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Professional conduct and social media

Tue Sep 25 2018
Bar standards

Dear members,

A number of recent incidents have prompted me to write to remind members that electronic communication - including email and the use of all forms social media - requires the same level of courtesy and professionalism as other more traditional means of communication. This is reflected in the Legal Profession Uniform Conduct (Barristers) Rules 2015. One object of the Rules is to ensure that barristers act in accordance with the general principles of professional conduct. The principles of the Rules state that the Rules are made in the belief that, inter alia, barristers must maintain high standards of professional conduct and that barristers owe duties to the courts, to their clients and to their barrister and solicitor colleagues. The Rules provide that a barrister must not engage in conduct which is discreditable to a barrister or likely to diminish public confidence in the legal profession or bring the legal profession into disrepute. The Rules also prohibit conduct which constitutes discrimination, sexual harassment or workplace bullying. Breach of the Rules is capable of constituting unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct.

Members should be especially vigilant when using methods of communication which are by their nature less formal in tone, such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Instagram and other forms of social media. In addition, you should be aware that any comment made online, even in a closed / secret Facebook group, can be shared via a screen shot.

Conduct at functions associated with the Bar Association

The Bar Association organises, or is associated with, a number of social functions to which barristers are invited. I wish to remind members of the need for exemplary conduct when attending such functions. By all means enjoy yourself, but be mindful that your conduct must not cause harm to, or negatively impact, others.

I would like to bring to your attention some provisions of the Barristers’ Rules that you must keep in mind at such events. Under Rule 8 of the Legal Profession Uniform Conduct (Barristers) Rules 2015, a barrister must not engage in conduct which is dishonest or otherwise discreditable to a barrister or is likely to diminish public confidence in the legal profession. In addition Rule 123 of the Barristers Rules provides that a barrister must not in the course of practice, engage in conduct which constitutes discrimination, sexual harassment, or workplace bullying. Both these Rules are relevant to your conduct at such events which are work events. In addition, if the Bar Council suspects on reasonable grounds that a person has committed a serious offence as defined in section 6 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW)), then section 465 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) imposes on the Bar Council an obligation to report the suspected offence (if it has not already been reported) to the police or other appropriate investigating or prosecuting authority.

The fact that your conduct may become the subject of complaint, or referred to the police or other relevant authority, is not in itself the reason why proper behaviour is expected of barristers. However, a general awareness that unacceptable behaviour may lead to these consequences should be borne in mind.

If you feel you are consuming too much alcohol, or not coping with work or other life pressures, a reminder that the facilities of BarCare are available. Jenny Houen may be contacted via telephone on 0427 317 958 or via email: jhouen@barcare.org

Tendency and coincidence evidence

Mon Sep 24 2018
Implications of The Queen v Dennis Bauer (a pseudonym) [2018] HCA 40

The High Court of Australia handed down its unanimous decision in the matter of The Queen v Dennis Bauer (a pseudonym) on 12 September 2018. Stephen Odgers SC and Phillip Boulten SC,together with Chair Gabrielle Bashir SC, will discuss the implications of this judgement for tendency and coincidence evidence on Wednesday, 26 September 2018 at 5.15 in the Common Room. For more information click here.

Contracting Out of Statutory Prohibitions Against Misleading or Deceptive Conduct

Mon Sep 24 2018
Continuing Professional Development

On Thursday, 18 October 2018 The Hon JD Heydon AC QC, Richard Scruby SC and Dr Kristina Stern SC will present a CPD titled 'Contracting Out of Statutory Prohibitions Against Misleading or Deceptive Conduct’. The seminar will examine the extent to which it is permissible to contract out of statutory prohibitions against misleading or deceptive conduct and considers whether restrictions against contracting out can be justified on grounds of public policy. For further information, please download the flyer here.

