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LIV advocacy

Every Issue

Cite as: December 2013 87 (12) LIJ, p.10

To represent the interests of members and the wider community, the LIV actively seeks to influence policy and legislation through lobbying and submissions to government, the courts and other bodies. 

50 years of LIV membership

LIV CEO Michael Brett Young and LIV president Reynah Tang hosted a lunch to celebrate 18 members of the LIV who marked 50 years of membership. One anniversary member, Tom Bostock, a former partner with Mallesons and Gadens, is still an active member of the LIV Corporate Law Committee.

Asian Australian Lawyers Association

Mr Tang and Mr Brett Young attended the launch of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) at the Supreme Court of Victoria. Mr Tang hosted the launch, which included an address from Justice Emilios Kyrou reflecting on his experience as a lawyer with a migrant background. The new association aims to engage lawyers of Asian background, as well as those with an interest in the Asian market, with a view to forging stronger ties and creating business opportunities across the region (see “Smashing the bamboo ceiling” on page 24).

Diversity on the Bench

Mr Tang was interviewed by ABC TV’s 7.30 Victoria about the small number of women appointed to the judiciary by Attorney-General Robert Clark. Mr Tang said there needed to be a shift from the traditional method of selecting the judiciary predominantly from the Bar. The wider profession – which is more diverse – should be considered too.

International Bar Association conference

Mr Tang and Mr Brett Young attended the IBA conference at Harvard University, Boston where Mr Tang spoke at an event the LIV co-hosted with the Law Council of Australia and the Law Societies of New South Wales and Queensland. The IBA’s annual conference attracts more than 6000 delegates from around the world and provides an opportunity to discuss and debate the future of the profession and key issues it faces.

LawAsia Conference

Mr Tang attended the 26th LawAsia Conference in Singapore, where he met with Singapore Law Society president Lok Vi Ming and Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong. Mr Tang was a judge in the LawAsia moot finals and visited the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and Maxwell Chambers.

Law Council of Australia

Mr Brett Young met with Law Council of Australia (LCA) secretary-general Martyn Hagan to discuss issues of mutual interest, including the LIV providing staff to assist the LCA with the development of the Uniform Torrens Title Act.

Legal Services Board

Mr Brett Young met with members of the Legal Services Board (LSB) to discuss regulation matters.

Melbourne Commercial Arbitration and Mediation Centre

Mr Brett Young attended a board meeting of the Melbourne Commercial Arbitration and Mediation Centre to discuss the implementation of the mediation and arbitration centre and hub.

Monash University Law Faculty board

Mr Brett Young attended the final Monash University Law Faculty board meeting for 2013.

TAC legislation

Mr Brett Young attended an information session on changes to the Transport Accident Act 1986 and subsequently met with staff of assistant treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips to discuss proposed changes to TAC legislation and its impact on claimants.

Wellbeing and the Law

Mr Tang and Mr Brett Young attended the first directors meeting of the WATL Foundation to consider the future direction, priorities and fundraising strategies of the foundation.

Submissions

Submissions made by the LIV may be viewed at www.liv.asn.au/For-Lawyers/Sections-Groups-Associations/Practice-Sections/Submissions.

Fee Waiver at VCAT

The LIV has raised concerns over the availability of fee waiver at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) and supports the recommendation that VCAT considers reinstating its former policy whereby receipt of a Centrelink benefit entitles an applicant to a fee waiver.

Innovation patents review

The LIV made a submission to the Advisory Council on Intellectual Property regarding the review of the innovation patent system. In the submission, the LIV gave its support for a utility type model, whereby a second tier system of patent protection is available in addition to standard patents. But it noted that the current innovation patent system required modification to address the low threshold which is currently in place for the innovative step, compared with the high level of protection and remedies afforded to innovation patents. The LIV recommended raising the inventive threshold for innovation patent and lowering the remedies available to ensure a more balanced approach overall.

Inquiry into Access to Justice

The LIV was pleased to provide the Law Council of Australia (LCA) with comments on the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Access to Justice Arrangements Issues Paper. The inquiry examines the costs of accessing justice and legal representation, the impact of costs and how justice can be better achieved. The LIV provided comments based on relevant past submissions and the experience of LIV members, drawing particular attention to increased court fees being a significant inhibitor to access to justice.

State Revenue Office

The LIV made a submission to the SRO in response to Draft Revenue Ruling DA.026 (version 2) which details the aggregation of dutiable transactions and the exception from aggregation for domestic builders where residential premises are constructed. In the submission the LIV commented on the legislative and case law interpretations of “one arrangement” and “associated transactions” and the nature of “one arrangements”. More generally, the LIV also noted that while it gave its support for circumstances where the Commissioner will or will not aggregate transactions, the references to the motives of the transferee should be removed.

Workplace relations

The LIV has developed a key issues paper following the 2013 federal election with respect to employment law. In it, the LIV calls on the Coalition government and the Opposition to consider law reform in these areas to provide strengthened protection against workplace bullying and discrimination, as well as providing an increased right to flexible work arrangements and legal representation at the Fair Work Commission.

LCA SUBMISSIONS

The latest LCA submissions can be seen at www. lawcouncil.asn.au/library/submissions.cfm.

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