Special Interest Committees

The Law Society’s Council has established a number of Special Interest Committees, which report to the Council.  They fall into two groups, namely 

  • Special Interest - Membership Committees.  These Committees represent a specific section of the Society’s Members and they oversee the provision of specialised services to Members.
  • Special Interest - Area of Law Committees.  These Committees comprise Members who practise in a particular area of law and assist the Society in its work relating to proposed and existing legislation; and in responding to and informing Members of any issues that may be of relevance to Members, the profession or the wider community. 

Membership of most of the Special Interest Committees* (see lists and further details relating to them below) is open to Members via Expression of Interest and is reviewed biennially.  Current appointments to these Committees expire on 31 December 2018.  The review process includes an invitation to all Members to express an interest in appointment to these Committees.  Members may express an interest to join a Committee at any time.  Expressions of interest are assessed on the capacity of the Committee to take a new Member and the balance of membership of the Committee including as to seniority and experience, membership by firms, and representation of specialised practice areas.  

*The exceptions are the Equality, Diversion and Inclusion Committee, Medico-Legal Advisory Group, Risk Management Advisory Group and the Well-Being and Resilience Committee.  These Committees have specific membership criteria, set out in their Terms of Reference.  Members are invited from time to time to express an interest in appointment to these Committees (via notices in InBrief). 

The Policy and Guidelines for Committees and an information sheet are available here

Details on each of the committees are available to members by clicking on the committee names below.

Special Interest - Membership Groups

The Country Practitioners Committee continues to be active in promoting the interests of those who choose to practise in the country, and the interests of their clients.

The Committee is most active in the area of Continuing Professional Development, conducting the Country Update and the Country Conference each year. These seminars are structured so that practitioners who attend both will hear interesting and practically useful papers as well as satisfy their CPD obligations for that year.  The attraction of this structure has been shown by increased attendances by both country and city-based lawyers. The 2017 Country Update was held Clare in October, and the Country Conference was held at Kangaroo Island from 24 -26  February  2017. Both seminars were well attended and papers of a high standard were presented. The value to practitioners of the social contact at these seminars should not be underestimated.  The Committee is grateful to those members of the profession who give so freely of their time to assist with the continuing education and professional development of their country colleagues.

The 2018 Country Conference was held in Robe from 16 - 18 February  2018.

The Committee has also been active in making submissions to Government and to Law Council of Australia and to Council of the Society.  Through the Committee, country practitioners continue to promote the attractions of practising in the country areas of our State, and continue to provide an informal network for mentoring and mutual support.

The advantages of working in a regional firm

The best way to highlight the benefits of working in the country is to hear from country practitioners themselves.  Click here, to view the page.

The Society is committed to principles of equality, diversity and inclusion, and to working with our Members to support best practice in these areas. 

The Council established an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee on 2 May 2016. 

The purpose of the Committee is to advise and assist the Council in achieving the above commitment.

Equality is about ensuring that all Members and applicants receive equal access in relation to employment, terms and conditions, training, promotion and services. 

Diversity is about recognising, respecting and valuing the differences between individuals. It means treating people as individuals and accounting for inequalities and disadvantages. 

Inclusion is giving equal access to and opportunity to all and removing discrimination and other barriers to involvement.  It is ensuring that all Members are able to take part in the same activities and enjoy the same experiences irrespective of physical ability, religious belief, age, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference or identification, race, educational background, political views or other factor.

In particular, the Committee is responsible for advising and making recommendations to the Council on:-

  1. Any relevant training for Council and Committees;
  2. Equality, diversity and inclusion in professional development for the profession;
  3. Emerging trends within the profession;
  4. Strategies which should be included in the Society's Strategic and Operational Plan;
  5. Best practice guidelines which should be adopted within the Society and recommended to the Membership;
  6. Suggesting other guidelines or policies that will assist the profession in the increasingly competitive market with particular emphasis on matters such as flexible working hours and practices, pay differentiation, promotion opportunities, overcoming disabling barriers, and briefing and other policies, relating to women, lawyers from ethnic minority backgrounds, age or disability;
  7. Suggesting means to encourage and influence those who shape the business environment in which members work to make decisions which provide equality,  diversity and inclusion; 
  8. Suggesting ways in which Society may support those who face difficulty in attaining a career in the profession due to issues of equality or are dealing with issues relating to equality; and
  9. Seeking improved court, work environment, and other access/facilities for legal practitioners and clients with disability.

