Committees

More than 30 active committees and working groups have been established by volunteer members of the Law Society, covering a range of substantive law and other areas of interest. Many of the Law Society’s committees are policy committees that deal with references for comment from outside organisations and initiate comment on various legal and practice issues as and when they arise.

Committee membership is an exclusive benefit for Law Society members. Joining a committee is a great way to give back to the profession, influence the agenda and develop networks in different sectors of the profession.  Committee members are expected to abide by the Law Society’s Committee BylawsCode of Conduct and Conflict of Interest Guidelines.

To join a committee please complete a Committee Expression of Interest form.

For more information about each committee, please select the relevant committee below.

Access to Justice

2018/19 Annual Report

The Access to Justice Committee has broad representation from members of the legal profession and key stakeholders in the provision of legal aid and legal assistance on a pro bono basis. Stakeholder representation includes Law Access Limited, a wholly owned not for profit subsidy of the Society that co-ordinates pro-bono assistance in Western Australia and the Director of Civil Law at Legal Aid. The Law Society is also represented on the Law Access Limited Stakeholder Advisory Committee by a member of the Committee.

The Convenor and the Law Society’s President have represented the Law Society on the Law Council of Australia’s Access to Justice Committee. A key achievement of the Committee and Law Council has been the publication of the Justice Project Final Report. This Report comprehensively reviewed the state of access to justice in Australia for people experiencing significant disadvantage. The Justice Project was overseen by an expert steering group led by the former Chief Justice of the High Court, the Hon Robert French AC. The Report identified 13 priority groups and made 59 recommendations.

The Law Society has established a Justice Project Working Group to identify which recommendations are strategic priorities to have implemented in Western Australia. The Convenor, Jenny McKenzie and Mr Justin Stevenson are the Committee’s representatives on the Working Group.

During the recent Federal Election, the Law Council of Australia and the Law Society continued to campaigned for the major parties to adopt policies that would lead to an increase in funding for legal assistance in accordance with the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Access to Justice Arrangements’ and the Justice Project’s recommendations.

Initiatives undertaken during the year include submissions made to the Attorney General and the State Solicitor’s Office concerning the requirement for pro-bono work to be included in government legal panel tenders. The submissions broadly followed the Victorian model.

The Aged Care Royal Commission is also being monitored by the Committee with an emphasis on access to justice for the elderly.

To assist practitioners conducting pro-bono matters, the Committee promoted an article that has been published in the June edition of Brief informing practitioners of schemes that assist in the payment of pro-bono disbursements.

The Committee continues to explore options to educate and assist practitioners to engage with their Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders’ clients in an appropriate and culturally sensitive way.

The Committee continues to monitor the situation where legal practitioners engaging in legal practice at a community legal centre on a voluntary basis were not being provided with an exemption from holding professional indemnity insurance under a scheme approved by the Society. The Legal Practice Regulations have been amended to correct this anomaly however the Committee continues to monitor for potential unintended consequences of these amendments.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Gary Mack
Chair

Maryse Aranda

David Blades

Dianne Caruso

Mark Cox

Lara Gotti

Dominique Hansen
Observer

Jenny McKenzie

Gregory Mohen

Steven Penglis SC

Brooke Sojan

Nicholas Snare

Justin Stevenson
Observer

Heather Williams

Accreditation

2018/19 Annual Report

The Accreditation Committee advises the Law Society’s Council on the rules and regulations that govern the granting of accreditation by the Law Society. In a secondary capacity the Committee acts as the advisory board for family law accreditation.

Accredited family law specialists practising in Western Australia must be members of the Law Society, and there are currently 43 accredited family law specialists accredited n Western Australia with three accredited specialists retiring in 2019.

The Committee’s achievements in 2018/19 include:

  • delivery of the biennial specialist accreditation assessment programme, and 2019 being a year in which the accreditation assessment programme is being conducted;
  • assessment of professional development activities submitted by accredited specialists, for which required accreditation professional development points may be allocated. Not all CPD is at a level to attract points for accreditation purposes. Western Australia is the only State in which accredited practitioners are required to submit requests to the Committee for the approval and allocation of professional development points.
  • re-accreditation and auditing of accredited specialists; and
  • the mutual recognition of interstate accredited specialists, in accordance with the national accreditation scheme.

The current accreditation assessment programme commenced in May 2019 with detailed information sessions for candidates. 22 candidates are participating this year, an almost 100% increase on the previous programme. The number reflects the esteem in which specialist accreditation is held.

The privilege of applying the accredited family law specialist designation and distinctive logo is reserved exclusively for accredited specialists. Appointment as a specialist is a significant milestone in the career of a family law practitioner, and the Committee congratulates those admitted as candidates and wishes them well for the assessment tasks ahead.

The Law Society also actively participates in the Family Law Specialist Accreditation National Steering Committee. This ensures that all States and Territories share information to facilitate a consistent approach to assessment and credentialing. In an assessment year, the National Steering Committee works to promote consistency and uniformity of approach. That has included the Committee working with representatives of the other law societies and institutes to review and settle the assessment tasks and marking guides for assessment.

For more information about this committee please email accreditation@lawsocietywa.asn.au.

Committee Members

Trevor O'Sullivan
Chair

Damien Bowen

Debbie Clinch

Samuel Fahey

Rodney Hooper SC

Elizabeth Hynes

Denby Kerr

Devin Sanghavi

Paula Wilkinson

Administrative and Migration Law Committee

2018/19 Annual Report

The Administrative, Constitutional and Migration Law Committee met jointly with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Committee during 2018/19.

In 2018/19 the Committee monitored the work of the Law Council of Australia in developing policy positions on:

  • Changes to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (Cth);
  • Counter-Terrorism Bills;
  • The Migration (Validation of Port Appointment) Bill;
  • Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agents) Bill;
  • Migration amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill;
  • Migration Amendment (Streamlining Visa Processing) Bill; and
  • The Justice Project.

In November 2018 the Committee provided input for:

a) a Law Council of Australia submission to the Inquiry by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee into the effectiveness of the current temporary skilled visa system
in targeting genuine skills shortages; and
b) Council’s response to the Law Council of Australia arising from the Justice Project.

The Committee maintained a liaison with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal through membership of its Users’ Group and has re-established regular liaison with the Department of Home Affairs.

Members of the Committee attended the Department of Home Affairs WA Stakeholders Forum in April 2019.

The Committee also maintained informal connections with the Migration Institute of Australia and the Australian Institute of Administrative Law (WA Chapter).

The Committee resolved to change its name to the Administrative and Migration Law Committee from 1 July 2019. This is to reflect the emphasis in the work undertaken by the committee.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Peter Lochore
Chair

Anthony Coates

John Fickling

Kendra Hagan

Matthew Keating

Janette McCahon

Martin Udall

Janet Woollard

Crawford Yorke

Alternative Dispute Resolution

2018/19 Annual Report

The Committee continues to seek to promote alternative dispute resolution and the involvement of lawyers in alternative dispute resolution.

The Law Society is a Recognised Mediator Accreditation Body (RMAB) under the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS). The Committee makes recommendations to the Council about accreditation of mediators.

The Committee also makes recommendations to the Council about inclusion of mediators and arbitrators on the panels of mediators and arbitrators maintained by the Society. During the year, the Committee considered and recommended applications for accreditation and re-accreditation.

The Committee also discussed the difficulty of mediators in regional areas obtaining sufficient CPD points for compliance with the NMAS. Avenues for dealing with this are being explored.

The Committee is considering whether the Law Society should be proposing that there be a requirement for Genuine Steps Statements before litigation is commenced.

A CPD seminar was held in July 2018 on the topic “Advanced ADR Technology” and the Committee is continuing to investigate other CPD initiatives to develop practitioners’ skills in this area of practice.

