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Institute Update

Every Issue

Cite as: (2004) 78(7) LIJ, p. 92

The Law Institute Council held its 20 May meeting in conjunction with the Western Suburbs Law Association at the Footscray RSL Club. Among the issues discussed were indexation of legal aid fees and income sharing prohibition guidelines. Councillor Steven Stevens delivered his maiden speech.

Indexation of legal fees
The state government in its 2003 Budget provided for a number of government charges and penalties to be automatically increased according to the consumer price index (CPI). This change would avoid the need for regular updating by legislation or executive fiat.

The Institute’s Access to Justice Committee has noted a worrying drop-off of firms prepared to do legal aid work. This is in part attributable to the extremely low fee rates prior to the Budget measures.

Without an effective mechanism for incremental increases, the still inadequate rates of payment will gradually be eroded by cost increases that apply to all firms.

The Institute has written a submission outlining its case for the indexation of legal aid fees.

Council approved a series of recommendations regarding this issue.

First, it approved the sending of the submission to state Attorney-General Rob Hulls and Treasurer John Brumby.

It then approved Institute president Chris Dale seeking support for the submission from the Victorian Bar Council, the Federation of Community Legal Centres, the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and other groups.

Council agreed that Mr Dale should seek a meeting with Mr Hulls to discuss the submission and that Institute members be advised of the submission with an invitation for them to write to Mr Hulls and Mr Brumby.

Income sharing prohibition guidelines
Section 317 of the Legal Practice Act 1996 prohibits the sharing of income from a legal practice with unqualified persons.

In early 2003, the Institute’s Ethics Committee obtained advice on the meaning of the section with a view to drafting publishable guidelines to assist practitioners. These guidelines have been drafted by Professional Standards and approved by the Ethics Committee in December 2003 with minor amendments.

The guidelines have since been further amended to reflect the possible impact of anticipated changes to the Legal Practice Act relating to multi-disciplinary practices.

Council formally endorsed the guidelines.

Maiden speech by Steven Stevens
Steven Stevens delivered his maiden speech to Council. Traditionally, a maiden speech allows new councillors to talk about their professional background and their goals during their term on Council.

“Since being elected to the Council of the Law Institute, I have had reinforced from my greater involvement in the workings of the Law Institute the commitment and dedication of its officers and staff to represent the legal community in Victoria – something I was aware of, as a member of various Section committees over the past 13 years, but had not fully appreciated.

“I join the Council at a time when the LIV has, in my view, significantly strengthened its effectiveness and profile as the legal profession’s representative body in Victoria; and feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to participate in its governance.

“With the assistance of dedicated and energetic staff, and the apparently tireless contributions of both elected Council members and the members of various Section committees of the Law Institute, I believe that the Institute is having its voice heard on legislation and in policy debate on issues of importance to the profession’s future and to its members’ clients.

“Coming on to the Council at such a time, I feel daunted by the work required to maintain that standard and to assist in enhancing the influence of the Institute. Nevertheless, the issues which I wish to particularly focus on, among other things, are:

(i)

to support the development of a truly national and representative legal profession which speaks with one voice on behalf of the legal community and its clients;

(ii)

to ensure that the legal community acts vigilantly to maintain its freedom and independence against the constant attempts to make inroads and impose restrictions on the capacity of the profession to represent its clients; and

(iii)

to ensure that all those who undertake the rigours of completing a law degree are given the opportunity to gain admission |to the profession, should they wish to do so, in lieu of the current system which denies to many graduates an opportunity to get to the starting gate of the legal profession by not being able to undertake articles or an alternative form of legal admission training.

“I came to the legal profession through a rather circuitous, but not unusual route, involving part-time study as a mature age student. I originally trained and practised for over 12 years as an economist, principally in the public sector, leaving the Victorian treasury to undertake articles at the then Blake & Riggall (now Blake Dawson Waldron) as a 37-year-old law graduate – too old to join the Young Lawyers’ Section. I then joined Freehills where I have been a banking and finance partner since 1993.

“Having joined a number of committees in the Commercial Law Section of the Institute since the early 1990s, I have gained an appreciation of the importance of seeking to affect legislation in my areas of practice (financial services, tax/stamp duty and trusts law) and the impact that well researched and forward thinking submissions can make.

