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LIV Advocacy

Every Issue

Cite as: Jan/Feb 2015 89 (1/2) 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.

Annual general meetings

LIV 2014 president Geoff Bowyer and LIV CEO Nerida Wallace attended the LIV AGM. Ms Wallace attended the AGM for the LIV’s Litigation Lawyers Section, Administration and Human Rights section, Young Lawyers section and Property and Environmental Law section. Mr Bowyer and Ms Wallace also attended the Law Council of Australia directors meeting and AGM.

Asia Pacific Law Forum

Mr Bowyer spoke at the opening of the conference alongside LIV past president Reynah Tang. Delegates from one of China’s biggest law associations the Sino-Global Lawyers Association attended, with representatives from Australia and New Zealand. The recent signing of the Australia-China Fair Trade agreement and its impact on legal practice was discussed, as well as the evolving business structures of law firms.

Country & Suburban Law Associations

Mr Bowyer worked closely with the Country and Suburban Law Associations in 2014. In November he attended the Bendigo, Geelong and the Southern Solicitors group meetings. The LIV also held a council meeting in conjunction with the Goulburn Valley Association in Shepparton which Mr Bowyer and Ms Wallace both attended. The LIV also held a forum with the presidents of the Country and Suburban Law Associations to discuss more opportunities for collaboration between the LIV and associations.

Courts

Mr Bowyer met with Court Services Victoria director of asset planning and management jurisdiction services Brian Stevenson, regarding Bendigo and Geelong Courts. Ms Wallace met with County Court Chief Judge Michael Rozenes. She also met with Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen, who is chairing the new Family Violence Taskforce. Other members include Victoria Police, LIV criminal and family lawyers, Victoria Legal Aid, Victorian Bar, Federation of Community Legal Centres, Domestic Violence Victoria and Women’s Legal Service Victoria. For more see page 20.

LIV Disability Action Plan launch

Ms Wallace and Mr Bowyer attended the launch of the LIV’s revised Disability Action Plan (DAP). Speakers included LIV Diversity Taskforce chair Stuart Webb and deputy commissioner, Disability Services Commissioner Miranda Bruyniks who said the LIV DAP addressed inequality and lack of opportunity for people with disability.

Membership associations

Ms Wallace met with CPA Australia executive general manager commercial/general counsel Craig Laughton to discuss synergies and mutual interests between the LIV and CPA. Ms Wallace also met with Australian Physiotherapy Association CEO Chris Massis to discuss membership associations.

Melbourne Commercial Arbitration and Mediation Centre Advisory Committee

Ms Wallace attended a meeting of directors where they discussed development and promotion of the centre to further facilitate international and domestic commercial arbitrations and mediations.

Monash Law School

Ms Wallace met with Monash University law school professor Adrian Evans to discuss executive education.

Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre

Mr Bowyer attended the annual dinner alongside former Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia Alastair Nicholson. The Age political editor Michael Gordon discussed the current asylum seeker situation in Australia and the media discourse around the issue.

Regulation

Ms Wallace attended her regular meeting with Legal Services Board CEO and Commissioner Michael McGarvie. Ms Wallace also spoke with LSB chair Fiona Bennett. Ms Wallace met with CEO of the Professional Standards Council Dr Deen Sanders to discuss the Professional Standards Scheme which the LIV operates under.

Slater and Gordon

LIV president Katie Miller and Ms Wallace attended the launch of the Slater and Gordon Health Projects and Research Fund, which will support initiatives focused on the improvement of care for people with asbestos related illnesses, occupation-caused cancer or a catastrophic injury. The Alfred department of Neurosurgery director Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld gave the keynote address and spoke with Ms Miller and Ms Wallace about social policy.

Victorian Attorney-General

Mr Bowyer and Ms Wallace met with new Attorney-General Martin Pakula to discuss law and order priorities for 2015.

Wyndham Committee

Ms Wallace and Mr Bowyer attended the Wyndham Committee gala dinner in Werribee with Supreme Court Justice Betty King, Julian Burnside QC and St Vincent’s Private Hospital CEO Ian Grisold. The theme was social justice in Melbourne’s west and included a presentation from Wyndham Legal Service about its work.

Submissions

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

Funds in Court

In a submission on the Courts Legislation Amendment (Funds in Court) Bill 2014 the LIV welcomed the measures in the Bill to require further transparency and accountability measure for Funds in Court. However, it expressed concerns about other aspects of the Bill, in particular clause 5 which states that there is no presumption that funds should be administered by Funds in Court rather than another administrator. The LIV is concerned that this change may result in funds being moved away from Funds in Court to other administrators who are not bound by the same standards of accountability and transparency and who do not offer comparable terms for management of funds.

Limitation of Actions – Criminal Child Abuse

The LIV’s submission on the Exposure Draft of the Limitation of Actions Amendment (Criminal Child Abuse) Bill 2014 strongly supported removing time limits that prevent victims of child abuse from accessing civil justice. The submission provided a number of suggested amendments to clause 3 of the draft Bill that would broaden the scope of the Bill to ensure that limitation periods are abolished for physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse of children and that plaintiffs are not required to prove that a crime was committed. 

Rights and responsibilities

The LIV’s submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Rights and Responsibilities 2014 National Consultation congratulated the Commission’s wide engagement with community groups and individuals across Australia. It reiterated the LIV’s stance that federal human rights legislation is necessary to ensure that human rights are sufficiently protected in Australia and focused on the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities which has been an important first step towards improved protection and promotion of human rights in Victoria.

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