The Committee notes with sadness the passing of former Committee member Stanley Kawalsky in 2018 and the resignation due to illness in May 2019 of the Convenor, Laurie James. Laurie has been the Chair of the Committee since its inception.

Both Stan and Laurie’s contribution to the Committee will be greatly missed.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Scott Ellis
Chair

Michael Hollingdale
Deputy Chair

Mark Blundell

Graham Castledine

Nicoletta Ciffolilli

Maha Chaar

Ante Golem
Council ex officio

Nathan Landis

Richard Lilly

Marcus Pullen

His Hon Judge Chris Stevenson

Evan Sylwestrzak

Nicholas van Hattem

Brief Editorial

2018/19 Annual Report

Brief is the official journal of the Law Society and has been published since 1974. Brief keeps members informed about the Law Society’s activities and the latest developments in the Western Australian legal profession.

11 monthly editions of Brief were published in the past financial year. Examples of notable articles featured in Brief over the year include:

  • Magistrates Courts in Western Australia: Navigating Conveyor-Belt Justice in the General Lists by Magistrate Deen Potter
  • Interview with the Hon Wayne Martin AC, QC upon his retirement as 13th Chief Justice of Western Australia
  • Review of the High Court’s visit to Perth, Toast to the High Court by Simon Freitag SC and Response by the Hon Justice James Edelman
  • Interview with newly-appointed Chief Justice the Hon Peter Quinlan
  • Review of the Law Society’s 2018 Black Tie Gala Dinner
  • Interview with newly-appointed Solicitor-General of Western Australia Joshua Thomson SC
  • The Ethics of Settlement Negotiations in Employment Disputes by Mark Cox and Renae Harg
  • Business and Human Rights: Relevance for WA Lawyers by John Southalan
  • Can Employees be Dismissed for Making Vexatious Complaints by Gemma Little
  • The Rule of Law and the Independence of the Judiciary: Values Lost or Conveniently Forgotten by the Hon Stephen Thackray, former Chief Judge, Family Court of Western Australia
  • Improving Written Submissions by Judge Alan Troy
  • #LawyersMakeADifference campaign articles highlighting the good work of lawyers in our community, including Tony Chong, Rebecca Bunney, Sophie Manera and Sally Bruce

The ‘Trials and Tribulations’ article series interviewed noteworthy practitioners including Kate Offer, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Faith Cheok, Iain McIntyre, Verity Long-Droppert and Nigel Lo.

A new article series ‘Quirky Cases’ was introduced in the 2019/19 financial year. Thank you to the Hon John McKechnie QC for all of his efforts in researching and authoring those articles. Brief was also pleased to continue publishing the regular Drover’s Dog column.

Brief has also in the last financial year provided items concerning the many judicial appointments and farewells.

The Committee thanks all those who submitted articles or items for consideration, and encourages anyone who is interested in doing so to submit material.

Thank you also to those who make regular contributions to Brief, such as Dean Alston for his cartoon, Robert Glade-Wright with Family Law Case Notes and Gino Dal Pont for his ethics column.

For more information about this committee please email brief@lawsocietywa.asn.au.

Committee Members

Jason MacLaurin
Editor/Chair

Gregory Boyle

Thomas Camp

Jack Carroll

Dr Rebecca Collins

The Hon John McKechnie QC

Dr Pat Saraceni

Robert Sceales

Eu-Min Teng

Commercial Law

2018/19 Annual Report

The Commercial Law Committee’s role is to report and make recommendations to the Law Society Council on commercial issues of significance to the Law Society and its members.

The Committee has representatives on the following liaison and working groups:

  • Consumer Protection Liaison Group;
  • ASIC Regional Liaison Group;
  • Law Council of Australia, Business Law Section, Corporations Law Committee; and
  • Law Society Working Group for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Members of the Committee convened a number of meetings in order to obtain information and to prepare recommendations on a range of matters. They also attended a meeting with Mr Allan Bullman, Takeovers Panel who provided an update on the activities of the Takeovers Panel and considered issues raised by Committee members.

During the reporting period, the Committee considered a wide range of commercial issues and monitored legal developments and the progress of new legislation and reports in relation to a number of different subject areas, including:

  • Financial Services Royal Commission and ASIC funding;
  • Insolvency reform including ipso facto, safe harbour and illegal phoenix activity legislation;
  • Modern Slavery legislation;
  • the Directors’ Liability Reform Bill;
  • ASX Listing Rule changes and continuous disclosure developments;
  • Consumer Data Right Rules;
  • National E-Conveyancing; and
  • Technology issues and their impact on the legal profession and laws and legal system more generally.

Members of the Committee discussed and contributed to a submission by the Law Society to State Revenue regarding the State Administrative Tribunal decision of Crugnale v Commissioner of State Revenue [2019] WASAT 8.

Members of the Committee made recommendations on continuous professional development seminars and events for practitioners, including a ‘Commercial Law Masterclass’ for the Law Society’s CPD Programme as well as identifying authors and articles for Brief and Friday Facts.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Shane Stewart
Chair

Robert French
Deputy Chair

Bruno Camarri

Sonia Chee

Andrew Crean

Jenny Cutri

Paul Evans

Emma Garlett

Maggie McGuinn

Robert McKenzie

Bruce Meredith

Fiona Ng
Observer

Sarah O’Brien-Smith

Steven Standing

Andreas von Altenstadt

Rachel Webber

Construction and Infrastructure

2018/19 Annual Report

The Law Society’s Construction and Infrastructure Committee was established in August 2015. The Committee’s meetings are held in conjunction with meetings of the Law Council of Australia’s Construction and Infrastructure WA Group. This Group is part of the Law Council’s Business Law Section’s longstanding Construction and Infrastructure Committee. The Committee meets bi-monthly.

There is considerable overlap of members of the Law Society’s Committee and members of the Law Council’s Committee.

Topics for discussion by the Committee have related to local as well as national issues relating to the construction industry.

The Committee’s activities for 2018/19 included the following:

  • Considering discussion papers provided by the Industry Advisory Group (IAG) appointed by the State Government to investigate and report on reform of security of payment legislation in the building and construction industry in WA, and participating, on behalf of the Society, in the ongoing IAG workshops;|
  • Preparing further written submissions from the Society to the IAG;
  • Considering the report of the IAG in relation to Security of Payment Laws in the building and construction industry in WA and the State Government’s response;
  • Considering the Murray Inquiry into security of payment laws in Australia and the State government’s response;
  • Considering new or proposed statutes relevant to, and decisions of State superior courts, the Federal Court and the High Court on cases of significance to, the construction industry;
  • Co-hosting a seminar for construction practitioners with Resolution Institute, the Society of Construction Law Australia and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in November 2018; and
  • Assisting the Law Society in its CPD programme in the area of construction law.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Gregory Steinepreis
Convenor

Toby Browne-Cooper

Elisabeth Edwards

Scott Ellis

Basil Georgiou

James Healy

Nathan Landis

Richard Lilly

Phil Loots

Stephen McComish

Adrienne Parker

Chris Ryder

Costs Committee

2018/19 Annual Report

The Costs Committee’s primary function is to make recommendations to the Law Society Council in relation to reviews conducted by the statutory Legal Costs Committee (LCC).

In the reporting period the Law Society made submissions to the LCC in relation to the reviews of the scales for litigious matters.

The Committee also contributed to:

  • A submission to the Legal Services Council and Commissioner for Uniform Legal Services Regulation concerning the possible revision of the costs disclosure thresholds under the Uniform Law, indexed amounts that include thresholds for costs disputes that designated local regulatory authorities can deal with and make binding determinations on and Uniform Law costs disclosure forms to be used for short form disclosure;
  • A proposal to the Chief Magistrate that a Practice Direction be adopted by the Magistrates Court to provide parties with a more cost effective and quick, way to resolve costs disputes; and
  • Nominations for appointment to the Legal Costs Committee.

