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 committee standing orders and code of conduct.

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
Greg McIntyre SC

2016/17 Annual Report

Law Access Limited has gone from strength to strength in the past year, having now been running for two and a half years. The Committee receives reports from Law Access Limited, including in relation to its Stakeholder Advisory Committee and Lawyers for Refugees Network. Law Access again organised a very successful Walk for Justice during Law Week, which raised much-needed funds for Law Access.

The Convenor represented the Law Society on the Law Council of Australia Access to Justice Committee, coordinating the policy positions taken at a State and National level on relevant issues.

The Committee continued to support the Law Council of Australia’s Legal Aid Matters campaign as it moved into phases two and three, related to candidates for election, as well as the State-based campaign related to the WA election and the threatened de-funding of Community Legal Centres. It was assisted by the Productivity Commission Report on its Inquiry into Access to Justice Arrangements which had been presented late in 2015 and which the Law Society, through various committees, had reviewed and summarised. The Convenor represented the Law Society with the Law Council Australia in relation to that campaign.

The Convenor attended the National Access to Justice and Pro Bono conference in Adelaide in March 2017 and provided a briefing to United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People on the McGlade Full Federal Court decision on Indigenous Land Use Agreements.

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

Committee Members

Greg McIntyre SC
Convenor

Maryse Aranda

Alexandria Bishop

David Blades

Mark Cox

Lara Gotti

Dominique Hansen
Observer

Gary Mack

Jenny McKenzie

Gregory Mohen

Steven Penglis

Nicholas Snare

Justin Stevenson

Heather Williams

Jo Wynaden

Accreditation
Trevor O'Sullivan

2016/17 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 must be members of the Law Society, and there are currently 41 family law specialists accredited in Western Australia.

The Committee’s achievements in 2016/17 include:

  • assessment of professional development activities submitted by accredited specialists, for which professional development points may be allocated;
  • delivery of the biennial specialist accreditation assessment programme, this being a year in which the accreditation assessment has commenced;
  • re-accreditation and auditing of accredited specialists; and
  • the mutual recognition of interstate accredited specialists, in accordance with the national programme.

The current accreditation assessment programme commenced in April 2017 with detailed information sessions for candidates. 12 candidates are participating this year, a 33% increase on the previous programme. That number reflects the esteem in which specialist accreditation is held. Specialist accreditation provides formal recognition of a legal practitioner’s high degree of technical competency in the area of family law. The privilege of formally 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.

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. This task represents a significant commitment of time for the Committee.

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

Committee Members

Trevor O'Sullivan
Convenor

Damien Bowen

Debbie Clinch

Warren Elder

Samuel Fahey

Rodney Hooper SC

Elizabeth Hynes

Eric Martino

Paula Wilkinson

Administrative, Constitutional and Migration Law
Greg McIntyre SC

2016/17 Annual Report

The Administrative, Constitutional and Migration Law Committee during 2016/17 met jointly with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Committee.

An issue of concern which it confronted, and continues to be engaged with, is the suspension of regional certification body applications under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.

The Convenor had input into the Law Council of Australia’s Regional Processing Policy Statement relating to Asylum Seekers.

The Committee maintained a liaison with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal through membership of its Users’ Group.

The Committee has conferred with the Migration Institute of Australia and the Community Legal Centres Association (WA) Inc with a view to re-establishing regular liaison with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

The Committee also endeavoured to maintain a liaison with the Australian Institute of Administrative Law.

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

Committee Members

Greg McIntyre SC
Convenor

Alexandria Bishop

Kendra Hagan

Peter Lochore

Janette McCahon

Martin Udall

Janet Woollard

Crawford Yorke

Alternative Dispute Resolution
Laurie James AM

2016/17 Annual Report

As a Recognised Mediator Accreditation Body under the National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS), the Law Society’s Council can approve applications for accreditation or re-accreditation. The Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee considers such applications and makes recommendations to the Law Society’s Council for that purpose.

In 2016/17 the Committee resolved to recommend to the Law Society’s Council that applications for accreditation and re-accreditation under the NMAS be on standard forms as settled by the Committee. These were approved by the Law Society’s Council and are now available on the Law Society’s website. Many thanks to Nicoletta Ciffolilli, who prepared the draft documents.

In addition, the Law Society maintains a panel of accredited arbitrators and mediators. While there is a significant discretion as to whether to approve an application for an arbitrator to be included in the panel, it would be an advantage to be accredited by recognised bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators or the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.

The Committee received four applications for inclusion in the panel as arbitrators. While three of those had general arbitration qualifications, one was an accredited Family Law Arbitrator, since the panel is open to the inclusion of specialist arbitrators with suitable qualifications. It will be a matter for the President, if called upon to nominate an arbitrator, to consider the extent of the necessary qualifications required for the appointment.

The Committee also recommended the inclusion of three people for inclusion in the panel of mediators. The Committee would consider it desirable for applicants to have NMAS accreditation, although suitable accreditation to another standard equivalent would be considered.

The President of the Law Society spoke to the Convenor regarding the desirability of having more women on the panel if suitably qualified and also wrote to the Western Australian Bar Association drawing the matter to its attention. Subsequently, a female applicant for inclusion on both panels was recommended by the Committee for approval.

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

Committee Members

Laurie James AM
Convenor

Scott Ellis
Deputy Convenor

Mark Blundell

Graham Castledine

Maha Chaar

Nicoletta Ciffolilli

Michael Hollingdale

Stanley Kawalsky

Nathan Landis

Richard Lilly

Su Lloyd

Marcus Pullen

His Honour Judge Stevenson

Evan Sylwestrzak

Nicholas van Hattem

Brief Editorial
Jason McLaurin

2016/17 Annual Report

Brief is the official journal of the Law Society. Its purpose is to keep members informed about what the Law Society is doing, as well as publishing articles of interest to the Western Australian legal profession. Brief has been published by the Law Society since 1974.

11 monthly editions of Brief were published in the past financial year, featuring articles covering a wide range of topics and issues, a selection of which are described below.

The July 2016 issue included an article by the Hon Chief Justice Wayne Martin AC, giving a behind the scenes look at the new David Malcolm Justice Centre. In September, Brief published the text of the 2016 Sir Ronald Wilson Lecture, The High Court: legal answers to contemporary political, social and administrative issues presented by Greg McIntyre SC.

October’s issue focused on health and wellbeing, while also including a review of the Law Society’s Gala Dinner. November was a legal education edition, posing the question ‘what makes a good lawyer?’ and examining the changing nature of legal education.

In the run-up to the State election in March, Brief published responses to the Law Society’s policy positions from both the then-Government and Opposition. June’s Brief was a special edition celebrating the Law Society’s 90th anniversary.

The Committee thanks all those who submitted articles or items for consideration, and encourages anyone who is interested in doing so to submit material. While Brief does source articles from other places, it primarily depends upon material from local members of the profession.

Thank you also to those who make regular monthly contributions to Brief, including Dean Alston for his Pam Sawyer cartoon, Robert Glade-Wright with family law case notes and Gino Dal Pont for his ethics column.

