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 and email to advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au.

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

Access to Justice
Greg McIntyre SC

2015/16 Annual Report

Law Access Limited has now been running for just over 18 months, since 11 December 2014, as a service of last resort for those with meritorious cases and limited means unable to be assisted by Legal Aid or community legal centres. The Access to Justice Committee prior to the establishment of Law Access Limited performed two roles. The first was to assess the merit of applications to the Law Access Pro Bono Clearing House. That role has now been assumed by Law Access Limited with some continuing assistance with the assessment of complex cases from individual members of the Committee from time to time. The Committee receives reports from Law Access Limited, including in relation to its Stakeholder Advisory Committee and Lawyers for Refugees Network.

The second role of the Committee is a policy role contributing to Law Society policy positions and submissions. The Convenor also represents the Law Society on the Law Council of Australia Access to Justice, co-ordinating the positions taken at a State and National level on relevant issues.

On 21 January 2016 the Law Society’s Council, consistent with the view of the Committee, resolved to support the Law Council of Australia’s national legal aid funding campaign. 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 Committee Convenor represented the Law Society with the Law Council of Australia in relation to that campaign. A Law Society working group organised a panel forum with the theme Be Afraid Without Legal Aid on 28 April 2016 chaired by Law Society President, Elizabeth Needham. The panel included Appeal Justice the Hon Robert Mazza, Helen Creed, Executive Director of Community Legal Centres Inc. and Matthew Howard, Chair of the Mental Health Law Centre. As part of the campaign the Law Week Breakfast on 6 May 2016 featured the Hon Fred Chaney AO as keynote speaker, addressing the campaign theme, following a briefing by the Committee Convenor on the campaign. That event coincided with the National Day of Action.

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

Committee Members

Greg McIntyre SC
Convenor

Rick Cullen

Maryse Aranda

David Blades

Greg Boland

Mark Cox

Lara Gotti

Dominique Hansen
Observer

Rachel Joseph

Gary Mack

Timothy Mason

Aaron McDonald

Marshall McKenna

Jenny McKenzie

Steven Penglis

Yasmin Salleh

Jonathan Slack-Smith

Graeme Slattery

Nicholas Snare

Mari Takla

George Turnbull
Observer

Nicholas van Hattem

Heather Williams

Alexandria Bishop

Accreditation
Trevor O'Sullivan

2015/16 Annual Report

The Accreditation Committee’s role is to advise the Law Society’s Council on the rules and regulations that govern the granting of accreditation by the Law Society. In a secondary role, the Committee acts in an advisory capacity for family law accreditation, a specialist practice in which Law Society members can be accredited.

The main tasks for the Committee this year were primarily:

• assessment of both standard and relevance of activities for which points might be allocated to accredited specialists;
• finalising the biennial assessment and examination process for candidates seeking to be accredited;
• discussing the national examination results and formalising guidelines on the marking process for 2017 assessment programme;
• undertaking the audit for reaccreditation of existing accredited practitioners;
• undertaking the application for reaccreditation of existing accredited practitioners; and
• examining the guidelines for the use of the term specialist in Western Australia and making submissions in relation to same.

The Convenor and the Committee Secretary also attended regular meetings of the National Family Law Steering Committee conducted by teleconference.

The main issues the Committee took up with the National Family Law Steering Committee were:

• the examination and timetabling of the accreditation process and which is run nationally;
• uniformity/moderation of marking examination material;
• appeal processes;
• assistance to candidates contemplating undertaking the process; and
• the use of the term specialist in each state and the guidelines for the use of such terms in Western Australia.

This year the biennial family law accreditation assessment programme was completed and from the nine candidates who participated in the programme, the Committee would like to congratulate Denby Kerr of DCH Legal, Jane Johnson of Kim Wilson & Co and Julia Mansfield of Kennedy Partners on their successful completion of the programme and their appointment as Family Law Accredited Specialists.

The Law Society’s accreditation programme provides family law practitioners the opportunity to be formally recognised as having a high level of competency in their field. Accredited specialists have the added benefit of being able to use the family accredited specialist logo and branding on their marketing material to promote their high standing in the area.

The next accreditation assessment programme will commence in March 2017.

The Law Society has currently 42 accredited family law specialists in Western Australia.

List of current Accredited Family Law Specialists

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

2015/16 Annual Report

The Administrative, Constitutional and Migration Law Committee during 2015/16 met jointly with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Committee, and contributed to the development of the Law Society’s policy papers with a mix of human rights and administrative law elements, including a proposal to establish a National Integrity Commission.

The Committee contributed to a Law Society submission to the Legislative Council supporting the demise of the Crown Statute.

The Committee maintained a liaison with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, through membership of its Users’ Group, and with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (which became the Department of Immigration and Border Protection), through membership of its Reference Group.

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

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

Committee Members

Greg McIntyre SC
Convenor

Elmi Carlean

Kendra Hagan

Peter Lochore

Janette McCahon

Peter Neil

Janet Woollard

Crawford Yorke

Alternative Dispute Resolution
Laurie James AM

2015/16 Annual Report

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

A number of applications for accreditation were made during the year. For that purpose, the Committee reviewed and approved the checklist of items for the committee members to consider when receiving applications for accreditation or reaccreditation under the NMAS. Many thanks to Mark Blundell for his sterling efforts in preparing the checklist.

In addition, the Law Society maintains a panel of accredited arbitrators and mediators. It was recommended by the Committee and approved by the Council that the panel should be separated into two lists, one of mediators and the other of arbitrators, should include areas of expertise for each mediator or arbitrator and be subject to a disclaimer.

During the year, the Law Council of Australia considered a paper prepared by Dr Gordon Hughes setting out a proposed Law Council policy position on the Investor State Dispute Settlements clause in Free Trade Agreements and International Investment Treaties. On the basis of a recommendation made by the Convenor, the Law Society’s Council resolved to support the adoption by the Law Council of Australia of a policy position as set out in the paper from Dr Gordon Hughes.

The review of the Construction Contracts Act 2004 was underway during the present year, the Committee was informed by the Convenor that the report had been provided by the Building Commissioner, Mr Peter Gow, to the Minister for consideration, but at present, unfortunately the report is not considered a priority by the State Government. Amongst the matters considered by the report was an amendment to the Act changing “calendar days” to “business days”.

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre approached the Law Society with the proposal to hold a seminar on its organisation to Law Society members. That was approved and was presented by Mr Kevin Nash, the Deputy Registrar, to approximately 30 attendees. The Committee also noted the National Mediation Conference 2016 will take place on 11-15 September 2016 at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast with a theme of Thought, Innovation, Creativity and the Next Decade.

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

Committee Members

Laurie James AM
Convenor

David Ellis
Deputy Convenor

Mark Blundell

Ashley Castledine

Maha Chaar

Nicoletta Ciffolilli

Stanley Kawalsky

Richard Lilly

Marcus Pullen

His Honour Judge Stevenson

Evan Sylwestrzak

Graeme Windsor

Brief Editorial
Jason McLaurin

2015/16 Annual Report

Brief is the official journal of the Law Society and, as such, has to perform several different functions.