A number of other matters were considered by the Committee including:

  • Progressing a range of reforms to the Suitors’ Fund;
  • the introduction of the Legal Profession Uniform Law in Western Australia; and
  • Amendments to the Law Society’s costs kits.

Members of the Committee also presented the CPD seminar Costs – Unravelling the Mystery, a seminar on effective costs and billing practices.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Fraser Robertson
Chair

Matthew Curwood
Deputy Chair

Brendan Ashdown

Maria-Luisa Coulson

Sandra Costopoulos

David Davidson

Stewart Forbes

David Garnsworthy

Richard Graham

Lachlan Palmos

Amy Pascoe

Milos Supljeglav

Daniel Yazdani

Country Practitioners

2018/19 Annual Report

The Committee’s strategic focus continues to be developed with a view to ensuring that it is representing, engaging, supporting and advocating for all members of the profession in rural, regional
and remote areas.

The Committee was involved in the 2019 Law Week Country Practitioners CPD Day held in Perth. This free CPD day for Country Practitioners was again a huge success. The event brings practitioners from all over the State together as a collective and encourages collegiality between our country members.

The Committee continues to encourage the Law Society to provide CPD programmes/seminars tailored specifically to Country Practitioners and notes the recent announcements of online Risk Management CPD seminars. The Committee also promoted the Law Society’s reduced fee for Country Practitioners to gain access to CPD Freedom. This change allows Country Members to have
access to cost efficient and convenient e-learning through the Law Society.

The Committee recognises the concerns faced by Country Practitioners and in particular has focused on access to information and support for isolated practitioners. Country Practitioners now have a dedicated section on the Law Society website which provides information and resources specific to Country Practitioners. It also provides information on important events and CPD seminars specifically aimed at Country Practitioners. Complementing these initiatives is the Law Society’s regular feature in Friday Facts “For our Country Lawyers” which encourages
collegiality and recognises the Law Society’s value and support for its rural members.

The Committee has also maintained its representation on the Rural, Regional and Remote Lawyers Committee of the Law Council of Australia and continues to monitor the Justice Project which will be a focus in 2019/20.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Kerstin Stringer
Chair

Clare Brennan

Peter Brindal

Amelia Englert

Amanda Sommerville

Courts

2018/19 Annual Report

The Courts Committee continues to play an important role as a conduit for two-way feedback and the dissemination of information to practitioners between the Law Society, the Federal Court, Supreme Court, Family Court, State Administrative Tribunal, District Court and Magistrates Court.

In 2018/19, the Courts Committee assisted the Law Society to make submissions on various reforms and rule changes, including submissions to:

  • the Attorney General and the Chief Magistrate regarding proposals for improving the efficiency of court processes in the Magistrates Court;
  • the Federal Circuit Court on delays;
  • the Supreme Court regarding Practice Directions relating to expert evidence and seminars on eTrials;
  • the Attorney General in relation to the process for judicial appointments and the adoption of model litigant guidelines;
  • the Western Australian Bar Association (WABA) on its Best Practice Guide Preparing Witness Statements for Use in Civil Cases;
  • the Legal Practice Board on the use of the term “Special Counsel” and non-practitioners engaging in legal work in the Liquor Commission; and
  • the Law Council of Australia regarding its 2019 Federal Election Call to Parties.

In addition, the Committee has monitored issues and liaised with the Supreme Court and District Court in relation to electronic filing and the eCourts portal as well as amendments  to the Suitor’s Fund Act 1964 and the effectiveness of the administration of the Civil Judgments Enforcement Act 2014.

The Courts Committee was also involved in consultations regarding the ongoing issue of delays in the Family Court and concerns about the provision of bailiff services in Western Australia by Baycorp (WA) Pty Ltd.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Clinton Russell
Chair

David Bruns
Deputy Chair

Geoffrey Bourhill

Tim Carey

Rick Cullen

Angelina Gomez

Richard Graham

Edward Greaves

Fiona Halsey

Registrar Russell Trott

Registrar George Kingsley

Nathan Landis

Aaron McDonald

Hon Justice Simon Moncrieff

Mark Pendlebury

Martyn Plummer

Dr Pat Saraceni

Principal Registrar Larissa Strk

Acting Principal Registrar Natalie Whitby

Deputy Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Woods

Magistrate Matthew Walton

Criminal Law

2018/19 Annual Report

The 2018/2019 financial year was once again a very busy year for the members of the Criminal Law Committee.

The Committee is well balanced with prosecutors, defence lawyers, barristers, sole practitioners and lawyers from community legal services, Aboriginal Legal Services and Legal Aid.

The Committee continues to monitor the mandatory sentencing provisions under the burglary offences of the Criminal Code for unjust outcomes for offenders. The Law Society remains committed to its opposition to all forms of mandatory sentencing.

The Criminal Law Committee has continued to advocate for many things in the last 12 months. A priority has been to arrange a meeting in August 2019 with the new Commissioner for Corrective Services, to discuss issues around solicitor prison visits.

The Committee reviewed a number of law reform initiatives being progressed by the Attorney General including amendments:

  • to section 55 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2004;
  • to the Criminal Property Confiscation Act 2000;
  • arising from the statutory review of section 9AA of the Sentencing Act 1995;
  • arising from the statutory review of Part 5A of the Criminal Appeals Act 2004; and
  • proposed amendments to the Bail Act 1982.

The Committee has also contributed to submissions to Law Council of Australia, including the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health and the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor into citizenship revocation provisions.

The Committee drafted a detailed submission to the Standing Committee of Environment and Public Affairs on the mandatory registration of children and young people on the sex offender register.

Finally, the Committee has continued to monitor delays in the Supreme Court and the District Court, and is represented on other Law Society Committees and external Committees:

  • Registrar Whitbread is a member of the Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court Committee;
  • the Convenor David Davidson is the WA delegate to the LawCouncil of Australia’s National Criminal Law Committee; and
  • the Deputy Convenor Karen Farley SC is the representative on the Strategic Criminal Justice Forum as well as monitoring and reporting on the Disability Justice Centre.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

David Davidson
Chair

Karen Farley SC
Deputy Chair

Patricia Aloi

Ryan Arndt

Avril Bartlett

Clare Brennan

Stephen Butcher

Michael Cashman

Katherine Gregory

Jodie Moffat

Carly Price

Kirsten Scott

Nicholas Snare

Nicholas van Hattem

Registrar Whitbread

Education

2018/19 Annual Report

The Law Society’s Education Committee oversees the Law Society’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme, curated and developed by the Law Society’s Professional Development Team, and delivered by subject matter experts.

The Committee’s membership is strongly supported by the Western Australian legal profession, ensuring the Law Society delivers engaging and informed education, as well as offering a variety of topics and formats to suit a range of learning styles and preferences.

During 2018/2019 we provided education focused on supporting core skills for today’s lawyers, with seminars on legal drafting and dictation, mental health and resilience, costs and leadership.

Our Programme included our second full day conference for Rural, Regional and Remote lawyers with great representation from all across Western Australia. Improving access to high quality CPD for our country lawyers is an important element of our annual CPD Programme. As we head into the fifth year since launching our eLearning portal, the Society now has over 70 courses available
online which includes 93 authors and 91 hours content. Also at the beginning of 2019, our Programme expanded to include over 70% of our seminars as live streamed webinars, providing greater access to CPD for city, metropolitan and country based lawyers.

Highlights over the past year includes the very popular Contract Law Masterclass, Drafting Affadavits, The Art of Negotiation, How to Brief Counsel, Non-linear Legal Careers and Strata and Community Title Schemes.

Our annual favourites include the Practical Advocacy Weekend, Essential of Advocacy and Negotiation, A view from the Bench, Costs and the Ethics on Friday series.

