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Cite as: (2008) 82(6) LIJ, p. 101

Thirteen members of the North West Law Association (NWLA), including president John Roccisano and treasurer Hugh Middleton, attended the LIV Council meeting held in Mildura on 18 April.

Specialist accreditation program review funding

Council approved funding for a review of the specialist accreditation program.

As a submission to the Legal Services Board under the minor grants for funding was not accepted, Council agreed to make funding available.

The review aims to identify when the public seeks the services of a specialist lawyer and how they identify a “specialist”. Using the results of a broad public survey, the aim of the review will be to encourage Victorian lawyers to seek out and undertake further study (beyond their CPD requirements) to improve the services they deliver to the public.

The proposal for the review had incorporated input from a range of stakeholders.

Judicial appointments

Council briefly discussed ways of promoting solicitors to the Attorney-General for appointment to the Bench.

Council said it recognised that assisting the establishment of a transparent system of nominating lawyers for judicial office was an important function for the LIV and requested the CEO to draft guidelines for a committee’s deliberations.

It deferred the appointment of members to the committee until the May Council meeting.


NWLA members took the opportunity of Council’s visit to Mildura to discuss ongoing concerns affecting the profession in country areas.


NWLA member Adrian Kidd asked if the LIV was pushing, through the Law Council Australia (LCA), for a national conveyancing scheme. He said this was a particular problem for practitioners working on the border who had to be familiar with the legislation for two states.

Although it was considered that national legislation would be a long-term plan, the LIV said it would push through the LCA items that could be achieved quickly in relation to harmonisation of laws.


The difficulties for local practitioners in undertaking continuing professional development activities were discussed.

NWLA member Paul Avery said the core subjects were covered each year and practitioners attended as they were keen to maintain and develop standards. However, members felt they needed to experience other courses.

It was queried whether the LIV could consider video recording seminars and sending them to country law associations.

It was also noted that the provision of education was an important selling point to attract junior solicitors and that education was also relevant for support staff.

Council resolved that LIV CPD and Executive would consider the problems and suggestions further.

LIV Sections participation

The representation of regional Victorian members on LIV Sections and committees was queried. In response, it was suggested Section chairs be encouraged to extend invitations to practitioners and it was agreed to provide country law associations with a list of Sections and their committees.

Circuit resources for Mildura

Mildura was fairly well served with five County Court circuits a year, including civil and criminal, and the Supreme Court once a year, but there was concern with the backlog of County Court cases because of the priority given to sexual assault cases.

Although local practitioners had been resistant to the change from Family Court to Federal Magistrates Court, that had not proved to be as much of a problem as expected.

NWLA member Kay Martin reiterated the problem of instructing solicitors as there were about 60 cases every six months spread between three to four practitioners, which meant a heavy workload.

Recruitment of lawyers

The introduction of traineeships and the effect on country practices was discussed.

It was considered that smaller country firms would not be in a position to provide or fund the training required and there was also the problem of training new lawyers only to lose them after 15-18 months.

LIV Governance and Representation


President Tony Burke 9822 8588
Vice-president Danny Barlow 5823 7600
Immediate Past President Geoff Provis 9609 1555
Treasurer Steven Stevens 9288 1241
5th Executive Member Caroline Counsel 9328 5810

John Bentley 9269 0485
Cathy Gale 9620 0088
Iresha Herath 9607 9372
Aurora Kostezky 8602 9208
Anthony (Tom) May 9670 6123
Conor O’Brien 9351 1455
Bruce Pippett 9592 7800
Dominique Saunders 9607 9372
Patrick Sweeney 9672 5800
Reynah Tang 9672 3535
Elissa Watson 9603 7666
Stuart Webb 9269 0416

Mark Woods 5174 6311

Eastern Suburbs Law Association Ron Rowe 9888 6088
North West Solicitors Association George Conlan 9370 3636
Northern Suburbs Law Association Carolyn McNamara 9462 2608
Southern Solicitors Group Celina Roth 9592 7744
Western Suburbs Law Association Linda Paric 0422 961 005

Ballarat & District Law Association Sarah Edwards 5333 8871
Bendigo Law Association Megan Aumair 5444 0906
Geelong Law Association Alicia Carroll 5273 5281
Gippsland Law Association Mark Woods 5174 6311
Goulburn Valley Law Association Anthony Coote 5821 4144
Mornington Peninsula Solicitors Association Nick Roberts 5977 4000
North East Law Association Karen Keegan (02) 6056 8210
North West Law Association John Roccisano 5021 6227
Western District Law Association James Nicol 5560 2000
Wimmera Law Association Phil Babic 5382 4455

To find out more about LIV Governance and Representation see and or phone the Secretary to the Council on 9607 9372 or email


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