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Law Council of Australia - Media Release

A shifting culture towards equal opportunity for women in law

There has been a rise in the number of female barristers being briefed on matters over the past three years, according to the latest equal opportunity data released by the Law Council of Australia.

The Law Council’s Equitable Briefing Policy Annual Report 2018-19 has found that briefs to female barristers increased by two per cent during the reporting year, with women now receiving 27 per cent of all briefs, on track to surpass the target of 30 per cent before the next reporting period.

Law Council President, Pauline Wright, said that the data reveals a welcome shift in culture.

“The Law Council launched the Equitable Briefing Policy in 2016, with the aim of tracking equal opportunity within the profession. The latest data shows evidence of positive moves within the profession, especially for female junior barristers who are receiving more briefs,” said Ms Wright.

“It is pleasing to see that we are on track to meet one of the key targets, for women barristers to be briefed in at least 30 per cent of all matters,” said Ms Wright.

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AWL National Conference 2020 Vision – In Focus (Webinar)

Australian Women Lawyers cordially invite you to attend their National Conference “2020 Vision - In Focus” Webinar.

About this Event

The 9th AWL National Conference will be the first of it's kind, held online for the first time due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Designed for all those in the Australian legal sector who support the contribution and advancement of women.

Delegates will have the opportunity to hear from a range of high-profile and influential speakers, including keynote speakers Nyadol Nyuon and the Hon. Diana Bryant AO QC.

Confirmed speakers include Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, Mariam Veisadeh, Anna Brown OAM, Natalie Wade, Noor Blumer, Jill Prior, and Pauline Wright.

With more speakers to be announced soon.

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Indigenous Incarceration and the Northern Territory


The Law Council of Australia is pleased to present a panel discussion on:

Indigenous Incarceration and the Northern Territory: 
Progress since the Royal Commission into the Detention and Protection of Children in the Northern Territory

The Law Council presents a panel discussion with renowned advocates Mick Gooda, Olga Havnen and David Woodroffe, moderated by Law Council President, Pauline Wright. Nearly four years since the Royal Commission into the Detention and Protection of Children in the Northern Territory, legal and policy experts examine the overincarceration of First Nations people in Australia’s criminal justice system and the opportunities for reform.Featuring eminent speakers Mick Gooda, Olga Havnen and David Woodroffe.

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Top End Womens Legal Service

Announcing Legal Education Month - July

 A month of a free legal education workshops held at TEWLS on the most commonly requested areas of law, including family law, domestic and family violence, and tenancy.

Commencing from Tuesday 7 July 2020, the TEWLS Legal Education Month will feature a series of four (4) topics, with each topic running twice per week in one (1) hour workshops. All workshops will be held free-of-charge and in-person at TEWLS’ Darwin office, with refreshments provided during the workshops and TEWLS solicitors available following the workshops to provide any further information and/or assistance to make an appointment for legal advice. The workshops will be available to members of the general public.

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Supreme Court of the Northern Territory

Notice #6 to Practitioners, Litigants and the Visiting Public - COVID-19, and Practice Direction No 1 of 2020 (amended)

As notified in paragraph 4 of Notice #6 – COVID 19, the temporary electronic filing arrangements provided for by Practice Direction 1 of 2020: Electronic Filing in Civil Proceeding COVID-19 Temporary Arrangements, made 31 March 2020 are to continue until the commencement of electronic filing under the Odyssey Integrated Case Management System.

Some amendments have been made to the existing Practice Direction. This amended Practice Direction commences on 5 June 2020.

Additionally, Registries in Darwin and Alice Springs will re-open, with appropriate social distancing measures in place, as of 15 June 2020.

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Don Dale Detention Centre Use of Tear Gas – High Court of Australia Ruling

The Law Society Northern Territory (the Society) welcomes yesterday’s High Court decision that the use of tear gas at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in 2014 was unlawful.

This decision emphasises and highlights the need for change within the youth justice system in the Northern Territory and in particular reinforces the need for the Northern Territory Government to implement the recommendations made in the 2017 Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory Report.

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Solicitor-General Appointed as Supreme Court Justice

The Northern Territory Government media release can be viewed here.

Solicitor-General Sonia Brownhill has been appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory. Ms Brownhill will replace the Honourable Justice Graham Hiley who is retiring early next year, and her appointment will take effect from 2 November 2020.

Her appointment means that following the retirement of the Justice Hiley the Northern Territory Supreme Court will become the first in Australia to have a 50:50 split in gender representation on the bench.

Ms Brownhill has a lengthy background in law in the Northern Territory. She joined the Solicitor for the Northern Territory in 1997, before moving to the Solicitor-General’s Chambers in 2006 as Crown Counsel.

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NT Local Court update

Following feedback, and further technology enhancements, please see attached updated:

Please note the requirement of Virtual Appearance Slips to be provided to the Court at least 2 business days in advance. To assist compliance with this one slip can be used for multiple matters across multiple days. This will enable the court to send you a Cisco WebEx meeting invitation for your matter at the time it is listed.

These documents outline practices to commence Monday 11 May 2020.

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Advice 3: COVID-19 - practising certificate renewals and fees

The Law Society Northern Territory is aware of the impact that COVID-19 is having on legal practitioners and firms across the Northern Territory.

The Society has been looking at measures that may assist the local legal profession where possible and notes steps taken in other Australian jurisdictions to support and provide financial and other assistance.

Northern Territory annual practising certificate fees and the Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund annual contribution are not set by the Society but are determined each year by a statutory process under the Legal Profession Act 2006. Membership of the Society is included as part of the practising certificate fee.

This means that the Society has no ability to reduce practising certificate fees or Society membership fees as has been occurring in other jurisdictions.

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Local Court hearings to be vacated to help tackle spread of COVID-19

The NT Local Court is taking measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and will delay many hearings scheduled to take place until June 2020.
Non-custodial hearings will be vacated and listed for Case Management Inquiry (CMI).

CMI's are usually brief procedural listings that enable the matter to be heard by the court at a later date.

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Supreme Court NT front counter services in Alice Springs

Notice #5 to practitioners litigants and the visiting public

  1. Following the developments in the COVID-19 situation, and the need to implement measures to ensure the safety of staff, practitioners, litigants and the visiting public, the public facing counter in Alice Springs closed with effect from Wednesday, 1 April 2020.
  2. While the counter is closed, the Registry will still be operating to provide services and support to practitioners, litigants and the wider community by telephone and email.
  3. Practice Direction 1 of 2020 and 2 of 2020 which are available on the Supreme Court website provide directions in relation to the management of criminal and civil proceedings during closure of the public counters, including the filing, issuing and transmission of court documents.
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Office Location

3/6 Lindsay Street
Darwin NT 0800

Mailing Address

GPO Box 2388
Darwin NT 0801


Telephone: (08) 8981 5104
Fax: (08) 8941 1623
ABN: 62 208 314 893