The success of our Programmes is a testament to the generosity of our speakers from the judiciary, tribunals, the Bar, private law firms, in-house and government practice, academia and regulators including ASIC, the Australian Tax Office, the Legal Practice Board and the Legal Profession Complaints Committee.

For more information about this committee please email cpd@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Adam Levine
Chair

Rebecca Bunney

Shonelle Duthie

Angelina Gomez

Fiona Grgich

Tim Houweling

Fiona Low

Glen McLeod

Elizabeth Needham

Dr Pat Saraceni

Alexander Ward-Noonan

Elder Law and Succession

2018/19 Annual Report

The Elder Law and Succession Committee’s particular areas of interest are power of attorney reform (including interstate mutual recognition), legislative progress in succession law, probate practice and the Family Provision Act 1972 (WA).

The Committee liaises with the Law Council of Australia National Elder Law and Succession Committee of which the Convenor is a member, and with the Supreme Court of Western Australia Probate Committee on which a Committee member (currently the Convenor) represents the Law Society.

As part of its work on the National Committee the Committee prepared the Law Society’s submission to the Attorney General requesting a harmonised approach to the recognition of grants of probate made in Australian Courts, so obviating the requirement for these grants to be resealed.

In the past year, the Committee completed its review of the Report of the Statutory Review of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990 (GA Act). The Law Society made submissions to the Attorney General on the recommendations in the Report, which have been provided to the Department of Justice for consideration when an amendment Bill is at the drafting stage. Further submissions have now been made to the Attorney General drawing his attention to problems that have arisen in relation to the jurisdiction of the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) as a tribunal, in dealing with cases where parties involved are from different States. This has arisen following the recent High Court decision on Burns v Corbett [2018] HCA15 which has been followed in two SAT cases dealing with the GA Act and two cases dealing with building disputes.

The committee noted the establishment of an expert panel to look into the establishment of an Electronic register of Advance Health Directives and drew the attention of the Attorney General and the panel’s Chair to the existing provisions (section 110ZAA) of the GA Act which have not yet been promulgated but which provide for such a register.

The Committee has been monitoring the progress of the inquiry by the Legislative Council Select Committee into Elder Abuse. The Law Society has provided the Select Committee with the Law Council of Australia’s submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Elder Abuse Inquiry, to which the Committee contributed.

Members of the Committee have also contributed to the Law Society’s briefing paper in relation to end of life choices.

A working group of the Committee is currently adapting the NSW Law Society’s Guide When a Client’s Capacity is in Doubt for Western Australian practice.

The Committee drafted a Law Society submission to the Ministerial Expert Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying (death certification) after members of the Committee had attended a roundtable discussion on the issue.

The Committee is conducting the following reviews:

  • a review of the Retirement Villages Act 1992 (WA) having regard to recent legislative reforms in Queensland; and
  • a review to extend Statutory Wills to minors.

Committee members presented at two CPD seminars, one on Blended Families in February 2019 and the other on Conflicts of Interest and Testamentary Capacity in September 2018.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Elizabeth Heenan
Chair

Susan Fielding
Deputy Chair

Michael Bowyer

Sally Bruce

Nicoletta Ciffolilli

Tara Connolly

Natalie Connor

Rob Durey

Daniel Gill

Craig Gregson

Dr John Hockley

Amanda Liston

Peter Lochore

Fiona Low

Dr Peter MacMillan

Janette McCahon

Peter Nevin

Nova Oldfield

Michaela Speering

Demi Swain
Council ex officio

Matthew Wallis

Gabriel Wong

Daniel Yazdani

Employee Relations

2018/19 Annual Report

The Employee Relations Committee is represented by practitioners who practice in the fields of employment, industrial relations and diversity (including discrimination and harassment).

The fields of law dealt with by the Committee may be subject to substantive legislative change depending on the Government of the day.

Over the course of the last year the Committee continued to monitor the Ministerial Review of the State Industrial Relations System. The Committee’s work also involved considering the Law Society position paper and report into People Unlawfully Engaging in Legal Work, the possible implementation of industrial manslaughter laws by the State government and the right of
lawyers to appear in matters before the Fair Work Commission.

The Committee is currently considering a recent decision of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC), involving the engagement of a junior lawyer as an independent contractor on a commission only basis and the whether the circumstances of engagement identified in the decision are contrary to the Legal Profession Act and the Best Practice Guidelines
for Basic Work and Pay Conditions for Junior Practitioners.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Philip Brunner
Chair

Renae Harding
Deputy Chair

David Blades

Joseph Burke

Stephen Butcher

Nicoletta Ciffolilli

Mark Cox

Cory Fogliani

Giacomo Giorgi

Kendra Hagan

Dominique Hartfield

Mark Hemery

Michael Jensen

Kimberley Jones

Stephen Kemp

Ben Watson

Environment, Town Planning and Local Government

2018/19 Annual Report

The Environment, Town Planning & Local Government Committee had a number of key areas of priority in the 2018/19 reporting period.

These key priority areas included:

  • Preparation of a ‘rule of law’ response by the Law Society to the perceived attempts of Ministers to interfere with the Environmental Protection Authority’s processes in the announcement of its Environmental Factor Guideline – Greenhouse Gas Emissions; and
  • Consideration of, and recommendation to the Law Society Council that it support the transfer of environmental appeals to independent adjudication in the State Administrative Tribunal. The position taken was consistent with the Committee’s long-term advocacy aimed at ensuring Western Australia environmental appeals are referred to a Court or Tribunal independent of the Minister.

The Committee also continued to monitor the progress of legislative amendments relating to:

  • The review of the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 (WA);
  • State Planning Policy 2.8 and the impact on landowners of provisions for uncompensated setting aside of land for conservation purposes;
  • The Western Australian Planning Commission approach of denying compensation to landowners affected by regional reserves but precluded from claiming compensation for injurious affection under principles recognised by the High Court in the Southregal case;
  • State Planning Policy 3.6 and issues relevant to development cost contributions under local planning schemes and development contribution plans;
  • The possibility of third party planning appeals; and
  • Local Government Act review.

The Committee has attempted dialogue on the Main Roads WA asserted independence from the planning approval processes, and in State Administrative Tribunal appeals, of Main Roads WA decision-making on the major roads under its care, control and management.

The Committee continued its participation in the activities of the Australian Environment and Planning Law Group.

The Committee was sorry to lose but was pleased to congratulate its valued members Dr Stephen Willey and Charmian Barton, who resigned from the Committee during the year following their appointment to the State Administrative Tribunal.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Denis McLeod
Chair

Andrew Carr

Graham Castledine

Martin Flint

Clare Gleeson

Steven Halls

Eve Lynch

Alexander McGlue

Glen McLeod

Belinda Moharich

Gregory Mohen

Linda Rowley

Julius Skinner

Craig Slarke

Elisabeth Stevenson

Ethics

2018/19 Annual Report

The year saw a change in the Committee’s Convenor with the retirement of Julian Sher and the appointment of Fiona Stanton. The Committee acknowledges the enormous contribution of Mr Sher to the work of the Society in respect professional ethics and thanks him for his decade of service as the Convenor of the Ethics Committee.

The Committee has continued consideration of matters relevant to the the pending Legal Profession Uniform Law. This included consideration of inconsistencies between the Legal Profession
Rules 2009 (WA) and the Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules. The Committee has given particular attention to rules proscribing contact with an opposing represented party and rules relating to the payment and receipt of referral fees. The Committee liaises with a member of the Society’s Executive who represents the Society on the Legal Profession Uniform Law Working Group.

The Committee has continued to be ably represented on the Law Council’s Professional Ethics Committee by its member Ashley Macknay.

