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LIV advocacy

Every Issue

Cite as: (2005) 79(11) LIJ, p. 10

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

Attorney-General

LIV Council members met with Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls to discuss a range of issues including the legal precinct master plan, taxing masters, scale of costs and a Charter of Rights for Victoria.

Legal aid funding

Members of the Legal Aid Taskforce met with the Attorney-General and raised concerns about the need for more legal aid funding.

Tort law

The Tort Law Review Committee reviewed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s 5th Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance Monitoring Report and the LIV publicly responded to the results, which indicate that the health sector is subsidising the bottom line of health insurers.

Legal Services Commissioner

LIV CEO John Cain met with the newly appointed Legal Services Commissioner Victoria Marles to discuss the implementation of the new regulatory model.

Planning

Victorian Planning Minister Rob Hulls addressed members of the LIV’s Planning and Environmental Law Section in relation to current issues in the Planning Portfolio.

Migration Act inquiry

Members of the LIV’s Migration Law Committee appeared before the Senate Public Hearing on the Inquiry into the administration and operation of the Migration Act 1958.

Coroner’s Act inquiry

LIV 2003 president Bill O’Shea and LIV Advocacy and Practice solicitor Andrew Closey appeared before the Victorian government’s Law Reform Committee’s public hearing on the Inquiry into the Coroner’s Act.

Land rich provisions

LIV Council member Steven Stevens, LIV State Taxes Committee members Mick Giddings, Rodney Richards, Robert Parker and Advocacy and Practice manager Natalina Velardi met with the State Revenue Office (SRO) regarding proposed changes to the Duties Act relating to land rich issues. The consultation was undertaken on a confidential basis.

LIV State Taxes Committee members also met with representatives of the SRO in the regular quarterly meeting. The committee raised issues of interest to members including, land tax and trusts, land rich provisions and follow up on the LIV’s submission on the SRO’s terms contract ruling.

Australian Tax Office

Members of the LIV’s Taxation & Revenue Committee met with representatives from the ATO in relation to improving the liaison between the LIV members and the ATO. Also Ms Velardi and Mr Stevens met with the ATO and other stakeholders regarding service trusts and in particular, the charge up rates included in the ATO’s draft booklet regarding service trusts.

Submissions

Interest under the Supreme Court Act 1986

The LIV, through its Litigation Lawyers Section, made a submission to the Victorian Attorney-General in relation to interest under the Supreme Court Act 1986. The LIV is concerned that Victoria is out of step with other jurisdictions, where interest is payable from the date of accrual of action.

Review of Walking Safely, Inquiry into the Incidence and Prevention of Pedestrian Accidents

The LIV has made a submission to the Road Safety Committee’s Review of Walking Safely – Inquiry into the Incidence and Prevention of Pedestrian Accidents. In its submission, the LIV raises concern about the introduction of compulsory drug and alcohol testing for pedestrians involved in a road crash who present to hospital.

Introduction of the Uniform Evidence Act in Victoria

The LIV through its Criminal Law and Litigation Lawyers Sections, has made a submission to the Victorian Reform Law Commission’s Review of the Uniform Evidence Act. In its submission the LIV expresses general support for the introduction of uniform evidence provisions.

Magistrates’ Court Users Group

The LIV, through its Criminal Law Section, has written to the Chief Magistrate Ian Gray seeking the re-establishment of a general Criminal Division Court Users Group to discuss practice matters.

Document Destruction

The LIV has written to Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls in regard to Professor Sallmann’s Document Destruction and Civil Litigation in Victoria report and particularly in relation to a proposed new professional conduct rule. The LIV has also written to the Director of Criminal Law Policy at the Department of Justice in regard to the proposals contained in the department’s discussion paper on proposed reforms to Victoria’s criminal law regarding document destruction. The LIV continues to support the introduction of a criminal offence modelled on s39 of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth).

Agreement between Australia and New Zealand

The LIV has written to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on proposed changes to the Rules of Origin applicable under the Closer Economic Relationship Agreement between Australia and New Zealand, applying to goods which are not “wholly originating goods” of either country. The LIV is seeking clarification from DFAT as to the reasons for the proposed changes.

Australia and Japan FTA

The LIV, through its International Law Committee, made a submission to the Japan Section of DFAT on issues relevant to the feasibility of a free trade agreement between Australia and Japan. The LIV supports broader-based free trade agreements aimed at removing other non-tariff barriers to trade.

Settlement of widely-based tax disputes

The LIV, through its Commercial Law Section, made a submission to the ATO in response to the ATO’s Guidelines for Settlement of Widely-Based Tax Disputes which was released on 22 June. Among other things, the LIV contends that the definition of “widely-based tax disputes” may not be appropriate in all circumstances.

Copyright Law Review Committee

The LIV, through its Intellectual Property and Information Technology Committee, has written to federal Justice and Customs Minister Christopher Ellison in regard to recommendations made to the senator by the Copyright Law Review Committee in its April 2005 report titled Crown Copyright. In particular, the LIV strongly objects to Recommendation 4 headed “Public interest in accessible information”.

LIV and the media

Anti-terror laws could backfire
LIV joins NSW Law Society and Law Council of Australia in calling for proper consultation in relation to new counter-terrorism measures
9 September The Age
13 September The Financial Review

Appointment to the High Court
LIV comments on the appointment of Justice Susan Crennan to the High Court
21 September The Age
22 September The Financial Review

Child protection laws
LIV criticises the Victorian government’s proposed changes to child protection laws, claiming they do not go far enough to protect the rights of children in care
9 September The Age

Conveyancer’s ban highlights conflict
LIV has obtained an injunction against a Melbourne conveyancer
23 September The Australian, The Financial Review
30 September The Australian

Criminal Defence Lawyers Association
LIV comments on the launch of the Criminal Defence Lawyers Association
9 September The Australian

Murder trials
LIV Criminal Law Section chair Rob Melasecca comments on the disparity between privately funded lawyers and legal aid lawyers in relation to Victoria’s longest-running murder trial
20 September Herald Sun

Provocation
LIV comments on the new offence of “defensive homicide”
6 October 3AW Breakfast Program

Publishing victim’s details
LIV Criminal Law Section chair Rob Melasecca comments on the issue of publishing victims’ names
21 September ABC 774 Jon Faine Morning Program

Regular radio segments
ABC Statewide Drive Program
22 September Proposed counter-terrorism laws
6 October New workplace privacy reforms, new offence of “defensive homicide” and the Victorian government’s new child protection laws
ABC Drive Program
14 September Discussion on juries and the impact of publicity on cases such as the one involving David Hookes
28 September Proposed new counter-terrorism laws, High Court appointment of Justice Susan Crennan and naming of Victoria’s new Legal Services Commissioner

Suburban law firms
LIV comments on the changing face of suburban practice
29 September BRW Law Report special


AMY LALLY is the LIV’s media adviser. She is also available to help members with particular media issues and can be contacted on ph 9607 9373 or alally@liv.asn.au.

Submissions made by the LIV may be viewed at http://www.liv.asn.au/members/sections/submissions/

livadvocacy@liv.asn.au

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