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Every Issue

Cite as: December 2013 87 (12) LIJ, p.72

This month’s reviews cover the LIV LinkedIn group, mental health and the law, recordings of High Court cases, the State Revenue Office, privacy and the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School.

LIV Linkedin Group

Sometimes social media can be a rather top down experience. You might “follow” a Twitter user, or “like” a Facebook page, but it can be hard to initiate serious discussion as an individual. LinkedIn groups (for those who are unaware) tend to be a little more democratic. The LIV LinkedIn Group is the place for members of the LIV to discuss new ideas and ponder future challenges facing the legal profession. Members can initiate posts, pose questions and even seek non-legal advice. And because LinkedIn is seen as the social network for professionals with a strong career focus, group members tend to put their best foot forward in community interactions. If you are yet to take the plunge into using social media as a work tool, the LIV LinkedIn Group is a great place to get your feet wet.

Wellbeing and the Law (WATL) Foundation

The Victorian Bar and the LIV have joined forces to support the mental health and wellbeing of the Victorian legal community. It should come as no surprise to anyone reading this journal that research shows lawyers and law students have higher rates of depression and anxiety when compared to the community as a whole. The sole aim of WATL is to tackle this issue head on, and so it has been set up as a registered health promotion charity with deductible gift recipient status. The WATL website features news and the latest media releases from the foundation, ways for you to get involved and the opportunity for you to make a difference by donating directly to the foundation. More importantly, the WATL site will be there to offer support for those in need.

High Court of Australia Video Recordings

In a further effort to improve public access to its decisions, the High Court of Australia has recently begun publishing audio-visual recordings of Full Court hearings in Canberra. Recordings will initially be available a few business days after the hearing to allow for the removal of any information that may be the subject of a publication restraint, but the Court expects this process will be further streamlined as time goes on. The hearings are available as a stream on the Court’s website and are not downloadable. Reproduction except by schools and universities is prohibited. The recordings do not constitute the official record of the Court, so it seems very unlikely that they will open up a new medium for the citing of precedent. Nonetheless, they are a fascinating additional insight into the workings of our highest court.

State Revenue Office

With the State Revenue Office (SRO) administering various legislation including the Duties Act 2000 (Vic), it is worth noting the information that is available for professionals on its website. Details can be found on Revenue Rulings, the purpose of which is to explain SRO guidelines and provide answers to more complex questions. For those wanting information on recent legislative changes there is a “Legislative Updates” link under the “Legislation/Rulings” tab. Some VCAT decisions dating back to 2005 are also found in this section, although many contain a summary and not the complete decision. Likewise Revenue Rulings can be browsed as well as searched using keywords. There are also various ways to stay in touch with recent news, whether through an RSS feed such as the “Tax, Duty and Levy News” or a free update such as “Revenue Rulings, Publications and Forms”.

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner – Privacy law reform

With the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 (Cth) introducing significant changes to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), it is worth taking stock of information that is available online about these reforms. As these changes will commence in March 2014 it is important that organisations and agencies start to make appropriate preparation. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, an independent statutory agency within the attorney-general’s portfolio, has provided information on its website about the key details. It outlines the 13 new Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) which will be replacing, and are significantly different from, the existing Information and National Privacy Principles (the IPPs and NPPs).

Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School

With a need to locate a particular US code the reviewer looked towards the collection of links and resources published on the Cornell Law School site under the banner “Legal Information Institute”. Founded in 1992, the LII provides open access to US Law and to other countries’ legislation. The reviewer quickly found the required link to the US Code on the home page which is then arranged by title. Other key legal resources that can be accessed from the home page are the Federal Law collection, the US Constitution and the Code of Federal Regulations. The World Law link gives access to a comprehensive list of publicly available online legislation which is organised by country, as well as to international organisations and treaties.

Reviews are provided by the LIV library, ph 9607 9360; email

We welcome suggestions for websites, apps and blogs to include in this column.

Neither the LIV nor the LIJ in any way endorses or takes any responsibility whatsoever for any material contained on external sites referred to by the LIJ.


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