News

Media Release The Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia committed to keeping families safe through the Family Violence Plan

The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia today released the Family Violence Plan (the Plan). The Plan demonstrates the Courts’ ongoing commitment to addressing issues of family violence by providing a comprehensive set of actions that will support people who are experiencing, or are at risk of, family violence.

The Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, the Hon Will Alstergren, acknowledges the important work undertaken by the Family Violence Committee in bringing this Plan to fruition and to those who have contributed to the Plan’s development.

“The Courts recognise the close connection between family breakdown and violence, and the detrimental impact on adults and children who live with family violence.

“Protecting family members, and particularly children, from the effects of family violence is fundamental to the decisions made in the best interests of the children and ensuring the safety of people involved in family law litigation is a significant priority.

“The Courts take family violence very seriously and realise that we must continually strive to do better. This Plan identifies clear goals, actions to be taken and timelines in relation to protection from family violence; safety at court; and information and communication,” Chief Justice Alstergren said.

This Plan has refined and updated the Family Violence Plan 2014–16. It builds on the important work undertaken by the Courts under the 2014–16 Plan and will be used by administrative staff, decision-makers, legal practitioners, service providers and others involved in the overall family law system.

The Plan covers areas as diverse as building layout, security screening, risk assessment, safety planning for individual litigants, and education and training of staff. It also covers the review and updating of the Family Violence Best Practice Principles, a document designed to assist judges, legal practitioners and litigants understand the legal requirements for all matters in which family violence is alleged.

A copy of the Family Violence Plan is available from the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia websites.

LST Committee Appointments

The Society would like to thank outgoing members of the LST Committees.

Congratulations to all practitioners appointed to the Society’s committees for Committee Year 2019/2020.

See your new LST Committee Members and Chairs here: http://lst.org.au/for-lawyers/committees/

Committee functions include:

Representation
Represent the professional interests of Tasmanian practitioners.

Expert Advice
Provide advice to Council as required and assist the Society to accomplish policy, regulatory and functional responsibilities.

Law Reform | Strategy | Policy
Inform Council on policy direction, provide commentary on law reform, develop submissions on legislative and policy initiatives, and support the strategic objectives of Council.

Professional Development
Initiate professional development and other opportunities for the broader Tasmanian legal profession.

If you would like to submit any concerns or suggestions for a Committee’s consideration relevant to your area of practice please contact the Chair of the relevant Committee or the Law Society of Tasmania at info@lst.org.au.

The Committee Year runs from 1 April to 31 March.

Family Law Court of Australia – Application for Consent Orders

An extended grace period has been in place for filing applications for consent orders, due to changes required to the form as a result of the Family Law Amendment (2018 Measures No. 1) Rules 2018 and Civil Law and Justice Legislation Amendment Act 2018.

The grace period finished on 31 March 2019.

IF YOU USE ‘UNGUIDED’ EFILING OR FILE AT A COURT REGISTRY

  • If you eFile an Application for Consent Orders using the ‘unguided’ method, you MUST use the most recent version of the form.
  • If you paper file an Application for Consent Orders at a court registry, you MUST use the most recent version of the form.

Information about eFiling and the ‘unguided’ process is available at www.familycourt.gov.au/dcp and details on how to apply for consent orders are available on the website at www.familycourt.gov.au/howdoi

The Court recommends eFiling using the ‘unguided’ process.

IF YOU USE ‘GUIDED’ EFILING

Work is still underway to finalise IT systems changes to the ‘guided’ form.

  • If you eFile an Application for Consent Orders using the ‘guided’ method, an extended grace period will apply until 31 May 2019.

 

Law Society of Tasmania Compulsory Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme Claims Manager

 

The Law Society of Tasmania is seeking to engage an experienced practitioner to manage claims arising under the compulsory professional indemnity insurance scheme following the retirement of the current Claims Manager in June 2019.

Background

The Law Society of Tasmania compulsory professional indemnity insurance scheme commenced on 1 July 1995 to provide affordable professional indemnity insurance to the legal profession in Tasmania based on the Tasmanian profession’s legal practice profile and claims history. The scheme is administered by the Society with claims handling and panel solicitor representation provided by the profession in Tasmania.

The scheme provides indemnity for claims arising from legal practice for all practitioners who are required to be insured pursuant to the Legal Profession Act 2007 and provides for a Limit of Indemnity of $2,000,000 (inclusive of defence costs) for any one claim for all legal practices with no limit on the number of claims made against practitioners in Tasmania.

With an average of 40 claims and notifications made to the Claims Manager each policy year, a significant aspect of the efficient administration of the scheme is the claims management role. At any one time there are approximately 50 open and active matters across all policy years at various stages of the litigation process.

