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Every Issue

Cite as: Cite as: March 2012 86 (03) LIJ, p.64

This month's reviews cover the Victorian Water Register, finding explanatory memoranda, a legal tech blog, personal property securities reform, estate agent's legal obligations and court transcripts.

Victorian Water Register

Utilitarian is a perfect word to describe the no-frills layout of the Victorian Water Register, a site that allows you to apply for, track, and manage water shares. You will need to create an account to access most of the site tools, but sign-up is quick and painless, and you will be off and running in no time. Once signed in, you will notice the left sub-menu contains most of the links needed to manage your clients’ water shares, as well as track payments and edit your own details. Although it is clearly indicated on the site, be warned that the downloadable forms to apply for and manage shares are marked with a unique application number, so you cannot just download the one form and use it repeatedly.

Commonwealth of Australia Explanatory Memoranda (1980–)

An explanatory memorandum (EM), for those new to the law, is a document that accompanies the introduced version of a Bill and explains its aim and various clauses. For that reason, it is often an invaluable tool for the interpretation of statute law. Tracking down EMs has historically been, well, a pain to say the least, so AustLII’s gathering of all federal EMs post-1980 in one place is another feather in the cap of everybody’s favourite legal website. As usual you can browse the database by year or title, or do full-text searches across all EMs. Tip: If you are looking for an EM before 1982, Google “Index to Explanatory Memoranda”, or contact the LIV library to see if one was ever created before you start your hunt.


Robert Ambrogi’s Lawsites blawg, “Tracking new and intriguing web sites for the legal profession”, is approaching its 10th year as possibly the oldest continually updated legal tech blog on the internet. Showing no signs of slowing down, the site often features legal-orientated apps, and always makes a point of including not just iOS apps, but apps for Android and Blackberry as well. Being US based, the app reviews often leave one a little envious and wondering: “why don’t we have something like that for the Australian legal sector?” but just as often something with a cross-border appeal will be reviewed. Ambrogi is also a legal podcaster (co-presenting the long running Lawyer2Lawyer), a columnist or contributor to various print-based journals, and a prolific tweeter with over 5000 followers.

Attorney-General’s Department PPS presentations

If you are looking for general awareness information on the personal property securities (PPS) reform, then take some time to watch the presentations on the federal Attorney-General’s Department YouTube Channel, which can be accessed from the Attorney-General’s homepage. The three short presentations by David Bergman from the Registrar of Personal Property Securities contain an overview of the reform, how and why it came about and some of the implications of these changes. The second presentation is helpful in understanding how the Personal Property Scheme Register works and why you would search or use it. It concludes by giving information about the transition period.

Victorian Consumer Affairs – Estate Agents

The Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) website has many useful guidelines and links on the areas the CAV is responsible for, so the reviewer checked it to see what information is available for estate agents. As with the pages on conveyancing and debt collectors, the Estate Agents section provides details on what is needed to comply with the law. It contains the relevant Acts and Regulations as well as regular updates which highlight recent legislative changes that impact on the industry. Also useful is the section on penalties for estate agents and fair trading, with tables spelling out the criminal and civil penalties that apply and the applicable sections of relevant Acts. If your client works within this industry, then this website is a quick way to update yourself on their legal obligations.

Victorian Government Reporting Service (VGRS)

If you need to locate a Victorian case and cannot find it in a published law reports series or it is not freely available elsewhere, then the Victorian Government Reporting Service (VGRS) website may be of help. The VGRS provides, where possible, court transcripts from different Victorian courts, including criminal proceedings in the Supreme Court and County Court, some committal proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court and some Coroners Court inquests. The website also outlines the instances when transcripts cannot be provided and the process and circumstances in which you can request an audio recording of a criminal proceeding.

Website reviews are provided by the LIV library, ph 9607 9360; email

We welcome suggestions for websites to include in this column.

Neither the LIV nor the LIJ in any way endorses or takes any responsibility whatsoever for any material contained on external websites referred to by the LIJ.


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