The Committee has undertaken a review of the Society’s Ethical Practice Guidelines with a view to proposing amendments in order to ensure that the Guidelines continue to reflect ethical issues in contemporary legal practice. New Unbundling Guidelines have also been published by the Law Society.

The Committee considered proposed guidelines in relation to the practice of ‘claims harvesting’ – a practice of identifying prospective clients who have suffered injuries and referring them, for a fee, to lawyers. Members of the Committee participated in a working group in conjunction with members of the Personal Injuries Committee to finalise a proposed guideline in relation to claims
harvesting and to respond to an enquiry from the Department of Justice in relation to this practice.

The Committee continues to consider matters raised by the Productivity Commission.

The Committee has recently welcomed as new members two very experienced practitioners in Mr Paul Donovan and Mr Mark Pendlebury.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Fiona Stanton
Chair

Michael Cashman

Hayley Cormann

Cinzia Donald

Paul Evans

Angelina Gomez

Nicola Jansen

Ashley Macknay

Alain Musikanth SC

Nova Oldfield

Mark Pendlebury

Craig Slater

Nicola Watts

Francis Burt Law Education Programme and Old Court House Museum Advisory

2018/19 Annual Report

The Committee has continued to oversee the activities of the Francis Burt Law Education Programme (the Programme), including the Mock Trial Competition (the Competition), and the Old Court House Law Museum (the Museum); and the Law Society’s Education and Community Services.

These valuable services allow the Western Australian community, interstate and international visitors to reflect on the rule of law in Western Australia; its significance, its impact, the freedoms and opportunities that it affords as well as injustices that have taken place, looming threats and concerns. During the year under review, more than 15,000 participants received the benefit of programmes and services provided by the Education and Community Services.

A priority in 2018/2019 was to address the funding shortfall caused by the withdrawal of Department of Education funding for the Francis Burt Education Programme and the Mock Trial Competition from 1 July 2019, whilst ensuring equity of access to the services. Thanks to an increase in Public Purposes Trust funding and forecasted increased income resulting from the Programme and Competition fee increases, the Law Society has been able to continue Education and Community Services resources albeit with a minimal reduction and a reallocation of service delivery over the period. The reallocation of service delivery is anticipated to continue until resources can be increased to meet demand.

2019/20 onwards represents an important transition period for the Education and Community Services in order to maintain, and work towards building, resources and service delivery. The Committee and the Law Society have taken the view that it is time to re-evaluate the Education and Community Services funding model to attract and diversify income sources. Proposals include exploring the establishment of a foundation with Deductible Gift Recipient status, establishing a bequest foundation and a future fund all with defined policies and processes.

The Committee looks forward to working with the Law Society and the profession to ensure the continuation and expansion of its vital services which create a unique and valuable interface between the legal profession, the Court and the community.

For more information about this committee please email schools@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Marshall McKenna
Chair

Professor Jürgen Bröhmer

Professor Robert Cunningham

Emeritus Professor Peter Handford

Katja Levy

Kelly Martinelli

Stephen Powell

Krishna Prasad

The Honourable Chief Justice Peter Quinlan

Professor Natalie Skead

General Conditions for the Sale of Land

2018/19 Annual Report

The main focus of the General Conditions for the Sale of Land Committee’s work in 2018/19 was reviewing the feedback on the updated 2018 revision of the Joint Form of General Conditions for the Sale of Land (Joint Form), to be taken into account for the next full revision.

The Committee addressed:

  • providing the Joint Form in electronic format;
  • feedback on the GST Withholding Annexure;
  • GST at settlement;
  • issues surrounding electronic conveyancing;
  • incorporating electronic conveyancing into the main form, not as an annexure;
  • incorporating foreign withholding amounts into the main form, not as an annexure;
  • PEXA credentials and digital certificates;
  • the removal of Duplicate Certificates of Title; and
  • the review of the Inter-Governmental Agreement for an Electronic Conveyancing National Law.

The Law Society will soon offer the Joint Form electronically, via a modified version of Real Estate Institute Forms Live on the Society’s website.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Frank Poeta
Chair

Gary Thomas
Deputy Chair

Craig Bradley
REIWA

Damian Collins
REIWA

Hayden Groves
REIWA

Meagan Johnston

Ross McCallum
REIWA

John Prevost

Peta Whyte

Gabriel Wong

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity

2018/19 Annual Report

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Committee met jointly with the Administrative, Constitutional and Migration Law Committee during the past year.

In 2018/19, the Committee monitored the work of the Law Council of Australia in developing policy positions on:

  • Changes to the Australian Citizenship legislation;
  • the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety;
  • the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces;
  • Children’s Rights in Relation to the Digital Environment;
  • Review of the Mandatory Data Retention Regime;
  • the Issues Paper Free and Equal: An Australian conversation on human rights; and
  • the Select Committee into Elder Abuse.

The President is the Law Society representative on the Law Council of Australia’s National Human Rights Committee. Committee member Jenni Hill was the Law Society representative on the Law Council of Australia’s Equal Opportunity Committee until her appointment to the Supreme Court bench in June 2019. She was replaced by Charmaine Tsang.

The Law Society also supported the Law Council of Australia’s submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee (Committee) regarding legislative exemptions that allow faith-based educational institutions to discriminate against students, teachers and staff.

The Convenor and another member of the Committee attended a roundtable discussion on 12 November 2018 hosted by the Australian Human Rights Commission on the implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Other Degrading Treatment.

The Law Society made a submission to the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia on its review and report on issues and inconsistencies in Western Australia’s current legal framework relating to sex characteristics/biological diversity and gender diversity.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Elizabeth Needham
Chair

Rebecca Dennison

Hayley Graydon

Kendra Hagan

Ange Iradukunda

Michael Jensen

Megan McCormack

Sara Pearson

Ilse Petersen

Rabia Siddique

Dr Carolyn Tan

Charmaine Tsang

In-house/Government Lawyers

2018/19 Annual Report

The In-house/Government Lawyers Committee aims to promote and support the specific needs of in-house and government lawyers within the Law Society. It particularly seeks to promote increased understanding in the wider profession of the in-house sector which constitutes over 30% of the national legal profession.

The Committee continues to support the Law Society’s CPD programme with suggestions for seminars and participation in seminars which not only engage the in-house sector but also inform and educate the private profession on the particular challenges facing in-house practitioners. This included a Law Society CPD session on ‘What is Unique about the Government Contract’ as well as a
recent Brief article on government contracting by one of the committee members, which was well received.

The Committee continues to highlight issues of concern to in-house and government practitioners including workload stress with numerous approved redundancies in the public sector.

The Committee is in the process of preparing to host another Law Society social function for members from other in-house organisations such as AMPLA, ACC and SOUL to socialise with members of the Law Society. This will be the third function of this nature. The 2018 function drew in-house representatives from many government and private organisations.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Pamela Hass
Chair

Elisabeth Edwards
Deputy Chair

Sarah Coxon

David Davidson

Peter Doherty

Ilse Petersen

Miriam Sauley

Zoran Vukojevic

Indigenous Legal Issues

2018/19 Annual Report

This year, the Indigenous Legal Issues Committee has seen a change of Convenor, with some new appointments to the Committee as well as previous Committee members staying on. There are a number of Committee members currently representing the Committee on Law Society Working Groups, and representing the Law Society on other groups outside the organisation.

The Committee continues to support the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) of the Law Society, with two representatives from the Committee sitting on the Law Society’s RAP Working Group. The Working Group has responsibility for progressing the initiatives of Law Society’s Innovate RAP 2017 to 2019 and is now finalizing the Innovate RAP report to Reconciliation Australia. An initiative of the Innovate RAP included implementing cultural awareness training for all staff and providing information to members on incorporating cultural awareness training as a component of continuing professional development.

