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Richard Weinstein SC appointed as Advocate for Change

Wed Sep 20 2017
Diversity

President Arthur Moses SC has appointed Richard Weinstein SC as a New South Wales Bar Advocate for Change for a period of three years. The purpose of the Advocates for Change program is to provide role models who are excellent practitioners and who, through the example of what they do and say in their professional lives as barristers, represent the full width of diversity and inclusion that the Bar Association wishes to promote at the bar. View the announcement here.

Incarceration Rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Wed Sep 20 2017
Policy and law reform

The New South Wales Bar Association's submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission's Inquiry Into the Incarceration Rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples was the subject of an article in today's Sydney Morning Herald. The Bar Association's submission is available here.

In his statement to the Herald, Arthur Moses SC said:

The New South Wales Bar Association has provided a detailed submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission Inquiry regarding Incarceration Rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The submission has been prepared by a high profile expert Joint Working Party including members of the Association’s Criminal Law and Human Rights Committees, the judiciary, a former Attorney General, academics and others involved in Aboriginal Justice issues. The Working Party is chaired by former NSW Bar Association President Phillip Boulten SC and the Chair of the Association’s Human Rights Committee, Sarah Pritchard SC, and will play an ongoing role assisting the Association in developing policy initiatives to respond to the ongoing national shame of aboriginal imprisonment rates.

It is obvious from the increasing rates of Aboriginal incarceration, both in NSW and nationwide, that the justice system as a whole is failing to adequately deal with indigenous offenders. This failure is leading to generations of indigenous persons being incarcerated and their full potential not being realised. The Association’s submission makes a number of recommendations regarding important and urgently required criminal justice improvements ranging from changes to the bail regime, properly resourced diversionary programs for offenders, parole and fine enforcement reform to principles and practice regarding sentencing. Principal amongst these recommendations is the Bar Association submission that systemic and background factors must be considered by courts in sentencing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. State and Territory governments should legislate, as a matter of urgency, to expressly require courts to consider the unique systemic and background factors affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples when sentencing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders. The legislation should introduce provisions as to the purposes of sentencing in each State and Territory that specifically recognise:

(a) a purpose of sentencing as “ameliorating the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in custody”;

(b) a purpose of sentencing of “reparation for harm done by the offending to victims or to the community” rather than current purposes relating to recognition of the harm done to the victim of crime and the community;

(c) a purpose of sentencing of “restoration of harmony within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities”, noting that the latter is an important part of dealing with crime and resolution of disputes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; and

(d) a purpose of sentencing of “providing equal justice in sentencing decisions”.

The Association’s submission also notes with particular concern that current funding arrangements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services has not kept up with increased demand and the cost of service delivery. It is obvious that manifestly unacceptable incarceration rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people cannot even begin to be addressed without adequate, consistent and reliable funding of legal services. In this regard the Association has this week approached the NSW Attorney General regarding funding for the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT). The Government has announced a package of reforms regarding a system for early guilty pleas in the criminal justice system. The early guilty pleas proposal will have an enormous impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our criminal justice system and yet the Government has not provided any additional funding to the ALS to assist it in dealing with increased demand for their services. I have written to the Attorney General urging him to urgently address this oversight and ensure that the ALS receives appropriate additional funds to enable it to fulfil its increased responsibilities under this proposal.

2017 Pink & Blue Ribbon Breakfast – All welcome

Tue Sep 19 2017
Charity at the bar

Members and their friends are invited to the 2017 Pink & Blue Ribbon Breakfast on Friday, 27 October at Verandah Restaurant. Come and enjoy a two-course breakfast and help raise money for two wonderful charities. There will also be a fabulous raffle drawn on the morning with [amazing prizes] to be won!

Raffle tickets will also be available to pre-purchase from early October at the Bar Association Reception. RSVP for the breakfast today, RSVPs will be accepted until Friday, 20 October unless sold out prior.

Click here for all the event details including updated details on the amazing raffle organised by the Diversity and Equality Committee.

If you are unable to attend the breakfast, you may still make a donation to these worthy causes via the registration process. All donations over $2 are tax deductible. Tax receipts will be issued by the charities following the events. To donate, please click here.

