A United regulatory system for legal practitioners
The Legal Services Council is encouraging stakeholders to have their say on draft Operating rules for Australia’s first united regulatory system for legal practitioners. The Legal Profession Uniform Law is due to start in mid-2015 and will initially provide a single regulatory framework for NSW and Victorian legal practitioners (28 November 2014). Read the full release here.
Courts, Police, lawyers and community groups establish Family Violence Taskforce
The Family Violence Taskforce including the Chief Magistrate, Victoria Police, criminal and family lawyers and community groups has been formed to tackle family violence issues. This will review current family violence services and make recommendations for improvements across criminal, civil and child protection jurisdictions (26 November 2014). Read the full article here.
Senior construction manager stood down at Bendigo Health over corruption allegations
Regional hospital operator Bendigo Health has stood down one of its senior construction managers over serious allegations of corruption. The royal commission into trade union corruption has recently come under attack from the ACTU for failing to properly investigate employer misconduct (24 November 2014). Read the full article here.
Ground-breaking discrimination win against local council for man with multiple disabilities
A man with multiple disabilities, who had been banned for more than five years from all buildings at his local council, has won a ground-breaking discrimination claim. The VCAT has ordered compulsory training on the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities for Manningham City councillors, chief executive and directors (24 November 2014). Read the full article here.
Government lawyer to head the Law Institute in 2015
Ms Miller was endorsed at the LIV annual general meeting last night and will take up the position on 1 January 2015.Ms Miller is an accredited specialist in administrative law and was elected to LIV Council in 2010. She is the current President-elect, Chair of the Council’s Audit committee and a member of the Accredited Specialisation Board (20 November 2014). Read the full article here.
Topless neighbour's drone picture prompts calls for privacy law overhaul
An image, captured by a real estate agency using a remote controlled drone, appeared on a for sale sign of a Mount Martha home on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula. The Victorian Surveillance Devices Act dates back to 1999, meaning drones are not governed by any clear privacy protections (17 November 2014). Read the full article here.
Grocon to plead guilty over fatal Swanston Street wall collapse
Construction giant Grocon has said it will plead guilty to one criminal charge over a wall collapse at a building site that killed three people. Melbourne Magistrates Court heard the Victorian Workcover Authority could not prove Grocon caused the wall to collapse, but instead said Grocon failed to keep a safe workplace (13 November 2014). Read the full article here.
Public Participation in Government Decision-making: better practice guide
In light of the importance of public participation for informing and shaping government’s decisions and the mixed performance observed in its application in Victoria, a new practice guide is now available. The guide aims to clearly flag expectations about what good performance looks like describing the principles and practices we expect agencies to follow (13 November 2014). Read the full article here.
Supreme Court Finds Magistrate Denied Defendant Procedural Fairness
Supreme Court judge Justice Michael McDonald ruled that Mr Crisp did not have the power to terminate the summary hearing midstream and order the defendant to appear days later at a filing hearing (12 November 2014). Read the full article here.
Trade union royal commission: Federal Government establishing police taskforce to investigate corruption
Up to 30 Victorian and federal police officers will investigate criminal conduct uncovered by the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. The Coalition maintains the royal commission has received significant evidence of criminal conduct, including widespread instances of physical and verbal violence, cartel conduct, secondary boycotts, contempt of court and other institutional orders (31 October 2014). Read the full article here.
On the national front
Public service performance management is not bullying, says FWC
The Fair Work Commission has refused to grant a "stop the bullying order" to a senior Australian Bureau of Statistics public servant who alleged his boss was using the bureau's performance management system to bully and force him out of his job (25 November 2014). Read the full article here.
New approach to International criminal history checks
From early 2015, National Boards and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) will implement a new procedure for checking international criminal history (12 November 2014). Read the full article here.
Ombudsman releases report on government complaint handling
Government agencies are more focused on resolving complaints and meeting customer expectations than they were 20 years ago, but they still need to improve. They are the key findings of a report, Complaint management by government agencies, released last week by the Commonwealth Ombudsman, Colin Neave(11 November 2014). Read the full article here.
Committee calls for conscience vote on Dying with Dignity
The Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has today tabled its final report into an exposure draft of federal dying with dignity legislation. A federal Senate inquiry has called for a conscience vote on a bill allowing terminally ill people to legally end their lives, but asked that key technical issues with the legislation be clarified (10 November 2014). Read the full article here.
Going public on privacy – but is anyone listening?
The Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) long-awaited final report on privacy invasion includes a detailed plan for a new course of action. It says while no legal protection exists currently, serious invasions of privacy are occurring with “increasing ease and frequency” in the digital age (10 November 2014). Read the full article here.
Published - articles, papers, reports and regulation
Victoria Supreme Court: Judgements Bulletin November 2014
New Practice Note - Commercial Arbitration Business
The Supreme Court has released the Practice Note No. 8 of 2014 - Commercial Arbitration Business (28 November 2014)
New Judicial Speech
The Supreme Court has published The litigation contract: The future roles of judges, counsel and lawyers in litigation, a speech delivered by Chief Justice Marilyn Warren at the Victorian Bar and Law Institute of Victoria joint conference High Stakes Law in Practice in Melbourne on 17 October 2014.