Following the release of the Law Council of Australia’s Justice Project Report in August 2018, the Committee reviewed the recommendations arising from the Report and is currently assisting the Law Society’s Justice Project Working Group, with identifying the key recommendations for implementation in Western Australia as well as the availability and utility of protocols for lawyers with
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.

The Committee is also responsible for monitoring the Law Society’s Mentoring Programme for Indigenous law students and a priority is to ensure the processes designed to facilitate the mentoring of Indigenous law students operate effectively. This will be an ongoing focus in the next 12 months.

The Committee continues to work closely with the Francis Burt Legal Education Programme to provide input and advice in relation to programmes and initiatives being developed by the Programme. This includes the Lore Law Project, an educational campaign targeting Aboriginal youth in both metropolitan and regional Western Australia and providing education about legal rights and responsibilities to school and community groups.

The Committee maintains liaison with other relevant committees with representation on the UWA Indigenisation of the Juris Doctor Project Reference Group and the Law Council of Australia Indigenous Legal Issues Committee.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

The Hon Michael Barker QC
Chair

Chloe D’Souza

Kelsi Forrest

Emma Garlett

Emma Griffiths

Marree Hart

Marshall McKenna

Jenny McKenzie

Melita Medcalf

John Ralph

John Ralph

Brooke Sojan

Nicholas van Hattem

Insolvency and Reconstruction

2018/19 Annual Report

The Insolvency and Reconstruction Law Committee is a Committee of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia.

As in previous years, the Committee has continued to liaise with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Australian Financial Security Authority and the Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association, and the Committee is ably assisted by Adrian Saggers of ASIC and Paul Devellerez of AFSA who continue regularly attending its meetings and provide invaluable insights.

The Committee also works with other members of the Law Council’s subcommittee in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.

The Commonwealth has continued its reform agenda over the course of the past year. The Committee’s time has been dedicated to considering new anti-phoenixing proposals, several proposed changes to the Bankruptcy Act, consequences of recent changes to the law such as the introduction of the new “safe harbour” regime protecting directors from liability for insolvent trading, and other matters arising from the recent Banking Royal Commission.

In October 2018, Committee members attended the Law Council’s Insolvency and Reconstruction annual workshop in Adelaide with members of the committees of the other States.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Chris Pearce
Chair

Philip Blaxill

Michelle Dean

Paul Devellerez

Samuel Dundas

James Healy

David John

Robert McKenzie

Chris McLeod

Nino Odorisio

Adrian Saggers

Intellectual Property and Technology

2018/19 Annual Report

The Intellectual Property and Technology Committee provides a forum for promoting and reviewing the practice and development of intellectual property, technology and data protection law. The
Committee also provides an advisory resource to the Law Society Council on matters relating to intellectual property, information and communications technology as well as data, privacy and security.

The Committee provided extensive input to the Law Council of Australia’s submission on the ethics of artificial intelligence for the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science in May 2019.

Members of the Intellectual Property and Technology Committee are also involved in external bodies such as the Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand (IPSANZ) and IP Australia, the statutory body that administers intellectual property laws in Australia.

After hosting a very successful Law Week event in May 2019, the Committee plans to make this an annual event, along with an Intellectual Property and Technology Masterclass CPD event planned for the second half of 2019.

The Committee welcomes opportunities to assist the Law Society in informing practitioners and the public on matters relating to intellectual property and technology law, particularly given the rapidly developing digital economy in which we operate.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Clare Mould
Chair

Iain Freeman

Samuel Fiddian

Lauren Gore

Malcolm Jones

Amy Lee

Nadia Mansour

Nicole Mumford

Tennille Provost

David Stewart

Joint Law Society/Women Lawyers of WA

2018/19 Annual Report

The Joint Law Society/Women Lawyers Committee is a committee with representation from the Law Society and the Women Lawyers of Western Australia (Inc).

During 2018/19, the Committee:

  • conducted a review of the Quality Practice Standards (QPS) to identify opportunities where the QPS can address diversity and inclusion issues;
  • nominated candidates for the 2019 WA Women’s Hall of Fame and the WLWA Woman Lawyer of the Year Awards;
  • developed an exit survey to identify retention issues and trends in consultation with firms so that there is shared information about gender equity issues;
  • drafted the Inter-firm Diversity Group’s Terms of Reference;
  • wrote to the Chief Justice of Western Australia regarding a Visible Targets report for equitable briefing;
  • wrote a submission for the Law Council of Australia regarding the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces;
  • assisted the Law Society in its successful application for Public Purposes Trust funding for a Retention Study; and
  • maintained the important connection between the Committee and the Advancement of Women in the Legal Profession Working Group.

The Committee assisted the LawSociety’s Advancement of Women in the Legal Profession Working Group to implement the Law Society’s Final Directions Paper, a strategic plan for addressing the recommendations in WLWA’s 20th Anniversary Review of the 1994 Chief Justice’s Gender Bias Taskforce Report.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Charmaine Tsang
Chair

Melanie Callow

Anna Creegan

Hayley Dodson

Malerie Durham

Libby Fulham

Daniela Ion

Janette McCahon

Jodie Moffat

Sara Pearson

Michaela Stanton-Cook

Maya vanden Driesen

Alena Zoric

Mental Health and Wellbeing

2018/19 Annual Report

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Committee was formed in 2011 having been an ad hoc committee on Psychological Distress and Depression in the Legal Profession and Bullying.

On 8 December 2015, Council adopted the Mental Health & Wellbeing Recommendations 2016 to 2020.

Since July 2018, the Committee has been focusing on the need for education in the profession on health and wellbeing topics. In conjunction with the Young Lawyers Committee, the Committee developed a survey for junior lawyers in order to learn more about the issues they face as a result of their pay and working conditions and to provide some context for potential initiatives aimed
at addressing these issues.

The Committee was consulted on and assisted in the presentation of a seminar on Fostering Healthy Relationships with the Bench. Members of the Committee also attended a Curtin University seminar on mental health first aid.

The Committee has been proactive in advocating the use and access of the Law Society’s LawCare WA programme and has monitored the use of the Member Assistance Programme (counselling service) and the Employee Relations Advice Line.

The Committee also advocates the need to self-disclose mental illness when running a practice in the event that the practitioner is struggling to cope.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

David Davidson
Chair

David Blades

Debbie Clinch

Libby Fulham

Emma Griffiths

Justine Howard

Alyce Lynch

Linda Richardson

Nicholas Snare

Stacey Wellings

Personal Injuries and Workers’ Compensation

2018/19 Annual Report

The Committee continued to progress a number of ongoing initiatives from the previous year as well as considering a number of issues that were referred to it from a number of agencies.

Matters dealt with by the Committee included:

  • the controversial issues associated with the growing activity of claims harvesting;
  • monitoring WorkCover Costs Determinations and activities of the WorkCover WA Costs Committee;
  • preparing a submission on the amendments to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in Western Australia;
  • Continuing representation on the Conciliation and Arbitration Services Users’ Group;
  • Preparing submissions (with Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Committee’s comments) on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse;
  • Monitoring of Law Reform Commissions’ including reform of Fatal Accidents Act; and
  • Reviewing the information provided by the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office in relation to witness fees for doctors and limitation periods.

The Committee remains concerned with the time that some agencies are taking to resolve matters that the Law Society has referred to them including:

  • The Health Department’s reform of regulations applicable to costs recovery from compensable patients which results in legal practitioners continuing to have uncertainty when advising clients regarding claim finalisations.
  • The WorkCover Costs Committee (WCC) for reasonable remuneration for workers’ under the inadequate costs scale. The much discussed but long-anticipated proposal for reforms to the Worker’s Compensation and Injury Management Act have not been provided to the Committee and now appears to be a low piority for the current Government.
  • Proposal to amend the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act which are with the Office of the Attorney General.

