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Latest News

Mandatory sentencing does not make the community safer

Media attention has recently been drawn to calls to increase mandatory sentences of imprisonment for assaults on Police officers.

Law Society Northern Territory (“Society”) president Mr Tass Liveris said, “Northern Territory courts lock up more people than anywhere else in Australia and it hasn’t reduced crime or re-offending. We are all seeing our imprisonment and re-offending rates continually going up. Our Indigenous imprisonment rate is in crisis. Making sentencing laws even harsher is not going to stop assaults or make the community any safer; it will only make these problems worse.”.

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Law Society Northern Territory calls on people in the Northern Territory to tell their story as part of a national review into access to justice

Law Society Northern Territory calls on people in the Northern Territory to tell their story as part of a national review into access to justice

Law Society Northern Territory (Society) today called on people in the Northern Territory to help show the human face of the crisis affecting access to justice in Australia by telling their story to the Law Council’s Justice Project – which has today moved into its consultation phase. The Justice Project is a comprehensive national review into the state of access to justice in Australia, supported by the Society, focusing on challenges for the most vulnerable. Consultation papers, overseen by a Steering Committee of eminent lawyers, academics and jurists including former High Court Chief Justice, the Hon. Robert French AC, have been distributed nationally.

The papers relate to 13 groups identified in the terms of reference as facing significant social and economic disadvantage:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; people with disability; older persons; people experiencing economic disadvantage; homeless persons; children and young people; prisoners and detainees; people who have been trafficked and exploited; LGBTI people; recent arrivals to Australia, asylum seekers; people who experience family violence; and people in regional and remote areas of Australia.

Contributions will be incorporated into the final report, resulting in the most comprehensive examination of the access to justice needs of vulnerable Australians in recent decades. Tass Liveris President of the Society said Australia’s access to justice problem is acute and people experiencing significant disadvantage are falling through the cracks. “All Australians have, under the law, the right to seek justice. But this right doesn’t count for much if it cannot be exercised. We know that legal issues compound other social and economic challenges creating a dire situation for those in need of assistance,” Mr Liveris said.  Mr Liveris said the Justice Project would reveal the human face of this crisis, highlighting the research with stories of hardship and hope – and this is where people in the Northern Territory can make a difference. “The Justice Project will take the reporting of this crisis out of realm of numbers and into the realm of lived experience,” Mr Liveris said. “The aim is to allow those affected to share their stories of interaction with the justice system.” The Justice Project will also tell the stories of the ‘unsung heroes’ of the legal assistance community, many of whom are finding innovative ways to assist their clients. “The Justice Project will identify what is working well and demonstrate the considerable innovation that exists within the justice sector, in spite of resourcing pressures. “The eventual recommendations will support an evidence-based policy approach which seeks to improve social outcomes rather than further entrenching disadvantage and cost to the community.” To share your story, or write a formal submission by 30 September, visit – plain English and audio-assisted materials are available


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Media Release: Strong Local Northern Territory Appointments to the Local Court

The Law Society Northern Territory (“Society”) welcomes the announcement of the appointment of Judge Elizabeth Morris as Deputy Chief Judge of the Local Court.

Society spokesperson Maria Savvas said, “Judge Morris is respected by the legal profession and has a significant and longstanding connection to the Northern Territory. Her commitment to the Northern Territory community is demonstrated through her considerable involvement since arriving in the Northern Territory in 1990. Judge Morris’ ascension to the position of Deputy Chief Judge is well deserved and recognises her dedication and leadership within the Local Court.”

The appointment of Greg Macdonald as a new Local Court judge is also welcomed by the Society.

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Media Release: Reversal of Community Legal Centre funding cuts important for the Northern Territory

Law Society Northern Territory (“Society”) welcomes the Attorney-General's announcement today that the federal government will no longer cut $35 million, or 30%, out of funding to community legal centres (“CLC”) from 1 July 2017.

Society president Mr Tass Liveris said, “Territory CLCs have been under-resourced for far too long and are in increasingly high demand. Every year, a growing number of Territorians facing legal disputes have been unable to access legal assistance, leading to significant social and financial consequences affecting the whole community. The federal government’s 1 July cuts would have been crippling for Territory CLCs and had devastating consequences here, especially for families, women and children and remote and Indigenous Territorians.”

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Media Release: Alice Springs Local Court Judge a win for diversity and access to justice

Law Society Northern Territory (“Society”) welcomes the Attorney-General's announcement today that the Supreme and Local Court Registrar, Sarah McNamara, has been appointed a Local Court judge in Alice Springs.

Society President Mr Tass Liveris said, "The Society has long supported judicial appointments from within the local profession to the greatest extent possible, diversity in the legal profession and the judiciary and access to justice in the regions. Registrar McNamara’s appointment progresses each of these causes.”.

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Symmetra Unconscious Bias Training for Legal Practitioners

Lawyers typically make a multitude of decisions daily, affecting themselves and others, and where unconscious biases are in play, the outcomes may be less than optimum and often contrary to your intentions.

In this interactive course, practitioners will learn about the concept of unconscious bias, how it affects their business and industry, and equip themselves with tools to increase their effectiveness in decision making situations. Videos, case studies and revealing questions engage the learner in this relevant and fast paced program. A practical toolkit is provided to enable practitioners to counteract bias in decision situations.

Please click here for further information about this training.

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Office Location

Level 3, 9 Cavenagh Street
Darwin NT 0800

Mailing Address

GPO Box 2388
Darwin NT 0801


Phone: 08 8981 5104
Fax: 08 8941 1623