Safeguarding Integrity: A guide to the integrity system in Victoria
The Safeguarding Integrity Guide aims to help public sector employees and the broader community understand Victoria's integrity system and its key agencies. The guide was produced by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission in partnership with the Victorian Ombudsman and the Victorian Auditor-General's Office. Click here to access a copy of the guide (November 2014)
IBAC Corruption Risks in Local Government Practitioner Forum
Camperdown, Dates: 4 December 2014
Victorian Ombudsman Presentation - Why it is important to have independent oversight of the Victorian prison system
Click here to access the PDF version (06 November 2014)
Investigation into the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners in Victoria
The Ombudsman released a discussion paper outlining the key issues emerging from her investigation into the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners in Victoria. Click here to view the discussion paper. All submissions must be received by 31 December 2014
Victoria Supreme Court: New Notice to the Profession
The Supreme Court has made available a Notice to the Profession 2014 - Disclosure of Information (12 November 2014), which concerns the disclosure of information in relation to civil proceedings in the Supreme Court
Anthony v Magistrates' Court of Victoria & Anor  VSC 573
JUDICIAL REVIEW – criminal law – sentencing – Magistrates’ Court of Victoria – multiple charges – single hearing – sentence imposed included both community correction order and sentence of imprisonment – whether imposition of community correction order was contrary to prohibition in s 44(1) of Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) – consequences of violation of prohibition – whether all or some of the sentences to be quashed and remitted for reconsideration – totality principle – ‘occasion’. Read about the casehere.
Vinton v Sim  VSC 568
APPEAL - Judicial Review - Determination of Medical Panel under Wrongs Act for degree of impairment - Statutory time limit for making determination - Time limit a jurisdictional condition - Judicial Review of determination made outside time - Review and remittal conceded - Application for indemnity certificate for costs - Whether judicial review is “appeal” - Whether Medical Panel is “a tribunal or other body” - Certificate granted - Appeal Costs Act 1998 (Vic), s 4 (1) Read about the case here.
The next sitting dates for both Houses of Victorian Parliament are in 2015
No. 54: Crime Statistics Act 2014
Commencement: Ss 1-16, 18 on 01/01/2015: SG (No. 364) 14/10/2014 p. 1 S. 17 on 01/01/2015: s. 2(2) Not yet in operation: Ss 1-16, 18: on 01/01/2015: SG (No. 364) 14/10/2014 p. 1 S. 17: on 01/01/2015: s. 2(2)
No. 62: Courts Legislation Miscellaneous Amendments Act 2014
Assent: 9/09/2014 SG (No. 306) 9/9/2014 p. 1 Commencement: SG (No. 364) 14/10/2014 p. 1 Ss 3-24, 61-67, 69(1), 72, 74, 80-107 on 10/11/2014: SG (No. 364)
Not yet in operation: Ss 3-24, 61-67, 69(1), 72, 74, 80-95: on 10/11/2014: SG (No. 364)
No. 79: Justice Legislation Amendment (Confiscation and Other Matters) Act 2014
Commencement: ss62 on 01/11/2014: s. 2(4) Ss 61(2), 64 on 01/11/2014: s. 2(5)
S. 63 on 02/11/2014: s. 2(6) Not yet in operation: Ss 61(1), 62: on 01/11/2014: s. 2(4)
Ss 61(2), 64: on 01/11/2014: s. 2(5) S. 63: on 02/11/2014: s. 2(6) Ss 3-47, 52, 53, 55-60, 72
No. 156: Supreme Court (Oath and Affirmation of Office) Regulations 2014
Commencement: 10/11/2014: reg. 3
Not yet in operation: Regs 1-4: on 10/11/2014: reg. 3 Sunset Date: 14/10/2024
No. 157: County Court (Oath and Affirmation of Office) Regulations 2014
Commencement: 10/11/2014: reg. 3
Not yet in operation: Regs 1-4: on 10/11/2014: reg. 3 Sunset Date: 14/10/2024
No. 158: Magistrates' Court General Amendment (Judicial Registrar Oath and Affirmation of Office) Regulations 2014
Commencement: 10/11/2014: reg. 3 Not yet in operation: Regs 1-7: on 10/11/2014: reg. 3 Sunset Date: 14/10/2024
No. 160: Children, Youth and Families Amendment (Judicial Registrar Oath and Affirmation of Office) Regulations 2014
Commencement: 10/11/2014: reg. 3 Not yet in operation: Regs 1-6: on 10/11/2014: reg. 3 Sunset Date: 14/10/2024
Supreme Court (Civil Appeals Amendments) Rules 2014
Commencement: 10/11/2014 (Whole)
Parliamentary Salaries and Superannuation (Allowances) Amendment Regulations 2014
Commencement: 29/11/2014 (Whole)
Victorian legislation can be viewed online at: http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/