Committees

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

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

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

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

Access to Justice

2018/19 Annual Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Committee Members

Gary Mack
Chair

Maryse Aranda

David Blades

Dianne Caruso

Mark Cox

Lara Gotti

Dominique Hansen
Observer

Jenny McKenzie

Gregory Mohen

Steven Penglis SC

Brooke Sojan

Nicholas Snare

Justin Stevenson
Observer

Heather Williams

Accreditation

2018/19 Annual Report

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

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

The Committee’s achievements in 2018/19 include:

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

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

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

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

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

Committee Members

Trevor O'Sullivan
Chair

Damien Bowen

Debbie Clinch

Samuel Fahey

Rodney Hooper SC

Elizabeth Hynes

Denby Kerr

Devin Sanghavi

Paula Wilkinson

Administrative and Migration Law Committee

2018/19 Annual Report

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

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

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

In November 2018 the Committee provided input for:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Committee Members

Peter Lochore
Chair

Anthony Coates

John Fickling

Kendra Hagan

Matthew Keating

Janette McCahon

Martin Udall

Janet Woollard

Crawford Yorke

Alternative Dispute Resolution

2018/19 Annual Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Committee Members

Scott Ellis
Chair

Michael Hollingdale
Deputy Chair

Mark Blundell

Graham Castledine

Nicoletta Ciffolilli

Maha Chaar

Ante Golem
Council ex officio

Nathan Landis

Richard Lilly

Marcus Pullen

His Hon Judge Chris Stevenson

Evan Sylwestrzak

Nicholas van Hattem

Brief Editorial

2018/19 Annual Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Committee Members

Jason MacLaurin
Editor/Chair

Gregory Boyle

Thomas Camp

Jack Carroll

Dr Rebecca Collins

The Hon John McKechnie QC

Dr Pat Saraceni

Robert Sceales

Eu-Min Teng

Commercial Law

2018/19 Annual Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Committee Members

Shane Stewart
Chair

Robert French
Deputy Chair

Bruno Camarri

Sonia Chee

Andrew Crean

Jenny Cutri

Paul Evans

Emma Garlett

Maggie McGuinn

Robert McKenzie

Bruce Meredith

Fiona Ng
Observer

Sarah O’Brien-Smith

Steven Standing

Andreas von Altenstadt

Rachel Webber

Construction and Infrastructure

2018/19 Annual Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

Committee Members

Gregory Steinepreis
Convenor

Toby Browne-Cooper

Elisabeth Edwards

Scott Ellis

Basil Georgiou

James Healy

Nathan Landis

Richard Lilly

Phil Loots

Stephen McComish

Adrienne Parker

Chris Ryder

Costs Committee

2018/19 Annual Report

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

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

The Committee also contributed to:

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

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

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

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

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

Committee Members

Fraser Robertson
Chair

Matthew Curwood
Deputy Chair

Brendan Ashdown

Maria-Luisa Coulson

Sandra Costopoulos

David Davidson

Stewart Forbes

David Garnsworthy

Richard Graham

Lachlan Palmos

Amy Pascoe

Milos Supljeglav

Daniel Yazdani

Country Practitioners

2018/19 Annual Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

Committee Members

Kerstin Stringer
Chair

Clare Brennan

Peter Brindal

Amelia Englert

Amanda Sommerville

Courts

2018/19 Annual Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

Committee Members

Clinton Russell
Chair

David Bruns
Deputy Chair

Geoffrey Bourhill

Tim Carey

Rick Cullen

Angelina Gomez

Richard Graham

Edward Greaves

Fiona Halsey

Registrar Russell Trott

Registrar George Kingsley

Nathan Landis

Aaron McDonald

Hon Justice Simon Moncrieff

Mark Pendlebury

Martyn Plummer

Dr Pat Saraceni

Principal Registrar Larissa Strk

Acting Principal Registrar Natalie Whitby

Deputy Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Woods

Magistrate Matthew Walton

Criminal Law

2018/19 Annual Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Committee Members

