who are unsure whether they are required to apply for reappointment can contact Professional Practices on (02) 9219 5662 or at panels@legalaid.nsw.gov.au.

New applications and applications for reappointment must be submitted through the Panels Application website by Friday, 12 February 2016 for consideration by the Selection Committee. Applications received after this date will not be considered until the next Selection Committee meeting which will take place in 2017.

Information about the panel is available on the Panels, audit and practice standards web page. This contains additional information that can be viewed or downloaded:

For any further enquiries regarding the panel, please email panels@legalaid.nsw.gov.au

Save the date : 2016 Personal Injury/Common Law Conference

Thu Nov 26 2015

The 2016 Personal Injury and Common Law Conference will be held at the Hilton Sydney on Saturday 5 March. The conference offers 5 CPD points.

Speaker details and online registration will be made available over the coming weeks. These will be advertised in In Brief as well as on the NSW Bar Association Website.

For any questions about CPD requirements, conferences or the general CPD program, please contact Bali Kaur, Director, Professional Development (9229 1722 or bkaur@nswbar.asn.au

New body to oversee the NSW Police

Thu Nov 26 2015

The New South Wales Government will create the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) to replace the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) and the Police Division of the Office of the Ombudsman (PDOO) with a single body to detect and investigating serious misconduct and corruption, and to oversee complaints handling. The changes come in response to recommendations from a review into police oversight by a former shadow attorney general, Andrew Tink AM. Learn more here.

Consultation forum on the Taxation National Practice Area

Thu Nov 26 2015

The Federal Court of Australia invites members to national video conference on Tuesday, 8 December 2015 at 5.00pm-6.15pm regarding the National Court Framework (NCF) and the Taxation National Practice Area (NPA), chaired by Justice Pagone. The speakers will be David Bloom QC and Mr Kevin Fitzpatrick. Sydney-based members can attend in Court 1 of the Federal Court, Queens Square. More information about the forum, and how to reserve your place, can be obtained here.

New chairperson for NSWLRC

Thu Nov 26 2015

New South Wales Attorney General Gabrielle Upton today announced the appointment of Alan Cameron AO as chairperson of the NSW Law Reform Commission (LRC). View the announcement here.

Bench and Bar Tennis Day 2015

Wed Nov 25 2015

The Bench and Bar Tennis competition will be held on grass at the Royal Sydney Golf Club, Kent Road, Rose Bay on Tuesday, 22 December 2015. The Hon Susan Crennan Cup will be awarded to the best and fairest female member in the tournament, while the Hon Bryan Beaumont Cup and the Barbour Cup will also be up for grabs. Download a flyer and registration form here.