The Public Sector & In-House Lawyers' Committee was established in 1998 to promote the interests of public sector public sector & in-house lawyers in the activities of the Law Society and to increase the profile of public sector public sector & in-house lawyers in the legal profession. The Committee's objectives are to:

  • ensure that the Law Society recognises the contribution of public sector public sector & in-house lawyers to the administration of justice
  • maximise public sector & in-house lawyers' participation in the activities of the Law Society;
  • provide a forum for the discussion of issues affecting public sector public sector & in-house lawyers;
  • assist in the ongoing education and development of public sector public sector & in-house lawyers; 
  • promote the special skills and functions of public sector & in-house lawyers; 
  • liaise with organisations or individuals involved or associated with public sector legal services; and
  • increase and develop services to public sector & in-house lawyers by the Law Society.

The Public Sector & In-House Lawyers' Committee is dedicated to implementing:

  • recommendations and initiatives to reform areas of the legal profession that impact on public sector public sector & in-house lawyers.

The Public Sector & In-House Lawyers' Committee draws membership from Law Society members who are, and provides representation for all, public sector lawyers and legal practitioners employed in: 
  • local, State and Commonwealth government offices;
  • the Legal Services Commission;
  • Community Legal Centres;
  • local Universities;
  • the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement; and 
  • other government agencies.

Links

Austlii Australian Government Attorney General's Office
Australian Institute of Administrative Law 
ASIC
Comlaw 
Courts Administration Authority
Federal Court 
SA Bar Association
SA Office of Director of Public Prosecutions

Sole and small practices (5 or less practitioners) represent 90% of practices in South Australia. Nearly 1 in 3 practitioners in South Australia work in a sole or small practice. The Society and the Small Practice Committee are committed to providing valuable benefits to Members running or working in these practices to support them throughout their career.

The Small Practice Committee aims to:

  • Assist and support those practitioners
  • Encourage Law Society membership
  • Monitor changing legal, technological and risk management issues
  • Facilitate networking and educational events
  • Provide a specific focus on issues affecting the personal and professional wellbeing of those practitioners
 

The Committee hosts a number of enjoyable Member events with the President each year including:

  • Small Practice CPD & Networking events for Members in the Western, Eastern, Northern and Southern suburbs, in the Adelaide Hills and the city.
  • Small Practice Christmas Networking Event and End of Financial Year Lunch.
  • Small Practice Conference.

 

All Members are invited and encouraged to attend events and the casual monthly Coffee Breaks on the first Tuesday or Wednesday of the month. The Coffee Break (a successful initiative of the Small Practice Committee) provides a wonderful opportunity to network in an informal and relaxed setting. All Coffee Breaks are advertised in InBrief each week. Click here for the latest InBrief editions.

The benefits of networking

Networking is important for all professionals but if you work in a small business (or on your own) it is extremely important. It involves meeting and getting to know people who you can assist, and who can potentially help you in return. Discussing common challenges opens the door to valuable ideas and guidance.  Networking is a great opportunity to exchange knowledge and stay up-to-date with the latest industry developments. Regular networking helps to keep you top of mind when opportunities such as referrals come up. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, networking gets you out of the office and talking to people, which is vital for our mental health and wellbeing.

Committee member David Barnfield puts together a Small Practice Newsletter once or twice a year. It is always enjoyed by Members – past editions are available here. Also available on the website are the Small Practice Kit and Practice Management Directory .

To find out more about Small Practice Committee activities, please contact:

Michelle King (Member Services)
Phone: (08) 8229 0277
Email: michelle.king@lawsocietysa.asn.au

The Society’s Well-being and Resilience Committee is charged with developing and overseeing a program to promote discussion and debate and drive initiatives regarding matters relating to health, both mental and physical, well-being and resilience of members of the profession (including psychological distress and depression).

The establishment of the Committee by the Society’s Council was one of a number of initiatives undertaken by the Society in 2011 aimed at raising awareness of the poor record of mental health problems in the legal profession and informing the members of the profession of the assistance that is available to them.  The Society was particularly informed by the Law Society of Western Australia’s Report on Distress and Depression in the Legal Profession.  