Supporting charities

The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) is the leading community-funded national organisation in Australia raising money for research into prevention and cure of breast cancer. Research programs funded by the NBCF cover every aspect of breast cancer, from increasing understanding of genetics to providing better treatments and improving ways to support women and their families. The NBCF relies almost entirely on corporate and community support to continue its work.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) is the peak national body for prostate cancer in Australia. The PCFA focuses on funding innovative research, support, information and advocacy for men with prostate cancer and raising awareness across the community. PCFA operates over 100 supports groups Australia wide who provide support and advocacy, via the phone or face to face to men and their families affected by prostate cancer. These groups meet regularly and provide a meeting forum for the exchange of experiences, ideas and news as well as an invaluable support network.

If you have any questions regarding the event, please contact the Associations, Events Coordinator Erika Childs on ph: (02) 9232 4055. We look forward to seeing you there.

The Ron McCallum Debate

Tue Sep 19 2017
Debates

The 7th Annual Ron McCallum Debate will be hosted by the Australian Institute of Employment Rights (AIER) at the UTS Dr Chau Chak Wing Auditorium on Wednesday, 25 October 2017 (4pm to 6pm). This year’s debate will challenge whether the Workplace Relations system is in need of fixing and how the future of work should be regulated.

Registration is essential via the AIER. Please call: 03 9647 9111 or email: admin@aierights.com.au

Presented by the Australian Institute of Employment Rights, an independent, not-for-profit organisation that works in the public interest to promote fairer workplaces.

Raising funds in the NY City Marathon

Tue Sep 19 2017
Charity at the bar

Nerida Harvey, the pro bono solicitor for the Law Society and valued colleague of the Bar Association's Legal Assistance Referral Scheme, will run the 2017 New York City Marathon with the Team for Kids. Nerida's target is to raise $2,620 for the NY Road Runners Youth Programs by 3 October 2017. To learn more about Nerida or her cause, visit her fundraising page here.

Workers Compensation Regulation Bulletin

Tue Sep 19 2017

The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) has published the Workers Compensation Regulation Bulletin, Issue 28, 09/2017. This edition has a feature article (in fact, it's the only article) on "Indexed adjustments to workers compensation benefits from 1 October 2017". View the bulletin on the SIRA website.

Federal Court replaces Interest on Judgments Practice Note

Tue Sep 19 2017
Practice and procedure

The Chief Justice of the Federal Court has revoked the Interest on Judgments Practice Note (GPN-INT) issued on 25 October 2016. Its replacement is now available on the Federal Court website.

The Interest on Judgments Practice Note (GPN-INT) is one of the Court’s General Practice Notes and clarifies certain matters relevant to the calculation of interest on Federal Court judgments. As part of the 12-month review of the General Practice Notes the court has made minor changes to this practice note.

For calculation of interest, please refer to the table of Pre-judgment & Post-judgment Interest Rates on the court's website. If you have any questions about this practice note please email the court at practice.notes@fedcourt.gov.au

New Barristers' Committee Breakfast in Parramatta - 20 October 2017

Tue Sep 19 2017

The New Barristers’ Committee invites you to join our hosts Magistrate Stafford and Magistrate Tsavdaridis for breakfast in Parramatta on 20 October 2017 from 8am. The breakfast will be held at the Legal Grind Café, 9 George Street, Parramatta.

Drop in for a short(or long) time from 8:00am – 9:30am.

So that an appropriate area can be set aside please indicate if you might be able to attend by emailing Corrie Goodhand, 8th Floor Selborne Chambers, at: cgoodhand@eightselborne.com.

2018 Conferences - invitation for abstracts and papers

Mon Sep 18 2017
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 2018 CPD Conference series. The conferences will be held on Saturdays in Ballina, Newcastle, Orange, Parramatta and Sydney during February and March.

The dates for 2018 Conferences are:

  • North Coast (Ballina) – Saturday 17 February
  • Parramatta – Saturday 24 February
  • Newcastle – Saturday 10 March
  • Orange – Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 March
  • Sydney – Saturday 24 March

Suggestions for papers and brief synopses can be submitted to the professional development coordinator, Tiffany McDonald (tmcdonald@nswbar.asn.au) Please ensure to include '2018 Regional Conferences' in the email subject line along with the inclusion of a working title and, where possible, a short description or abstract of your suggestion in the email.

Suggestions and abstracts are requested by Friday, 29 September.

Congratulations to the Bar Half Marathon Team

Mon Sep 18 2017
Charity at the New South Wales Bar

Cynthia Cochrane and Ben Symons ran the Blackmores Half Marathon yesterday and raised $4,400 for the Katrina Dawson Foundation, well in excess of the $3,000 target. Cynthia finished with the official time of 2:04:24, while Ben finished in 1:38. The Everyday Hero page will stay online a little longer, giving members one last chance to raise even more. Well done Cynthia and Ben!

