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From the LIV

From the LIV

By Nerida Wallace & Steven Sapountsis

Advocacy Justice Uniform Laws 


Half year reflections The LIV is keen to help members and recognise their achievements. As president, I have met with many members and representatives from allied law associations representing lawyers from different geographical and cultural groups. I have also met with most Sections of the LIV, confirming for me the importance of their work and that of committees. I have learned what concerns members and the support or services they need from the LIV. Members are concerned about Uniform Law, particularly the costs disclosure regime. The LIV continues to provide assistance with this and we are seeking refinements to improve its operation in practice. I have learned that suburban and country members want more readily accessible CPD. We are looking at ways to make that happen. They have also told me they want a comfortable meeting space at, or near, the LIV where they can work or catch up with colleagues when they are in town. We are investigating the viability of that. We are also looking at enhancing the LIV mentor scheme. The LIV’s advocacy work has involved more than 60 submissions so far this year. Members are proud of that work but a small number have queried the LIV’s policy positions on some issues. An example is the open letter to the Prime Minister, to which the LIV was a signatory, calling for an end to the offshore processing of asylum seekers. Given the guiding principles of the LIV and all lawyers to promote the rule of law and advocate for access to justice for all, the decision to sign the letter was not difficult. There was also Australia’s obligations as a good international citizen to consider. The letter was appropriate, regardless of the political complexion of the federal government. LIV support of the Law Council of Australia’s national legal aid campaign is rooted in the same commitment to access to justice for all. I welcome the views of members, as the LIV continues to support lawyers and advocate for the legal profession, its clients and the rule of law. On another note, I was proud to attend the LIV Legal Awards night in May (see p18), when the extraordinary achievements of a number of solicitors were recognised. Steven Sapountsis LIV President president@liv.asn.au @livpresident Blog liv.asn.au/livpresblog Legal aid matters Stand up for justice. I was privileged to stand on the County Court forecourt with peers to defend yet again the importance of justice and the rule of law as we did last year to protest the death penalty. This time the Law Council of Australia and many supporters called for legal aid to be given the same financial status as Medicare – a fundamental pillar of our society. For the first time, on that day justice “trended” on twitter. With the federal election this month it may take some time before we know the impact of the Legal Aid Matters campaign. I urge you go to the website (http://tinyurl.com/zvoqm9y) and contact your local member of parliament – the campaign will continue and personal representations work (just like they do in a courtroom). For more on the national legal aid rallies, see p23. This month marks the start of the foreign resident capital gains tax withholding regime. You may have seen an email from president Steven Sapountsis setting out the LIV’s response and guidelines. This legislation will affect many if not all members and, just as the LIV did with Uniform Law, advocacy at all levels of government will be unrelenting and we will keep members informed. Please get in touch if you need help. There are many issues not yet resolved but as soon as they are, you will know. This month, the LIV Council will agree on the LIV strategic plan for the next three years. The Council will consider three things – what impacts on justice the LIV should be able to claim in 2020, whether Victoria should join others in the federation with more self-regulation and whether a corporate structure will better serve improved member services and financial sustainability. The LIV Council has been working hard on these issues with members meeting, often weekly, to hear from experts and other professional associations. I suggest you speak to LIV councillors about these issues. You will be kept up to date on developments. As always, you are welcome to contact me at any time. Nerida Wallace LIV CEO ceo@liv.asn.au

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