The Committee thanks all of the Law Society staff involved in the production of Brief, whose organisation and support is invaluable. The Committee also thanks our proof-readers Sonia Chee and David Garnsworthy who generously donate their time, as well as former proof-reader Ann Kay.

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

Committee Members

Jason MacLaurin
Editor/Convenor

Gregory Boyle

Thomas Camp

Dr Rebecca Collins

John McKechnie

Fiona Poh

Dr Pat Saraceni

Robert Sceales

Verginia Serdev-Patterson

Eu-Min Teng

Commercial Law

2016/17 Annual Report

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

  • State Revenue Liaison Group;
  • Consumer Protection Liaison Group;
  • ASIC Regional Liaison Group; and
  • Law Council of Australia, Business Law Section, Corporations Law Committee.

Members of the Committee attended meetings in order to obtain information and to provide feedback on behalf of the Law Society on various topics. For example, in August 2016, the Director of Legislation and Policy from the Department of Commerce, Penny Lipscombe, attended a Committee meeting to provide a comprehensive legislative and policy update to the Committee.

In 2016/17 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:

  • ASIC consultations and amendments to ASX Listing Rules regarding admission criteria for backdoor listings, forward looking statements, resource statements and compliance with the JORC Code;
  • review of corporate tax and whistle blower protections;
  • the proposed ASIC industry funding model;
    amendments to the Privacy Act 1988;
  • amendments to Australia’s bankruptcy and insolvency laws including the new regime for administrators and official liquidators, safe harbour provisions protecting directors from liability for insolvent trading while restructuring a company, limitations to ipso facto clauses giving a party to a contract the right to terminate on the basis that the counterparty is in external administration; and
  • increasing the transparency of beneficial ownership of companies.

The Committee contributed to submissions or papers approved by the Law Society in relation to the following:

  • the Australian Consumer Law Review;
  • remote signing protocols for financial transactions;
  • unqualified people engaging in legal practice; and
  • draft revenue ruling DA19.

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

Committee Members

Jenny Cutri
Convenor

Bruce Meredith
Deputy Convenor

Bruno Camarri AM

Sonia Chee

Andrew Crean

Brahma Dharmananda

Paul Evans

Robert French

Maggie McGuinn

Robert McKenzie

Fiona Ng

Sarah O’Brien-Smith

Shane Stewart

Andreas von Altenstadt

Rachel Webber

Linda Widdup

Construction and Infrastructure

2016/17 Annual Report

The 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. 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 included local as well as national issues relating to the construction industry.

Greg Steinepreis was appointed the Committee’s Convenor in October 2016, succeeding the inaugural Convenor, Michael Hollingdale.

The Committee’s activities for 2016/17 include:

  • monitoring the amendment bill of the Construction Contracts Act arising out of a statutory review of the Act and the Government’s response, including discussion on the benefits of national harmonisation of the security of payment legislation throughout the States and Territories;
  • monitoring the Federal Government’s initiative in setting up an enquiry into security of payment legislation (John Murray Enquiry on Security of Payment Laws);
  • preparing a submission on behalf of the Law Society to the John Murray Enquiry, which was incorporated into a submission to the Enquiry by the Law Council of Australia;
  • consideration of decisions of the Supreme Court and the State Administrative Appeals Tribunal on cases of significance to the construction industry; and
  • co-hosting a seminar for construction practitioners with the Resolution Institute (formerly the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediations Australia), the Society of Construction Law Australia and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in November 2016.

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

Committee Members

Gregory Steinepreis
Convenor

Jonathan Toby Browne-Cooper

Melanie Cave

Elizabeth Cubitt

Elisabeth Edwards

David Ellis

Basil Georgiou

James Healy

Laurie James AM

Michael Hollingdale

Nathan Landis

Katja Levy

Richard Lilly

Adrienne Parker

Chris Ryder

Robert Shaw

Costs
Stewart Forbes and Fraser Robertson

2016/17 Annual Report

The Costs Committee’s primary function is to make recommendations to the Law Society’s Council in relation to reviews conducted by the statutory Legal Costs Committee (LCC).
In 2016/17, the Law Society made detailed submissions in relation to reviews of the scales of costs for solicitors’ costs, public notaries and non-contentious probate scales.

The Law Society made a submission in relation to the scales of costs applicable to work undertaken before Family Law Magistrates at 150 Terrace Road.

The Law Society also updated the Family Law Costs Kit to better ensure that members can comply with their obligations under the Legal Profession Act 2008 (WA).
Other matters considered by the Committee in 2016/2017 include:

  • continuing to monitor the costs charged for bailiff services in the Magistrates Court by Baycorp and associated levels of service;
  • whether a separate scale of costs for the Warden’s Court ought be implemented;
  • the processes and procedures in dealing with taxations in the Federal Court of Australia, which included meeting with the Registrars for that Court; and
  • costs law reform, and particularly alternatives to time billing and investigating costs budgeting.

The Committee was sad to see Allan Newton retire from the Committee. However, the Committee has been buoyed by the addition of Daniel Yazdani to the Committee. Welcome Daniel.

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

Committee Members

Fraser Robertson
Convenor

Matthew Curwood
Deputy Convenor

Brendan Ashdown

Maria-Luisa Coulson

Stewart Forbes

David Garnsworthy

Richard Graham

Dr Eric Heenan

Lachlan Palmos

Amy Pascoe

Philippa Rezos

Milos Supljeglav

Country Practitioners

2016/17 Annual Report

The Country Practitioners Committee is representative of practitioners working in regional and remote Western Australia.

The current focus of the Committee has been on strategic planning and the best way to practically implement the goals set by the Committee. The Committee aims to ensure the Law Society is representing, engaging, connecting, supporting and advocating for all members of the profession in regional areas.

The Committee has compiled a list of practitioners in each regional area so that it can consider a more targeted approach to engagement. The Committee continues to engage with country practitioners and find ways to ensure that all areas of regional and remote Western Australia are represented.

The Committee continues to look at CPD providers that offer CPD in the regions to ensure that face-to-face CPD is available in the regions. The Committee also discusses ongoing issues facing regional areas through engagement, such as recruitment and retention of lawyers, the use of technology, networking and mental health initiatives. These issues are often brought to the Committee’s attention through other committees working on these individual issues.

The Committee also has representation on the Law Council of Australia’s Rural, Regional and Remote Lawyers Committee to engage in a national discussion on issues facing country practitioners and to ensure the Committee is informed of issues facing practitioners on a national platform.