The successful candidate will have or be able to earn respect, support and credibility within the legal profession in Tasmania.

Major Duties

This is an autonomous position, in an active and interesting legal practice with major responsibilities including:

  • Receiving claims notifications from practitioners
  • Reporting to and advising underwriters as to each claim on an ongoing basis
  • Making initial assessment of claims/notifications
  • Determining appropriate course of action and claims management strategy
  • Collating evidence and undertaking legal research
  • Briefing panel solicitors to provide advice and conduct the defence of claims
  • Attending hearings, mediations and settlement conferences on behalf of underwriters
  • Maintaining statistical claims database and solicitors’ files with respect to each claim
  • Providing incidental advice to practitioners in respect of claims and claims notifications
  • Providing general assistance to practitioners in respect of the Scheme
  • Assisting the Society with its CPD initiatives including formulating and presenting risk management programs for the profession.
  • Liaising with the Law Society and brokers engaged to manage the PII Scheme
  • Writing articles on a quarterly basis relating to risk management issues for publication in “The Law Letter”
  • Lecturing on risk management at the Legal Practice Course (4 x 2 hour lectures per annum)
  • Attending National risk managers meeting and PII scheme managers meeting annually
  • Preparing for and attending file reviews

 

 Qualifications and Experience

Applicants will be ethical, friendly and engaging solicitors who can work effectively with the Society, the profession, insurers and the Society’s broker to meet the obligations of the compulsory professional indemnity insurance scheme.

Currently the claims manager is a sole practitioner, retained by the Society pursuant to a written agreement. It is expected that arrangement will continue.

The position requires:

  • Qualifications in law, including a current practising certificate, or the ability to obtain one
  • Experience in insurance, including claims management
  • Experience in a broad range of practice areas
  • A minimum 5 years post admission experience in legal practice
  • An interest in and understanding of risk management principles
  • Presentation, research and reporting skills
  • Computer, literacy, including word processing, the use of spreadsheets and data entry
  • Self-motivation and work ethic
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills
  • Some intra and interstate travel

Although the position’s workload varies, an average of 25 – 30 hours each week will be necessary to satisfy the requirements of the position.

An attractive retainer will be offered to the successful applicant commensurate with their level of experience.

Expressions of interest addressing the position requirements stated above should be directed to the Executive Director, the Law Society of Tasmania, 28 Murray Street Hobart 7000 or email luke.rheinberger@lst.org.au by close of business Wednesday, 1 May 2019.

2019 National Indigenous Law Awards are now open

 

Applications for the 2019 National Indigenous Law Awards (NILA) are now open.

NILA aims to highlight and recognise the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who demonstrate a passion and commitment to improving justice outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

NILA consists of two awards, the National Indigenous Legal Professional of the Year Award and the National Indigenous Law Student of the Year Prize.

More information on the National Indigenous Legal Professional of the Year Award and the National Indigenous Law Student of the Year Prize can be found on the GrantConnect website.

Applications close 12.00pm on Friday 26 April 2019 and can be lodged via:

Email: ILASReporting@ag.gov.au

Post: Indigenous Legal Services

Legal Assistance Branch

Attorney-General’s Department

3-5 National Circuit

BARTON ACT 2600

 

 

ACHRA Officer’s Confrence 2019

Hobart, Tasmania

Call for papers and expressions of interest

The ACHRA Officer’s Conference will be held on 17th and 18th October 2019 in Hobart, Tasmania.

The conference theme is: Empowering vulnerable groups to assert their rights in a world increasingly impacted by inequity.

Some of the suggested topics for the conference include (but are not limited to):

  • Law reform: latest developments in human rights across jurisdictions
  • Protecting human rights in closed environments (prisons, aged care facilities, youth justice)
  • UN Declaration of Human Rights: 70 years of achievements and challenges
  • Our people our culture: strengthening our performance based on ethical and inclusive frameworks for action
  • Sexual harassment and the #metoo movement
  • Improving accessibility of complaints processes: legal outreach
  • Training: innovation, challenges and opportunities

Together we are hoping to put together a conference program that is stimulating, educative and with a mix of presentations and panel discussions.

We know that there is a lot of great work going on around the country. With that in mind the ACHRA Officer’s Conference Committee is calling for ideas and expressions of interest to present a paper, participate in a panel or facilitate a workshop on interesting topics or challenges to share with colleagues.

If you would like to contribute to any of the following, please let us know:

  • A presentation (approx. 30 minutes, followed by 30 minutes questions);
  • A workshop around key themes;
  • Panel discussions on relevant topics; or a
  • Sharing/learning/networking exercise.