“I also look forward to the opportunity to attend the various forums of the Law Institute across regional and country Victoria, in a sense enabling me to revisit areas I became very familiar with while spending more than 10 years as a country football umpire in my younger days. The opportunity that membership of the Council gives me to re-acquaint myself with these communities and their legal representatives is something which I will find greatly rewarding.

“I hope I will be able to fill the shoes of those who have gone before me and in some small way, as a fellow councillor, contribute to the legal profession of which I am privileged to be a member.”


What’s on at the LIV

  • President’s Luncheon with shadow federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon

When: Thursday, 21 July 2004, from 12.30-2pm
Where: Grand Ballroom, Le Meridien at Rialto, 495 Collins Street, Melbourne
Bookings essential. For inquiries contact the LIV Events Department on tel 9607 9504 or email events@liv.asn.au.

  • New Senior Associates Reception

Becoming a senior associate is a significant achievement in any lawyer’s career and the first step towards achieving future partnership. In recognition of this milestone, the Law Institute will host a special celebration for all newly-appointed senior associates.
When: Monday, 26 July 2004, from 6-8pm
Where: The Wine Bar, Victorian Wine Precinct, Federation Square.
Attendance by special invitation only.


Professional Development

For a full calendar of upcoming CPD events, got to http://www.cpd.liv.asn.au.

  • CPD Scheme units

All of the programs outlined below are designed to meet the CPD Scheme requirements. The CPD Scheme Rules state the following in relation to claiming CPD units for attendance at professional development programs:

“If this particular educational activity is relevant to your immediate or long term needs in relation to your professional development and practice of law, then you should claim one unit for each hour of attendance, refreshment breaks not included.”
  • Young Lawyers’ 2004 Annual Lecture Series – Part 2

When: Tuesday evenings, from 5.30-6.30pm
Where: Venue to be confirmed

6 July 2004 – Property: Acting for a purchaser in the Sale of Land
13 July 2004 – Litigation: Enforcement of Orders in Victoria
20 July 2004 – Probate: Basic Wills and Probate
  • Retail Leases Seminar – Mornington (1 CPD Scheme unit)

When: Tuesday, 6 July 2004, from 1-2pm
Where: The Rocks, Schnapper Point Drive, Mornington
Small Business Commissioner Mark Brennan will discuss lease notifications, s21(5) waiver certificates, mediation and dispute resolution functions, investigation and representation functions and prosecuting penalty offences.

  • The Rise and Rise of the Private Arbitration Power – Practice Briefing (1 CPD Scheme unit)

When: Wednesday, 7 July 2004, from 1-2pm
Where: Venue to be confirmed
Chris N Jessup QC will provide an insight into the changing balance of power between the Commission and the Courts. Come prepared to discuss your experiences in different jurisdictions. Designed for senior practitioners and aspiring workplace relations accredited specialists.

  • The Law & Problem Gambling – Northern Suburbs(1.5 CPD Scheme units)

When: Thursday, 8 July 2004
Where: The Hotel William on Bell Street, 205 Bell Street, Preston
Solicitor and former Victorian Casino Control Authority commercial/legal officer Tim Falkiner will cover what legal remedies and practical advice are available to assist problem gamblers and their families.

  • Legal Research Training – Legislation (2 CPD Scheme units)

When: Thursday, 8 July 2004, from 9.30am- 12pm
Where: Monash University Law Chambers, 472 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Workshop covering legislation, bills, government gazettes and Hansard.

  • The Law and Problem Gambling – Moe (1.5 CPD Scheme units)

When: Tuesday, 13 July 2004
Where: The Moe RSL, 63-65 Albert Street, Moe
Solicitor and former Victorian Casino Control Authority commercial/legal officer Tim Falkiner will cover what legal remedies and practical advice are available to assist problem gamblers and their families.

  • Termination of Employment and Unfair Dismissal – Southern Suburbs (1.5 CPD Scheme units)

When: Tuesday, 13 July 2004
Where: Hemisphere Conference Centre, 488 South Road, Moorabbin
Mason Sier Turnbull accredited workplace relations specialist Charles Cody will cover recent developments in the areas of termination of employment and unfair dismissal.