The Committee also welcomed new members Bronte De Cuyper and Irena Ferraro following the resignation of Karina Hafford, following her appointment as an Assessor, Criminal Injuries Compensation.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Gray Porter
Chair

David Bruns
Deputy Chair

Michelle Antunovich

Mark Civitella

Dan Connor

Bronte De Cuyper

Erica Dobson

Irena Ferraro

Asanka Gunasekera

Vidal Pinckney-Hockless

Nakkie Le Roux

Joel Trigg

Kerry Wood

Professional Indemnity Insurance Management

2018/19 Annual Report

The Professional Indemnity Insurance Committee (PIIMC) has, as required by the Legal Profession Act, put in place the PI insurance arrangements for the 2019/2020 financial year. The negotiations were similar to previous years. The insurance placement includes consideration of the actuarial report prepared by our actuary, advice of our broker and our staff.

Ultimately, the annual contribution rate increased by an average of approximately 10%, primarily due to deterioration in expected claims costs and increased Underwriter premiums. We hope to be in a position to stabilise rates in future years. However, this, as always will depend on claims outcomes and underwriting market conditions. I would mention also claims numbers in the last three years continue to show an increase on the longer term average.

PIIMC has continued its focus on risk management initiatives that will, over time, lower the incidence and cost of claims leading to more stable contributions subject of course to the underwriting market. The most visible sign of this is the ongoing successful risk management seminar programme.

We have continued to introduce new risk management initiatives. For the 2019/2020 risk management seminar programme, we have included four webinars that will make risk management training more accessible to regional and remote practitioners.

The Law Mutual team has highly experienced insurance capabilities that enabled us to fully analyse the PI insurance arrangements to ensure they are fair and equitable to practitioners and their clients while maintaining a very broad coverage at a reasonable cost. In that regard, the Council of the Law Society has approved, in principle, a change to gross fee income as the primary rating factor for both annual contributions (premiums) and insured’s contributions (excesses).

This, together with a change to claims loadings based on five year rolling loss ratios, will improve the fairness and equity of insurance costs spread across the firms that are covered  under the Law Mutual insurance arrangements. These changes are dependent on the introduction of a new insurance system and final approval of Council.

Financially, Law Mutual is in a very sound position and neither the annual audit nor actuarial reports for 2017/2018 were qualified.

Finally I wish to thank PIIMC committee members and Law Mutual staff for their diligence and contribution for what has been another challenging but rewarding year.

For more information about this committee please email info@lawmutualwa.com.au

Committee Members

Dudley Stow
Chair

Jocelyne Boujos

Robert Evans

Peter Forbes

Denis McLeod

Paula Wilkinson

Professional Standards Scheme

2018/19 Annual Report

The Law Society’s Professional Standards Scheme commenced on 1 July 2014. The Scheme caps occupational liability of participating members at $1.5 million, $5 million or $10 million depending on the insurance policies and total annual fee income of the law practice.

The Professional Standards Scheme Committee was established to:

  • consider issues relating to the Scheme, the Professional Standards Councils (PSCs) and the Professional Standards Act 1997 (WA);
  • act under specific delegation of the Law Society’s Council, where granted, to make decisions in accordance with the Scheme and the Professional Standards Act 1997 (WA);
  • develop policy to assist in administering the Scheme;
  • make recommendations from time to time to Law Society’s Council regarding the administration of the Scheme; and
  • review the Scheme from time to time.

The Committee is pleased to report that as at 30 June 2019, the Scheme had 1,609 participating members. During the 2018/19 year, the Committee considered a number of applications for higher discretionary caps.

Six applications for discretionary caps were approved by Council during the course of the year. The Committee also oversaw the preparation and submission of the Law Society’s fifth annual compliance report to the PSCs and the third year of implementation of the Scheme’s risk management and compliance framework. A significant amount of work was also devoted to the preparation and finalisation of an application to renew the Scheme, which expired at the end of this reporting period. Happily, that application was successful, and the new Scheme commenced on 1 July 2019.

Key features of the new Scheme include an insurance standard developed in the interests of members and consumers of legal services to ensure the quality, consistency and level of insurance of participants in the Scheme; the incorporation of Tasmania through mutual recognition provisions; and the inclusion of a provision addressing the capping of liability those who are subject both to the Scheme and to another scheme under professional standards legislation.

For more information about this committee please email pss@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Alain Musikanth
Chair

Brendan Ashdown

Nathan Ebbs

Irena Ferraro

Vidal Pinckney-Hockless

Craig Slater

Property Law

2018/19 Annual Report

As with the previous year, much of the focus of the Property Law Committee during 2018/19 has been on the significant amount of legislative change associated with Strata Titles reform. This year has required detailed review of the amendments to the draft Strata Titles Regulations required for the implementation of the extensive amendments to the Strata Titles Act 1985 and the proposed new Community Titles Act 2018.

Representatives of Landgate’s Strata Titles Act Reform group attended several Committee meetings to brief members on the legal, technical and policy issues behind the legislative program, and the Strata Titles subcommittee prepared detailed submissions on the draft proposed amendments to the Regulations for submission to Landgate.

Other business of the Committee included monitoring the Landgate program for general reforms related to the operation of the Transfer of Land Act 1893 and the implementation and impact of e-lodgement and e-conveyancing, following the publication of a new edition of the 2018 REIWA/Law Society Joint Form of General Conditions for the Sale of Land.

Members of the Property Law Committee continue to represent the Law Society on a number of external stakeholder groups and committees including the Law Council of Australia Legal Practice Section Australian Property Law Group, and the Law Council of Australia e-conveyancing Working Group. The Committee representatives (as well as Committee members generally) reviewed public consultation papers released by the e-conveyancing industry during the reporting period.

As part of its terms of reference, the Committee continued to monitor issues of potential impact on practitioners in the property area generally, including specific legislative changes, significant cases and Government policy reforms.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Gary Thomas
Chair

Marcus Easthope
Deputy Chair

Mark Atkinson

Peter Beekink

Christopher Booth

Sarah Coxon

Susan Dukes

Malerie Durham

Craig James

Meagan Johnston

John Prevost

Doug Solomon

Gabriel Wong

Peta Whyte

Joel Yeldon

Quality Practice Standard

2018/19 Annual Report

The QPS committee continued to administer this scheme for the Society.

In the last year the QPS Committee welcomed three new firms to the QPS scheme. The QPS provided CPD training to assist new firms get accreditation in the scheme and to promote the scheme to new firms.

The QPS Committee continued its resolution to take a leadership position with the Joint Law Society and Women Lawyers Committee, following the “2014 Gender Bias Taskforce Review” by Women Lawyers WA and the Society’s “Final Directions” paper. The QPS Committee recommended to the Council a number of amendments to the QPS scheme to better address flexible workplace practices and equality of opportunity.

The amendments also addressed risk management. The amendments were circulated for comments from Law Mutual and the Professional Standards Committee. Neither committee made recommendations. The QPS Committee looks forward to the Council’s approval to implement the proposed changes. The changes will be published when they are approved. They will not affect auditing until 2020.

In the next year the QPS Committee is considering an organisational review so that the annual audit could be complemented with practice management education to meet CPD requirements. The QPS Committee is considering the possibility that practitioners at participating firms will be eligible to obtain a CPD point for an engaged participation in practice management education that could follow and complement the audit process. The QPS Committee will seek the views of the Legal Practice Board of WA on this proposal.

At the end of the financial year the Council of the Law Society deferred the completion of the operational review of the QPS scheme. The QPS Committee looks forward to responding and completing that review.

For more information about this committee please email qps@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Craig Slater
Chair

Jocelyne Boujos

Jeanette De Klerk

Dorothy Guerini

Peter Liron

Andrew McGuiness

Julie Ots

Vidal Pinckney-Hockless

Murray Thornhill

David Vilensky

Taxation

2018/19 Annual Report

The Taxation Committee meets as a joint Committee of the Law Society of Western Australia and the Law Council of Australia. The Committee meets bi-monthly, but if needed monthly meetings take place.