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

Committee Members

Kerstin Stringer
Convenor

Clare Brennan

Peter Brindal

Amelia Englert

Amanda Sommerville

Courts
Clinton Russell

2016/17 Annual Report

The Courts Committee this year has assisted the Law Society with productive dealings with the Supreme Court, the District Court, the Attorney General, the Legal Practice Board, the Legal Costs Committee and the State Administrative Tribunal, amongst others:

  • to the Supreme Court, the Law Society made submissions in relation to mortgage repossession rules, the scope of the undertaking on subpoenas and electronic filing;
    with the District Court, there has been discussion about electronic filing and the mechanics of arranging for payment of reduced fees;
  • to the Attorney General, there have been representations in relation to the increases in court fees and reform of the Suitors’ Fund Act;
  • the Law Society has written to the Legal Practice Board in relation to unqualified persons doing legal work in the Liquor Commission and in relation to guidelines for use of ‘SC’ or ‘Special Counsel’ in a non-misleading way;
  • the Law Society responded to the Legal Costs Committee in relation to a costs scale for the Warden’s Court; and
  • the Law Society corresponded with State Administrative Tribunal in relation to delays caused by members of the Tribunal encountering conflicts.

In addition, the Committee helped settle the Law Society’s policy paper on People Unlawfully Engaging in Legal Work. Members of the Committee have also met with Baycorp to discuss appropriate standards of service for bailiffs.

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

Committee Members

Clinton Russell
Convenor

David Bruns
Deputy Convenor

Geoffrey Bourhill

Tim Carey

Raymond Christensen

Rick Cullen

Karen Farley

Stewart Forbes

Angelina Gomez

Richard Graham

Edward Greaves

Fiona Halsey

Jennifer Hill

Principal Registrar
George Kingsley

Nathan Landis

Aaron McDonald

Marshall McKenna

Mark Pendlebury

Martyn Plummer

Hon Justice Simon Moncrieff

Dr Pat Saraceni

Principal Registrar
Larissa Strk

Magistrate
Matthew Walton

Deputy Chief Magistrate
Elizabeth Woods

Criminal Law
David Davidson

2016/17 Annual Report

The 2016/17 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, the Western Australian Bar Association and sole practitioners but still lacks a voice from the Aboriginal Legal Service. A representative from the Aboriginal Legal Service would be a welcome addition to the Committee membership.

The Committee continues to monitor the mandatory sentencing provisions under the recently amended burglary offences of the Criminal Code for unjust outcomes for offenders. Furthermore, the mandatory sentencing provisions for reckless driving under the Road Traffic Act are also being monitored for similar purposes. The Law Society remains committed to its opposition to mandatory sentencing.

The Committee has continued to liaise with the Department of Corrective Services regarding issues within the prison environment and its non-workability for lawyers dealing with clients who are incarcerated. The Law Society has recently written to the Minister on these issues and the change of Government will hopefully bring a positive outcome to this matter. The problems that legal practitioners experience using the prisons to see clients on a daily basis has not improved, especially in the women’s prison. The Convenor has been active in moving this agenda along.

The Committee has also been busy contributing to a number of Bills relating to criminal law and procedure over the past 12 months, and was recently consulted in relation to the statutory review of the Criminal Investigation Act 2006. The Committee also provided a submission to the Law Society’s Council for the Law Council of Australia on the Terms of Reference for the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Inquiry into the Incarceration Rate of Indigenous Australians.

The Committee maintains liaison with other relevant committees: Mara Barone is a member of the Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court Committee and Sam Vandongen SC is on the Supreme Court Chief Justice Disclosure Sub-Committee. The Committee has also contributed to the Aboriginal Incarceration and Justice Reinvestment Working Group and monitors the Disability Justice Centre through Karen Farley SC.

The Committee has been supportive of the Law Society finding ways to reduce time delays in the District and Supreme Courts with the ever-decreasing budgets but with greater workloads.

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

Committee Members

David Davidson
Convenor

Karen Farley SC
Deputy Convenor

Patricia Aloi

Ryan Arndt

Avril Bartlett

Stephen Butcher

Katherine Gregory

Jodie Moffat

Carly Price

Kirsten Scott

Nicholas Snare

Registrar Whitbread

Education
Elizabeth Needham

2016/17 Annual Report

The Education Committee is the driving force behind the Law Society’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme. Committee members generously share their expertise and networks to ensure that the Law Society’s CPD programme is relevant and engaging. The Co-Convenors are supported by a hardworking committee and Law Society staff. Through their work, the Law Society ensures that practitioners across the State may confidently look to the Law Society to meet their legal education and professional development needs. A comprehensive CPD programme connects the profession by drawing together speakers from the judiciary, the Bar, private law firms, in-house and government practice, and from academia. The high calibre of our presenters and session chairs, and the quality of our topics, ensure that the CPD Programme is tailored to meet practitioners’ professional development needs.

As ever, the Committee is grateful for the sustained level of support from delegates and speakers for the Law Society’s CPD Programme; including flagship seminars such as Law Summer School, Essentials of Advocacy, and the Practical Advocacy Weekend. In 2017 the Law Society partnered with the ECU Security Research Institute to develop and deliver bespoke training on cyber security issues identified by the local legal profession. This training will be delivered during the second half of 2017 and in 2018. Through the eLearning platform, this year the Law Society offered a record number of online seminars across all four competency areas ensuring that country, interstate and overseas practitioners receive the same rigorous and high quality training opportunities as their counterparts based in the Perth metropolitan area. In 2016/17 webinars were introduced to enhance the reach of the CPD programme. These have been integrated into seminars offered to legal practitioners and legal support staff. For the first time, webinars were also used to deliver training, such as to legal support staff enrolled in the Law Society’s The Essential Legal Assistant course. The Ethics on Friday speaker series also continues to be well subscribed. Seminars programmed in 2017 have included two dealing with mental health awareness, diversity and inclusion, and unconscious bias.

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

Committee Members

Elizabeth Needham
Convenor

Alain Musikanth
Co-convenor

Shonelle Duthie

Angelina Gomez

Fiona Grgich

Adam Levine

Su Lloyd

Fiona Low

Glen McLeod

Alex Noonan

Dr Pat Saraceni

Elder Law and Succession Planning
Elizabeth Heenan

2016/17 Annual Report

The Elder Law and Succession Planning 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 the national Chair, and with the Supreme Court of Western Australia Probate Committee on which a Committee member (currently the Convenor) represents the Law Society.

In the past year, the Law Society has made submissions to the Supreme Court Probate Committee in relation to the following:

  • querying the correct procedure for when a defendant in a family provision claim seeks to become a plaintiff; and
  • requesting the reinstatement of the probate elodgment search facility due to its capacity to track applications and whether the Grant of Probate has been made.

The Committee drafted a policy position paper advocating for amendments to the Administration Act 1903 (WA) to increase the statutory legacy for widowed spouses whose partners die intestate. The paper was used by the Law Society for advocacy on legal issues being faced by Western Australian community in the lead up to the State election in March 2017. The Hon John Quigley MLA, Attorney General of Western Australia, invited the Convenor to attend on him to discuss the matters raised in that submission and he is now proceeding to progress the intestacy bill which had been submitted to the former Attorney General.

The Committee contributed to the Law Council of Australia’s submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Elder Abuse Inquiry discussion paper. The Law Society’s submission was noted by the Law Council of Australia in its submission.

The Committee continues to be consulted by the Law Society’s Costs Committee with regard to the Legal Costs Committee review of the Legal Practitioners (Non-Contentious Probate Costs) Determinations when reviews are conducted.