This seminar has been organised by the Commercial Law Section

Funeral arrangements for Ken Horler AM QC

Mon Sep 24 2018
Vale

A celebration of the life of Ken Horler AM QC will be held at St John's Church, 120 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst on Thursday, 27 September 2018 commencing at 3.00 pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Actors Benevolent Fund. A wake will be held at Old Nimrod - The Griffin Theatre Bar, after the memorial.

Current issues in employment and industrial law

Mon Sep 24 2018

The Federal Court of Australia invites practitioners to a Conversation on Current Issues in the Practice of Employment and Industrial Law, hosted by the Hon Justice Mordy Bromberg on Thursday, 25 October 2018 from 5.30pm to 7.00pm (AEDT) in Court 1, Level 21, Queens Square.

There will be three short presentations:

  • Class Actions in Employment and Industrial Law – Kate Eastman SC (NSW Bar) and Alexandra Grayson (Maurice Blackburn)
  • Availability of Judicial Review arising from Dispute Settlement Procedures – Ingmar Taylor SC (NSW Bar) and Kylie Nomchong SC (NSW Bar)
  • The WorkPac Decision of the Full Court – Mark Gibian (NSW Bar) and Alice DeBoos (K&L Gates)

Refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the event. Please RSVP to Ms Elizabeth Sotiriadis at Ea.Brombergj@fedcourt.gov.au by Friday, 19 October 2018.

Video-link will be available at the Federal Court in the following locations:

  • Melbourne: Court 6A, Commonwealth Law Courts, 305 William Street
  • Perth: Court 4, Peter Durack Commonwealth Law Courts Building, 1 Victoria Avenue
  • Canberra: Court 1, Nigel Bowen Commonwealth Law Courts Building, Childers Street
  • Brisbane: Court 6, Harry Gibbs Commonwealth Law Courts Building, 119 North Quay
  • Adelaide: Court 2, Roma Mitchell Commonwealth Law Courts Building, 3 Angas Street
  • Darwin: Court 9, Supreme Court Building, State Square

Hike for mental health - Great Wall of China 2019

Mon Sep 24 2018
Philanthropy

A team of barristers ran in this year's City to Surf to raise funds for the Black Dog Institute. If running isn't your thing, consider making a nine-day trek along the Great Wall of China in September-October 2019 to raise urgently needed funds for the Black Dog Institute and help create a mentally healthy world. Learn more here.

Legal Aid NSW criminal law policy

Mon Sep 24 2018
Law reform and public affairs

Legal Aid NSW criminal law policy has been amended to incorporate the changes made by the sentencing reforms. The sentencing reforms abolish suspended sentences and introduce two new community-based sentencing options: community correction orders and conditional release orders, among other changes. The policy amendment applies to applications for legal aid determined on or after 24 September 2018. More information is available in Policy Bulletin 2018/11 Criminal Law Policy – Sentencing Reforms.

Sentencing reforms come into force in NSW today

Mon Sep 24 2018
Law reform and public affairs

From today, suspended sentences will be abolished in NSW and replaced by "Intensive Correction Orders" as part of the NSW Government’s $330 million strategy to reduce re-offending.

Under the new laws, supervision will be a standard condition for each Intensive Correction Order and a range of other conditions will be available, including home detention, curfews, electronic monitoring and community service work. However, Intensive Correction Orders will not be available to offenders guilty of serious offences such as murder, manslaughter, sexual assault and terrorism.

The reform package also introduces a legal presumption that domestic violence offenders will receive a prison term or supervised community-based sentence.

NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman MP SC said yesterday that these reforms represented the "final piece of the NSW Government’s ‘tough and smart’ Criminal Justice Reform Package" and that "the stronger sentencing laws cap off transformative changes to the administration of criminal justice from the time an offender is charged until the end of their sentence, and beyond in exceptional cases".

Further information is available here in a joint press statement by the Attorney General, the Minister for Police Troy Grant and the Minister for Corrections David Elliott.