While the common thread to those functions is providing important information (of all types) to the legal profession, as the profession is a diverse one, Brief strives to ensure that its content for each monthly edition is not only of the highest quality, but also of interest to the profession at large.

The much-appreciated work by, and the diverse constitution of, the Brief Editorial Committee greatly assists in the achievement of these objectives.

The Committee meets monthly to discuss and make decisions upon the content of Brief new ideas for future editions, the sourcing of material, and attending to editing and other measures that seek to maintain the quality of the publication.

Outside of the monthly meetings, committee members devote significant time and effort to these tasks.

Happily, the Committee is a diverse one, in that it reflects a broad range of areas of practice, experience, age, interests, and positions on matters of grammar and style (style in this regard not being confined to written expression).

11 monthly editions of Brief were published in the past financial year, and contained articles and cover-themes covering a wide range of topics. While there were on occasion editions focusing on a particular area of the law, such as the family law and commercial arbitration editions, these editions still contained articles and items of broader interest.

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 material from other places, it primarily depends upon material from local members of the profession.

The Committee also thanks members, or former members, of the judiciary who have contributed material or whose speeches have been the basis for items in Brief.

Thanks are also extended to those who make regular monthly contributions to Brief such as by way of case notes, and also to Dean Alston for his regular Pam Sawyer Top Lawyer item.

It is important to note that the Committee’s functions are just one part of a much broader effort in producing Brief and that the more considerable work in collating and sourcing material, obtaining photographs, putting the journal together generally and attending to the visual content, layout and presentation are performed by staff at the Law Society.

In that regard the Committee thanks all the staff at the Law Society involved in the production of Brief whose organisation and support is invaluable. The Committee also thanks our proof-readers Sonia Chee, David Garnsworthy and Ann Kay, who generously donate their time, as well as former proof-reader Michael Hardy, who provided many years of service to Brief.

The Committee would like to record again their appreciation for the outstanding work of the previous Convenor/Editor Julian Sher and for long-standing Brief Editorial Committee stalwarts (and previous Editors) Ronald Bower and Rebecca Lee, and also former Committee members Dr Eric Heenan and Lorilee Yu, who have departed those positions in the past financial year.

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

Committee Members

Jason MacLaurin
Editor/Convenor

Andrew Cameron
Deputy Editor

Moira Taylor
Deputy Editor

Gregory Boyle

Thomas Camp

Dr Rebecca Collins

Robert French

Melissa Koo

John McKechnie

Alain Musikanth

Fiona Poh

Dr Pat Saraceni

Robert Sceales

Verginia Serdev-Patterson

Eu-Min Teng

Commercial Law

2015/16 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 a number of liaison groups:

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

In 2015/16, 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 the Productivity Commissions Draft Report on Business Set-Up, Transfer and Closure, Harper Review – Final Report of the Competition Policy Review, Capability Review of ASIC – recovery of investigation expenses and costs, Directors’ Liability Reform Bill 2015, Limited Partnerships Act 1909 (Rob Mckenzie a member of the Committee and also in the Law Council’s Limited Partnerships Working Group), the Bell Group of Companies (Finalisation of Matters and Distribution of Proceeds) Bill 2015, Personal Properties Securities Reform, the emergence of digital currency (bitcoin) and the interaction of business and human rights.

The Committee contributed to submissions or responses from the Law Society in relation to the following:

  • 2016 Corporations Agreement Working Group;
  • proposals to modernise processes for publishing WA legislation;
  • Australian Consumer Law Review; and
  • Limited Partnerships Act 1909

Members of the Committee attended meetings in order to obtain information and to provide feedback on behalf of the Law Society on various topics including State revenue and ASIC Regional Liaison Group Meetings.

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

David Davidson

Paul Evans

Robert French

John Lightowlers

Robert McKenzie

Fiona Ng

Adam Santa Maria

Tamra Seaton

Antionette Smit

Shane Stewart

Rachel Webber

Linda Widdup

Construction and Infrastructure

2015/16 Annual Report

The Law Society’s Council approved the establishment of the Construction and Infrastructure Committee in August 2015. The Council also approved the Committee’s meetings being 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 rationale for the establishment of the committee was to ensure the Law Society had the benefit of receiving the views of a specialist group of practitioners on matters of local relevance. There was ample precedent for holding Law Society committee meetings with meetings of the Law Council counterpart committees and groups. Almost invariably topics for discussion by the Law Council’s WA Group have related to local jurisdictional issues. The deliberations of the Group may now be shared more directly with the Law Society through this Committee.

As Chair of the Law Council of Australia’s Construction and Infrastructure Committee and its WA Group, I was appointed the Committee’s inaugural Convenor.

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

The Committee meets quarterly. The Committee’s requirements for secretarial support has been minimal.

The Committee’s activities for 2015/16 included the following:

  • monitoring the review of the Construction Contracts Act 2004 by Professor P Evans and discussion on the benefits of national harmonisation of the security of payment legislation throughout the States and Territories;
  • monitoring the preparation by Standards Australia of a replacement standard general conditions of contract for standards AS2124 and AS4000, to be known as AS11000;
  • 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 Resolutions Institute (formerly The Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia), the Society of Construction Law Australia and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators on 26 November 2015 with function host Jackson McDonald.

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

Committee Members

Gregory Steinepreis
Convenor

Melanie Cave

Elizabeth Cubitt

Elisabeth Edwards

David Ellis

Basil Georgiou

James Healy

Laurie James AM

Michael Hollingdale

Nathan Landis

Katja Levy

Richard Lilly

Chris Ryder

Robert Shaw

Costs
Stewart Forbes and Fraser Robertson

2015/16 Annual Report

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

In 2015/16, the Law Society made detailed submissions in relation to reviews of the scales of costs for litigious matters.

The Law Society also made a submission on the proposal by the LCC to introduce an additional level category of practitioner other than ‘junior practitioner’ and ‘senior practitioner’. Despite the Law Society opposing the change, on 1 July 2016 the LCC introduced a ‘restricted practitioner’ category into the scales.

Other matters considered by the Committee in 2015/2016 included:

  • contacting the Attorney General in relation to reform of the Suitors’ Fund;
  • costs law reform, and particularly alternatives to time billing and investigating costs budgeting;
  • the costs charged for bailiff services in the Magistrates Court by Baycorp and associated levels of service;
  • the Productivity Commission Report on Access to Justice and the proposal for contingency fees;
  • ongoing revisions to the Law Society’s standard costs agreement and explanatory notes in the light of court decisions;
  • the date from which interest runs on taxed costs;
  • amendments to the Supreme Court fee regulations and standard costs orders for interlocutory matters; and
  • billing issues identified by Ms P Rezos who kindly attends our meetings on behalf of the Legal Practice Complaints Committee and educating members in this regard, including but not limited to credit card surcharges and travelling costs.

The Committee has been strengthened by the addition of new members this year, Richard Graham and Amy Pascoe.

The Committee could not function properly without the considerable efforts of all of its members and secretary.