  • Retail Leases Seminar – Eastern Suburbs (1.5 CPD Scheme units)

When: Friday, 16 July 2004, from 1-2.30pm
Where: The Elizabethan, 604-610 Middleborough Road, Blackburn North
Small Business Commissioner Mark Brennan will discuss lease notifications, s21(5) waiver certificates, mediation and dispute resolution functions, investigation and representation functions and prosecuting penalty offences.

  • Advocacy Skills Workshop – July (12 CPD Scheme units)

When: Held over 14, 17 and 18 July 2004 (Wednesday evening, Saturday and Sunday)
Where: Monash Law Chambers, 472 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Moderator: Professor George Hampel QC
Trainers: Experienced trained advocacy instructors
Improve your courtroom skills at a practical workshop conducted by some of Australia’s most senior advocacy instructors. This workshop involves instruction, performance and review of the various skills, disciplines and techniques involved in good advocacy.

  • Understanding Financial Statements (1 CPD Scheme unit)

When: Thursday, 15 July 2004, from 5.30-6.30pm
Where: Venue to be confirmed
This seminar is part of the Young Lawyers’ Essential Skills series. Learn how to read financial statements, profit and loss statements, balance sheets and cashflow statements.

  • Swan Hill Regional Conference (4 CPD Scheme units)

When: Wednesday, 21 July 2004, from 1-5.30pm
Venue: Murray Downs Resort, Lot 5 Murray Downs Drive, Swan Hill
This conference will include equity and bankruptcy in family law, hot topics in wills and estates and two compulsory CPD units – the taxation of trusts and an ethics seminar.

  • Professional Presentation Power (6.5 CPD Scheme units)

When: Wednesday, 21 July 2004, from 8.30am-5.30pm
Where: Duxton Hotel, 328 Flinders Street, Melbourne
Public speaking is the number one fear among business professionals. Learn to stand up, speak out, influence, persuade, present information and get your message across with maximum impact.


Young Lawyers

  • Young Lawyers’ Quarterly Drinks Night (in support of One Umbrella)

When: Friday, 23 July 2004, from 5.30-7.30pm
Contact: Susan Ng on tel 9607 9379 or sng@liv.asn.au.
This winter’s social and networking evening will be in support of the One Umbrella charity.


LIV Governance and Representation

LIV Executive

President Chris Dale 9607 9367
Vice President Victoria Strong 9685 6425
Immediate Past President Bill O’Shea 9276 3750
Treasurer Catherine Gale 9670 5000
Executive Member Geoff Provis 9607 9372

LIV Council Members

John Corcoran 9609 1555
David Faram 5821 4566
Richard Fleming 8686 6000
Aurora Kostezky 9670 0700
James Leach 5444 0906
Peter Little 8344 1119
Kirsten Mander 9607 9372
Tom May 9670 6123
Christopher Penman 8344 7544
Tabatha Pettitt 0417 334 343
Erskine Rodan 9329 8744
Steven Stevens 9288 1241
Mark Woods 5174 6311

LIV Suburban Law Association Presidents

Eastern Suburbs Law Association Mariolina Reale 9791 9845
Northern Suburbs Law Association John McClelland 9435 3811
North Western Solicitors Association Bruce Millar 9336 2411
Southern Solicitors Group Bill Rowson 9792 0755
Western Suburbs Law Association Peter Mecoles 9687 3211

LIV Country Law Association Presidents

Ballarat & District Law Association Antoinette Kordell 5339 2569
Bendigo Law Association Andrew Pickles 5443 1766
Geelong Law Association Jim Rutherford 5221 7166
Gippsland Law Association Jacqui Billings 5127 1944
Goulburn Valley Law Association Danny Barlow 5821 9544
Mornington Peninsula Solicitors Nick Roberts 5975 4133
North East Law Association Ian Watkins 5721 2149
North West Law Association Shane Ryan 5023 0571
Western District Law Association Doug Laidlaw 5560 3444
Wimmera Law Association Brigid Jenkins 5381 0933

To find out more about LIV Governance and Representation see http://www.liv.asn.au/about and http://www.liv.asn.au/lawasns or telephone the Secretary to the Council on 9607 9372 or email preid@liv.asn.au.

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