2019 John Koowarta Reconciliation Law Scholarship (Koowarta Scholarship)

Fri Sep 21 2018

The Law Council is pleased to inform you that applications for the 2019 John Koowarta Reconciliation Law Scholarship (Koowarta Scholarship) are now open.

The Koowarta Scholarship was established in 1994, with the aim of promoting the study and practice of the law by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and, commemorates John Koowarta as a member of the Winychanam community and a traditional owner of the Archer River region on the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland. John Koowarta is widely regarded as being at the forefront of Aboriginal land rights in Australia during the late 1970s and early 1980s. He is today revered as one of the most important figures in the progression of Native Title rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Koowarta Scholarship is available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in an Australian tertiary institution undertaking an approved course of study provided that may lead to admission as a legal practitioner in any Australian jurisdiction. Click here for more information.

Attached for your information is a copy of the Eligibility Criteria and Application Form.

For further information please contact Krystal James, Communications Officer here or via phone on 02 6246 3788.

Tendency and coincidence evidence

Fri Sep 21 2018
Implications of The Queen v Dennis Bauer (a pseudonym) [2018] HCA 40

The High Court of Australia handed down its unanimous decision in the matter of The Queen v Dennis Bauer (a pseudonym) on 12 September 2018. Stephen Odgers SC and Phillip Boulten SC,together with Chair Gabrielle Bashir SC, will discuss the implications of this judgement for tendency and coincidence evidence on Wednesday, 26 September 2018 at 5.15 in the Common Room. For more information click here.

Increased judicial retirement age will improve the administration of justice

Thu Sep 20 2018
Advocacy

The New South Wales Bar Association has welcomed the NSW Government’s commitment today to raise the maximum statutory judicial retirement age from 72 to 75. In a statement, attached here, President Arthur Moses SC said ‘The Association initiated this reform because it formed the view that there were compelling reasons in favour of increasing the retirement age for judicial officers serving in NSW’.

‘We support judges and magistrates being able to serve on the bench of NSW courts until the age of 75 and await further details of the proposed legislation with interest,’ he said. The Attorney General announced today that new legislation to change the judicial retirement age will be introduced into Parliament in the coming weeks. The Attorney General also announced that under the changes proposed, judges appointed after the new legislation commences will be able to access their pension at the age of 65, rather than 60.

‘The Association recommended increasing the pension age to 65 in order to better align the judicial pension with the pension schemes of other members of the Australian community. This increase will also ensure the judicial pension scheme remains sustainable and realise significant cost savings for the Justice portfolio, which could fund other policy areas that have been ignored and are in need of resourcing, including legal aid,’ said Mr Moses SC.

‘While the Association welcomes these changes in principle, any legislative reform in this space must be prospective, not retrospective, to maintain the independence of the bench, including the appearance of the independence of the judiciary which is fundamental to the rule of law,’ Mr Moses SC said.

Retirement Ceremony of the Hon Chief Justice John Pascoe AC CVO

Thu Sep 20 2018

Members are advised a joint ceremony of the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia will be held on Monday 8 October 2018 to mark the retirement of the Honorable Chief Justice John Pascoe AC CVO, Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia.

The ceremony will be held at 4.30pm in Court 1, Level 21, Law Courts Building, Queen's Square, Sydney

Legal Aid Sentencing Training - reforms commence on 24 September

Thu Sep 20 2018

Legal Aid sentencing reforms commence on Monday 24 September. The Legal Aid has been running training sessions over the last couple of months.

As an adjunct to the training sessions training staff have recorded a webinar. The webinar is accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation and can be accessed publicly on YouTube here. The webinar runs for approximately 1 hour and provides a brief overview of the key parts of the reforms.

The webinar will also be added to the Legal Aid Sentencing Reforms internet page, together with other useful resources, prior to the commencement of the reforms.

You can access the webpage here.