The Committee thanks the Law Society staff and all members of the Committee for their efforts over the past year.

In particularly thank you to the outgoing Convenor, Stewart Forbes. Stewart has been the Convenor since 2005 and has decided to step down from that role – however will remain a valuable member of the Committee. Stewart has been responsible for much the success of the Committee during his tenure as Convenor.

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

David Davidson

Justin Edwards

Stewart Forbes

David Garnsworthy

Richard Graham

Stanley Kawalsky

Allan Newton

Lachlan Palmos

Amy Pascoe

Philippa Rezos

Milos Supljeglav

Country Practitioners
Brooke Sojan

2015/16 Annual Report

The Country Practitioners Committee is representative of practitioners working in regional and remote Western Australia. Last year the Committee drafted and ratified Terms of Reference and set goals for 2016/17.

The current focus of the Committee is in strategic planning and the best way to practically implement the goals set by the Committee. The Committee is focused on ensuring they are representing, engaging, connecting, supporting and advocating for all members of the profession in regional areas.

The Committee has looked at new ways to engage and communicate with country practitioners and how best to ensure there is representation in all of the regional hubs. In particular compiling a list of practitioners in each regional area so that a more targeted engagement can be considered.

The Committee has also examined avenues for the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme to be delivered to regional areas and ensuring that mental health and wellbeing seminars are available to all country practitioners. The Committee looked to existing providers such as Law Mutual (WA) and what regions are currently being offered face-to-face CPD seminars and provided feedback to the Law Society on this issue.

The Committee discussed ongoing issues facing regional areas such as recruitment and retention of lawyers, the use of technology, networking and mental health initiatives. The Committee has representation at the Rural Regional and Remote working group of the Law Council of Australia, to engage in a national discussion on issues facing country practitioners.

Georgia Pickering resigned as Convenor of the Committee in December 2015 and the Committee would like to thank her for her contribution.

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

Committee Members

Brooke Sojan
Convenor

Ryan Arndt

Julia Barber

Peter Brindal

Amelia Browne

Kylie Kerin

Sarah O'Brien-Smith

Alexander Payne

Courts
Clinton Russell

2015/16 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. One of the keys to the open dialogue that the Committee enjoys with these Courts and the State Administrative Tribunal is the generous contribution made by District Registrar Martin Jan, Principal Registrar Michael Gething (as he then was), Acting Principal Registrar Simon Dixon, Registrar Danielle Davies, The Hon Justice Simon Moncrieff, Deputy Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Woods, Registrar George Kingsley and Tim Carey of the State Administrative Tribunal. The Committee and the Law Society is very grateful for the engagement of these representatives and the investment that they make in the work of the Committee.

The Committee is also fortunate to have a diversity of practitioners as members which ensures that issues are considered from the perspective of all stakeholders. The Committee also enjoys support from other members of the profession when their special expertise or experience in an area is required and the Committee is grateful to those practitioners for their contributions.

In 2015/16, the Committee has commented upon various reforms and Rule changes needed or proposed by the Federal Court, Supreme Court, District Court, Magistrates Court, State Administrative Tribunal, Law Council of Australia, the Legal Costs Committee and the State Government including:

• advance copies of reasons for decision;
• mortgagee repossession actions;
• legal costs (2016 scale);
• enforcement of judgments;
• security screening of practitioners by the courts;
• percentage contingency fees;
• Magistrate Court procedural reforms;
• Suitors’ Fund Act reform;
• Model Litigant Guidelines for government bodies; and
• fine default imprisonment.

Finally, grateful thanks and recognition must be given to John Fiocco Convenor of the Courts Committee from 2013 to 2015. The Committee is indebted to him for his excellent stewardship.

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

David Davidson

Karen Farley

Stewart Forbes

Richard Graham

Edward Greaves

Jennifer Hill

District Registrar Martin Jan

Ashley Macknay

Aaron McDonald

Marshall McKenna

Hon Justice Simon Moncrieff

Dr Pat Saraceni

Peter van der Zanden

Fiona Vernon

Criminal Law
David Davidson

2015/16 Annual Report

The 2015/16 financial year was once again a very busy year for the members of the Criminal Law Committee.

The Committee has a balanced representation of prosecutors, defence, WA Bar and sole practitioners with a commitment to seek representation from the Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) in the next 12 months.

The primary achievement of the Committee for this reporting period includes the monitoring the mandatory provisions under the recently amended burglary offences of the Criminal Code and mandatory sentencing for reckless driving under the Road Traffic Act to ensure that any unjust sentences for offenders are identified. This is being undertaken in the context of the Law Society’s continued opposition to mandatory sentencing.

The Committee has been in regular contact with the Commissioner, Department of Custodial Services during the year highlighting a number of issues within the prison environment that create a difficulties for lawyers dealing with clients who are incarcerated. This included confirming the electronic devices that lawyers can take into prisons when meeting with clients and that this be consistent across all prisons, safeguards for ensuring confidential communication between clients and lawyers and the availability of video conferencing facilities and the compatibility of such technology across corrective services.

The Committee has made a number of submissions on draft Bills and reviews of procedural matters in the last 12 months including:

• prohibition on synthetic cannabis (Misuse of Drugs Amendment (Psychoactive Substances) Bill 2015)
Criminal Code Amendment (Infringement Notices) Act 2011 On The Spot Fines
amendments to the Sentencing Act and Sentencing Administration Act 2003 Persons sentenced to life imprisonment prior to 1996; and
• Magistrates Court Report June 2016.

The Committee is also represented on other Law Society working groups or committees including:

 • the Women Lawyers of WA 20th Anniversary Review of the 1994 Report of the Chief Justice’s Taskforce on Gender Bias;
• the Aboriginal Incarceration and Justice Reinvestment Working Party;
• the review of the Magistrates’ Court;
• the Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court Committee; and
• the Supreme Court Chief Justice Committee, Disclosure Subcommittee.

Finally thank you to all Committee members for their commitment and support during the year and particularly acknowledge the contribution of the former Principal Registrar of the Supreme Court of WA Michael Gething who resigned from the Committee following his appointment to the District Court of Western Australia and welcome Registrar Jan Whitbread from the Supreme Court of Western Australia. The continuity of these appointments to the Committee is of significant value to the Committee’s deliberations.

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

Ryan Arndt

Mara Barone

Avril Bartlett

Stephen Butcher

Katherine Gregory

Lana Paxman

Alexander Payne

Carly Price

Kirsten Scott

Nicholas Snare

Antoinette Smit

Education
Elizabeth Needham

2015/16 Annual Report

The Education Committee plays a vital role in establishing the Law Society’s Contuning Professional Development (CPD) programme with a diverse offering in content, speakers and learning formats to appeal to the whole profession.

The CPD programme is the result of close engagement between the Law Society and the profession: it has been designed by practitioners for practitioners following extensive consultation. It delivers content that is relevant and responsive to developments in the law and practice in Western Australia.

Responsibility for the CPD programme rests with the Law Society’s Programmes team which collaborates with all of the committees of the Law Society on behalf of the Education Committee.