The Women Lawyers Committee aims to promote justice and equality for women both before the law, and within it.  The Committee is committed to promoting diversity within the legal profession, and to improving professional opportunities for women in the law.  The Committee contributes to the Law Society’s policy agenda by preparing submissions on issues relevant to women and law, and by lobbying the Council of the Law Society on issues that affect women.  The Committee also provides professional and social networking opportunities for women lawyers, and in partnership with the Women Lawyers Association of South Australia, presents an annual “Long Lunch”.

Committee members come from a variety of sectors of the legal profession - private practice, the public sector, the Bar, law students and women not currently practising.  The Committee meets every second month, on the third Tuesday of the month, from 5.30pm to 7pm.

A young lawyer is any law student, solicitor or barrister who is under the age of 35 years, or is in their first five years of practice.

If this is you, the Young Lawyers Committee is your representative committee within the Law Society of South Australia.

The Committee's main purpose is to promote the interests of young lawyers to the Law Society and the wider profession, and to further the development of young lawyers by organising educational, social, wellbeing and networking events and initiatives.


Young Lawyers Support Group

The Society in conjunction with its Young Lawyers Committee has established a group comprising 25 practitioners who have agreed to assist, where possible, young lawyers who may feel the need for some independent guidance from experienced colleagues. For details about this service, click here.

If you would like further information, have any ideas for future events or programs, or would like to express interest in joining the Committee, please contact Kate Walkley on (08) 8229 0200 or email: kate.walkley@lawsocietysa.asn.au

As always, thank you to the Committee's valued sponsor: 

Special Interest - Area of Law

The Aboriginal Issues Committee works on legal and policy matters that affect aboriginal people and are relevant to the work of the legal profession. As well as that, the Committee, through the work of member Alan Lindsay has been responsible for the setting up of the Indigenous Law Student Mentoring Scheme which commenced in 2005-06.

The Committee also works on reviews of legislation, statutory instruments, and other major public policy questions requiring submissions from the Law Society.

Members of the Committee have also recently worked on a project to adapt the Northern Territory Law Society Indigenous Protocols for lawyers to South Australian requirements. This document, when complete, will provide South Australian lawyers with useful guidelines for dealing with indigenous clients, particularly those for whom English is a second language.

The Committee continues to work on a project to enable assistance to be given to aboriginal law students as they proceed through law school into the legal profession.
Paper presented by Judge Stephen Norrish QC at the AIJA Conference held 18-19 July 2013 "Current Issues in Delivering Indigenous Justice-Challenges for the Courts" - click here.
The Accident Compensation Committee has a broad range of membership, including practitioners from small and large firms, representation for both plaintiffs and defendants and solicitors and barristers representing workers, employers and insurers.

The Committee deals with accident and compensation related matters. These usually involve personal injury claims. Most commonly, these claims arise as a result of motor vehicle accidents, work related injuries and public liability claims.

The Accident Compensation Committee is a pro-active committee, and assists in preparing submissions to draft legislation, government policy initiatives and discussion papers. Smaller sub-committees or working groups often consider the material and prepare committee submissions when relevant issues arise.

A key focus of the Committee seeks to enhance access to medical treatment and medico-legal reports.

A major strength of the Committee is that it includes practitioners who act on both sides of the personal injury fence; i.e. for both claimants who have suffered injury and are making a claim and for those who are engaged to defend the claims. This provides a unique opportunity to consider what might otherwise be regarded as apparently conflicting positions when preparing submissions. Notwithstanding that potential for conflict, a consensus view is almost inevitably reached in submissions that are prepared by the Committee.

The Accident Compensation Committee initiates and maintains relationships with key organisations relevant to practice including ReturnToWorkSA, the Motor Accident Commission (MAC), Allianz and judicial members of the South Australian Employment Tribunal and other statutory bodies. It engages with other relevant industry organisations including the Personal Injuries Committee of the Law Council of Australia, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) and the organising committees of the “Both Sides of the Fence” and “CRASH” Seminars. It interacts with other committees of the Society in areas of common interest, including the Civil Litigation and Costs Committees. The Committee also liaises with the Joint Medico-Legal Advisory Group and the Australian Medical Association (AMA) with respect to medico-legal matters.