David Davidson
Chair

Karen Farley SC
Deputy Chair

Patricia Aloi

Ryan Arndt

Avril Bartlett

Clare Brennan

Stephen Butcher

Michael Cashman

Katherine Gregory

Jodie Moffat

Carly Price

Kirsten Scott

Nicholas Snare

Nicholas van Hattem

Registrar Whitbread

Education

2018/19 Annual Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Committee Members

Adam Levine
Chair

Rebecca Bunney

Shonelle Duthie

Angelina Gomez

Fiona Grgich

Tim Houweling

Fiona Low

Glen McLeod

Elizabeth Needham

Dr Pat Saraceni

Alexander Ward-Noonan

Elder Law and Succession

2018/19 Annual Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Committee is conducting the following reviews:

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

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

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

Committee Members

Elizabeth Heenan
Chair

Susan Fielding
Deputy Chair

Michael Bowyer

Sally Bruce

Nicoletta Ciffolilli

Tara Connolly

Natalie Connor

Rob Durey

Daniel Gill

Craig Gregson

Dr John Hockley

Amanda Liston

Peter Lochore

Fiona Low

Dr Peter MacMillan

Janette McCahon

Peter Nevin

Nova Oldfield

Michaela Speering

Demi Swain
Council ex officio

Matthew Wallis

Gabriel Wong

Daniel Yazdani

Employment Relations
Daniel White

2017/18 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 bipartisan cause and largely refrains from making submissions to the Law Society’s Council on proposed legislative changes in order to maintain its neutrality.

A significant focus of the Committee’s work in the last year has been on the Ministerial Review of the State Industrial Relations System. The Committee has provided two submissions to the Review and is awaiting the release of the final report. In particular, the submission expressed the Law Society’s concern that the Interim Report appears to suggest the possible abolition of the Full Bench of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC). Appeals direct to a Supreme Court judge from the WAIRC, as suggested by the Interim Report, may create significantly increased case load work for the Supreme Court.

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

2017/18 Annual Report

The Environment, Town Planning and Local Government Committee had a busy 2017/18 year with outcomes including:

  • continued advocacy on the transfer of environmental appeals to independent adjudication in the State Administrative 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;
  • a number of submissions to Government, including on the recent waste reform consultation; 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.

A major project of the Committee during the reporting period was to assist in dealing with the apparent depletion of the planning law specialist adjudicating membership at the State Administrative Tribunal, culminating in representations made by the Law Society to the Minister for Planning and the Attorney General. The Committee was pleased to note the appointment of his Honour Judge David Parry to the Tribunal in September 2017.

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

2017/18 Annual Report

The Ethics Committee had another active year, with sub-committees reporting on a range of issues, culminating in the publication of the Law Society’s new guidelines on Unbundling of Legal Services and the discussion paper People Unlawfully Engaging in Legal Work: Protecting the Community.

The Committee continues its work in advocating for the adoption of the Uniform Law in Western Australia, including providing a submission to the Law Council of Australia on its review of the Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules and participating in the Law Society’s new Legal Profession Uniform Law Working Group. The Committee has also contributed to the Law Society’s
discussion paper concerning the Future of the Legal Profession and will continue to contribute to the Law Society’s Futures Reference Group.

The Convenor has contributed to the Law Society’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism legislation and Future of the Legal Profession Working Groups. He is occasionally asked to provide ethical advice to members of the Law Society and speak at public events.

The Committee 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 has commenced its general review of the Society’s Ethical and Practice Guidelines to ensure they remain up to date. The Committee thanks Cinzia Donald for her continuing assistance with this task.

The Committee acknowledges the considerable contribution to the Committee’s activities of Fiona Vernon (now Her Honour Judge Fiona Vernon). The Committee congratulates her on her appointment to the bench and acknowledges her invaluable role as 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

2017/18 Annual Report

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

During the year under review, more than 10,000 participants received the benefit of programmes and services provided by the Programme. The Cluedunnit Kids competition continued its success in 2018 with joint winners from Peter Moyes Anglican Community and St Lawrence’s Primary School in Geraldton.