Highlights for the year include:

• Law Summer School 2016
• Ethics on Friday: Rake – Lawyers behaving badly
• Country Roadshow (Albany & Geraldton)
• Costs including alternative models and best practice
• Criminal practice in rush hour: advocacy in the Magistrates Court
• The use of trusts in effective estate planning

The Law Society has sought to demonstrate the relevance of law across other professions. An example was our seminar topic ‘An exploration of current issues in the medico-legal world’, which had Dr Michael Gannon, President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), presenting together with senior members of the legal profession in a well-received hypothetical panel discussion. This seminar was also attended by a number of medical practitioners which provided for great cross-industry networking.

During 2015/16 the Law Society increased and broadened the seminar delivery via the eLearning platform by 40%, which provides greater access to CPD for members including regional, national and international practitioners.

The Law Society acknowledges and is grateful for the support provided by the judiciary, academia and members of the profession who chair and speak at our seminars. Such high level support helps to ensure the programme offers content that is of the highest quality.

The Law Society also thanks committee members for their commitment, hard work and enthusiasm for always striving for best practice in education and learning.

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

2015/16 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 Committee has made submissions to the Supreme Court Probate Committee in relation to the following:

  • delays being experienced with regard to the Probate Registry of the Supreme Court of Western Australia issuing Grants of Probate. As a consequence Justice Chaney has reinstituted the procedure under which a firm may on filing applications request email confirmation of a grant being made and then collect the grant in person;
  • difficulties regarding scanning and emailing certified copies of grants produced by the Court required for overseas financial transactions as the embossed seal was not apparent, resulting in queries from recipients. The Supreme Court Probate Committee resolved that the standard black Court stamp would be applied to the certified copy instead of the embossed seal; and
  • the request for clarification regarding applications for probate where the date of death on the death certificate is given as ‘found on’ in relation to the details required for requisitions. The Supreme Court Probate Committee provided guidance on death certificates providing ‘found on’ and ‘on or about’ dates.

The profession was advised of these developments via Friday Facts.

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; and
  • a review to extend Statutory Wills to minors.

The Committee’s contribution to the Law Society’s CPD programme included:

  • ‘Family Provision Act and wills disputes’ which incorporated discussion of the Mead v Lemon decision and how the risk of family provision might be minimised through careful estate planning; and
  • ‘Nature of evidence and presumptions in probate actions’ which examined presumptions or doctrines encountered in contentious and non-contentious succession cases.

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

Tara Connelly

Rob Durey

Susan Fielding

Dr John Hockley

Patrick Hughes

Craig James

Janette McCahon

Allan Newton

Nova Oldfield

Michaela Speering

Matthew Wallis

Michelle Wilkes

Daniel Yazdani

Employee Relations
Daniel White

2015/16 Annual Report

The Employment Relations Committee is a strong and vibrant group of lawyers in Western Australia who practice in the fields of employment, industrial relations and diversity (including discrimination and harassment).

The Committee is a bi-partisan committee which draws together lawyers from a range of different backgrounds including both employer and union as well as government, employee and in-house counsel. The Committee is representative of large, small and regional law firms along with those sole practitioners and currently at the Bar.

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 bipartisan cause and largely refrains from making submissions on proposed legislative changes in order to maintain its neutrality.

On 13 January 2016 the Committee received a resignation from long-standing committee member and Deputy Convenor Melanie Binet who informed us that she had been appointed a Deputy President of the Fair Work Commission in Perth. The Committee were elated to hear of Ms Binet’s appointment and wish her all the very best in her new role.

The Committee has arranged for a number of speaker events to occur in September 2016 as well as an employment feature for Brief. The Committee also look to host a joint event with the Australian Labour Lawyers Association in Perth later this year. A major focus of discussion in 2015/16 has been investigating the possibility of an employment law specialist accreditation system. Further discussion around the utility of this accreditation system will continue into 2017.

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

Committee Members

Daniel White
Convenor

Philip Brunner
Deputy Convenor

Joseph Burke

Stephen Butcher

Mark Cox

Anna Creegan

Robert French

Kendra Hagan

Renae Harding

Dominique Hartfield

Michael Jensen

Stephen Kemp

Layla Langridge

Joanna Vincent

Ben Watson

Environment, Town Planning and Local Government
Denis McLeod

2015/16 Annual Report

The Environment, Town Planning and Local Government Committee increased its membership to 14 members during 2015/16, the majority of whom participated to a greater or less extent in the six meetings which the Committee held during the year.

The Committee continued its ongoing interest in the regularisation of environmental appeals, involving contact through the Executive when possible with Government and opposition representatives. There appears no present appetite at a political level for the transfer of any environmental appeals to the State Administrative Tribunal, but the matter is considered significantly important to justify review at each meeting.

The Committee contributed to the Education Committee for Law Summer School and the CPD programme. The Committee examined possible ways to improve liaison with the Education Committee and the formulation of appropriate seminar topics within the Committee’s areas of special interest, and in the selection of seminar participants.

The Committee continued its 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 conservation areas. This was the subject of a meeting with Department of Planning (DoP) representatives and the establishment of a continuing dialogue with DoP on Policy 2.8 and related matters;
• the possibility of Third Party planning appeals; and
• the review of the Planning and Development Act 2005 (WA)

Following on from the submission the Committee prepared on behalf of the Law Society in 2014 on the then proposed new Planning Regulations, the Committee examined the Planning and Development (Local planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 (WA), which came into operation on 19 October 2015. The Committee provided a speaker and chairperson for a seminar on the Regulations in March 2016.

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

The Committee has considered aspects of the law relating to land acquisition and compensation.

Finally, the Committee again gratefully recognises the contribution of Law Society staff for their assistance in the running of the Committee’s business.

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

Committee Members

Denis McLeod
Convenor

Andrew Carr

Ashley Castledine

Martin Flint

Clare Gleeson

Peter Lochore

Eve Lynch

Alexander McGlue

Glen McLeod

Belinda Moharich

Linda Rowley

Julius Skinner

Craig Slarke

Elisabeth Stevenson

Dr Stephen Willey

Ethics
Julian Sher

2015/16 Annual Report

It has once again been a privilege to serve as Convenor of the Ethics Committee for the past year. The task has been made immeasurably easier by the support received from the Law Society staff. Without their professionalism and dedication, the task would have been virtually insuperable. Equally, I am grateful for the enthusiasm and support of all committee members, especially Deputy Convenor, Fiona Vernon, who has occasionally stood in for me.

The Committee has had an active year, with subcommittees reporting on a range of issues including information barriers, unbundling of legal services, privacy, solicitors professional conduct rules, client capacity and dealing with self-represented litigants, percentage based contingency fees, social media (cloud computing) and consideration of the Productivity Commission Report “Inquiry into Access to Justices Arrangements”.

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.

Despite members’ busy professional engagements, they have always found the time to make a valuable contribution to the activities of the Committee.