Members of the Committee have been active presenting Continuing Professional Development seminars for the Law Society and the Committee continues to work with the Brief Committee in preparing regular columns on current taxation issues to further the education of readers and members of the Law Society. This initiative has been very successful. In addition, some refinements have been implemented to ensure a regular stream of articles for forthcoming issues of Brief.

During the reporting period the Tax Committee made submissions on various State and Commonwealth taxation issues. This work involved considerable effort by members resulting in an improvement in the taxation laws.

The Committee members have been involved in serving on various Committees of the Law Society, the Law Council of Australia and various advisory Taxation Committees involving the Australian Taxation Office and other representative organisations. Future seminars are proposed on both State and Federal Revenue developments.

The Committee acknowledges the contribution of:

  • Grahame Young for keeping the Committee apprised of all State and Interstate Revenue Issues and developments at the State Revenue Office; and
  • Humphry Faas for keeping the Committee informed of recent developments in taxation being considered by the Taxation Committee of the Law Council of Australia (LCA).

Members of the Committee attended the LCA Taxation Committee’s Annual Workshop, where Committee Members Humphry Faas and Rob Sceales were panel members for the Small Business Tax Issues discussion.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au

Committee Members

Dr John Hockley
Chair

Humphry Faas
Deputy Chair

Jocelyne Boujos

John Fickling

Jonathon Leek

David Murphy

Sam Radici

Alex Sceales

Robert Sceales

Matthew Sunits

Clare Thompson

Zoran Vukojevic

Chelsea Walsh

Grahame Young

Young Lawyers

2018/19 Annual Report

The Young Lawyers Committee (YLC) provides support and is a voice for junior members of the profession. This year the YLC decided it needed to better engage with Western Australian law schools and students to better fulfil that role. As the first step in that process, a representative of each Western Australian law student society now attends YLC meetings on a quarterly basis. There have already been robust discussions about recruitment practices, mental health, and supporting graduates transitioning to practice, and we look forward to further developing that relationship.

During the year the YLC provided a range of events focused on the junior segment of the Law Society’s membership, including:

  • social events to promote collegiality, such as the Welcome to the Profession Breakfast and inter-firm sporting events (netball and volleyball);
  • the Western Australian Golden Gavel Competition;
  • the Practical Advocacy Weekend, including a preparatory seminar as well as a weekend of coaching sessions by judges and other senior members of the profession;
  • raising awareness of legal issues affecting Aboriginal peoples through our Law Week screening of Connection to Country, a beautifully shot documentary by Tyson Mowarin that explores the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and their land and charts their struggles to have their connection to land recognised;
  • informing junior lawyers about social justice career paths at the Social Justice Opportunities Evening;
  • inter-profession networking opportunities, which allow junior lawyers the opportunity to build their professional networks with young professional bodies from other industries, including accounting, consulting and engineering;
  • informal networking opportunities for lawyers in small or mid-sized firms through the Small Firms Network; and
  • the annual Law Student Mentoring Programme, which again included law students from all Western Australian law schools and continues to increase in numbers.

In recognition of the increasing diversity of the profession, the YLC has increased its focus on supporting and being a voice for junior lawyers who have come to the profession later in life. In September 2018, we hosted a well-attended Later Lawyers Discussion and Networking Event. A new initiative formed to address the needs of a growing segment of members, being individuals who came to law later in life and do not identify with the traditional legal career progression, the panel focused on the advantages and challenges in coming to law later in life. We look forward to continuing this focus going forward.

In addition to these initiatives, the YLC also:

  • conducted a survey of junior lawyers seeking feedback on issues facing junior lawyers and on the Committee’s activities;
  • continued to connect with the Australian Young Lawyers Committee; and
  • continued to welcome observers at Committee meetings.

Role of the Law Society’s Young Lawyers Committee

The Law Society’s Young Lawyers Committee works to deliver key support for new members of the profession, including:

  • Networking and collegiality opportunities through social and sporting events
  • Career support with a job register for graduates, mentoring scheme, CPD events, LawCare WA, Vacation Clerk Recruitment Dates
  • Keep informed with newsletters, Facebook, LinkedIn
  • Representation of Young Lawyers: your issues and concerns discussed at a state and national level

‘Young lawyers’ are members who are under 35 years old and/or have less than five years of practice.

Please see our Young Lawyers legal circles page for more information, or read the YLC Strategic Plan 2015-18 for more information.

Initiatives

YLC Law Student Mentoring Programme

The YLC Law Student Mentoring Programme pairs emerging practitioners with current law students to provide guidance and support to the transition from student to law graduate and then to lawyer.

The Programme runs from May to November, commencing with a launch event and will wrap up with an end of programme event for all participants, as well as various touch points throughout the course of the Programme.

For students: This is your opportunity to gain insight into the profession, invaluable advice, skills and support during your studies.

For current practitioners: As former law students, we all know the importance of guidance and a helping hand from an experienced mentor. This is your chance to share your experiences from your first few years of practice and develop your mentoring skills. Students from all WA universities are invited to participate in the Programme so we need a strong uptake from mentors.

To participate you must be a current member of the Law Society.

Please note that applications for the 2019 Programme have closed.

If you would like to learn more about the programme, please email younglawyers@lawsocietywa.asn.au.

Advice for Students

Watch our video of our members sharing their insights and stories into the different areas of law and their advice on navigating life at university.

Events

The Law Society’s Young Lawyers Committee hosts a wide array of social, sporting and educational events throughout the year for young lawyers, graduates, law students and the legal profession.

Our events include: Golden Gavel, Welcome to the Profession Breakfast, Inter-profession Networking Events, Mixed Netball Competition, Beach Volleyball, Law Week Events, Small Firms Network Drinks, CPD Seminars, Practical Advocacy Weekend, Social Justice Career Opportunity Evening, Careers Uncut and other ad hoc events to encourage collegiality, information sharing and support in the profession.

Visit our Events page to find out more or email membership@lawsocietywa.asn.au to find out what is coming up.

Focus Areas

The Young Lawyers Committee has a number of focus areas, which organise many of its initiatives.

Social & Sport

The group focuses on bringing events to young lawyers that encourage networking and socialising across the profession.

We ensure the young lawyers that work within small firms have the opportunity to participate in group social and sporting events. These activities also encourage young lawyers to build networks and friendships in order to work towards better mental health and a sense of belonging.

Education and Careers

The group contributes to the development and co-ordination of the YLC Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme.

Community Engagement and Social Justice

This group raises awareness and instigates debate about important human rights and social justice issues relevant to the profession. Its work demonstrates to young lawyers why engaging in human rights and social justice issues is valuable to the profession.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Join the Committee

Membership of the Young Lawyers Committee is limited to members of the Law Society. To express an interest in joining the Committee, please contact the Committee Secretary on (08) 9324 8600 or email younglawyers@lawsocietywa.asn.au.

Committee Members

The Young Lawyers Committee is composed of members appointed by the Law Society. The Committee also includes representatives of the Law Society’s Council and is represented on the Australian Young Lawyers Committee of the Law Council of Australia. The current Committee members are:

Jack Carroll
Convenor
Clyde & Co

Haley Graydon
Deputy Convenor
DLA Piper

Chris Burch
Deputy Convenor
Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Hague Skinner
Deputy Convenor
DLA Piper

Lucy Clark
Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Olivia Doray
Australian Government Solicitor

Sean Gomes
Leaker Partners

Angela Hayes
Kim Wilson & Co

alyce-lynch

Alyce Lynch
Clayton Utz

Aleksandra Miller
State Solicitor’s Office

Alexander Noonan

Alex Ward-Noonan
Wotton + Kearney