The Committee is conducting the following reviews:

  • a review of the Report of the Statutory Review of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990, Department of the Attorney General, with a view on making further submissions on the recommendations in the Report. At the Convenor’s meeting with the Attorney General, the question of amending the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990 to include specific provisions relating to ademption was raised and the Attorney General has advised that he will be putting that position forward to his Succession Law Working Group for review; and
  • a review to extend Statutory Wills to minors.

The Committee also consulted with the Law Society’s Education Committee for CPD seminars on Estate Planning masterclass, Will drafting masterclass and Urgent wills and assessing a client’s mental capacity.

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

Committee Members

Elizabeth Heenan
Convenor

Michael Bowyer

Sally Bruce

Nicoletta Ciffolilli

Tara Connolly

Natalie Connor

Rob Durey

Susan Fielding

Daniel Gill

Craig Gregson

Dr John Hockley

Patrick Hughes

Amanda Liston

Janette McCahon

Peter Lochore

Dr Peter MacMillan

Peter Nevin

Nova Oldfield

Michaela Speering

Kerstin Stringer

Matthew Wallis

Gabriel Wong

Daniel Yazdani

Employee Relations
Daniel White

2016/17 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 are subject to considerable legislative change from time to time depending on the Government of the day. As a result, the Committee remains committed to its bi-partisan cause and largely refrains from making submissions to the Law Society’s Council on proposed legislative changes in order to maintain its neutrality.

The Committee consulted with other Law Society committees for a number of events in 2016/17 as well as an employment feature for Brief. In March 2017, the Law Society hosted a joint event with the Australian Labour Lawyers Association in Perth with Justice Barker, Deputy President Binet and Commissioner Emmanuel. The Committee also had a dinner with Deputy President Binet (the former Deputy Convenor of the Committee) towards the end of 2016 to formally congratulate her on her appointment to the Fair Work Commission.

A focus of considerable debate and thought for the Committee this year was around non-lawyers performing legal work. The Committee contributed to the Law Society’s paper concerning unqualified people engaging in legal practice which investigated a number of areas of law, including workplace relations, where non-lawyers are likely to engage in legal work.

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

Committee Members

Daniel White
Convenor

David Blades

Philip Brunner

Joseph Burke

Stephen Butcher

Mark Cox

Anna Creegan

Catherine Fletcher

Cory Fogliani

Kendra Hagan

Renae Harding

Dominique Hartfield

Michael Jensen

Kimberley Jones

Stephen Kemp

Clarence Paul

Ben Watson

Environment, Town Planning and Local Government
Denis McLeod

2016/17 Annual Report

The Environment, Town Planning and Local Government Committee has had a busy 2016/17 with outcomes including:

  • the Committee has again attempted but been unable to interest major political parties in the transfer of environmental appeals to independent adjudication in the State Administration Tribunal. The Committee is committed to continuing its efforts to deprive Western Australia of the distinction of being the only State where planning appeals are not dealt with by an independent tribunal;
  • recommendations and contributions were made to the Law Society’s Education Committee for CPD seminar topics and speakers including a seminar on compulsory taking of land and compensation has seeking to correct a perceived anomaly in the compensation provisions of the LA Act;
  • contribution to the Law Society’s discussion paper on unqualified people engaging in legal work, particularly focusing on non-lawyer advocates charging for their advocacy services in State Administration Tribunal matters; and monitoring of:
  • the review of the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 (WA);
  • State Planning Policy 2.8, and the impact on landowners of its provisions for uncompensated setting aside of land for conservation purposes; and
  • the possibility of Third Party planning appeals.

The Committee maintained its participation in the activities of the Australian Environment and Planning Law Group.
The major project of the Committee has been to focus and inform the Law Society’s Council’s efforts to assist in dealing with the apparent depletion of the planning law specialist adjudicating membership at the State Administration Tribunal. That is a work in progress.

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

Committee Members

Denis McLeod
Convenor

Charmian Barton

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

Dr Stephen Willey

Ethics
Julian Sher

2016/17 Annual Report

The Ethics Committee had an active year, with sub-committees reporting on a range of issues, culminating in the publication of the Law Society’s new guidelines on both Information Barriers and Client Capacity, and soon to be published guidelines on Unbundling of Legal Services. The Committee continues its work in advocating for the adoption of the Uniform Law in Western Australia. The Committee has also contributed to the Law Society’s paper concerning unqualified people engaging in legal practice and will continue to contribute to the Law Society’s new Futures Reference Group to address the future of the legal profession.

The Convenor has contributed to the Law Society’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism legislation Working Group and is occasionally asked to provide ethical advice to members of the Law Society.

The Committee also undertakes a monitoring role of new methods of professional advertising and alternative ways of providing legal services and other professional conduct matters as required from time to time.

The Committee acknowledges the considerable contribution to the Committee’s activities of Joseph McGrath SC (now the Honourable Justice Joseph McGrath) and extends to him the Committee’s congratulations on his elevation to the Supreme Court bench. At the time of writing this, the Honourable Justice Gail Archer has also been elevated to the Supreme Court bench. The Committee congratulates her and acknowledges her invaluable role as a past Deputy Convenor of the Ethics Committee.

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

Committee Members

Julian Sher
Convenor

Michael Cashman

Cinzia Donald

Paul Evans

Angelina Gomez

Nicola Jansen

Ashley Macknay

Alain Musikanth

Nova Oldfield

Craig Slater

Fiona Stanton

Nicola Watts

Francis Burt Law Education Programme and Old Court House Museum Advisory
The Hon Wayne Martin AC

2016/17 Annual Report

The Francis Burt Law Education Programme and Old Court House Law Museum Advisory Committee continued to oversee the activities of the Francis Burt Law Education Programme, including the Mock Trial Competition, and the Old Court House Law Museum.

In March 2017, 87 guests attended an event at the Old Court House to celebrate the 180th anniversary of the Old Court House, the 30th anniversary of the Francis Burt Law Education Programme and Mock Trial Competition and the launch of the last stage of the redesign of the Museum: From Past to Present.

During the year under review, more than 9,000 participants received the benefit of programmes and services provided by the Programme. The Cluedunnit Kids competition continued to grow in 2017 with 939 year 5/6 students from metropolitan and regional schools taking part. The winning team was from St Brigid’s School in Collie.

62 students and teachers took part in the 2017 Hypothetical event, the Young and the Reckless, and more than 100 people attended the 2016 Sir Ronald Wilson Lecture presented by Greg McIntyre SC.

Progress has been made in the development of a two-way learning resource for Aboriginal youth and Aboriginal communities: the Lore Law Project. Two days of training with the Indigenous Youth Leadership Team took place in December and the project team is currently working with youth at Sevenoaks College and Gosnells PCYC to create a pilot film on the consequences of fare evasion.

The winners of the 2016 Mock Trial Competition were the Chisholm Challengers from Chisholm Catholic College. The 2017 Competition saw a record number of participants again – over 1,300 students from 55 schools in 126 teams. The support and assistance of volunteers from the legal profession, who take on the role of either a team coach or a judge, is invaluable to the success of the Competition.