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

Committee Members

Julian Sher
Convenor

David Cox

Cinzia Donald

Justin Edwards

Paul Evans

Angelina Gomez

Dorothy Guerini

James Healy

Ashley Macknay

Alain Musikanth

Alison O’Dwyer

Nova Oldfield

Craig Slater

Fiona Stanton

Fiona Vernon

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

2015/16 Annual Report

The Committee has continued to oversee the activities of the Francis Burt Law Education Programme and the Old Court House Law Museum. The Committee is pleased to report that significant increases in participation in both programmes were recorded during the year under report.

During the year under review, more than 8,000 participants received the benefit of programmes and services provided by the Education Programme, including very significant increases in lawyers’ visits to schools, and in the utilisation of the remote and regional Loan Box Programme. The year also saw the commencement of the newly named Cluedunnit Kids competition in Western Australia with the invaluable assistance of Ms Claire Rossi, Legal Aid WA and Sergeant Garry Corker, WA Police. The winning team was Wanneroo Primary School.

119 students and teachers took part in this year’s hypothetical event and more than 100 people attended the 2015 Sir Ronald Wilson lecture presented by Winthrop Professor Stephen Smith.

The Committee is particularly pleased to report that significant progress has been made in the development of a two-way learning resource for Aboriginal youth through extensive consultation with key stakeholders and significant numbers of Aboriginal young people. The Committee continues to explore funding options to further develop this important project.

The Mock Trial Competition continues to grow, and record numbers of participants (over 1,200 students from 55 schools in 130 teams) were again recorded. The competition manual was revised and reformatted, a new rubric for judges created, and a panel of volunteers has been formed to review and to write new case material.

The number of visitors to the Old Court House Law Museum also increased significantly over the previous financial year, in part attributable to the visitors to the Museum on Perth Heritage Day, and by the significant increase in the museum’s opening hours (by 78%). The Museum was successful in its application to Lotterywest for a grant of almost $70,000 to enable it to install the last stage of the redesign of the exhibitions on display. Temporary exhibitions marking the centenary of significant events during the first world war also attracted significant interest – Brothers at War: the Parker men and A Voice from the front..

The Old Court House also hosted interactive theatre performances over five nights during May.

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

Committee Members

The Hon Chief Justice Wayne Martin AC
Convenor

The Hon Robert Nicholson AO KCSJ FAAL
Deputy Convenor

Pauline Bagdonavicius

Rob Christie

Professor Ford

Dr Peter Handford

Frank Italiano

Rupert Johnson

The Hon David Malcolm AC QC KCSJ

Marshall McKenna

Stephen Powell

Associate Professor J M Power

David Price

Associate Professor Natalie Skead

General Conditions for the Sale of Land
Frank Poeta

2015/16 Annual Report

The General Conditions for the Sale of Land Committee reviewed the most recent revision of the General Conditions that was in 2011.

Key actions for 2015/16 have been:

• foreign resident withholding tax – with the introduction of the foreign resident withholding tax regime, the Committee, following consultation with the Australian Taxation Office, developed an Addendum to the General Conditions. This Addendum was approved by the Law Society and the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia in April 2015;
• econveyancing – in the lead up to econveyancing, the Committee established an Addendum to the General Conditions in April 2015. This Addendum was a broad based approach to econveyancing in that it provided the mechanics for the parties to agree to settle transactions electronically using the PEXA platform. It was prepared on the basis of a ‘wait and see’ approach as to how electronic conveyancing would operate in Western Australia. Since then, and with the benefit of econveyancing now being used in Western Australia, the Committee has developed an updated version of the Addendum which will be implemented in the later part of 2016; and
• updated revision of the General Conditions – the Committee has commenced a full review of the General Conditions with the aim to produce a fully updated 2017 revision of the General Conditions. This will be the focus of the Committee in the coming year.

The Committee acknowledges the resignation of John Syminton from the Committee in March 2016. He has been a long standing committee member and the Committee thanks him for the significant contribution he made in the drafting of the General Conditions (and the various versions of these terms and conditions) during his tenure.

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

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity
Greg McIntyre SC

2015/16 Annual Report

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Committee monitored the work of the Law Council of Australia in developing policy positions on National Redress Principles for Survivors of Sexual Abuse, the Extradition Treaty between Australia and China, establishment of a National Integrity Commission.

The Committee supported the Fair Work Amendment (Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2016 and noted the Fair Work (Protecting Australian Workers) Bill 2016. 

The Convenor and Emma Cavanagh represent the Law Society on the Law Councils’s National Human Rights Committee. The Committee, through the Convenor and Emma Cavanagh, contributed to the Law Council’s submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission Inquiry into Traditional Rights and Freedoms, the Law Council’s development of a Human Rights Policy and made a contribution to the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review of the performance of Australia, development of a seminar proposal on the abolition of the death penalty and positions of asylum seekers and counter terrorism.

The Committee considered proposed amendments to and supported at the Law Society’s Council a submission prepared by the Young Lawyers Committee Human Rights Working Group on Expunging Historical Homosexual Convictions.

The Convenor and Emma Cavanagh represented the Committee on the Aboriginal Incarceration and Justice Reinvestment Working Group which is developing 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 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.

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

• Convenor of the National Elder and Succession Committee;
• Member of the Equal Opportunity Committee; and
• Member of the 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

Rebecca Dennison

Alexander Griffiths

Kendra Hagan

Elizabeth Heenan

Joelle Hervic

Michael Jensen

Mathea McCubbing

Elizabeth Needham

Ilse Petersen

Rabia Siddique

Mari Takla

Dr Carolyn Tan

In-house/Government Lawyers
Pamela Hass

2015/16 Annual Report

The In-house/Government Lawyers Committee was established in 2012 to promote and support the specific needs of in-house and government lawyers.

The Committee is made up of members from Federal, State and Local Government, the private sector, Legal Aid, Director of Public Prosecutions, State Solicitor’s Office and not for-profits including universities.

Committee members have contributed articles on issues of specific concern to this sector of the profession for Brief journal e.g. Tips for Private Practitioners Engaging with In-house Counsel.

The Committee continues to contribute to the Law Society’s CPD programme with suggestions for seminars and participation in events which not only engage the in-house sector but also inform and educate the private profession on the particular challenges facing in-house practitioners.

A key focus this year has been building relationships with other organisations which represent particular sectors of the in-house profession.

The Committee continues its work of the last two years to improve the situation of restricted practitioners who are supervised by a nonprescribed agency under the Legal Profession Act 2008. The Committee continues to pursue solutions to the fact that such practitioners do not receive advance approval of proposed restricted practice arrangements in nonprescribed agencies.

The Convenor wishes to thank Mr Graeme Windsor for his support as Deputy Convenor from the Committees infancy until 2016 when he resigned as Deputy Convenor and welcome Elisabeth Edwards as the new Deputy Convenor.