The Accident Compensation Committee regularly initiates CPD sessions in the field of accident compensation law for delivery by the Society’s Professional Development Section. It informs the Risk Management Section of potential issues affecting practitioners and regularly contributes to “In Brief”, the Bulletin and RiskWatch.

If any member of the profession wishes to raise any issue with the Committee, please contact the Committee chair through the following address: Rosemary.Pridmore@lawsocietysa.asn.au.          

The Administrative Law Committee consists of members with considerable and diverse experience in state and Commonwealth administrative law jurisdictions as private and public lawyers.

The Committee’s focus for many years has been on the reform of South Australia’s civil and administrative review system. The process of reform culminated in the establishment of the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) in 2015, which commenced operation on 30 March 2015. The Committee has continued to monitor SACAT’s further development since it opened for business two years ago and recently contributed to the Law Society’s response to a proposal to increase a number of existing SACAT fees and introduce new fees (e.g. a 50% application fee for individuals in receipt of Centrelink payments).

A highlight of the year was the very successful Continuing Professional Development seminar held on 24 May 2017, which was attended by around 100 people, either in person or via webinar. The speakers were the inaugural President of SACAT, Justice Greg Parker, who presented a paper detailing SACAT’s most significant decisions in its first two years, and senior practitioner, Mike Wait SC, who spoke about the nature and extent of SACAT’s jurisdiction compared with other jurisdictions exercising similar review functions. The Committee also provided an article about this seminar for the Bulletin published in the November 2017 edition.

The Committee has also continued to consider and contribute to Law Society submissions about state and Commonwealth legislative reform proposals on a diverse range of topics relevant to administrative law, such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Advocacy Committee was established by the Council on 6 March 2017 and it held its inaugural meeting on 27 June 2017. The Committee aims to represent the interests of those Members of the Society who have either chosen to practice solely as barristers or who act as both a barrister and a solicitor.

The Advocacy Committee is charged with assisting the Council in relation to issues of concern, matters of interest or matters requiring some form of activity by the Council in relation to advocacy. This includes responding to any concerns raised by the judiciary in relation to the standard of advocacy in Courts in South Australia for which specific training or the provision of information might assist to improve the standard. 

The Committee provides assistance to the GDLP Committee and staff of the Education Business Unit in relation to the development and delivery of the Advocacy Unit of the GDLP course conducted by the Society and University of Adelaide. The Committee aims to facilitate a forum for interested Members of the Society to network, exchange information and ideas about advocacy. 
This webpage is being reviewed, however in the meantime, please click here for information on mediation.
The Law Society of South Australia has recently approved the creation of an Animal Law Committee in 2010 in recognition of this growing area of law.  An unprecedented number of expressions of interest were submitted by legal practitioners wishing to be appointed to the Committee.  By the time the first meeting was held, the Committee had already received submissions requesting assistance or advice on a number of topics, ranging from the welfare of an albino wombat being cared for by a local welfare organisation who were concerned about demands that it be returned to the indigenous community from which it had been rescued to the use of steel jaw traps in South Australia to control the dingo population and a request from an MP to provide advice regarding the means by which the investigatory and prosecutorial procedures employed by the RSPCA could be strengthened.

Given the urgency of the matter, two members of the ALC agreed to provide pro bono services in relation to the albino wombat problem and achieved an outcome that secured the ongoing care and treatment of the wombat by the organisation to whom it had been entrusted. 

At its first meeting, the Committee resolved to establish three subcommittees to deal with 3 key areas:

1.   Legislative Affairs:  Participate in, and where appropriate, contribute to the
      initiation of, animal welfare reform;

2.   Animal Law and Academia:  Contribute to and support the development of animal
      law as a field of academic scholarship; and

3.   Criminal Justice:  Provide representation and advice to prosecutorial bodies
      charged with the enforcement of animal welfare and legislation.


The Objectives of the Committee are:
  1. To promote debate on Animal Law issues;
  2.  To promote reform in Animal Law and development of Animal Law in SA;
  3.  To promote awareness of and education in Animal Law.
The Committee recognises that the volume of animal law issues that require consideration is overwhelming but nevertheless, welcomes requests for assistance or advice from members of the public, politicians and any other person or entity interested in animal law and its reform.
The Children and the Law Committee continues to work to achieve the Committee’s core purpose of seeking to enhance the human and legal rights of children and young people in South Australia.