382 primary and secondary students and teachers benefitted from the Subsidised Schools Programme thanks to sponsorship from the WA university law faculties. Approximately 100 people attended the 2017 Sir Ronald Wilson Lecture presented by the Hon Robert French AC.

Progress has been made with the Lore Law Project; a long-term Aboriginal youth-led, skills for life approach that acknowledges Aboriginal youth often walk in two worlds. The project involves building and training a strong Aboriginal Youth Leadership Team to facilitate a Human Centred Design process with high risk communities; Stage 1: Five years, Stage 2: 10 years and Stage 3: 10+ years.

The winners of the 2017 Mock Trial Competition were from Chisholm Catholic College; the second year in a row that a team from this school won the Competition. In the 2018 Competition, over 1,300 students from 53 schools in 124 teams participated. 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 6,971, a 28% increase. Temporary exhibitions during the reporting period included John Burdett Wittenoom, The Anatomy of Crime – Cracking the World of Forensics, Kate George: The First Aboriginal Person to Study Law at UWA and The History of the Law Society of WA. Public programmes delivered included My Culture, My Story: Aboriginal Women Leaders in Law, a talk by historian Dr Pamela Statham-Drew on John Burdett Wittenoom and school holiday programmes. The Museum’s Oral Histories Project focused on digitising and standardising the collection in order to make it more accessible.

In December 2017 the Department of Education advised that it would cease its funding of the Francis Burt Law Education Programme and the Mock Trial Competition as at 1 July 2019. The Advisory Committee has commenced a project of strategic planning, in conjunction with other stakeholders, to investigate ways in which funding might be obtained to ensure the continuation of these valuable community services beyond July 2019.

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

Committee Members

The Hon Wayne Martin Martin AC
13th 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

2017/18 Annual Report

The main focus of the General Conditions for the Sale of Land Committee’s work in 2017/18 was the full review of the Joint Form of General Conditions for the Sale of Land (Joint Form) to produce an updated 2018 revision. The 2018 revision incorporated the Foreign Residents Withholding Annexure and the Electronic Conveyancing Annexure and included a number of amendments to update the form including:

  • provisions to address the changes to the Sale of Land Act 1970;
  • updates to the provisions dealing with encumbrances;
  • provisions dealing with the Personal Property Securities Act 2009;
  • provisions dealing with electronic conveyancing;
  • 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
  • provisions to allow service of notices by email.

The 2018 revision of the Joint Form was approved by the Law Society and the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia in October 2017 and released in February 2018.

In addition, the Committee produced an Annexure to deal with the Federal Government’s implementation of the new residential premises buyer GST withholding regime effective from 1 July 2018. This regime requires a buyer of new residential premises to withhold the GST otherwise payable by the seller to the ATO and pay that amount directly to the ATO, or for the buyer to provide the seller with a bank cheque for that amount payable to the ATO. The Annexure was approved by the Law Society and the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia in June 2018. It is proposed
that the provisions included in the Annexure will be included in the next revision of the Joint Form.

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

2017/18 Annual Report

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

  • In 2017/18, the Committee monitored the work of the Law Council of Australia in developing policy positions on:
  • the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory;
  • the Closing the Gap Refresh;
  • the Religious Freedom Review; and
  • the National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

The Convenor is the Law Society representative on the Law Council of Australia’s National Human Rights Committee. Committee member Jennifer Hill is the Law Society representative on the Law Council of Australia’s Equal Opportunity Committee.

The Committee is also represented on the Law Society’s Aboriginal Incarceration and Justice Reinvestment Working Group, which contributed to the Law Council of Australia’s submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Inquiry into the Incarceration Rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Members of the Committee have also assisted the Law Society to develop a briefing paper in relation to end of life choices in anticipation of the Joint Select Committee Inquiry Report into the need for laws in Western Australia to allow citizens to make informed decisions regarding their own end of life choices.

The Committee is preparing a position paper on the introduction of a Human Rights Act in Western Australia.

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

2017/18 Annual Report

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

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

The Committee is in the process of preparing to host a Law Society social function for members from other in-house organisations such as AMPLA, ACC and SOUL to socialise with members of the Law Society. This will be the second function of this nature, the first highly successful function being in the 2016/17 year.