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

Elisabeth Edwards

Paul Evans

Joelle Hervic

Lyn Magro

Lex Payne

Ilse Petersen

Joanne Quinn

Miriam Sauley

Adam Santa Maria

Rubini Ventouras

Zoran Vukojevic

Graeme Windsor

Indigenous Legal Issues
Krista McMeeken

2015/16 Annual Report

The Indigenous Legal Issues Committee is currently comprised of nine law graduates and one law student. This has better resourced the Committee in order to be able to actively address the wide range of significant legal issues impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Committee has also joined with representatives from the Law Society’s Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Committee, Access to Justice Committee and Criminal Law Committee to lead a strategic campaign in relation to justice reinvestment and incarceration rates within the Law Society which is progressing well with a number of policy papers sitting with Law Society’s Council for approval.

The Committee supported the implementation of a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for the Law Society and will continue to assist in the development of the next phase of the RAP.

The Law Society Mentoring Programme for Indigenous law students is currently in its sixth year since being resurrected. The Committee is working to develop its relationships with each of the universities in order to ensure the success of this valuable programme and we now have participants from a range of universities. The Mentoring Programme includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in any year of their law degree.

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 ‘Let’s Put Our Heads Together’ 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 programme is likely to involve the development of a series of culturally appropriate short films targeting Aboriginal youth contact with the Police as well as a social media campaign and two-way learning model between the target audience and WA Police. The programme is currently seeking funding to support its further development.

The Committee has also maintained its commitment to communicating on issues of importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and is currently working on developing 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 McMeeken
Convenor

Dr Michelle Evans

Tegan Harrington

Marree Hart

Micah Kickett

June Kenny

Marshall McKenna

Jenny McKenzie

Sara Pearson

Tammy Solonec

Mel Thomas

Insolvency and Reconstruction
Victoria Butler

2015/16 Annual Report

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

The Committee has 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 major piece of work in the last financial year was the Committee’s participation in, and response to, the Government’s proposal to reform insolvency and bankruptcy laws, as set out in The Treasury’s paper titled National Innovation and Science Agenda Improving Bankruptcy and Insolvency Laws.

In 2015/16, the Committee also:

  • responded to the working group of Judges and Court Registrars on the Harmonisation of Court Rules – Corporate and Personal Insolvency and Remuneration of Insolvency; and
  • contributed to the Law Council’s submission on the inquiry into Bell Group  of Companies (Finalisation of Matters and Distribution of Proceeds) Bill 2015 and appeared before the Standing Committee on Legislation.

In October 2015, Committee members attended the annual workshop with members of the Insolvency and Reconstruction Law Committees of the other States.

The Committee thanks Law Society staff for their excellent administration of the Committee. The Committee also appreciates the invaluable contributions made by Adrian Saggers of ASIC and Paul Devellerez of AFSA.

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

Committee Members

Victoria Butler
National Chair

Samuel Dundas

James Healy

David John

Richard Johnson

Robert McKenzie

Chris McLeod

Nino Odorisio

Gavin Rakoczy

John Vaughan SC

Intellectual Property Law
Nicholas Stamatiou

2015/16 Annual Report

The Intellectual Property Law 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. More specifically, the Committee liaised with the WA Committee of IPSANZ in late 2015 to coordinate an event at which the Honourable Justice Robert French AC presented on the topic The Unbearable Lightness of being an Intellectual Property Lawyer.

The Committee successfully expanded its Terms of Reference to focus more broadly on technology and intellectual property issues, and has contributed to a number of Law Society’s CPD seminars to address issues relevant to practitioners practising in these fields.

The Committee welcomes opportunities to inform the public on matters relating to Intellectual Property.

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

Committee Members

Nicholas Stamatiou
Convenor

Michael Patterson
Deputy Convenor

Dr David Cox

Professor Philip Evans

Associate Professor Jani McCutcheon

Michael Paterson

Richard Plummer

Madeleen Rousseau

Stephanie Rowland

David Stewart

Alexandra Turner

Joint Law Society/Women Lawyers of WA
Catherine Fletcher

2015/16 Annual Report

The Committee is a liaison group between Women Lawyers of Western Australia (Inc.) (WLWA) and the Law Society. Members include representatives from the Law Society’s Young Lawyers Committee, the Western Australian Bar Association and the Law Council of Australia’s Equal Opportunity Committee, all of whom report on local and national issues.

In April 2015, the Law Society established a working group to respond to the WLWA 2014 20th Anniversary Review of the 1994 Chief Justice’s Gender Bias Taskforce Report. This work continued between 2015/16 with the preparation of a report which identified the gaps between what the Law Society is currently doing and the recommendations in Chapter 2 (Career Paths for Women in the Legal Profession) and the practical proposals for the Law Society to address those recommendations. The preparation of this report has been the Committee’s priority and primary task. The report has recently been finalised and the Committee looks forward to the implementation of its recommendations in the next financial year.

The Committee hosted the International Women’s Day Keynote Address and Luncheon to celebrate International Women’s Day. A special thanks to the Honourable Chief Justice Wayne Martin AC and Dr Ros Worthington OAM as the speakers for this successful event.

In April 2015, Victorian Women Lawyer’s launched its new Flexibility Protocols. The Committee reviewed the new protocols and in September 2015 recommended that the Law Society adopt the protocols as a best practice guide for productive and engaged legal workplaces. The protocols are available on the Law Society’s website.

The Committee had the opportunity to review the Law Council of Australia’s National Model Briefing Policy. The Committee expressed its support for the policy, as it encouraged the briefing of female barristers and established reporting requirements to assist with monitoring gender equality at the Bar.

The Committee conducted the scheduled review of the Law Society’s ‘on leave’ membership. The review showed that the initiative was working well with a good uptake by members who need to take unpaid leave, for example, maternity/parental/carer’s/study leave, from their employment for a period between six and 12 months.

The Committee recognises the contribution of past Convenor, Elizabeth Needham and its members who resigned from the committee during the financial year.

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

Nicola Ashford

Nikita Barsby

Hayley Dodson

Susan Diamond

Cinzia Donald

Elizabeth Heenan

Jennifer Hill

Daniela Ion

Janette McCahon

Fiona Poh

Joanne Quinn

Jasmine Sims

Anne Wood

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

2015/16 Annual Report

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Committee has a diverse range of practitioners from the country, Government, large and small law firms, WA Bar, university, Legal Practice Board and the Legal Profession Complaints Committee. This enables a great collective of thoughts and ideas to try and improve the metal health and wellbeing in the profession.

In December 2015 the Committee completed its review of the 29 recommendations in the Report on the Psychological Distress and Depression in the Legal Profession and welcomed the release of the Review of the 2011 Report on the Psychological Distress and Depression in the Legal Profession (Review Report).

The Convenor and Libby Fulham from the Legal Practice Board WA and committee member, during Law Week in May 2016, presented a topic on a Review Report and the 13 recommendations that come from that report after a five year review. The Convenor went into some detail in this presentation on what the 13 recommendations mean and what people can expect from the implementations of these recommendations in the future. Ms Fulham provided practical advice to practitioners who are or know of lawyers who are struggling mentally or otherwise and how the Legal Profession Complaints Committee (LPCC) can assist with early intervention. Ms Fulham also provided a number of examples of what practitioners should not do and what early intervention could do resolve these matters. The focus on the presentation was to acknowledge that while working in the legal profession it is stressful they are techniques and avenues to assist practitioners to have a positive work life balance and to reduce mental stress to a minimum.

