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Insites: Website reviews

Every Issue

Cite as: Jan/Feb 2010 84(1/2) LIJ, p.60


This month’s reviews cover the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, fines in Victoria, Uniform Evidence Act resources, the National Electronic Conveyancing System, the National Pro Bono Resource Centre and the National Library’s Trove.

Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG)

www.scag.gov.au

SCAG provides a forum for federal and state Attorneys-General to discuss and progress matters of mutual interest. The site has been revamped and includes information about current SCAG projects, past SCAG achievements and useful links to related sites. It is now easier to navigate around the site and access the information and documents you need. Publications are available to read online in PDF and include public domain material, current and past consultations, model laws, annual reports, summaries of decisions, reports and coronial recommendations. The number of publications is not substantial but the site has the potential to be more useful as more publications are added.

Fines

www.fines.vic.gov.au

The fines website is an intuitive and easy to use portal for those issued with infringement notices, guiding them through the payment process for all types of fines in Victoria and providing links to online payment sites. The site provides information on the infringement system generally, but focuses on traffic and parking offences, how to challenge fines and the process of going to court (in the My options section) and explains the consequences and penalties for non-payment. The quick links menu provides a list of printable forms, sample forms and completion guides. This website will be useful for legal practitioners wanting to refer clients to more information on paying or challenging fines.

Uniform Evidence Act resources

www.judicialcollege.vic.edu.au/publications/uniform-evidence-resources

In the December 2009 column we highlighted online Judicial College of Victoria (JCV) publications. This month we look at JCV resources covering the Evidence Act 2008 which commenced on 1 January 2010. The Uniform Evidence Manual is a comprehensive, easy to use guide to the application of this Act which is continually updated. It contains commentary on all substantive sections of the Act, discussion of uniform evidence legislative policy, citations of relevant cases, cross-references to the current edition of Stephen Odgers’ Uniform Evidence Law and a comprehensive dictionary of terms. An email update and RSS service are also available. Handy flowcharts can be downloaded and there are links to a number of law reform commission reports. It can be viewed, searched or browsed online in a similar way to using an online database.

National Electronic Conveyancing System

www.necs.gov.au

The National Electronic Conveyancing System (NECS) will allow practitioners to fulfil many conveyancing tasks electronically and on a national level. This combined government and industry initiative is still in the early steering and consultative phases but the site allows you to check on the progress made so far, gain insight into how NECS will work from the perspective of all parties involved in the conveyancing process, download and read NECS issues papers and documents, and add your voice to the planning and implementation of the model. The structure of the website is clear and straightforward, allowing for easy navigation of the already considerable content, and the breadth and depth of the information on offer bodes well for the ongoing transparency of the system.

National Pro Bono Resource Centre

www.nationalprobono.org.au

Firms and individual practitioners wishing to become involved in pro bono legal work but unsure of how to start will find this site useful. The Resource Centre is an independent organisation that encourages and supports pro bono legal services in Australia. Much content has been added to the site since we last reviewed it in October 2003, including a “news ticker” on the front page that is frequently updated with links to Australian news stories relating to pro bono work. On the practical advice side, the Pro Bono Manual is an outstanding resource, with chapters on planning and maintaining programs, procedures and practice issues, precedents and pro formas and other information vital to those new to offering free legal services to people in need.

Trove

http://trove.nla.gov.au

The free National Library of Australia holdings database (Libraries Australia) has been incorporated into Trove. Trove collects a wealth of information from a variety of resources from Australia’s memory institutions, such as books, theses, reports, research articles, raw data sets, book chapters, conference proceedings, maps, audio-visual materials, full text of major Australian newspapers from 1803 to 1954, copies of selected Australian websites which may no longer be available online or in their original form, people and organisations. To search for material held in an Australian library click on “Books, journals, magazines, articles . . . ” then enter the details in the search box. To effectively find library holdings, use the “Expand all” option and click on the “Available from” tab underneath the catalogue data.

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