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2020/21 Membership Year

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Law Institute advocacy

Every Issue

Cite as: (2003) 77(6) LIJ, p.12

To represent the interests of members and the wider community, the Law Institute actively seeks to influence policy and legislation through lobbying and submissions to government, the courts and other bodies.

Swearing of Affidavits
Correction Regarding Swearing of Affidavits

[Ed. This online article has been amended and corrected since the publication of the print edition]

In the print edition of the June LIJ, there was an incorrect report that the Council of Judges of the Supreme Court had revoked the Supreme Court rule dealing with the prohibition of the use of affidavits sworn before partners in a firm who are party to legal proceedings or an employee of that party. At the April meeting of the Council of Judges, a resolution was passed that that Supreme Court rule be revoked but this is yet to happen. This change will come into effect shortly and we will inform members immediately it comes into effect. Members are therefore reminded that the existing prohibition still applies.

New Justice Department Secretary

Institute president Bill O’Shea and CEO John Cain met with the new secretary of the Justice Department, Penny Armitage, to talk about access to justice and the long-term review of the justice system conducted by the state government.

Magistrates’ Court Jurisdiction

The Institute, through its Litigation Lawyers Section, has made a submission to Chief Magistrate Gray concerning proposed changes to the Magistrates’ Court jurisdiction. State Attorney-General Rob Hulls announced in the November 2002 election campaign that there would be a jurisdictional increase to $100,000 in the Court.

The Institute believes there should be changes to the rules and procedures of the Court to deal with this increase. The submission includes a series of recommendations about arbitration and pre-conference procedures.

A copy of the submission can be viewed at

Young Offenders

The Institute has made a submission to Chief Judge Rozenes regarding the development of an interim young offender protocol. There have been instances where a young offender has lost his or her prima facie eligibility for sentence in a youth training centre because they have passed the eligible age while awaiting a delayed trial.

A copy of the submission can be viewed at

Human Rights Commission

The Institute, through its Human Rights Committee of the Administrative Law and Human Rights Section, has made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee regarding the provisions of the Australian Human Rights Commission Legislation Bill 2003.

The Institute has serious concerns about moves to restrict the Commission’s power to intervene in court proceedings unless first obtaining the approval of federal Attorney-General Daryl Williams, as well as the restructuring of the Commission and the removal of special purposes commissioners.

A copy of the submission can be viewed at

Access to Supreme Court

The Executive Committee of the Litigation Lawyers Section has made a submission to Chief Justice Phillips regarding wheelchair and trolley access to the Supreme Court. Over recent months new security measures have been introduced at the Court, including metal detectors.

However, there is no ramp available at the William Street entrance and no alternative arrangements made for members of the public and practitioners with disabilities.

A copy of the submission can be viewed at

Jack Thomas

The Institute’s Human Rights Committee has made a submission to Mr Williams regarding the continued detention in Pakistan of Australian Jack Thomas. It was noted that Mr Thomas’ detention came within the broader context of the growing trend to disregard the rule of law in the name of national security. According to media reports, Australian officials are now finalising arrangements for Mr Thomas’ return to Melbourne.

In the submission it was pointed out that Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights declares that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.

No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedures as are established by law”.

A copy of the submission can be viewed at

Community Treatment Orders

The Institute, through its Disability Law Committee, has made a submission in response to a discussion paper released by the Department of Human Services following a review of the Mental Health Act 1986.

The submission said it was disappointing that the state government had not undertaken a broad review of the Act.

Despite government commitments, the Act has not been brought into line with the UN principles for the protection of persons with mental illness.

A copy of the submission can be viewed at

Draft Family Court Rules

The Institute’s second submission in response to the consultation draft of the Family Law Rules 2004 was drafted by the Family Law Executive Committee. The submission addresses concerns regarding Chapter 12 (in relation to court events) of the Draft Family Law Rules 2004.

A copy of the submission can be viewed at

Supreme Court Library Funding

The Institute has made a submission to Mr Hulls outlining its concerns over the decreasing level of government funding to the Supreme Court library.

The library previously received an annual allocation of about $400,000. It now receives about $363,000 per year. The Institute has sought confirmation that there will be no further budget cuts.

A copy of the submission can be viewed at

Part-Time Magistrates

The Institute, through its Criminal Law, Litigation Lawyers and Workplace Relations Sections, has made a joint submission to the Department of Justice regarding its current proposal to allow part-time magistrates. The submission argues that the first question in all appointments should be the suitability of the candidate for appointment to the Court, based on their experience and qualifications. The submission raises concerns that part-time magistrates may compromise the principle of judicial independence.

A copy of the submission can be viewed at

LIV and the media

Law Week
LIV launches Law Week
9 May Special Age supplement
11 May Sunday Age, Channel Nine news, ABC TV news
12 May 3AK
Dr Peter Hollingworth
LIV discusses legal action against Governor-General
9 May 3AK
10 May Herald Sun
12 May ABC AM program
LIV says public tired of complaining doctors
8 May Australian Associated Press, 3AK
9 May Australian Financial Review
Suppression orders
LIV discusses court suppression orders
8 May 3AK
Geoff Clark
LIV discusses court ruling against Geoff Clark
8 May 3AW breakfast program
Euthanasia laws
LIV discusses “right to die” laws
5 May 3AK
New judge
LIV welcomes new Supreme Court judge, Stuart Morris
2 May Australian Financial Review
Looking for new Chief Justice
LIV comments on advertisements for new Victorian Supreme Court Chief Justice
2 May Australian Financial Review
Adelaide magistrate
LIV criticises comments by Adelaide magistrate
1 May 3AW breakfast program
IT law
LIV recognises IT law as a legal speciality
29 April The Age and Sydney Morning Herald
LIV discusses HIH findings
29 April 3AK

PAUL CONROY is the Law Institute’s media adviser. He is also available to help members with particular media issues and can be contacted on 9607 9373 or


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