As part of Law Week 2016, committee members Philippa Rezos and Marshall McKenna joined members of the Intellectual Property and Technology Committee in presenting the Technology and its Effects in the Practice of Law.

The Convenor, Libby Fulham and Phillipa Rezos have jointly attended a number of the Small and Sole Practitioner’s Forums to support and promote the services that are available to this sector. This is not only for psychological assistance, but LPCC complaints, ethical issues and best practice. This is done in a positive way through brief presentations or liaising with attendees at the pre and post functions. These events have been held and attended by all three individuals not only in the City but also in Fremantle and Joondalup.

The Committee has also been monitoring the use of Law Society’s Employee Assistance Programme (counselling service), LawCare WA, for its members and promoting this service. The Committee has also been monitoring and promoting the use of the Locum Registry and outlining the benefits especially to small and sole practitioners of taking leave and allowing another practitioner to operate your business.

The Committee is progressing with the development and implementation of the 13 recommendations in the Review Report. This will be the focus for this Committee’s work for the next 12 months.

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

Committee Members

David Davidson
Convenor

Ryan Arndt

David Blades

Libby Fulham

Justine Howard

Sasha Johnson

Alyce Lynch

Alexandra Pieniazek

Philippa Rezos

Linda Richardson

Nicholas Snare

Matthew Wallis

Sam Witton

Personal Injuries and Workers’ Compensation
Gray Porter

2015/16 Annual Report

The Personal Injuries and Workers’ Compensation Committee members are a combination of plaintiff and insurer firms’ representatives. The Committee convenes on a monthly basis. In the past year the Committee was involved in a variety of matters which affect compensation and damages.

The Committee participated in a review of WorkCover WA’s evaluation of the Conciliation and Arbitration Services. The review was led Professor Tania Sourdin of the Australian Centre for Justice Innovation at Monash University. The Committee provided feedback to WorkCover on the new Standard Orders and Practice Directions and other practice related issues through its two representatives on WorkCover’s Conciliation and Arbitration Users’ Group. The Committee continues to exchange information on the WorkCover services and procedures.

The Committee was pleased to consider the Limitation Amendment (Child Sexual Abuse Actions) Bill 2015 which seeks to remove the limitation period for person injury claims by victims of child sexual abuse. The Committee had previously lobbied the Western Australian Government to amend the Limitation Act 2005 (WA) to follow our New South Wales and Victoria counterparts. Both States amended their legislation in late 2015 and early 2016 to abolish the limitation period for personal injury claims.

The Committee made a submission to the Minister for Health in relation to the procedures by which public hospitals seek to recover monies from compensable patients. The Committee will review the Health Services Act 2016 (WA) to determine whether the new legislation clarifies their concerns raised in its submissions.

Other activities include:

• submissions to the Law Reform Commission of WA in relation to the Provisional damages and damages for gratuitous services – Project 106 Discussion Paper;
• meeting with Commissioner for Victims of Crime, with a view to establishing a relationship between the legal profession and the Victims of Crime Reference Group;
• reviewing the Insurance Council of Australia’s ‘A Best Practice Workers Compensation Scheme’ Report;
• considering the proposal by the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office to modernise certain aspects of the processes for publishing WA legislation; and
• considering percentage based contingency fees proposal.

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

Geoffrey Bourhill

Mark Civitella

Dan Connor

Erica Dobson

Prue Griffin

Asanka Gunasekera

Karina Hafford

Michael Lourey

Vidal Pinckney-Hockless

Joel Trigg

Kerry Wood

Professional Indemnity Insurance Management

2015/16 Annual Report

The Professional Indemnity Insurance Committee has, as required by the Legal Profession Act, put in place the PI insurance arrangements for the 2016/17 financial year. The negotiations were similar to previous years, but more complicated with QBE being replaced as lead underwriter due to price considerations.

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

Ultimately, the annual contribution rate decreased by an average of more than 10%, primarily due to improved claims experience and prudent capital management. The Committee hope to be in a position to stabilise or further reduce rates in future years. However, this as always will depend on claims outcomes and underwriting market conditions. Claims numbers in the last two years have shown a slight decrease on the five year average.

The Committee 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. While the most visible sign of this was the successful 2015/16 risk management seminar programme. The Committee have continued to increase the risk management resources available to Law Mutual (WA). A comprehensive risk management programme strategy has been approved that includes:

• the appointment of a Manager, Risk;
• the development of risk advisory services; and
• a targeted risk management seminar programme.

Law Mutual (WA) has highly experienced insurance capabilities that enabled the Committee to fully analyse the professional indemnity insurance arrangements to ensure they are fair and equitable to practitioners and their clients while maintaining a very broad coverage at a reasonable cost.

The first results of this have already been seen in the lowering of rates for the 2016/17 insurance year. The analysis will be ongoing.

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

Finally thank you to all committee members, Law Mutual (WA) and Law Society 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
Convenor

Jocelyne Boujos

Hayley Cormann

Nathan Ebbs

Denis McLeod

Laurie Shervington

Ian Robert Williams

Professional Standards Scheme
Alain Musikanth

2015/16 Annual Report

The Law Society’s Limitation of Liability 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 Council regarding the administration of the Scheme; and
• review the Scheme from time to time.

Prior to the beginning of the 2015/16 year, the Committee had developed new member agreements for ordinary, associate and incorporate legal practice members setting out the obligations of Law Society members. During the year under review, the Committee considered a number of applications for higher discretionary caps and made recommendations to Council. Five applications for discretionary caps were approved by Council during the course of the year. In February 2016, Law Society staff involved in the administration of the Scheme also attended a workshop with representatives from the PSCs. In March 2016, Law Society representatives attended a daylong meeting at the Law Society of New South Wales with representatives of the Law Societies of New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland, and the Law Institute of Victoria. As had been the case with a similar meeting held in Perth the previous year, this meeting too afforded a valuable opportunity to the Law Society to explore a range of practical, operational and compliance issues relating to the administration of a professional standards scheme with its interstate counterparts.

The Committee also oversaw the development and adoption of a new Professional Standards Scheme Five Year Risk Management Plan, Integrated Risk and Compliance Framework and Risk and Compliance Policy. These were approved by Council in April 2016 along with the Law Society’s second annual compliance report to the PSCs.

The Committee is pleased to report that as at 30 June 2016 the Scheme had 1,112 participating members; nearly 300 more than the number of participating members a year earlier.

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

2015/16 Annual Report

Members of the Property Law Committee represent the Law Society on a number of Landgate committees, the Law Council of Australia Legal Practice Section Australian Property Law Group and the Law Council of Australia E-conveyancing Working Group.

During the reporting period the Committee considered a number of reforms including the Strata Titles Act Reform amendments, duty on conditional contracts of sale, the Sale of Land Act and the proposal to amend section 13(1), settled various submissions made by practitioners concerning the registration of leases, verification of identity processes and monitored a number of decisions of the State Administrative Tribunal including Arise Joondalup P/L [2015] WASAT 92.