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.

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

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

2017/18 Annual Report

This year, 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 prepare a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Inquiry into the Incarceration Rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

The Committee continues to support the implementation of a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for the Law Society, which entered into the ‘Innovate’ phase. The Innovate RAP establishes the Law Society’s approach for advancing reconciliation within the organisation and outlines its reconciliation strategies and initiatives.

The Law Society’s Mentoring Programme for Indigenous law students completed its eighth year. The Law Society will be looking to further develop its relationships with each of the universities to ensure the success of this valuable programme and that students are properly supported.

As part of the Committee’s activities the Law Society co-hosted with the Chief Justice of Western Australia, the Hon. Wayne Martin AC, a panel discussion that also provided a networking platform for Indigenous law students and members of the profession as well as profile 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 maintains its commitment to communicating on issues of importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recommended 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. The Protocols for Lawyers with Aboriginal or Torres Strait
Islander Clients in Western Australia are available on the Society’s website.

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

Committee Members

Hon Michael Barker
Convenor

Chloe D’Souza

Emma Garlett

Tegan Harrington

Marree Hart

Marshall McKenna

Jenny McKenzie

John Ralph

Tammy Solonec

Insolvency and Reconstruction

2017/18 Annual Report

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

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

The Committee also works with other members of the Law Council’s subcommittee in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney. At the end of 2017, the Committee’s state and national Chair, Victoria Butler, retired her position after many years of service.

The federal reform agenda in the insolvency profession has continued this year, requiring substantial work from the Committee, which made a number of submissions to government, including on:

  • Treasury’s paper on proposals to combat illegal phoenixing;
  • the Inquiry into the Treasury Laws Amendment (2017 Enterprise Incentives No 2) Bill 2017 (in conjunction with the Law Council’s Corporations Committee);
  • the Bankruptcy Amendment (Enterprises Incentives) Bill 2017; and
  • the ATO’s use of garnishee notices (in conjunction with the Law Council’s Taxation Committee).

In October 2017, Committee members attended the Law Council’s Insolvency and Reconstruction annual workshop in Sydney with members of the committees of the other states.

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

Committee Members

Chris Pearce
Convenor

Philip Blaxill

Victoria Butler

Paul Devellerez

Samuel Dundas

James Healy

Dr Eric Heenan

Richard Johnson

Robert McKenzie

Chris McLeod

Nino Odorisio

Claire Petersen

Adrian Saggers

Intellectual Property and Technology

2017/18 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 has 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  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

2017/18 Annual Report

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

During 2017/18, the Committee:

  • conducted a review of the Quality Practice Standards (QPS) to identify opportunities where the QPS can address diversity and inclusion issues;
  • updated the Law Society’s Equality of Opportunity Model Briefing Policy, which now encourages all briefing entities to adopt the Law Council of Australia’s National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy;
  • hosted a very successful High Tea with keynote speaker Fiona McLeod SC, who delivered a presentation on the topic ‘Mind the Gap: It’s the journey as well as the destination’;
  • assisted in developing a seminar on workplace diversity initiatives chaired by the Convenor and presented by Libby Lyons (Director, Workplace Gender Equality Agency), Margie Tannock (Squire Patton Boggs), Jake Howard (Norton Rose Fulbright), Elizabeth Macknay (Herbert Smith Freehills) and Leanne Nickels (DLA Piper); and
  • nominated candidates for the 2018 WA Women’s Hall of Fame and the WLWA Woman Lawyer of the Year Awards.

The Committee also assisted the Law Society’s Advancement of Women in the Legal Profession Working Group to implement the Law Society’s Final Directions Paper, a strategic plan for
addressing the recommendations in WLWA’s 20th Anniversary Review of the 1994 Chief Justice’s Gender Bias Taskforce Report. At the time of writing the Committee is developing an
exit survey to identify retention issues and trends in consultation with firms so that there is shared information about gender equity issues.

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

Mental Health and Wellbeing
David Davidson

2017/18 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 12, which involved assisting the Law Society to develop a seminar on fostering healthy relationships with the bench.

