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Every Issue

This month we review Indigenous legal information on AustLII, an online patent search system, the VOCAT website, a site providing information on the dangers of drugs in sport,a “foolkit” for lawyers and a new Victorian family violence gateway.

Australian Indigenous Law Library www.austlii.edu.au/au/special/indigenous Developed with the assistance of the Indigenous Law Centre at the University of New South Wales, the Australian Indigenous Law Library is a well maintained collection of Indigenous case law, legislation and journals accessible via the AustLII databases. All federal and state Bills, Explanatory Memoranda, Acts and Regulations concerning Indigenous issues are easily accessible from the site, and the consolidation of case law is impressive. Even if you do not specifically deal with Indigenous law or represent Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander persons, we still urge you to visit the site and peruse the Timeline feature, a fascinating if somewhat sobering year-by-year breakdown of legal developments affecting Indigenous people. AusPat www.ipaustralia.gov.au/auspat IP Australia recently launched its new online patent search system, dubbed AusPat. AusPat is a replacement for the previous “Patsearch” and “PATADMIN” search interfaces and practitioners are advised to discontinue using those services. Sporting a single search field displayed prominently on the homepage (similar to Google), AusPat allows you to do a quick search on any of the 20 fields of its database. You can also customise your search list, rearranging columns and results to suit your needs, and save your results to the new MyList feature, allowing you to quickly gather a list of relevant applications for later perusal. VOCAT www.vocat.vic.gov.au The Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) website is a valuable resource for both victims of crime and their legal representatives. A beautifully designed and extremely well organised site, VOCAT makes available for download PDF and Word versions of all forms necessary for a VOCAT application and sub sequent submissions. Brochures outlining the rights of victims, VOCAT procedures and frequently asked questions are available in nine languages for download. Resources of direct assistance to legal representatives include quick links to all Victorian and commonwealth legislation, the latest practice directions and guidelines and VOCAT annual reports. CleanEdge www.cleanedge.com.au To coincide with the release of the Victorian government’s draft sports anti-doping policy, the CleanEdge website has been launched to provide information for athletes and sporting individuals or organisations on the dangers of using drugs to enhance performance. An initiative of the Victorian branch of Sports Medicine Australia, the site, although not aimed at those in the legal profession, does encourage Victorians to become involved in the policy drafting process, which will eventually sit under the Sports Anti-Doping Act 2005 and complement the World Anti-Doping Agency’s World Anti-Doping Code. Comments on the proposed policy are invited until the end of August 2008. Foolkit www.foolkit.com.au Billed as “The Lawyer’s Toolkit”, Foolkit is a South Australian based site aimed at South Australian based lawyers, but don’t let that blind you to the real treasures this site has on offer. The site is cleanly divided into two major sections, one aimed at lawyers, the other at the general public. The lawyers’ section provides a well thought out and easily navigable list of South Australian and federal legislation and court decisions, divided into eight separate practice areas, and is an excellent first stop for those needing to research South Australian legislation. The site is also a valuable resource for non-South Australian lawyers: visit the Management section in the top navigation menu for a wealth of information on managing your practice and your life. Family Violence Information Gateway www.familyviolence.vic.gov.au Victoria’s Office of Women’s Policy has recently launched a new online gateway for government information on family violence. The site provides easier access to awareness and support resources, as well as links to relevant state legislation, including details of the new Family Violence Act being drafted in response to the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s recommendations. Family lawyers seeking assistance for clients will find handy information on relevant support services available in the community, and we particularly encourage members to download the Family Violence Risk Management Framework PDF, which contains information on assessing risk and includes a practice guide for professionals who work with victims of family violence.

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