The Committee in conjunction with the Joint Form of General Conditions for the Sale of Land Committee, assisted in the drafting of annexures to the General Conditions concerning:

• the foreign resident’s withholding tax regime; and
• e-conveyancing.

The Committee also made submissions to Government on the draft Licensed Valuers’ Code of Conduct 2015 and the Settlement Agents Code of Conduct 2016.

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

The Building and Construction subcommittee and the Probate and Guardianship subcommittee became stand-alone Committees of the Law Society at the end of 2015.

Thank you to all committee members for their valued contribution and participation in the Committee’s deliberations during the year.

The Committee would also like to thank the Law Society staff for their invaluable support of the committee’s activities.

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

Keith Bales

Peter Beekink

Christopher Booth

Marie Botsis

Susan Dukes

Craig James

Meagan Johnston

Jarred Johnstone

John Prevost

Doug Solomon

Susan Thick

Peta Whyte

Gabriel Wong

Joel Yeldon

Quality Practice Standard
Craig Slater

2015/16 Annual Report

The Quality Practice Standard Committee noted the cities where accredited firms operate expanded significantly from the established Perth, Albany and Geraldton to Sydney with the successful accreditation of Squire Patton Boggs (AU) for both its Perth and Sydney offices.

The Committee is extremely grateful for the work of the Auditor in providing articles for publication in the Law Society’s Brief journal on areas as diverse as client identity, Financial Transactions Act reporting and on internal audits.

The Committee contributed to the Law Society’s CPD programme and delivered seminars on the Quality Practice Standard Scheme.

The Committee observed the increasing number of firms with either 10-year accreditation or 15-year accreditation as a sign that participation in the Scheme is an component to longevity. The Scheme will soon claim 20-years of operations and the Committee looks forward to acknowledging firms as they pass this significant milestone.

To increase the support for new firms considering the Scheme the Committee was pleased to introduce a new consultant to the list of consultants who can provide assistance to firms setting up their practice systems. Consultants can provide useful practical experience to firms considering the Scheme and needing some external advice on systems that work for others.

The Committee held informal discussions with the Strata Community Australia (WA) section considering their own accreditation scheme with a view to assisting that Scheme.

The Committee worked with Law Mutual (WA) in a review of the operation of the Scheme and how it may integrate with Law Mutual (WA)’s goals of reducing risks for firms insured by Law Mutual (WA). The Committee provided members to the working group and looks forward to considering its recommendations.

The Committee will maintain its watch on developments with Anti Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Finance Act and regulations for obligations that may have an impact on the work of lawyers.

Finally, the Committee commenced planning a suitable commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Scheme. The Committee hopes to welcome firms to that event during the next year.

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

Committee Members

Craig Slater
Convenor

Kevin David Chalklin

Dorothy Guerini

Peter Liron

Andrew McGuiness

Julie Ots

Christine Slattery

Murray Thornhill

David Vilensky

Taxation
Dr John Hockley

2015/16 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 the Committee welcomed new members to the Committee. Their willingness to join the Committee and contribute at the meeting is commendable.

The prestigious Forsyth-Pose Prize is awarded annually by the Law Council of Australia. This year the winner was Joel Emery for a learned discourse on the possible tax treatment of Bitcoin. The Committee also welcomed Joel as a new member of the Committee.

In 2015/16 the 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 made submissions regarding changes to the Foreign Resident Capital Gains Witholding Tax. From 1 July 2016 Australian residents selling real estate with a market value of $2million or more need to apply for a clearance certificate from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to ensure that amounts are not withheld from the sale proceeds. If a valid Clearance Certificate is not provided by settlement, the purchaser is required to withhold 10% of the purchase price and pay this to the ATO.

In addition, a Law Society CPD seminar was organised on this topic that affects all sellers of properties of $2 million or more.

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.

The Committee has continued to be represented on the Tax Round Table, a practitioner’s forum to assist practitioners’ access to the ATO.

The Committee have also contributed to the Continuing Professional Development programme for the Law Society.

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 Humphrey Faas and Jonathon Ilbery for keeping the Committee informed of recent developments in taxation raised by the Taxation Committee of the Law Council of Australia. The Committee presents a monthly report at the meetings of the developments in taxation across Australia.

Thank you to all members of the Committee for their support during the year. In particular, thank you to the Deputy Convenor, Humphrey Faas and Grahame Young for their assistance and acting as Convenor when required.

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

Joel Emery

John Fickling

Walter Gianotti

Fiona Halsey

Elizabeth Heenan

Thomas Henn

Jonathon Leek

David Murphy

Sarah Ozanne

Sam Radici

Robert Sceales

Professor Sharkey

Matthew Sunits

Clare Thompson

Zoran Vukojevic

Grahame Young

Young Lawyers
Young Lawyers Committee

2015/16 Annual Report

The Young Lawyers Committee is representative of practitioners with less than five years’ post admission experience or less than 35 years of age, whichever is the later. This demographic encompasses a large proportion of the profession. The Committee includes practitioners from big, small and midsized firms, as well as government lawyers from offices in the CBD, suburban and regional locations.

The Committee hosts and assists the Law Society in coordinating a significant number of events and initiatives through each calendar year. A number of these are annual occurrences, including:

  • inter-firm sporting events (Volleyball and Netball);
  • the advocacy programme, which includes preparatory seminars as well as the practical weekend of coaching sessions;
  • awareness raising about social justice issues through public debates including Law Week panel discussion and fundraising for the Chief Justice’s Law Week Youth Appeal;
  • wellbeing initiatives including a Geoffrey Robertson QC – style mental health hypothetical;
  • small firm networking evenings; and
  • the Law Student Mentoring Programme.

In 2015/16, the Committee renewed its focus on giving young members of the legal profession the ability to develop longstanding networks among their peers and members of other peak industry bodies. This included a number of new initiatives such as

  • the introduction of the Inter Profession Networking seminars which combines young lawyers, accountants and other young professionals and gives them an opportunity to learn important soft skills, the series comprised of two seminars at EY and will be expanding in 2016/17;
  • the inaugural YLC Assembly, which was a forum held at the Law Society and open to all young lawyers with the intent on having an open discussion of issues facing young legal professionals; and
  • for the first time, the Committee also opened its doors to any Law Society members (who fall under the young lawyers definition) to attend its monthly meetings.

In addition to these new initiatives the Committee also:

  • completed submissions relating to the expunging of homosexual criminal convictions;
  • continued to arrange monthly case notes and provide various articles for Brief journal;
  • continued to considering the Australian Young Lawyers Report in to workplace standards; and
  • continued to connect with the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation, the five West Australian Law Student Faculty Societies and the Australian Young Lawyers Committee.

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 provides students with a contact in the legal profession prior to joining it themselves to bring some guidance to the transition from student to law graduate and then to lawyer. If you are interested in taking part as either a mentor or mentee, please complete one of the forms below and email to 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 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