News

Law Society Annual Awards

Each year the Society recognises outstanding contribution and excellence by individuals and firms at the opening of the legal year dinner.

If you know a person or firm who has made an outstanding contribution, why not nominate them?

• President’s Award
Young Lawyers’ Award

Nominations close 20 December 2019

Sir John Demetrius Morris Oration – 26 November 2019

Sir John Morris was appointed to the bench as Acting Chief Justice of the Tasmania Supreme Court July 1939. He was formally appointed Chief Justice in April 1940, aged 37. He served as Chief Justice until his death in 1956, aged only 53. His was the first Chief Justice in Australia of Hellenic background.

Chief Justice Alan Blow will be introducing Professor Ober at the Oration.

Cross-Border Insolvency Invitation to Attend UN Day Lecture Series – UNCCA

Federal Court – Court 1 – 39-41 Davey Street Hobart
23 October 2019, 5-6.15pm

This year’s lecture will outline how the Cross-Border Insolvency framework operates, and will examine the contribution made by Australian courts and practitioners to many of the developments in this field over the past quarter-century.

See here for further detail.

Students $6.36 | Non-members $27.46 | Hobart – UNCCA and ARITA Members $Free

Flyer|Speakers|Registration

Federal Court of Australia – EOI – Native Title Mediator List

The Federal Court of Australia is currently conducting a review and update of its list of suitably qualified and experienced people for inclusion on the Federal Court of Australia’s national list of mediators. The call for expressions of interest closes 1 November 2019 and it is hoped that the list can be updated during December 2019.

Contact Ms Laurelea McGregor, Judicial Registrar- Native Title, Federal Court of Australia should you have any questions on (08) 9268 7128 or laurelea.mcgregor@feddcourt.gov.au.

TLRI Final Report – Notional Estate Laws – Notice from the TLRI

The Institute’s latest publication, Final Report No. 27 Should Tasmania Introduce “Notional Estate” Laws?, was released on 4 September .

The report has concluded that laws enabling family members to dispute an inheritance should not be expanded to cover assets such as superannuation, life insurance and family trust assets that don’t come into a person’s estate. In every Australian State except NSW, these ‘non-estate assets’, which also include certain jointly owned assets, cannot be claimed when someone applies to the court for more from a deceased estate.

Under the Testator’s Family Maintenance Act 1912 (Tas) people can give away assets before their death to remove those assets from claims. The State Government’s terms of reference asked the TLRI to consider whether Tasmania should introduce laws, like those in NSW, that allow a court to declare non-estate assets to be ‘’notional estate’’.

The extent to which family members can dispute what was left to them under a will is a topic that people often hold strong views about.  The Institute’s public consultation highlighted significant differences of opinion about the extent to which assets should be subject to claims. This demonstrated that there is no easy answer to what is, at least in part, a philosophical question about the limits the law should place upon people’s freedom to deal with their assets as they please and to gift their assets as they wish after their death.

The report concludes that Tasmania should not introduce notional estate laws unless nationally uniform laws are enacted. Several respondents to the TLRI raised concerns about the potential for notional estate laws to be avoided through “jurisdiction shopping”, with NSW the only Australian jurisdiction with laws of this type. The report observes that the effectiveness of the NSW scheme has not yet been evaluated. Several respondents suggested that notional estate laws increase the complexity, time and cost of court disputes.

Given the significant barrier to the effectiveness of notional estate laws created by the lack of nationally uniform laws,  the questions about the extent of need for reform and the potential problems it may create, the Institute formed the view that notional estate provisions should not be enacted in Tasmania without nationally uniform laws and further evaluation of the New South Wales law.

Nevertheless, noting the divergent and strongly held views on this issue and that several respondents did support the introduction of notional estate laws to prevent people avoiding legitimate claims to their estates, the TLRI’s report recommends that uniform family provision laws be placed on the national agenda with this project including an evaluation of the NSW scheme and research into the extent to which claims are presently being avoided.

Acknowledging that the State government may legitimately conclude that reform is desirable given the strong arguments advanced in favour of it, the report suggests that any reform should enact a narrower scheme to that in New South Wales and concentrate upon situations where people intentionally avoid claims.

The research was funded by a grant from the Solicitor’s Guarantee Fund.

The Final Report, including an easy-read version, can be found here: https://www.utas.edu.au/law-reform/publications/completed-law-reform-projects#notional-estates under the tab “Notional Estates”.

Kate Hanslow
Research Fellow
Tasmania Law Reform Institute

Law School Annual Meet the Profession Event

Co-hosted by the Law Society of Tasmania, Tasmanian Women Lawyers, the Southern Young Lawyers Committee, the Association of Corporate Counsel (Tasmanian Division) and the Tasmania University Law Society.

From 4.30pm to 6.30pm
Tuesday 10 September 2019
University of Tasmania Law Faculty
Drinks & Canapes provided
Registration essential
All practitioners are encouraged to attend.

Register here