EAGP Mandatory Case Conference bookings

Thu Sep 20 2018
Practice support

In most Early Appropriate Guilty Plea case conferences, the NSW ODPP prosecutors will participate by AVL, while the defence lawyer can choose between attending a conference at a Legal Aid office or by AVL using their own device. Case conferences can be be arranged through JUST Connect, a web-based system used to book AVL studios at correctional centres and Legal Aid offices. Learn more about JUST Connect, and how to make a booking here.

Australian Disputes Centre's ADR Address

Wed Sep 19 2018
At the lectern

On 20 September 2018 the Australian Disputes Centre will hold the Supreme Court ADR Address by the Hon Chief Justice, Tom Bathurst AC. Titled "ADR, ODR and AI-DR or, Do We Even Need Courts Anymore?", will be delivered at the Supreme Court of NSW, Banco Court, 184 Phillip Street and will commence at 5.15pm. For more information please click here and to register please click here.

Spigelman Oration and Public Law Section Dinner

Wed Sep 19 2018
Public Law Section

The fifth annual Spigelman Public Law Oration will be delivered by the Hon Christian Porter MP, attorney-general of the Commonwealth on Monday, 24 September 2018 from 5.15pm-6.30pm in the Banco Court. The topic of the oration will be "Securing our Democracy". Immediately following the oration will be the annual dinner of the Public Law Section of the New South Wales Bar (formerly the Constitutional and Administrative Law Section) at Fix Wine Bar & Restaurant, 111 Elizabeth Street Sydney. Cost: $150 pp (including GST). The event includes a three course dinner, canapes and a selection of wine and other beverages. To reserve your place at the dinner, please pay using [this online credit card facility] (https://www.nswbar.asn.au/payments/spigelman-public-law-oration-dinner ""), **no later than 5.00 pm on Thursday, 20 September 2018.

If you have specific dietary requirements, please contact Matt Sherman (msherman@sixthfloor.com.au).

Positions vacant at NCAT

Wed Sep 19 2018
Applications close 23 September

Attorney General Mark Speakman SC is calling for applications from qualified persons for appointment to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal as:

2019 Regional Conference Series

Tue Sep 18 2018
Call for papers

The Bar Association's Professional Development Department invites members to submit suggestions and/or abstracts for papers to be included in the association's 2019 CPD Conference series. The conferences will be held on Saturdays in Ballina, Newcastle, Orange, Parramatta and Sydney during February and March.

The dates for 2019 Conferences are:

  • Newcastle – Saturday 23 February
  • North Coast (Ballina) – Saturday 2 March
  • Orange – Saturday 9 March (Please note, from 2019 Orange will be a single day Saturday conference due to falling demand)
  • Parramatta - Saturday 23 March
  • Sydney – Saturday 30 March

Interested barristers, solicitors, academics, legal and non-legal professionals are invited to submit suggestions for papers online, HERE. During the submission process, you will be asked to provide your contact details, conference preference, a working title and, where possible, a short description or abstract of your suggestion presentation.

Suggestions and abstracts are requested by Monday 1 October.

Legal aid family and criminal law policy amendments

Tue Sep 18 2018

Legal aid is available to people at risk of, or experiencing, domestic violence. Changes to family law policies have been incorporated into parenting matters, property matters, child support matters and divorce matters.

The criminal law policies have been amended to clarify the availability of legal aid to people who are victims of domestic violence and defending criminal charges for DV related offences. These changes apply to applications for legal aid determined on or after 17 September 2018. More information is available in Policy Bulletin 2018/9 Family Law Policy – DV changes, click here and Policy Bulletin 2018/10 Criminal Law Policy – DV related changes, click here.

Legal Aid NSW Indictable Criminal Law Barrister Panel

Tue Sep 18 2018
Practice support

Legal Aid NSW is establishing a new Indictable Criminal Law Barrister Panel for suitably experienced barristers to be briefed in non-complex criminal law matters (i.e. strictly indictable matters or matters where an election is made) pursuant to a grant of legal aid.