The Committee continues to focus on the broader justice issues for children and young people in the community, as well as any specific issues that have arisen, particularly in the State’s youth justice and care and protection systems.

The Committee has long been an advocate for the creation of a Children’s Commissioner at both the Federal and State level to promote the interests and aspirations of young people and to champion and protect their human and legal rights. Since about 1990, The Children and the Law Committee has assisted the Society in advocating for a State Children’s Commissioner, having undertaken substantive research and consultations in developing and publishing a best practice model over this time. 

The Committee has also built strong ties with the Guardian for Children and Young People and continually looks for ways to support the Guardian in her advocacy for young people under the care of the Minister. 

The purpose of the Committee is to represent the interests of Members of the Law Society in connection with developments in Civil Litigation, including foreshadowed changes to the legislative and procedural framework by which parties resolve their civil disputes.

The Committee meets monthly to discuss developments and its members liaise with members of the Judiciary, the Legislature and other interested parties in order to provide advice to the Law Society and its Members.

The Chair of the Civil Litigation Committee and two nominees of the Law Society are members of the Joint Rules Advisory Committee, a Committee comprising judicial officers and representatives of the Supreme, District and Magistrates courts. The "JRAC" also meets monthly and oversees the operation of the rules of court and, where necessary, makes recommendations for change to the judiciary or the Legislature.

The Law Society's representatives on the JRAC are able to voice the views of the profession directly to the judges and, of course, give Members early notice of impending changes to the practices of the courts. 

The Supreme and District Court Rules

The current Supreme and District Court Rules came into operation on 4 September 2006.  Amendments including those to incorporate streaming, electronic discovery and pre-action protocols for construction and personal injury disputes, came into effect on 1 October 2014.  On that same date, the Supreme and District Court Practice Directions were replaced with Supplementary Rules.

The Committee will be monitoring any decisions regarding the application of the amended Rules and Supplementary Rules and posting them on the Society's website with a summary of the salient points.

Federal Court

Filing in the South Australian registry of Federal Court of Australia is now to be undertaken electronically via the Court's eLodgement portal.

Magistrate Court

In 2013 the jurisdiction limit of the Magistrates Court was raised to $100,000 for general civil matters.  The limit for minor civil action, in which parties must generally be self-represented, was raised to $25,000.

SATAC

From 2015 the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal will commence hearing certain statutory appeals and matters.
The Commercial Law Committee represents members of the Law Society in areas including corporation's law, taxation, finance, trade practices, consumer law, superannuation and insurance.

The Committee meets every six weeks on Tuesdays at 1:00pm to discuss current legal issues and to consider invitations from, and to draft responses on behalf of the Society to, various parties (e.g. Government) in relation to initiatives, proposed legislation, inquiries etc.

Members of the Committee have contributed to other activities of the Law Society, for example, through the provisions of CPD sessions.

Members are appointed to the Committee by Executive of the Law Society for a period of two years. 

Links 
ASIC 
Revenue SA 
FIDO (ASIC Financial tips and Safety Checks) 
ATO
ACCC

The Costs Committee represents members of the Law Society in areas relating to legal costs and costing issues.  

The Committee meets monthly to discuss current legal issues and to consider invitations from, and to draft responses on behalf of the Society to, various parties (e.g. the Courts, other Committees, Council of the Society and Government) in relation to initiatives, proposed legislation, inquiries and costs scales in various jurisdictions.  Meetings are usually held on the 1st Wednesday of the month. 

Members of the Committee also contribute to other activities of the Law Society, for example the provision of CLE sessions and participation in PLT.  

Members are appointed to the Committee by the Executive of the Law Society for a period of two years.  