The number of visitors to the Old Court House Law Museum in the reporting period was 5,259. The install of the last stage of the redesign of the Museum was completed in March. The North-East Gallery permanent exhibition is entitled From Past to Present and provides an overview of how the law has evolved in Western Australia. Sub-themes include women and the law, children and the law and the imposition of European law on Aboriginal communities. Temporary exhibitions during the reporting period included Eliza Tracey: Soapbox Orator and Litigant and the History of the Law Society of Western Australia. The Museum’s Oral Histories Project focused on Women in the Law. Interviewees who have contributed include Kate George, the Hon Christine Wheeler AO and Karen Farley SC.

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

Committee Members

The Hon Wayne Martin Martin AC
Chief Justice of Western Australia

Dr Adam Tomison
Director General
Department of Justice

Professor Jürgen Bröhmer
Dean, School of Law
Murdoch University

Professor Paul Fairall
Dean, School of Law
Curtin University

Emeritus Professor Peter Handford
University of Western Australia

Katja Levy
Rossello Chambers

Marshall McKenna
Gilbert and Tobin

Stephen Powell
Department of Education

Krishna Prasad
Dean, School of Law and Justice
Edith Cowan University

Pip Schrape
Supreme Court of Western Australia

Associate Professor Natalie Skead
Law Faculty, University of Western Australia

Professor Joan Squelch
Dean, School of Law
The University of Notre Dame Australia

General Conditions for the Sale of Land
Frank Poeta

2015/16 Annual Report

The main focus of the General Conditions for the Sale of Land Committee’s work in 2016/17 was the full review of the Joint Form of General Conditions for the Sale of Land (Joint Form). The aim of the Committee is to produce a revised version of the Joint Form to be published by December 2017. The main amendments are related to:

  • including provisions to address the changes to the Sale of Land Act;
  • updates to the provisions dealing with encumbrances;
  • including provisions dealing with the Personal Property Security Act;
  • including provisions dealing with electronic conveyancing;
  • including provisions dealing with the CGT withholding tax regime;
  • updates to the provisions dealing with duty;
  • changes to the provisions dealing with the buyer’s right and time to inspect;
  • changes to the provisions dealing with the seller’s warranties; and
  • including provisions to allow service of notices by email.

The only amendment to the Joint Form during the reporting period related to the Federal Government’s announcement of changes to the foreign resident capital gains withholding regime. The changes now mean that the regime applies to contracts entered into on or after 1 July 2017 for real property disposals where the contract price is $750,000 and above (previously $2 million) and that the withhold tax rates is now 12.5% of the purchase price (previously 10%). The amendments were approved by the Law Society and the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia in June 2017.

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

Committee Members

Frank Poeta
Convenor

Christopher Booth

Meagan Johnston

John Prevost

Gary Thomas

Peta Whyte

Craig Bradley
REIWA

Hayden Groves
REIWA

Ross McCallum
REIWA

Deputy Convenor
Gary Thomas

Gabriel Wong

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity
Greg McIntyre SC

2016/17 Annual Report

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

The Committee monitored the work of the Law Council of Australia in developing policy positions on:

  • the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the National Redress Principles for Survivors of Sexual Abuse;
    the National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy;
  • migration bills relating to regional processing, visa revalidation and procedure harmonisation;
  • disability discrimination; and
  • a Modern Slavery Act.

The Convenor and Emma Cavanagh represent the Law Society on the Law Council of Australia’s National Human Rights Committee. The Law Society contributed to the Law Council’s submission to the Inquiry into Freedom of Speech in Australia, and the Convenor appeared on behalf of the Law Council at the Senate Community Affairs References Committee on Indefinite Detention of People with Cognitive and Psychiatric Impairment in Australia.

The Convenor and committee member Emma Cavanagh represented the Committee on the Law Society’s Aboriginal Incarceration and Justice Reinvestment Working Group which developed policy papers for the Law Society on legal issues contributing to the incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Western Australia.

The Committee assisted the President of the Law Society in preparing a position on the Misuse of Drugs Amendment (Search Powers) Bill 2016.

The Committee reviewed the Law Society’s policy position papers on the death penalty, mandatory sentencing and the presumption of bail and the adoption of the Law Society’s Reconciliation Action Plan.

The Committee is preparing a position paper for the Law Society on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill.

Committee member Elizabeth Heenan is the Law Society representative on the following Law Council’s committees and working groups:

  • National Elder Law and Succession Committee;
  • Equal Opportunity Committee; and
  • Elder Abuse Inquiry Working Group.

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

Committee Members

Greg McIntyre SC
Convenor

Nicola Ashford

Alexandria Bishop

Zoe Bush

Rebecca Dennison

Alexander Griffiths

Kendra Hagan

Elizabeth Heenan

Jennifer Hill

Michael Jensen

Elizabeth Needham

Ilse Petersen

Rabia Siddique

Dr Carolyn Tan

In-house/Government Lawyers
Pamela Hass

2016/17 Annual Report

The In-house/Government Lawyers Committee aims to promote and support the specific needs of in-house and government lawyers.

Committee members have contributed articles on issues of specific concern to this sector of the profession for Brief.

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. To this end, a successful panel seminar, chaired by the Convenor, Tips for Engaging with In-House Counsel was delivered by the Law Society and included a presentation on the topic by the Deputy Convenor.

The Committee hosted a Law Society social function for members from other in-house organisations to discuss in-house practice with each other and more generally socialise with other likeminded members of the Law Society.

The Committee has continued its work of the last two years to improve the situation of restricted practitioners who are supervised by a non-prescribed agency under the Legal Profession Act 2008.

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

Committee Members

Pamela Hass
Convenor

Elisabeth Edwards
Deputy Convenor

Avril Bartlett

Sarah Coxon

David Davidson

Peter Doherty

Ilse Petersen

Miriam Sauley

Zoran Vukojevic

Indigenous Legal Issues

2016/17 Annual Report

The Indigenous Legal Issues Committee joined with representatives from the Law Society’s Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Committee and Access to Justice Committee to lead a strategic campaign in relation to justice reinvestment and incarceration rates, publishing a number of policy resources available on the Law Society’s website and distributed to key stakeholders. The Committee is also keeping abreast of developments in the Constitutional Recognition campaign.

The Committee continues to support the implementation of a Reconciliation Action Plan for the Law Society and is excited about the development of the next phase of the Reconciliation Action Plan, which will see the Law Society expand its commitments after completing an environmental scan of its knowledge and relationships in this area.

The Law Society’s Mentoring Programme for Indigenous law students completed its seventh year. The Law Society has worked to develop its relationships with each of the universities to ensure the success of this valuable programme and has reviewed the best methods by which to target students to ensure that they are properly supported.

The Committee hosted a Law Society social function this year to provide a networking platform for Indigenous law students and members of the profession as well as share the work of the Committee.

