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LIV update

Every Issue

Cite as: June 2013 87 (6) LIJ, p.92

LIV Council

The LIV Council meets each month to debate and decide issues of importance to members, the legal profession and the community. At the April meeting, the LIV Reputation Project, the LIV Melbourne Arbitration and Mediation Centre proposal and the appeal of an important court case were discussed.

Reputation Project

In July 2009, the LIV Council endorsed the commissioning of research to identify and define what reputation means for the LIV and for the legal profession.

The research demonstrated that although the LIV has a strong and valued reputation among its stakeholders, the community’s perception of the profession is largely shaped by stereotypes, television and movies, media coverage and personal experience – which often involves using a lawyer in a time of crisis.

To address these misconceptions the LIV has developed and launched the Reputation Project which will promote the positive work that lawyers do within the community through an integrated public awareness campaign incorporating a number of communication channels but with a specific focus on the use of social media. The public awareness campaign will profile members of the profession and educate members of the public on the contribution and value of lawyers to the community including the positive role of the profession promoting law reform and how this benefits communities; how lawyers make a difference to their client’s outcomes; and how lawyers make a difference to communities.

LIV Melbourne arbitration and mediation centre proposal

The Council endorsed the proposal to scope the feasibility of converting and adapting LIV meeting rooms to establish a dedicated mediation and arbitration facility for alternative dispute resolution remedies. The centre will be made available for the profession and the Bar.

The LIV is a key stakeholder and contributor to the Asia Pacific Regional Arbitrators Group Conference in March 2014 and National Mediators Conference scheduled to be held in September 2014.

Chaouk appeal

The Council discussed the opportunity to intervene in the Court of Appeal matter R v Chaouk.

Justice Lex Lasry had ordered that the trial of the defendant be stayed on the basis that the accused was unable to secure an instructing solicitor for more than two half days of the trial. His Honour determined that the Court would be unable to ensure that the defendant received a fair trial. The DPP decided to appeal the decision.

The LIV considered the following reasons to intervene:

  • That solicitors play an important role in instructing in many criminal trials and are often indispensable to the proper running of an accused’s defence;
  • That the Court must continue to insist on its inherent jurisdiction to stay a prosecution where the inability of the accused to obtain an instructing solicitor for more than two half days would lead to an unfair trial; and
  • That by setting aside the stay, the Court of Appeal would be violating the accused’s rights.

The Court of Appeal has since upheld the stay.

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