The panel is open to junior counsel only and will apply to non-complex legally aided indictable criminal law matters in the following jurisdictions:

  • Local Court Committals
  • District Court Sentences
  • District Court Trials

All applications for appointment to the panel must be submitted on line through the Panels Application Website,click here, by 24 September 2018 for consideration by the Selection Committee. Information about the new panel is available on the Indictable Criminal Law Barrister Panel web page here.

For any enquiries regarding the panel please email here.

Tendency and coincidence evidence

Mon Sep 17 2018
Implications of The Queen v Dennis Bauer (a pseudonym) [2018] HCA 40

The High Court of Australia handed down its unanimous decision in the matter of The Queen v Dennis Bauer (a pseudonym) on 12 September 2018. Stephen Odgers SC and Phillip Boulten SC,together with Chair Gabrielle Bashir SC, will discuss the implications of this judgement for tendency and coincidence evidence on Wednesday, 26 September 2018 at 5.15 in the Common Room. For more information click here.

Cyber security alert

Mon Sep 17 2018
Practice support

Some members have received an an email purporting to be from ASIC asking them to pay fees and give personal information to renew their business or company name. ASIC warns that these emails often have a link that provides an invoice with fake payment details or infects your computer with malware if you click the link. If you receive this email please delete it immediately. Do not click the links. For more information on cyber security, visit the Australian Government's Stay Smart Online website.

Spigelman Public Law Oration

Mon Sep 17 2018
Public Law Section

The fifth annual Spigelman Public Law Oration will be delivered by the Hon Christian Porter MP, attorney-general of the Commonwealth on Monday, 24 September 2018 from 5.15pm-6.30pm in the Banco Court. The topic of the oration will be "Securing our Democracy".

Immediately following the oration will be the annual dinner of the Public Law Section of the New South Wales Bar(formerly the Constitutional and Administrative Law Section) at Fix Wine Bar & Restaurant, 111 Elizabeth Street Sydney. Cost: $150 pp (including GST). The event includes a three course dinner, canapes and a selection of wine and other beverages.

To reserve your place at the dinner, please pay using this online credit card facility, no later than 18 September 2018.

If you have specific dietary requirements, please contact Matt Sherman (msherman@sixthfloor.com.au).

DV court services tender must not compromise victim support

Mon Sep 17 2018
Advocacy

Supporting victims of domestic violence must be the primary focus of any changes to the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services delivery model, the New South Wales Bar Association said today.

The Bar Association is aware that Legal Aid NSW has recently called for tenders to deliver the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services (WDVCAS). The minister for family and community services told Budget Estimates on 5 September that Legal Aid NSW has had to revise the boundaries, contracts, funding allocations and policies of the service in response to a restructure by NSW Police of the local area command boundaries.

"The WDVCAS have provided invaluable assistance to obtain legal protection and support for more than two decades to women and children who are or have been experiencing domestic violence in NSW," Bar Association President Arthur Moses SC, said today.

"The Bar Association appreciates the importance of promoting consistency and collaboration between services providers, the courts and the police to address issues of domestic violence and provide appropriate support to victims. However, the association is concerned that the short tender process and any changes to the service model of the WDVCAS may adversely impact upon vulnerable members of the community at their time of need. These services are already in high demand and make a real difference to peoples’ lives.

"The association has written to the attorney general of NSW, the minister for family and community services and Legal Aid NSW to seek assurances that the resourcing and staffing of the WDVCAS, and the quality and specialisation of services provided, will not be affected at any time during or after tendering," Mr Moses SC said.

Banco Chamber parental policy in the news

Mon Sep 17 2018
Diversity

The parental leave policy at Banco Chambers was the subject of a feature article in the Australian Financial Review on Friday, 14 September (at page 33). Under the policy, the chambers will provide a six-month indemnity on floor fees while a barrister is on parental leave, and upon their return, implement a pairing arrangement with one of the floor's senior counsel to help them re-establish their practice. Learn more here.

/#Diversity