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 has also maintained its commitment to communicating on issues of importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and is close to recommending to the Law Society’s Council a set of cultural protocols and guidelines for practitioners representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Western Australia.

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

Committee Members

Krista Dunstan
Convenor

Chloe D’Souza

Emma Garlett

Tegan Harrington

Marree Hart

Marshall McKenna

Jenny McKenzie

John Ralph

Tammy Solonec

Insolvency and Reconstruction
Victoria Butler

2016/17 Annual Report

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

The Committee continued its role in liaising with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Australian Financial Security Authority and the Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association.

The insolvency and reconstruction industry has seen an enormous amount of reform within the last 12 months. The Committee made a number of submissions to the Law Society’s Council including:

  • response to Treasury’s consultation on the proposed Insolvency Practice Rules;
  • response to ASIC’s consultation on the Insolvency Practice Rules;
  • submission in response to ‘Reforms to address corporate misuse of the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Scheme’; and
  • submission in response to the Treasury’s ‘National Innovation and Science Agenda – Improving Corporate Insolvency Law’ 2017.

In August 2016, Committee members attended the Federal Court of Australia’s annual workshop and in October 2016, Committee members attended the Insolvency and Reconstruction annual workshop with members of the Insolvency and Reconstruction Law Committees of the other States.

The Committee thanks Adrian Saggers of ASIC and Paul Devellerez of AFSA who regularly attend its meetings and provide invaluable insights.

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

Committee Members

Philip Blaxill

Victoria Butler

Paul Devellerez

Samuel Dundas

James Healy

Dr Eric Heenan

Richard Johnson

Robert McKenzie

Chris McLeod

Nino Odorisio

Chair
Chris Pearce

Claire Petersen

Adrian Saggers

Intellectual Property and Technology
Nicholas Stamatiou

2016/17 Annual Report

The Intellectual Property and Technology Committee liaises regularly with IP Australia, the statutory body that administers Intellectual Property laws in Australia, in relation to legislative proposals to amend intellectual property practice and procedure.

The Committee liaises with the Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand (IPSANZ), the Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys (IPTA), and the Federal Court of Australia regarding various educational seminars held in Perth.

As part of the expanded Terms of Reference to focus more broadly on technology and intellectual property issues, the Committee recently provided detailed submissions to the Law Society’s Council in relation to the Review of the Law Council of Australia Cyber Precedent website. The Committee also liaised with the WA Committee of IPSANZ in early 2017 to promote a trade mark law update presented by Victorian Barrister, Ed Heerey.

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

Committee Members

Nicholas Stamatiou
Convenor

Madeleen Rousseau

Stephanie Rowland

Joint Law Society/Women Lawyers of WA
Catherine Fletcher

2016/17 Annual Report

The Joint Law Society/Women Lawyers Committee is a liaison group between Women Lawyers of Western Australia (Inc) and the Law Society.

In April 2015, the Law Society established a Working Group to respond to Chapter 2 of the Women Lawyers of Western Australia’s 2014 20th Anniversary Review of the 1994 Chief Justice’s Gender Bias Taskforce Report which dealt with career issues facing women lawyers. This work continued over the course of 2015 and 2016 and concluded with the preparation of a report which identified the gaps between what the Law Society was then doing and the recommendations in Chapter 2. It made practical proposals for the Law Society to address those recommendations. A Final Directions Paper was finalised in mid-2016 and endorsed by the Law Society’s Council on 23 August 2016. The timeframes for implementation by the Law Society of the various Chapter 2 recommendations was later approved by Council in December 2016. Those timeframes operate over 2016/17 and 2017/18.

One of the first recommendations arising out of the Final Directions Paper, which has been recently implemented by the Law Society, was the establishment of a new ‘Advancement of Women in the Legal Profession Working Group’. The new Working Group now meets bi-monthly to support the work of the Law Society in implementing the other recommendations of the Final Directions Paper.

In November 2016, the Convenor chaired a Law Society CPD seminar as part of the Law Society’s Diversity and Inclusion strategic campaign entitled Gender equality – a business issue. The headline for the seminar was that “Gender equality in the workplace is not just a women’s issue – it also makes hard economic sense for employers with further benefits to the profession and the community generally.”

During 2016/17, the Committee recommended to the Law Society’s Honours Committee practitioners for:

  • candidates for interview for the Old Court House Law Museum’s oral histories project, the theme of which for 2016/17 was ‘Women in law’; and
  • candidates for the 2017 WA Women’s Hall of Fame, Women Lawyers of Western Australia and other awards.

The Committee compared the Law Council of Australia’s National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy and the Law Society’s Equality of Opportunity Briefing Policy and considered the reporting template and guidelines for the Law Council’s policy and made recommendations to the Law Council for amendment of those documents. The Committee endorsed the Law Society publicising the availability of unconscious bias training by the Law Council.

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

Committee Members

Catherine Fletcher
Convenor

Rebecca Lee
Deputy Convenor

Melanie Callow

Debbie Clinch

Hayley Dodson

Susan Diamond

Cinzia Donald

Malerie Durham

Jennifer Hill

Daniela Ion

Tuba Omer

Janette McCahon

Jasmine Sims

Charmaine Tsang

Law Office Management

Our most engaged firms make sure that their practice manager and key office personnel are also members of the Law Society. We deliver extensive benefits for executives working in human resources, business development, marketing, knowledge and information management, and other key disciplines.

The Law Society is an important conduit between our State’s legal professionals and the specialist personnel that manage the business of running a law firm.

The Law Office Management Committee looks at the issues affecting the running of a law office in Western Australia and determining ways to overcome challenges.

Committed to the promotion and enhancement of professional law office management through further education, networking and resources, the committee works with the ethos of sharing knowledge, experience and solutions.

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

Committee Members

Fiona Halsey

Kim Mead

Alexander Payne

David Stewart

Mental Health and Wellbeing
David Davidson

2016/17 Annual Report

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Committee worked carefully through the 13 recommendations that were adopted under the Law Society’s Mental Health & Wellbeing Recommendations 2016-2020 (following the review of the 2011 Report on Psychological Distress and Depression in the Legal Profession).

An example of this was the review of Recommendation 6, which involved the preparation of a proposal for a Graduate Advisory Service.

The Convenor and Libby Fulham were both proactive in attending seminars and events delivered by the Law Society over the past 12 months for small firms and sole practitioners. At these events, Ms Fulham provided a great insight into commercial business techniques and how practitioners need to comply with the Legal Profession Conduct Rules. The Convenor advocated the use and access of the Law Society’s LawCare WA programme provided to members.

The Committee monitored the use of LawCare WA in particular the Member Assistance Programme (counselling service) and promotion of this service. The Committee promoted the use of the Locum Register and outlined the benefits especially to small firms and sole practitioners of taking leave and allowing another practitioner to operate their business.

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
Convenor

David Blades

Libby Fulham

Emma Griffiths

Justine Howard

Alyce Lynch

Philippa Rezos

Linda Richardson

Nicholas Snare

Amanda Sommerville

Matthew Wallis

Personal Injuries and Workers’ Compensation
Gray Porter

2016/17 Annual Report

The Personal Injuries and Workers’ Compensation Committee has continued its involvement in matters affecting the administration of compensation claims and damages awards for personal injuries.