In conjunction with the Young Lawyers Committee, the Committee developed a survey for junior lawyers in order to learn more about the issues they face as a result of their working conditions and to provide some context for potential initiatives aimed at addressing these issues.

The Committee has encouraged strong advocacy about the use and access of the Law Society’s LawCare WA programme and has monitored the use of the Member Assistance Programme (counselling service) and the Employee Relations Advice Line. The Committee 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.

Committee members are proactive in promoting the mental health services that the Law Society provides at events and seminars.

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

2017/18 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 has recommended that the Law Society make submissions in relation to the Workers Compensation (Legal Practitioners & Registered Agents) Costs Determination, and a request has been made of the WorkCover WA Costs Committee that it convene and call for submissions.

The Committee continues to await draft regulations under the Health Services Act 2016 (Cth) regarding public hospitals’ claims for recovery of medical expenses from compensable patients post-settlement. The issue of access to hospital and medical practitioner files prelitigation was also an issue of consideration by the Committee.

Members of the Committee continue to participate in WorkCover WA’s Conciliation and Arbitration Service Users’ Group and Costs Committee. The Deputy Convenor continues to serve on the Law Council of Australia’s Personal Injuries and Compensation Committee which meets to discuss the compensation systems in the various states.

Other matters reviewed by the Committee this year included the Limitation Act amendment for child abuse and the Commonwealth redress scheme and amendments considered necessary to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act.

Legislative review of the Worker’s Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 1981 remains pending. The Law Reform Commission of Western Australia’s project on Claims for Non-Economic Loss for Wrongful Death under the Fatal Accidents Act 1959 is expected to occupy the Committee during 2018/19.

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

2017/18 Annual Report

The Professional Indemnity Insurance Committee (PIIMC) has, as required by the Legal Profession Act, put in place the PI insurance arrangements for the 2017/18 financial year. The negotiations were similar to previous years. The insurance placement includes consideration of the actuarial report prepared by our actuary, advice of our broker and our staff.

Ultimately, the annual contribution rate decreased by an average of approximately 10%, primarily due to prudent capital management enabling the subsidisation of the rate. We 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. I would mention also claims numbers in the last two years have shown an increase on the five year average.

PIIMC has continued its focus on risk management initiatives that will, over time, lower the incidence and cost of claims leading to more stable contributions subject of course to the underwriting market. The most visible sign of this is the ongoing successful risk management seminar programme. However, we have continued to increase risk management resources initiatives. Importantly, we have targeted higher risk firms for specific risk management reviews.

We are pleased that they have all accepted the recommendations that resulted and are working to improve their internal risk management.

The Law Mutual team has highly experienced insurance capabilities that enabled us to fully analyse the PI insurance arrangements to ensure they are fair and equitable to practitioners and their clients while maintaining a very broad coverage at a reasonable cost.

Financially, Law Mutual is in a very sound position and neither the annual audit nor actuarial reports for 2016/2017 were qualified.

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

In particular, I farewell Laurie Shervington and Ian Williams from the PIIMC, with my personal thanks for their guidance and help during their term on the Committee. I also welcome our two new members, Peter Forbes and Robert Evans, who commenced on 1 July 2018.

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

Committee Members

Dudley Stow
Chair

Peter Forbes

Robert Evans

Denis McLeod

Eric Heenan

Jocelyne Boujos

Paula Wilkinson

Professional Standards Scheme
Alain Musikanth

2017/18 Annual Report

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

The Professional Standards Scheme Committee was established to:

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

During the 2017/18 year, the Committee considered a number of applications for higher discretionary caps and made recommendations to Council. Four applications for discretionary caps were approved by Council during the course of the year. The Committee also oversaw the preparation and submission of the Law Society’s fourth annual compliance report to the PSCs and the second year of implementation of the Scheme’s risk management and compliance framework.