The conference is a great chance for officers in various authorities across Australia to network, build relationships and above all to learn about what each other is doing. So if you or your organisation has been working on a project you think is worth sharing or you have an issue that you think collective minds might benefit from discussing, let us know.

Please send your expression of interest to us by 19 April 2019:

ACHRA Officer’s Conference Committee (Tas)
E-mail: office@equalopportunity.tas.gov.au

Enquiries

Any questions regarding the expression of interest should be directed to Amelia or Katrina on 03 6165 7515 or e-mail: office@equalopportunity.tas.gov.au

The Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia welcome the announcement of judicial appointments to the Courts

Today the Commonwealth Attorney-General, the Hon Christian Porter MP announced the appointment of Judge Christine Mead and Judge Norah Hartnett to the Family Court of Australia and the appointment of the Hon Justice Peter Tree to the Appeal Division of the Family Court of Australia.

These appointments elevate Judge Mead and Judge Hartnett from their current positions as judges of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and Justice Tree, an existing Family Court judge, elevated to the Appeal Division of the Family Court of Australia.

Judge Mead will be located in the Adelaide registry and Judge Hartnett in the Melbourne registry of the Family Court of Australia, both commencing next Monday, 25 March 2019.

Also announced today are the appointments of Mr Guy Andrew and Ms Penelope Kari to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Mr Andrew will be assigned to the Townsville registry and Ms Kari to the Adelaide registry, both commencing next Monday, 25 March 2019.

Justice Tree will continue to hear trials in the Cairns Registry as well as serve on the Appeal Division.

Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the Hon Will Alstergren welcomes the announcement of additional judicial resources.

“The Family Court and Federal Circuit Court are experiencing significant change amongst its judiciary.

“With retirement from the bench comes rejuvenation by newly appointed judges – bringing a sense of enthusiasm, energy and direction,” Chief Justice Alstergren said.

The announcement today by the Commonwealth Attorney-General is incredibly important and gratefully received by the Courts.

Over the past 12 months Chief Justice Alstergren has worked tirelessly to ensure that retiring judges are replaced quickly and for additional judicial resources. In that time, there have been 7 appointments to the Family Court and 10 appointments to the Federal Circuit Court. This brings the total number of judges across both courts to 105 (37 in the FCoA and 68 in the FCC), which is an overall net increase of 12% in judicial resourcing across both Courts.

“Timely appointments of new judges are vital. Judicial resources are imperative, especially during a period of change, as is the review and harmonisation of rules, forms and case management approaches.

“Despite the best efforts and integrity of individual judges of this Court and the endeavours of the profession, there are unacceptable delays in family law cases being heard and determined. Together, we can do better, there is much to achieve and I look forward to working alongside our new judges in that endeavour.

“Today’s appointments bring immense family law experience to the Courts. Judge Mead and Judge Hartnett have been Federal Circuit Court judges for almost 20 years – the value of their direct experience in the courtroom will be immeasurable to the Family Court. Judge Andrew and Judge Kari are also highly respected barristers with vast family law experience,” Chief Justice Alstergren added.

Media Release

 

The Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia welcome the announcement of new appointments to the courts

The Commonwealth Attorney General, the Hon Christian Porter announced the appointments of Dr Timothy McEvoy QC as a judge to the Family Court of Australia and Ms Alice Carter as a judge to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

Dr McEvoy will be assigned to the Melbourne registry of the Family Court, commencing on 27 March 2019 and Ms Carter will commence in the Melbourne registry of the Federal Circuit Court on 14 March 2019.

Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the Hon Will Alstergren welcomes the announcement of much needed judicial resources to assist with family law cases in the Melbourne registry.

“Our Victorian registries receive approximately 5,800 family law applications (for final orders) each year, seeking the resolution of disputes between separating couples relating to children and property matters.

In addition, the Federal Circuit Court conducts an extensive circuit program in many regional towns to ensure that people living in rural and regional locations have access to the justice system for their family law disputes.

“The appointments of Dr McEvoy and Ms Carter will provide significant assistance in dealing effectively with these matters.

“The judges of these courts work extremely hard and we are determined to continue to investigate ways in which we can improve how family law cases are dealt with.

“It is critical that we build the public’s trust and confidence in court practices by providing a case management system that simplifies procedures and makes it easier for people to understand what the courts can do in relation to resolving family law disputes.

Both Dr McEvoy and Ms Carter have extensive experience in the family law jurisdiction and that wealth of experience will greatly assist the courts’ endeavour to improve the family law system. I look forward to the opportunity to work with them,” Chief Justice Alstergren said