UN Women National Committee Australia: call for board expressions of interest

Mon Sep 18 2017
Diversity

UN Women National Committee Australia is calling for nominations for three members of the Board of Directors, to commence a three year term in November 2017. Applications close 24 September 2017. To be eligible to serve on the Board of Directors, candidates must be a current financial member of UN Women NC Australia. Learn more about the selection criteria here. For more about the UN Women and the UN Women National Commmittee Australia visit UN Women.

Members obligations under the Professional Standards Scheme

Mon Sep 18 2017
Member services and benefits

Every barrister who holds a NSW practising certificate, is a member of the Bar Association and has approved professional indemnity insurance is covered by the New South Wales Bar Association’s Professional Standards Scheme, which limits their liability for damages to $1.5 million.

Mandatory disclosure statement

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation

All members covered by the scheme are reminded of their obligation to display the mandatory disclosure statement on all documentation sent to existing and prospective clients – including instructing solicitors. This ensures that the scheme can be relied upon to protect against unlimited liability. A person covered by a scheme who does not use the disclosure statement as required is guilty of an offence (refer s33(2) of the Professional Standards Act 1994).

The 2017 annual random audit of members on the use of the mandatory statement has shown that a small number of members have not been displaying the mandatory disclosure statement as required. The main breaches are using:

  • a variation of words other than that prescribed by the Regulation;
  • the former prescribed statement which expired on 25 October 2005; and
  • a typeface that is smaller than the minimum required under the Regulation.

Clause 9 of the Professional Standards Regulation 2014 sets out the prescribed disclosure statement to be used, i.e. ‘Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation’. The statement must be printed on a size not less than the face measurement of Times New Roman typeface in 8 point.

The Professional Standards Council published a guide on responsibilities of members to use the disclosure statement which can be viewed here.

Please check to ensure you are using the correct disclosure statement on all documents as required.

Should you have any queries regarding the Scheme, please contact the Bar Association’s Scheme Administrator and Senior Projects Lawyer, Ms Kim Kemp on ph 9232 4055, fax 9221 1149 or e-mail kkemp@nswbar.asn.au.

2017 Justice 4 Refugees Cocktail Evening

Mon Sep 18 2017
Charity at the bar

On behalf of the Refugee Advice & Casework Service (RACS), the New South Wales Bar Association invites all members of the NSW Bar to be our guest at the Justice 4 Refugees (J4R) Cocktail Evening on Wednesday 11 October 2017, 5.30pm to 7.30pm in the NSW Bar Association Common Room. Guest Speakers include The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG and Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs.

The New South Wales Bar Council has resolved to be a RACS Fundraising Partner. The J4R Cocktail Evening aims to raise funds and celebrate the work of the Refugee Advice & Casework Service who for more than 30 years has been actively protecting and advocating for the rights of people seeking asylum in Australia.

All proceeds raised on the evening will be donated directly to the Refugee Advice & Casework Service (RACS).

Should you wish for more information or to attend this event, please forward your RSVP to rsvp@nswbar.asn.au by Wednesday 4 October 2017 - Spaces are strictly limited

15 Bobber- Mr David Bennett AC QC - Celebrating 50 Years at the Bar

Mon Sep 18 2017
Social events

Members of the NSW Bar Association are invited to attend the 15 Bobber for Mr David Bennett AC QC, celebrating his 50 years at the Bar. The 15 Bobber will be held Friday, 20 October in the New South Wales Bar Association Common Room. Speaking for Mr David Bennett AC QC will be Mr John Sheahan QC. The event begins at 5.30pm with speeches beginning at 5.45pm. RSVP here by 5.00pm Wednesday 11 October 2017.

Finals fever deals from ABA Member Benefits

Fri Sep 15 2017
Member services and benefits

Members of the New South Wales Bar Association enjoy access to the Australian Bar Association's member benefits scheme. The service partner, MBA Benefits, has negotiated special offers on luxury cars, electrical goods, travel experiences and holiday packages. Their exclusive offers for September 2017 can be viewed here.

Copyright Law and Practice Symposium

Fri Sep 15 2017
Conferences

The Australian Copyright Council, along with the Copyright Society of Australia, invite members to the 18th Biennial Copyright Law and Practice Symposium on 12-13 October 2017 at Lendlease Darling Harbour. Keynote speaker will be the Hon Pierre N Leval, justice of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Learn more here.