Articles by Bill Ericson, Chair

A Solicitor's Guide to the Magistrates Court Scale
A Guide to the new Supreme Court Scale
A Solicitor's Guide to Responding to Short Form Schedules of Costs
A Solicitor's Guide to the Supreme Court Scale
A Full Court Decision on Rule 33 and interest on costs
GST now allowable on Magistrates Court costs
Lawyers' Costs: when are they fair and reasonable?  Part 1
Lawyers' Costs: when are they fair and reasonable?  Part 2
Warning to solicitors regarding accounts
The Solicitor's Four Hats - Reflections on Legal Ethics by a Costs Lawyer
The New Costs Adjudication Rules
 

Other Papers

Discussion Paper on Costing:  How should letters be charged on the Supreme Court Scale
(Tenth and Eleventh Schedules)? Frequently Asked Questions About Costs 
Costs in Estate Matters (CPD Paper) -10 Nov 17
A Solicitor's Guide to the Law Society Precedent Retainer Agreements
A Solicitor's Guide to the Costs Provisions of the Legal Practitioners (Miscellaneous) Amendment Act 2013

The work of the Committee is to assist in respect of making submissions to the government essentially so that its proposed legislation is considered in light of the rule of law, the interests of justice, good practice and procedures, the community’s interest and informing the public and the profession.

Recently work was done by committee members to help with the University of Adelaide John Bray Law Chapter, the University’s Law School and the Alumni office in organising the seminar – Power, Politics, Justice and the Media: Controversies from the Stuart Case.  It was a remarkable and successful seminar hosted by Geoffrey Robertson QC, with the keynote address by High Court Justice Michael Kirby and a number of participants.  


Criminal Law Committee Newsletter:

To view current newsletters, please click here
Family Law continues to be an evolving jurisdiction, and one which has been the subject of substantial changes in recent times.

The Federal Government has made significant legislative changes in recent times.  Added to this, Adelaide is now the only family law registry in Australia which for the first time, has shifted the judicial balance between the Family Court and the Federal Magistrates Court, and there are now six Federal Magistrates and three Family Court Judges.  Adding to this, all of these changes have resulted in significant changes to practising  Family Law, including:-

  • The effect of the Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006, and cases decided since the same;
  • The Division 12A Less Adversarial Trial process;
  • Adelaide being the pilot state for the implementation of a "single point of entry' to the jurisdiction;
  • The introduction of compulsory mediation for all couples before litigation can be commenced.

The Committee continues to represent the profession with respect to those changes, and also regularly attends meetings to represent the profession, including:-

  • Meetings with the Judges of the Family Court, including the Chief Justice (including Project Magellan);
  • Meetings with Federal Magistrates;
  • Meetings with the Adelaide Family Law Courts Registry; and
  • Meetings with the SA Family Pathways Network.

The Committee is also actively involved in organising Continuing Professional Development seminars to exercise the intellect, and social events to exercise the taste buds!

Family Law Newsletter:

To view current newsletters, please click here.
The purpose of the Committee is to represent the interests of members of the Law Society of South Australia in connection with a broad range of human rights developments.

Members of the Committee are able to draw upon their individual expertise in their own area of legal practice or academia. The Committee is regularly informed upon human rights affecting the legal profession, and meets every six weeks to discuss developments. Particular areas of focus which form a regular part of the agenda include Aboriginal issues, detention and refugees and prison issues. Other topics are discussed as they arise.

The Committee has recently been actively engaged in advising the Society about issues arising from the State Government’s Disability Justice Plan, proposed reforms to the Racial Discrimination Act, the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Review of Commonwealth Laws for Consistency with Traditional Rights, Freedoms and Privileges and the review of the Legal Services Commission. 

Seminars are held by the Committee at no cost to the profession. The Committee regularly hosts a seminar during Refugee Week. Other topics for seminars have included: Human Rights and the Global Dilemma of Precarious Work; People Trafficking; Human Rights and the Environment; African Australians and the Justice System; Human Rights in Palestine and the Middle East.
The Committee considers and comments on industrial relations issues affecting the profession and, where appropriate, the broader community.

Most recently, the Committee contributed to in the debate to change South Australian and Federal industrial legislation, including writing to the Federal Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations in relation to the WorkChoices Bill 2005.  The Committee has also written to the South Australian Minister for Industrial Relations in relation to cost provisions concerning monetary claims.

The Committee has also participated in discussions with the South Australian Industrial Relations Court and Commission concerning changes to unfair dismissal and underpayment claim processes.
The Society’s LawAsia Committee has been given a new focus! The Committee has been renamed the “International Legal Practice Committee”. The Committee will have a much broader, more commercial, focus, particularly in the areas of trade, transport, international transactions and international practice. 

Activities

The Committee meets approximately every two months. At the meetings, there are updates on current legal issues from Asia and the Pacific region, and occasional guest speakers. 