The Committee made submissions adopted by the Law Society’s Council in relation to the District Court’s fees and conciliation and arbitration fees and noted the probable increase in fees at the 2017/18 review period. The Committee also participated in a review of the Health Services Act 2016 (Cth) and regulations and commented on and continues to monitor the issue of public hospitals’ claims for recovery of medical expenses from compensable patients post-settlement. The issue of access to hospital and medical practitioner files pre-litigation continues to be an issue of consideration by the Committee.

A sub-committee participated in an external consultant’s review of WorkCover WA’s Conciliation and Arbitration Services. Members of the Committee continued to participate in WorkCover WA’s Conciliation and Arbitration Service Users’ Group and Costs Committee. The Deputy Convenor continued to serve on the Law Council of Australia’s Personal Injuries and Compensation Committee which met to discuss the compensation systems in the various States.

Other matters discussed by the Committee this year included the Limitation Act amendment for child abuse, the problems associated with increased use of electronic filing in the courts and taxation of redemption payments.

The long awaited legislative review of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 1981 is expected to occupy the Committee in 2018.

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

Committee Members

Gray Porter
Convenor

David Bruns
Deputy Convenor

Michelle Antunovich

Mark Civitella

Dan Connor

Erica Dobson

Asanka Gunasekera

Karina Hafford

Vidal Pinckney-Hockless

Joel Trigg

Kerry Wood

Nakkie Le Roux

Professional Indemnity Insurance Management

2016/17 Annual Report

The Professional Indemnity Insurance Management Committee, as required by the Legal Profession Act, put in place the Professional Indemnity insurance arrangements for the 2017/18 financial year. The negotiations were similar to previous years and after a review the same panel of insurers as last year was retained.

The insurance placement includes consideration of the actuarial report prepared by the actuary, advice of broker, Marsh, and Law Mutual (WA) staff.

Ultimately, the annual contribution rate was unchanged, primarily due to ongoing prudent capital management and a relatively stable claims environment. The Committee hopes to be in a position to continue with stable rates in future years. However, this, as always, depends on claims outcomes and underwriting market conditions. Claims numbers in the last year have shown a slight increase on the previous five year average. The historical average claim size has also continued to increase.

The Committee 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 2016/17 risk management seminar programme introduced a number of different topics targeted at the diverse groups of firms and practitioners that are covered by the arrangements. The seminars were well-attended and 103 insured firms were able to claim a 5% discount on the 2017/2018 annual contribution for having met risk management training requirements. The Committee continued to increase the risk management resources available to Law Mutual (WA). A Manager, Risk was appointed and a Risk & Administration Officer will commence early in the 2017/18 year.

Financially, Law Mutual (WA) is in a very sound position and neither the annual audit nor actuarial reports for 2015/16 were qualified.

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

Committee Members

Dudley Stow
Chair

Ian Williams

Laurie Shervington

Jocelyne Boujos

Denis McLeod

Eric Heenan

Paula Wilkinson

Professional Standards Scheme
Alain Musikanth

2016/17 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’s focus is 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.

During 2016/17, the Committee considered a number of applications for higher discretionary caps and made recommendations to the Law Society’s Council. Six applications for discretionary caps were approved by the Law Society during the course of the year. The Committee also oversaw the preparation and submission of the Law Society’s third annual compliance report to the PSCs and the first year of implementation of the Scheme’s new risk management and compliance framework.

The name of the Scheme was changed from the Limitation of Liability Scheme to the Professional Standards Scheme in October 2016 to create consistency with the language of the Professional Standards legislation and to emphasise the Scheme’s role in delivering ongoing improvements to professional standards and consumer protection.

The Committee is pleased to report that as at 30 June 2017, the Scheme had 1,285 participating members; nearly 180 more than the number of participating members in the previous year.

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

Committee Members

Alain Musikanth
Convenor

Brendan Ashdown

Nathan Ebbs

Greg Pynt

Verginia Serdev-Patterson

Craig Slater

Property Law
Gary Thomas

2016/17 Annual Report

Members of the Property Law Committee represent the Law Society on a number of external stakeholder groups and committees, the Law Council of Australia Legal Practice Section Australian Property Law Group and the Law Council of Australia E-conveyancing Working Group. Notably during this period there was a lot of activity for Law Society representatives on the Landgate Industry Reference Group and the PEXA Industry Reference Group.

The Committee had a considerable amount of work in considering the large number of reforms that were drafted amending the Strata Titles Act 1985. At the time of this report the draft Bills considered included:

  • Strata Titles Amendment Bill 2016 (Management of Schemes;
  • Strata Titles Amendment Bill 2017 (information and Seller Disclosures); and
  • Strata Titles Amendments Bill 2017 (Disputes).

Additional submissions will be prepared in the next reporting period when further draft Bills are scheduled for release for consultation. A notable piece of draft legislation will be the new Community Titles Bill that the State Government has confirmed will be introduced later this year or in 2018.

The Committee continued to support the Law Society in its advocacy work with the State Government on the proposal to mandate electronic lodgement commencing 1 August 2017 for the following documents:

  • discharge of mortgage;
  • mortgage transactions;
  • caveats and withdrawal of caveat; and
  • transfers.

Other initiatives included reviewing the amendments to the Sale of Land Act and the updating of the considering the amendments to the Joint Form of General Conditions for the Sale of Land 2011 which is being reviewed by the Law Society’s General Conditions for Sale Committee.

As in previous years, the Committee has continued to monitor issues arising in specific areas including the Contaminated Sites Act 2003, retirement villages, the Land Titles Registration Manual and the Business Focus Amendments to the Transfer of Land Act 1893.

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

Committee Members

Gary Thomas
Convenor

Marcus Easthope
Deputy Convenor

Mark Atkinson

Peter Beekink

Christopher Booth

Sarah Coxon

Susan Dukes

Malerie Durham

Craig James

Meagan Johnston

John Prevost

Doug Solomon

Peta Whyte

Gabriel Wong

Joel Yeldon

Quality Practice Standard
Craig Slater

2016/17 Annual Report

The Quality Practice Standard Committee observed that many firms now claim 20 years of operations as accredited firms and congratulates those firms on this significant milestone.

The Committee contributed to the Law Society’s Education Committee for CPD seminars and assisted other CPD training events including a Legal Aid WA seminar on Best Practice File Management. The Committee facilitated the publication of an article on practice management.

The Committee worked with Law Mutual (WA) to review the Scheme and how it may integrate with Law Mutual (WA)’s goal of reducing risks for firms insured by Law Mutual (WA). The Committee continued to consider other means for risk management to be addressed in the Scheme and the means by which the Scheme could be more attractive to potential participants.

The Committee noted the Commonwealth Government’s concerns to increase the scope of the operation of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Finance Act and regulations to address perceived gaps in the legislation with particular reference to lawyers. The Committee contributed to Law Council of Australia’s work on the proposed legislation and how it could be incorporated with the numerous ways that the profession is already regulated.

