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LIV Advocacy

Every Issue

Cite as: July 2014 88 (07) 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.

Access to Justice Section forum

The LIV convened a forum with councillors and section chairs to discuss the Productivity Commission’s draft report into Access to Justice and to consider its recommendations. The forum was chaired by LIV president Geoff Bowyer and attendees included Access to Justice chair and councillor Mark Woods. Subsequently, the LIV made a submission to the inquiry. Mr Bowyer also attended a public hearing and presented the LIV submission at a public hearing in June.

Budget briefing

LIV CEO Michael Brett Young attended the state post-budget breakfast with Treasurer Michael O’Brien. In a statement, the LIV expressed disappointment that the budget was too focused on punitive measures, while investment in justice and prevention was notably absent. Mr Bowyer welcomed a commitment to a new court house in Shepparton and increased commitment to the parole system.

Children’s Court

Mr Bowyer and Mr Brett Young met with the president of the Children’s Court Judge Peter Couzens.

Justice Elizabeth Curtain retires

Mr Bowyer and Mr Brett Young attended the retirement ceremony for Justice Curtain of the Supreme Court of Victoria. Mr Bowyer spoke on behalf of solicitors.

Law Week launch

Mr Bowyer and Mr Brett Young attended the launch of Law Week at the County Court of Victoria. Former Supreme Court judge Philip Cummins, who was made a Member (AM) in the general division of the Queen’s Birthday honours, outlined the program of activities. Acting Lord Mayor Susan Ryan also spoke about events planned.

Lawyers’ Koorie walk

The LIV and the Koorie Heritage Trust hosted a special tour of Melbourne’s Koorie culture and history during National Reconciliation Week. Mr Bowyer did the walk, which began in Flagstaff Gardens.

Opposition leader

Mr Bowyer and Mr Brett Young met with Opposition leader Daniel Andrews to discuss legal issues, including legal aid funding, in the lead-up to this year’s state election.

Sentencing Advisory Council forum on prisons

Mr Bowyer attended a 10th anniversary Sentencing Advisory Council (SAC) public forum on the role and value of prisons. Speakers included the SAC chair Arie Freiberg; Carmel Arthur who is a victim of crime and has worked with victims of crime; Neighbourhood Justice Centre Magistrate David Fanning and chief investigator for the Australian Justice Reinvestment Project at the University of New South Wales David Brown.

Shadow Attorney-General

Mr Bowyer attended a lunch with federal Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC and state Shadow Attorney-General Martin Pakula in Bendigo.

Suburban law association meetings

Mr Bowyer attended the Eastern Suburbs Law Association seminar and dinner, the Mornington Peninsula Law Association meeting and, with Mr Brett Young, the Western Suburbs Law Association meeting.

YLS hot topic: Children in immigration detention

Mr Bowyer attended this Young Lawyers Section event organised by YLS Community Issues Committee. The panel included Julian Burnside QC, National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell and retired Supreme Court judge Frank Vincent AO QC.

Crimes Amendment (Protection of Children) Bill 2014

The LIV welcomes the introduction of provisions in the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) to establish mandatory reporting to police where a person has a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed against a child under the age of 16. However, the LIV recommends that two particular aspects of the Bill require further consideration to ensure that mandatory reporting remedies the particular shortcomings in the law identified in the Betrayal of Trust Report. The LIV raises concerns about the potential for proposed s327 in its current form to criminalise non-disclosure by victims of family violence; and the need to protect children under the age of 18 from harm in organisational settings.

In light of these concerns, the LIV urges the government to delay passage of the legislation and undertake further consultations to determine the proper scope of mandatory reporting obligations.

Inquiry into the rule of forfeiture

The LIV has made a submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission review of the common law rule of forfeiture. In the submission the LIV acknowledges that there are complexities and ambiguities in applying the forfeiture rule in Victoria, the key problem being that the strict application of the rule can lead to harsh outcomes. The LIV considers the options for reform posed by the VLRC and supports the second option, being the introduction of legislation in Victoria to allow the courts to modify the effect of the forfeiture rule in appropriate circumstances.

IP toolkit for collaboration review

The LIV made a submission to the Department of Industry and IP Australia regarding the proposal to establish an IP toolkit to assist universities and publicly funded research organisations to establish model terms, checklists and model agreements for parties’ collaboration on IP matters. In the submission, the LIV noted that while there was merit in providing parties with checklists and model terms to assist in negotiations, these materials should not be used in isolation or promoted as any form of replacement for legal advice. The LIV also proposed caution with respect to the use and development of template agreements which were unable to take account of the specific details of a transaction. The LIV recommended that should a toolkit with standard documents be considered the best way forward, adequate disclaimers and risk warnings should be included throughout the documents to make parties aware of the limitations faced when using such templates.

Serious Invasions of Privacy

The LIV has made a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission in relation to its discussion paper on Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era. The LIV has long been a proponent for a statutory cause of action for serious invasions of privacy, and in its submission makes comments on select proposals in the discussion paper relating to whether the tort for serious invasions of privacy should include negligent invasions of privacy, balancing privacy and the public interest, the breadth of the proposed non-exhaustive list of public interest matters, whether VCAT should have jurisdiction to hear an action for serious invasions of privacy, and limitation periods.

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