Members of the Committee have contributed to previous annual International Business Week by providing presentations and a panel of speakers and continue to provide an annual CPD.

Members of the Committee have also contributed to other activities of the Law Society, including the State Legal Convention and Law Society Bulletin, and is a contact point for visiting Professionals from the Lawasia Region.

Articles

Re-branded Committee widens its focus - Andrew Robertson & Richard Ward - The Bulletin, November 2013
The Justice Access Committee of the Law Society meets regularly to consider access to justice issues in South Australia.

The objectives of the Law Society's Justice Access Committee are:

1. Represent
To represent the views and interests of the profession and the Committee on justice access issues. 

2. Promote
    2.1   To promote and participate in law reform in areas affecting access to justice. 
    2.2   To promote education and awareness of access to justice issues within the profession and the community.
    2.3   To promote the benefits of membership of the Society

3. Assist
To identify barriers to justice and to suggest solutions.

4. Provide
    4.1   To provide advice to the Law Society Council on access to justice issues. 
    4.2   To provide a conduit between the profession, the community, the Courts and Government in relation to justice access issues. 
    4.3    To provide a forum for the profession to exchange information and ideas relating to access to justice.

5. Facilitate
To facilitate a forum for interested members of the Society to network and exchange information and ideas relating to access to justice. 

6. Inform
To inform members of the Society through In Brief, the Bulletin, the website of the Society and any other relevant publications. 

The Property Committee deals with a range of issues relating to property law and practice. It represents the views of the Society on state and federal consultative forums, with representatives on the Law Council of Australia’s Property Law Group and NECS Working Group, the Property Law Reform Alliance, the Land Services Group Industry Consultative Committee and the Lands Titles SA Advisory Committee.


In the past 12 months the Committee has assisted the Society in making submissions regarding several Parliamentary Bills, Regulations, legislative reviews and Government policies affecting property.

The Committee continues to pursue legislative clarity regarding:

  1. Vendors’ disclosure obligations in Form 1, particularly in light of the District Court decision in Le Cornu and Kurda v Place on Brougham Pty Ltd [2013] SADC 32;    
  2. the provisions of the Development Regulations 2008 relating to leases of part allotments; and
  3. the Retail and Commercial Leases Regulations 2010.

Members of the Committee are also assisting the Small Business Commissioner in the redrafting of certain sections of the Retail and Commercial Leasing Guide

The move towards electronic conveyancing has progressed further with the passing of the Real Property (Priority Notices and Other Measures) Amendment Act 2015.  The Committee has made detailed submissions in relation to the changes made by this Act and also in relation to the Registrar-General’s further proposals, including client authorisations and removal of duplicate titles.  The Committee maintains regular contact with the Registrar-General on these matters.

The Committee also assists with the Society’s CPD program, the Bulletin and InBrief.  It recently presented and chaired CPD seminars on Caveats and the amendments to the Real Property Act.  The Committee also provided input for a Law Claims article on ‘RPA certification and ‘personal knowledge’: what you need to know’.
Committee members regularly liaise with the Registrar of Probates in a joint endeavour to improve and update Court rules and procedures in the testamentary causes jurisdiction.  We are presently concerned at the inability of the Courts Administration Authority, due to budgetary constraints, to provide additional staff at the Probate Registry and consequently there are long delays before probate issues.  The President of the Society has made representations on the Committee's behalf to both the Chief Justice and the Registrar.  Committee members also offered to assist in an advisory capacity at the registry with the aim of assisting the staff and thereby reducing the waiting time.

The Probate Registrar gave a paper at the recent Succession law Seminar outlining the common reasons requisitions are made by the Probate Registry.  He pointed out that requisitions take up a lot of staff time and it would be of enormous assistance if practitioners were aware of common pitfalls when drafting probate documents.  

The Committee continues to be responsible for the publication and circulation of the Last Testament newsletter to all legal offices.

The Committee is involved in planning the very successful annual Succession Law Conference.

Other topics currently under consideration are the whether the breakdown of a de facto relationship should have the same effect on a will as a divorce, taxation of infants in estates where beneficiaries are not presently entitled to income, the potential for resolving estate disputes using Section 59C of the Trustee Act, the Legal Profession Bill, and the problems associated with discretionary trustee decisions regarding death benefits superannuation payments.

To view the Last Testament Newsletters, please click here