The Committee agreed to a plan by the Law Society to integrate internally those areas where practice management risk is a common theme. The Committee looks forward to working with Law Mutual (WA) who will now coordinate both the Committee and the Professional Standards Scheme Committee.

The Committee submitted recommendations to the Law Society on the proposals of Law Mutual (WA) to vary the means and basis on which Law Mutual (WA) offers discounts for its premiums for compulsory professional indemnity insurance. The Committee will continue to monitor these changes to ensure that the Scheme attracts an appropriate discount to reflect the commitment to risk management and the integrity that external independent auditing delivers.

At the end of the financial year the Law Society’s Council proposed a strategic review of the Quality Practice Standard Scheme. The Committee responded to that review and assisted the review to document how the Scheme operated and the ways that it could improve to better integrate with other Law Society committees and remain attractive to law firms participating and considering participation.

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

Committee Members

Craig Slater
Convenor

Dorothy Guerini

Peter Liron

Andrew McGuiness

Julie Ots

Murray Thornhill

David Vilensky

Taxation
Dr John Hockley

2016/17 Annual Report

The Taxation Committee sits as a joint Committee of the Law Society of Western Australia and the Law Council of Australia.

In 2016/17 the Committee welcomed new members to the Committee. Their willingness to join the Committee and contribute at the meeting is commendable. The Committee is actively seeking new members.

In 2016/17 the Committee made submissions to the Law Society’s Council on various State and Commonwealth taxation issues. This work involved considerable effort by members resulting in an improvement in the taxation laws.

There have been several additional procedural requirements added to the Resident Capital Gains Withholding Tax that came into effect from 1 July 2016.

Committee members were 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. Debts owed to the ATO by Western Australians are a matter of interest in the present state of the economy in Western Australia. A member with experience in this developing area, Mr John Fickling has volunteered to join future discussions with the ATO and other state practitioners via the Legal Profession Roundtable telephone link-up.
Any member having problems communicating with the ATO can contact the Committee and their problem can be raised at the next meeting of the Tax Round Table, a practitioner’s forum to assist practitioners’ access to the ATO.

Committee members have also contributed to the Law Society’s Education Committee for CPD seminars and presented at seminars on current tax issues. Members of the Committee published articles of interest to the legal profession in the Law Society’s Brief journal and other journals.

The Committee would like to thank Humphry Faas for keeping the Committee informed of recent developments in taxation raised by the Law Council of Australia’s Taxation Committee. The Committee presents a monthly report at the meetings of the developments in taxation across Australia.

The Committee had a very successful year.

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

Committee Members

Dr John Hockley
Convenor

Humphry Faas
Deputy Convenor

Jocelyne Boujos

John Fickling

Fiona Halsey

Thomas Henn

Jonathon Leek

David Murphy

Sam Radici

Alex Sceales

Robert Sceales

Matthew Sunits

Clare Thompson

Zoran Vukojevic

Grahame Young

Chelsea Walsh

Young Lawyers
Young Lawyers Committee

2016/17 Annual Report

The Young Lawyers Committee assists the Law Society in coordinating a significant number of events and initiatives including:

  • social events to promote collegiality such as the Welcome to the Profession breakfast, inter-firm sporting events (volleyball and netball) and Golden Gavel;
  • the Practical Advocacy Weekend, which includes a preparatory seminar as well as a weekend of coaching sessions by judges and other senior members of the profession;
  • raising awareness about social justice issues through panel events, including the Law Week panel discussion (on the topic of access to justice for refugees and asylum seekers in 2016/2017) and the Social Justice Opportunities Evening;
  • mental health and wellbeing initiatives including a Geoffrey Robertson QC-style mental health hypothetical panel discussion;
  • small firm networking evenings; and
  • the Law Student Mentoring Programme.

The 2017 Law Student Mentoring Programme expanded to include law students from Curtin University and the University of Western Australia, in addition to the University of Notre Dame Australia and Edith Cowan University, who were involved in previous years. This increased participation in the Programme to 50 students, compared to 25 in 2015/16.

In recognition of the changing legal landscape, the Committee increased its focus on giving young and emerging lawyers the opportunity to build their professional networks with young professional bodies from other industries, including accounting, consulting and engineering. The Law Society hosted two Inter Profession Networking events, both of which gave young professionals the opportunity to develop ‘soft’ skills and network with professionals from other industries. The first seminar was on business etiquette and corporate interpersonal communication and the second seminar was the panel discussion ‘Jump on Board’, on how young professionals can position themselves for board roles in not-for-profit, governmental and corporate organisations.

The Committee further considered the Law Council of Australia’s Australian Young Lawyers Committee 2013 Position Paper on Workplace Standards and submitted the Committee’s proposed amendments to the Position Paper for the Law Society’s Council to submit to the Law Council of Australia, with a view to obtaining endorsement of the Workplace Standards at a national level. The proposed amendments are currently being considered for endorsement by the Law Council of Australia’s constituent bodies.

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

Role of the Young Lawyers Committee

The 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, specific 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

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.

Applications to participate as a mentor are now open.

The programme will formally commence with a launch event on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 and run through November.

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.

The Law Guide 2017-18 is published by GradAustralia in partnership with the Law Society of New South Wales. The guide is the first of its kind and is a comprehensive look at the different options people have with a law degree in Australia– including delving into the separate practice areas in private practice and into the other areas of law including criminal law, academia, family law, public policy, human rights and much more.

Events

The Young Lawyers Committee, in conjunction with the Law Society, hosts a wide array of events throughout the year.

Focus Areas

The Young Lawyers Committee has a number of focus areas, which organise many of its initiatives. Each focus area is chaired by a member of the Committee.

Social & Sport – Co-Chairs Brooke Sojan and Alison Cooper

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 & Careers – Chair Alex Noonan

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

Human Rights & Social Justice – Chair Nicola Ashford

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 & Wellbeing – Chair Alyce Lynch

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 15 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 Young Lawyer Committee members are:

Sarah O'Brien-Smith

Sarah O’Brien-Smith
Convenor
Hunt & Humphry

Alexander Noonan

Alexander Noonan
Deputy Convenor
Macdonald Rudder

nicola-ashford

Nicola Ashford
Deputy Convenor
Kim Wilson & Co

alyce-lynch

Alyce Lynch
Deputy Convenor
Federal Court of Australia

Jack Carroll
Park Legal Solutions

alison-cooper

Alison Cooper
Murcia Pestell Hillard

nic-coveney

Nic Coveney
Paterson & Dowding

Catherine Graville

Cathy Graville
King & Wood Mallesons

James Marzec

James Marzec
Wilson & Atkinson

Marc McCaughey
HopgoodGanim

Sarah Ozanne

Sarah Ozanne
Butcher Paull & Calder

Fiona Poh
Tottle Partners

Hague Skinner
Bennett + Co

Brooke Sojan

Brooke Sojan
Legal Aid

Michelle Taylor

Michelle Taylor
Solomon Brothers