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LIV update

Every Issue

Cite as: September 2013 87 (9) LIJ, p.90

LIV Council

The LIV meets each month to debate and decide issues of importance to members, the legal profession and the community. At the meeting on 18 July, Council heard from LIV section chairs who reported on their activities for the previous six months and plans for the future. Council also heard from representatives of the Law Council of Australia (LCA) and Council’s newest member, Dr Gerry Bean, gave his maiden address.

Maiden speech – Dr Gerry Bean

An edited version of Dr Bean’s speech follows:

Over the years, I have actively participated in two LIV committees – the Taxation and Revenue Committee and the State Taxes Committee – and I chaired the LIV Taxation and Revenue Committee for about seven years. From meeting Council members on these committees, I became interested in potentially standing as a Council member, and was approached by members to do so.

In my short time on the Council, I have been very impressed by the members’ hard work and dedication. In particular, I have been impressed at how the LIV’s focus on achieving justice in the community and advancement of legal reform are its highest priorities.

I fully support our president’s campaign to increase diversity, and recognise diversity, among members of the legal profession.

I am assisting and fully support the Council’s emphasis on improving the health and wellbeing (including mental health) of members of the legal community – not just solicitors, but barristers, the judiciary, our families and co-workers.

I am also impressed by our president’s campaign to have lawyers recognise opportunities for engagement with Asian businesses and lawyers, as part of Australia’s role in the “Asian century”.

Most members will know that I have been a partner in a large law firm for a number of years but I am equally concerned with issues affecting government lawyers and smaller and medium sized practices. I have many friends and colleagues in the profession outside the large firms and outside private practice, and I want to help address their issues as well.

Reading George Beaton’s feature, “Fasten your seatbelts” in the June LIJ, on the future of the legal profession and developments overseas that are likely to flow on to Australia was very sobering. While we need to deal with the problems of “now”, we also need to have our minds focused on overseas developments in the legal profession that will affect us in the future and our own profession’s unique issues.

I hope to engage with other members of the Council on dealing with these future issues, both as a member of our Future Focus committee and as a member of Council.

Law Council of Australia visit

LCA president Michael Colbran QC and secretary-general Martyn Hagan addressed Council. Mr Colbran shared his vision for the LCA, envisaging that as the profession’s peak representative body, it must operate as effectively as possible on behalf of constituent bodies. Women in the profession and their re-engagement after time away was a key issue for the LCA, according to Mr Colbran, who also affirmed the LCA’s support of national legal profession reforms.

Section chairs

LIV section chairs were invited to the meeting to provide an update on their section activities. Criminal law section co-chair Sam Norton noted the temporary legal aid guidelines were due for review in September. Among the presentations, David Davies, chair of the elder law section, reported that the LIV Capacity Guidelines & Toolkit, designed to help lawyers where their client’s capacity was in doubt, was due to be launched later in the year. The government lawyer section reported an ethics strategy for government lawyers was in development with the LIV Ethics department. Litigation section chair Mark Yorston said work was being done on electronic file management with the County Court, and chair of the Administrative Law and Human Rights section Richard Wilson said the Reconciliation Action Plan committee had unanimously approved to be renamed the Reconciliation and Advancement Committee.

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