The Committee is pleased to report that as at 30 June 2018, the Scheme had 1,489 participating members; 204 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

2017/18 Annual Report

The focus of the Property Law Committee this year has been on the significant changes to the Strata Titles Act 1985, the new Community Titles Bill 2018, the implementation of electronic conveyancing and the consideration of the implications for the sale of the Western Australian land registry.

At the time of this report the Strata Titles Bill 2018 and the Community Titles Bill 2018 have been introduced and second read in the Legislative Assembly and it is the Government’s intention that both Bills be passed by the end of 2018. The Government has also announced that consistent with the Law Society’s Position Paper, Sale of the Western Australian Land Registry, it will not be
privatising the Western Australian land registry.

The Committee has worked closely with the Strata Titles Act Reform Team at Landgate to ensure that its comments on the Bills were considered by the Government in the drafting process.

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.

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 Focused 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

2017/18 Annual Report

The QPS committee is proud to report that of the 45 accredited firms, 10 firms can claim 20 years as an accredited firm and 18 more firms have more than 10 years such experience. The committee celebrates and congratulates those firms on these important milestones.

In the last year the QPS Committee welcomed two new firms to the QPS scheme.

The QPS Committee continued to provide CPD programmes and assisted with other CPD training.

The QPS Committee introduced a networking event for QPS firms to coincide with the QPS training and the Committee looks forward to increasing the number and usefulness of such events for QPS accredited firms.

The QPS Committee was pleased to note that the Council of the Law Society agreed with the conclusions of the QPS strategic review that the QPS scheme has the potential to be a high value education service that responds to the needs of members when: tendering for work; complying with client requirements; marketing; complying with the Professional Standards Scheme
(PSS); and, meeting Law Mutual (WA) insurance discount requirements. The Committee looks forward to working on the recommendations of the review including: increasing the positive marketing for the scheme; addressing the risk management requirements of PSS and Law Mutual (WA); and, the operational review of the scheme.

The Committee in the coming year will consider how the scheme will change to address integrating the QPS with changes that will arise from WA participation in the National Legal Profession Uniform Law scheme.

The QPS Committee considered and discussed with a representative of the Joint Law Society and Women Lawyers Committee, the 2014 Gender Bias Taskforce Review by Women Lawyers of WA. Consistent with the Council’s resolution to implement aspects of that report as suggested in the Law Society’s Final Directions paper, the QPS Committee resolved to take a leadership position
with this issue and will consider how the QPS scheme can expressly address some of the recommendations on flexible workplace practices.

At the end of the financial year the Council of the Law Society deferred the completion of the operational review of the QPS scheme. The QPS Committee looks forward to responding and completing that review by 30 June 2019.

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

2017/18 Annual Report

The Taxation Committee sits as a joint Committee of the Law Society of Western Australia and the Law Council of Australia. The Committee is an active one meeting monthly at the offices of the Law Society.

A new initiative in 2018 is that members of the Tax Committee have been working with the editor and committee of Brief, the Journal of the Law Society of Western Australia, to write regular columns on current taxation issues to further the education of readers and members of the Law Society.

In 2018 the Committee welcomed new members to the Tax Committee. Their willingness to join the Committee and contribute at the meeting is commendable. The Committee is actively seeking new members and will consider any applications to join.

In 2017-2018 the Tax Committee made submissions on various State and Commonwealth taxation issues. This work involved considerable effort by members resulting in an improvement in the taxation laws.

Further refining of the procedural requirements of the Foreign Resident Capital Gains Withholding Tax that came into force on 1 July 2016 occurred.

The Committee members have been involved in serving on various Committees of the Law Society, the Law Council of Australia and various advisory Taxation Committees involving
the Australian Taxation Office and other representative organisations.

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

Members of the Committee have been active presenting Continuing Legal Education Seminars for the Law Society.

Members of the Committee are engaged in providing seminars for providers such as Continuing Legal Education and various professional associations.

Members of the Taxation Committee published articles of interest to the legal profession in Brief and other journals.

Members of the Committee would like to thank Grahame Young for keeping the Committee updated on all State and Interstate Revenue Issues and developments at the State Revenue Office.

