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Have Australian legal professional regulators missed the diversity boat or are law societies sailing away with the glory?

Introduction

In March 2014 the Law Council of Australia (LCA) released a report: National attrition and re-engagement study (NARS).1 That report identified many of the challenges faced by women in the legal sector in Australia, particularly triggers that prompt women to leave the sector and barriers to returning. NARS made recommendations about avenues for change which focused on professional bodies and law firms, or chambers. In light of NARS, the discussion of the diversity challenge facing the Australian legal profession has centred on what professional organisations or firms and chambers are doing to address diversity. Little has been said about what is being done by legal profession regulators and the essential role these regulators must play.

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Opening of the Legal Year 2016 - NT joins call for Legal Assistance Funding

It is traditional for legal communities around the world to mark the Opening of the Legal Year (OLY) with celebrations of collegiality and the administration of justice. In the Northern Territory, Law Society Northern Territory (Society) marks the opening of the legal year with events for members and guests where the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court reflects on the work of the courts and the challenges on the horizon. This year, the Society also joins other Australian law societies by marking the commencement of a national campaign for restoration of legal assistance funding.

To view the entire media release click here

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Darwin Barrister Duncan McConnel powerful advocate for justice

On 31 December 2015, Duncan McConnel’s 7-year career with the Law Council of Australia (“LCA”) will draw to a peaceful close, drawing the line under an historic 2015 presidential year.

The LCA was established in 1933 and is the peak national representative body of the Australian legal profession. It represents about 60,000 legal practitioners nationwide. In addition to representing the legal profession at a national level the LCA advises governments, courts and federal agencies on ways that the law and justice system can be improved for the benefit of the community. The LCA also represents the Australian legal profession internationally.

Law Society Northern Territory (“Society”) president Mr Tass Liveris said, “Mr McConnel’s entire LCA career is a rare and outstanding achievement, but his presidency in particular has been a significant and historic opportunity for the Territory. His great success in bringing issues that have a major impact in the Territory onto the national and international stage is what has made his presidency so remarkable.”

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Daniel's Law is not right for the Northern Territory

“There is no evidence that public registers are successful in increasing community safety or reducing the rates of re-offending. There is the added risk that they create further barriers for victims to report offending.” said Law Society Northern Territory (“Society”) President, Mr Tass Liveris. The Society’s concerns were expressed in relation to the Sex Offender and Child Homicide Offender Public Website (Daniel’s Law) Bill, commonly referred to as “Daniel’s Law”.

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Law Society Council Announced for 2015-16

The Society AGM was held last night with almost 250 members voting in person or by proxy. Mr Tass Liveris was re-elected President (unopposed) and expressed his gratitude to the 2014/15 Council, members and the secretariat for a very productive year. Copies of the annual report can be found on the Society website. The outcome of the election is below. Congratulations to the Council 2015/16.

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Indigenous Legal Awards

TERRITORIAN EDDIE CUBILLO WINS PRESTIGIOUS NATIONAL INDIGENOUS LEGAL AWARD

At the National Indigenous Legal Conference dinner in Melbourne on 4 September 2015, former Territory lawyer Eddie Cubillo was announced as the 2015 National Indigenous Legal Professional of the Year. New South Wales law student Alison Whittaker was announced as the National Indigenous Law Student of the Year.

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Supreme Court Fees

JUSTICE OUT OF REACH FOR MANY AS GOVERNMENT INCREASES SUPREME COURT FEES AGAIN

In the 2015/16 financial year, a 5-day hearing in the Supreme Court will cost an individual $9,426 and a corporation $17,683 in filing fees alone, not including any legal fees. It will cost even more for every additional day in court.

Parties will be charged thousands of dollars to file a notice of appeal. Law Society Northern Territory (“Society”) today expressed deep concern about the growing size of these sorts of fees.

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Law Society NT welcomes Senior Counsel appointments in the NT

Law Society Northern Territory (“Society”) congratulates Sonia Brownhill and Matthew Nathan, who were appointed Senior Counsel by the Chief Justice on 15 September 2015.

Society President Tass Liveris said, “Ms Brownhill, a member of the independent Bar and Mr Nathan, a Senior Crown Prosecutor, are each highly skilled advocates in their chosen fields and are both richly deserving of their appointments. They have exemplary knowledge of the law and have a demonstrated commitment to the best traditions of the Bar and the administration of justice.”.

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Identification of Youth Offenders

Letter dated 4 June 2015 to the Attorney-General, the Hon John Elferick MLA

The Law Society Northern Territory (the Society) refers to our letter to you dated 18 September 2014 calling on you to introduce urgent amendments to the Youth Justice Act (Act) to prevent the publication of information identifying youth who come in contact with the justice system.

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Supreme Court Listings - 2016

Letter to Chief Justice Trevor Riley dated 21 April 2015:

Thank you for your letter dated 16 March 2015 in relation to the Supreme Court listings for 2016.

On 14 April 2015 the Society"™s Legal Practice Committee (Committee) met and considered the matters raised in your letter. Membership of the Committee is made up from representatives of private firms, government lawyers and the Bar.

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Behaviour of Correction Officers

Letter to The Hon John Elferink MLA dated 21 April 2015:

Law Society Northern Territory (the Society) has received a number of inquiries from members of the public seeking to complain about behaviour of corrections officers at the Darwin Correctional Precinct.

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Issues Paper - Development of a Central Bond Holding Scheme

Letter to Director Legal Policy, Department of Attorney-General and Justice:

The Law Society Northern Territory (the Society) thanks you for the opportunity to provide input on the Issues Paper - Development of a Central Bond Holding Scheme in the Northern Territory (the Scheme). The Society applauds measures that will address areas of unmet legal need.

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International Treaty Against Use of Nuclear Weapons

Letter to Chief Executive Officer Australian Red Cross dated 8 April 2015:

INTERATIONAL TREATY AGAINST USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Law Society Northern Territory (Society) is writing to acknowledge and express its support for your work building support for an international treaty that would make the use of nuclear weapons illegal under international law.

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Office Location

Level 3, 9 Cavenagh Street
Darwin NT 0800

Mailing Address

GPO Box 2388
Darwin NT 0801

Contact

Phone: 08 8981 5104
Fax: 08 8941 1623
Email: lawsoc@lawsocietynt.asn.au

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