Lessons from the Cricketers’ Pay Dispute – Last chance to reserve your place

Fri Sep 15 2017
BarADR

Today, 19 September 2017, is your last opportunity to reserve a seat at the ADR Chat. It is an opportunity for ADR Practitioners at the New South Wales Bar to get together in an informal social environment, with the bonus that at each function a topical ADR issue will be discussed in a lighthearted way. On 19 September Robert Angyal SC will be chatting with John J Whelan, adviser to the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) for the recent Memorandum of Understanding negotiations with Cricket Australia. 5.15pm for 5.30pm start. Silks Cafe, 170 Phillip Street. Cost: $30 at the door. For catering purposes, please RSVP in advance to Megan Batchelor at BarADR@nswbar.asn.au.

New federal dispute resolution scheme for consumers

Thu Sep 14 2017
Dispute resolution

The Australian Government has announced the formation of a new "one-stop shop dispute resolution scheme", the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). AFCA will replace the three existing schemes – the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) - and will have a monetary limit of $1 million and compensation cap of $500,000. Learn more here.

Wellbeing at the New South Wales Bar

Thu Sep 14 2017
Wellbeing

R U OK? Day is the perfect opportunity to check out the new and revised Wellbeing pages on the New South Wales Bar Association's website. There, you will find information on: how to get help (BarCare, Bar Cover, Benevolent Fund); how to get involved in social, sporting and recreational events; as well as information about relevant lectures on vicarious trauma and the TJMF Guidelines to Psychological Wellbeing. Bookmark the page and visit it often.

R U OK?

Thu Sep 14 2017

Wellbeing

Today is R U OK? Day. Stay connected and have meaningful conversations with a loved one, friend and work colleague. Be a good listener. For more information on the simple steps that could save a life, visit the R U OK? website.

Next meeting of the Bar Book Club

Thu Sep 14 2017
Wellbeing

The next meeting of the Bar Book Club will be held on Tuesday, 31 October 2017 at 6.00pm. Up for discussion will be The Last Man in Europe by Dennis Glover. You can read a review here.

Benevolent Association: donations may now be made online

Wed Sep 13 2017
Member services and benefits

Message from the Treasurer, Andrew Bell SC and Chair of the Wellbeing Committee, Kylie Nomchong SC

The Barristers’ Benevolent Association of New South Wales was established to set up a scheme whereby financial assistance may be provided to persons who are (or have been) members of the NSW Bar and who have practiced predominantly in NSW.

There are no fixed circumstances in which such assistance may be provided save for it being directed to “necessitous and deserving cases”. It provides a fund for those who are suffering from hardship either in the short term or long term. The funding is an important part of the collegiate life of the Bar and how we look after each other. In order to ensure that the Fund is maintained and available for our colleagues who need it, the Fund must receive the support of those at the Bar who are able to do so. Donations may now be made online. Donations are tax deductible.

Applications may be made to the Benevolent Association and ought include the basis on which the application is made together with any supporting documentation. Grants of assistance may extend to the Member’s spouse (including surviving spouse), partner in a defacto relationship (both opposite and same sex relationships) (including surviving defacto partner), children (including adopted children and children of any aforementioned spouse or partner) and any such other persons that may be determined by the Committee of Management to be dependants.

Applications are confidential. Applications are assessed on a case by case basis by the Committee of Management of the Benevolent Association, whose decisions are final and conclusive. The Committee is comprised of the Executive of the Bar Council.

John Brian Goldrick

Wed Sep 13 2017
Vale

John Goldrick, former magistrate and a founding member of 5th Floor Wentworth Chambers, has died. His funeral will be held on Tuesday, 19 September at 1.00pm at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Ridge Street, North Sydney.

Part-time employment opportunities wanted for Indigenous law students

Wed Sep 13 2017
Diversity

Do you need some clerical and administrative assistance to run your practice? If the answer is yes - why not employ an Indigenous law student? There are some first and second year law students currently looking for this opportunity. As part of the Bar Association's Reconciliation Action Plan, all barristers, clerks and chambers are encouraged to identify part-time employment opportunities for 2017 for Indigenous law students. Ideally, this would be for a day or half day a week on a regular basis doing loose-leaf filing, administrative or clerical tasks and includes some mentoring and guidance for the student.

This initiative has been highly successful for a number of Indigenous law students and needs the ongoing support of more members of the Bar to ensure its continued success. Contact with the Bar as well as some financial security significantly contributes to the success of the students at their law studies.

Please contact Chris Ronalds SC on ronalds@fjc.net.au or 9229 7378 if you have any openings or questions. Greg Tolhurst

Executive Director