From the LIV

Cite as: December 2015 89 (12) LIJ, p.6

Every voice strengthens the LIV's submissions. 

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Every voice strengthens the LIV’s submissions.

This year, the LIV has contributed more than 100 submissions to state and federal governments on issues ranging from privacy to personal injuries to the regulation of the legal profession. Most of this policy work is done through our 75 committees which comprise more than 1300 lawyers, most of whom are experts in their areas of practice.

Like other professional associations, the LIV advocates strongly on issues affecting the legal profession. The most recent example is the Legal Profession Uniform Law. See page 87.

Unlike other professional associations, the LIV advocates on law reform issues beyond those that affect the profession directly. The LIV seeks to improve laws generally and ensure that laws passed by the Victorian and federal parliaments advance the rule of law and respect human rights. By doing so, the LIV advances the public interest in having strong, robust laws. Activities and transactions regulated by law are not assisted by unclear laws or laws that have been passed without full consideration of the effects or consequences of those laws. Our society is stronger, more efficient and fairer for having robust laws.

Parliamentarians must scrutinise each Bill that comes before them. However, they must be supported to do so by a range of perspectives and information – including legal perspectives. The LIV provides authoritative and nuanced perspectives on the legal principles engaged by a Bill, fundamental common law freedoms and privileges affected by a Bill, human rights relevant to a Bill, and possible unintended consequences of a Bill. We provide insights not only into the legal principles and black letter law, but also the way in which law will affect real people – our clients and many like them.

The LIV has long advocated for a strong court and justice system, including increased funding for courts and Victoria Legal Aid.

The LIV’s advocacy work is valued by government, parliamentarians and other advocacy groups. Our submissions are regularly quoted in Hansard and the reports of Parliamentary Committees and law reform commissions. We receive compliments on the high quality and assistance of our submissions. Our advocacy efforts are pursued through the relationships we develop with key policy makers.

In October, the LIV launched a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers regarding the legal aid system, which will feed into the state government’s recently announced access to justice inquiry. Our advocacy will continue through that inquiry.

With the introduction of LawNews, we are able to share more of our advocacy with you. Submissions and media releases are published in LawNews and are also available on our website. If you feel passionately about a law reform issue, I encourage you to join one of our committees. Our committees provide a safe place for a variety of views to be debated and articulated. Every voice strengthens the LIV’s submissions – which in turn strengthen the laws for all of us.

This is my last column as president. Thank you to everyone who has supported me. I have enjoyed every contact I had with an LIV member – whether in person, email, social media or phone. I wish my successor, Steven Sapountsis, joy and success as president in 2016.

Katie Miller liv president president@liv.asn.au@livpresident blog liv.asn.au/livpresblog

Innovation agenda

Look out for new CPD opportunities in 2016.

This year the LIV has been firmly placed on the path to change through technology. Work on the LIV website has begun. In 2016, you should notice a quicker more user-friendly site and a more responsive phone system.

On the wider front, the Victorian government has issued its terms of reference on its Access to Justice inquiry and seeks feedback by 22 February 2016. This follows hard work by the LIV and all parts of the justice system on critical legal aid issues. I urge you to contact the LIV to help contribute.

Next year will also bring new continuing professional development modules – in-house counsel, women’s leadership, government lawyers, and importantly for the Uniform Law, costs law on 19 February.

I especially commend the LIV’s new Ethics video series and the work of those participating. I felt I was asking a valued peer for advice and was in the room to hear it while watching. You can already get a copy of the e-conveyancing video for a similar experience. The LIV also hopes to trial a pop-up LIV in a location yet to be determined.

At the end of this very busy year at the LIV I wish a safe and happy Christmas and New Year to all LIV members and their families.

As always, you are welcome to contact me at any time.

Nerida Wallace liv ceo ceo@liv.asn.au

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