Members of the Committee would like to thank Humphrey Faas for keeping the Committee informed of recent developments in taxation raised by the Taxation Committee of the Law Council of Australia (LCA). Humphry presents a report at Committee meetings on the activities of the LCA in the development of taxation laws in Australia. Members of the Committee attended the LCA Taxation Committee’s Annual Workshop held on the Twin Waters Resort in Queensland. Many attendees find this Workshop very beneficial and attendance is encouraged.

I would like to thank all members of the Committee for their support during the year. 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

2017/18 Annual Report

The Law Society’s Young Lawyers Committee (YLC) is dedicated to providing key support to new members of the profession.

During the year the Law Society through the YLC provided a range of events focused on the young and emerging segment of membership including:

  • social events to promote collegiality, such as the Welcome to the Profession breakfast and inter-firm sporting events (volleyball and netball);
  • the Western Australian Golden Gavel Competition, which was held as an evening event instead of a breakfast event for the second time in 2017 and was a highlight of the social calendar;
  • the Practical Advocacy Weekend, including a preparatory seminar as well as a weekend of coaching sessions by judges and other senior members of the profession, which was held in the Children’s Court in Perth for the first time in 2017 instead of in Mandurah, in order to make the event more accessible for practitioners;
  • raising awareness about social justice issues through a panel discussion during Law Week 2018 on the topic of access to justice for Indigenous Peoples, chaired by Michael Lundberg, Quinn Emanuel Urqhart & Sullivan and attended by a panel comprised of the Hon John Quigley MLA, Attorney General of Western Australia, the Hon Justice Robert Mazza, Supreme Court of Western Australia, Peter Collins, Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia and Tammy Solonec, Amnesty International;
  • informing junior lawyers about alternative career paths, with a focus on social justice and community legal centres, at the Social Justice Opportunities Evening;
  • mental health and wellbeing initiatives, including a Geoffrey Robertson QC-style mental health hypothetical panel discussion;
  • informal networking opportunities for lawyers in small to mid-sized firms through the Small Firms Network; and
  • the annual Law Student Mentoring Programme, which in 2018 included law students from all Western Australian law faculties for the first time and which continues to increase in numbers – from 50 students in 2017 to 76 students in 2018.

In recognition of the changing legal landscape, the YLC has maintained its focus on giving junior lawyers the opportunity to build their professional networks with young professional bodies from other industries, including accounting, consulting and engineering. This includes meeting with various young professional bodies, promoting their events and holding regular Inter Profession Networking events. In 2018, the Committee hosted a Speed Networking event, which gave young professionals the opportunity to develop “soft” skills and network with professionals from other industries.

In addition to these initiatives, the YLC also:

  • introduced a new agony aunt column, Aunt Prudence Juris, and interviews with members of the profession who have had diverse and interesting career paths, in the Brief journal;
  • continued to arrange monthly case notes and provide various articles for Brief;
  • conducted a survey of junior lawyers seeking feedback on issues facing junior lawyers and on the Committee’s activities;
  • continued to connect with the five Western Australian Law Student Faculty Societies and the Australian Young Lawyers Committee; and
  • continued to welcome observers at Committee meetings.

Role of the Law Society’s Young Lawyers Committee

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

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

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

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

Initiatives

YLC Law Student Mentoring Programme

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

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

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

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

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

Please note that applications for the 2019 Programme have closed.

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

Advice for Students

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

Events

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

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

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

Focus Areas

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

Social & Sport

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

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

Education and Careers

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

Community Engagement and Social Justice

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

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Join the Committee

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

Committee Members

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

Jack Carroll
Convenor
Kott Gunning Lawyers

Haley Graydon
Deputy Convenor
DLA Piper

Chris Burch
Deputy Convenor
Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Hague Skinner
Deputy Convenor
DLA Piper

Lucy Clark
Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Olivia Doray
Australian Government Solicitor

Sean Gomes
Leaker Partners

Angela Hayes
Kim Wilson & Co

alyce-lynch

Alyce Lynch
Clayton Utz

Aleksandra Miller
State Solicitor’s Office

Alexander Noonan

Alex Ward-Noonan
Wotton + Kearney