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Council: Governance Review Update

Council: Governance Review Update

By Carolyn Ford

Practice & Procedure 


A preliminary report of the LIV governance review is due this month. 

With its corporate governance review consultation well underway, the LIV continues to move towards a contemporary model of governance.

Not-for-profit and membership organisations are not exempt from the expectations of corporate Australia in relation to governance. Just as public companies with shareholders are expected to be governed responsibly, so too are there expectations on organisations like the LIV. 

The LIV announced a review of its governance structure in September. It was part of the renewal of the organisation after establishing a new home, a new strategy (2019-2022), a new involvement with regulation and professional standards and new practice support priorities.

Part of ensuring best practice in governance was consulting with members. Feedback received to date will be incorporated into the preliminary report, due this month. It will capture the status of the current environment and recommendations on potential areas of reform (if any] and how these could be best achieved.

Summaries of the report will be published in the LIJ and LawNews.

Council will then determine if and what governance reform is required, with a further consultation in 2020. It will report by the 2020 annual general meeting.

“We are informed and influenced by the views of our members who enthusiastically accepted our invitation to take part in a consultation to answer our many questions, and by research on examples of governance in other professional associations elsewhere in Australia and internationally,” said LIV vice-president Tania Wolff, chair of the governance review working group.

LIV president Stuart Webb said after agreeing on a new LIV strategy (2019-2022) early this year, Council decided it was time to review the way the LIV was governed. 

“The governance review is vital to the LIV. It ensures scrutiny and accountability on behalf of those who are served by the LIV, in turn ensuring transparency on how the LIV conducts its affairs and manages its resources. A constructive and rigorous challenge of those who lead and govern the LIV has the effect of enhancing performance.

“We have revisited our earlier governance principles and considered whether they still apply today, whether they have become outmoded by contemporary standards, or whether they would benefit from a rethink.”

Ms Wolff said Council was confident the LIV and members stood to benefit by embracing contemporary governance practice willingly and successfully. “This will establish the LIV as a modern professional association.”

The LIV is a broad church, and as such, it received a range of responses during the consultations. The findings included:

  • the board to have a more strategic focus
  • size and skills base of the board 
  • clarity around what was and was not within the scope of governance of the LIV
  • combining oversight of policy and advocacy with the corporate governance focus of the board was questioned
  • board make-up – groups of members, ethnic, gender, areas of employment
  • effect of board make-up on turnover and nomination pools
  • board training/experience should be a prerequisite for candidates
  • board skills should include non-lawyer skills such as financial governance, investment oversight, political advocacy, IT, human resources and community engagement
  • policy strategy/oversight committee of Council to set priorities for advocacy and policy responses to government and regulators 
  • remuneration of board members
  • size of board – it was described as unwieldy, even unworkable, hindering the quality of Council work, reducing member accountability and leading to group think
  • tenure of the board members 
  • LIV president role – critical but with limitations. 

Feedback is welcome to or or 03 9421 3111. 


LIV Governance

Stuart Webb
5th executive member
Brendan Lacota
Sam Pandya
Immediate past president
Belinda Wilson
Tania Wolff
LIV council members    
Molina Asthana Tim Freeman John Toohey
Tom Ballantyne  Simon Libbis Meghan Warren
Gerry Bean John McPherson Kathy Wilson
Caroline Counsel Tom May   
Rachel Cox  Carrie O’Shea  
To find out more about LIV governance and representation or to contact LIV Council members see or phone the secretary to the Council on 9607 9513 or email

Law Association Presidents

Ballarat & District Law Association
James Remington 5337 0266
North West Suburbs Lawyers’ Association
David Gonzalez 9379 7306
Bendigo Law Association
Juliana Smith 5444 1181
North West Victoria Law Association
Tristram Lock 5022 2622
Eastern Suburbs Law Association
Zubair Mian 9888 5885
Northern Suburbs Law Association
Antonella Terranova 9432 0266
Geelong Law Association
Aaron Jolly 5222 2077
Southern Solicitors Law Association
Celina Roth 9592 7744
Gippsland Law Association
Daniel Taylor 5152 6262
Western District Law Association
Jessica Dowdy 5572 1600
Goulburn Valley Law Association
Charles Hart 5820 0200
Western Suburbs Law Association
Danielle Leo 9334 6803
Mornington Peninsula Lawyers Association
Kelly Beck 9670 5000
Wimmera Law Association
Patrick Smith 5381 2222
North East Law Association
Amanda Toner 5752 1493
About the LIV: The LIV represents about 19,000 lawyers and people working in the law in Victoria, interstate and overseas. Our members offer their commitment, diversity and expertise to help shape the laws of Victoria and to ensure a strong legal profession for the future. The LIV promotes justice for all advancing social and public welfare in the operation of the courts and legal system as well as advancing education and public confidence both in the legal profession and in the processes by which the law is made and administered. As the peak body for the Victorian legal profession, the LIV initiates programs to support the needs of a changing profession, promotes an active law reform advocacy agenda, responds publicly to issues affecting the profession and broader community, delivers continuing legal education programs, and continues to provide expert services and resources to support our members.

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