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Review of the Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules

The Law Council of Australia (LCA) has now released the consultation paper for a review of the Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules (ASCR). A copy of the Review of the ASCR Consultation Discussion Paper can be found on the LCA website here.

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Safe and Vibrant Communities: EOI Called for NT Liquor Commission

The Territory Labor Government is delivering safe and vibrant communities with Expressions of Interest released for members of the Territory’s planned Liquor Commission.

The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Natasha Fyles said this was a key recommendation from the Alcohol Policy and Legislation Review (Riley Review) delivered by former Chief Justice Trevor Riley.

“The former CLP scrapped the Liquor Commission in 2014, locking community groups out of a key step in liquor licensing approvals,” she said.

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Dedicated refugee lawyer announced NT Young Australian of the Year

Law Society Northern Territory (Society) congratulates Kevin Kadirgamar on being awarded NT Young Australian of the Year on Wednesday evening.

Society President Maria Savvas said, “Mr Kardirgamar’s dedication to advancing the interests of the some of the most vulnerable people in our community is to be commended and this accolade is a welcome acknowledgement of his important contribution.”

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A Territory first; NT wins National Golden Gavel

Law Society Northern Territory (Society) is extremely proud to congratulate Micah Kickett on winning the National Golden Gavel in Sydney on 20 October 2017. Mr Kickett is the first contestant from the Northern Territory to win the prestigious national public speaking prize for young lawyers, described in some quarters as the 'Eurovision of the legal profession'.

Each year, young lawyers display their public speaking skills, creativity and comedic wit at state and territory Golden Gavel competitions. The 8 winners from each state and territory then come together to compete at the National Golden Gavel. The format is fun, frivolous and impromptu, with each contestant given 24 hours notice of their topic and then 5 minutes to deliver their presentation.

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Law Society Northern Territory acknowledges new era of Territory Aboriginal Legal Services

Law Society Northern Territory (Society) acknowledges the announcement today that the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) will provide legal services to Central Australia from 1 January 2018.

Before looking forward, the Society first acknowledges the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (CAALAS) and the legal services it has provided Indigenous people in the Central Australian region since 1973. Society president Mr Tass Liveris said, “CAALAS is the second Aboriginal Legal Service to be established in Australia, behind only the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT, which was set up in Redfern in 1970. Since 1973, CAALAS has represented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Alice Springs and the surrounding 900,000 square kilometres of the region with commitment, dedication and effect, in often challenging circumstances. The Society acknowledges the immeasurable contribution that CAALAS and its many staff, board members, supporters and volunteers has made to the people of Central Australia and the administration of justice for over 4 decades.”

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Law Society Northern Territory welcomes Senior Counsel Appointment in the Northern Territory

Law Society Northern Territory (Society) congratulates Miles Crawley, who today received an appointment as Senior Counsel at an admission ceremony in the Supreme Court in Darwin.

Society President Mr Tass Liveris said, “Mr Crawley’s appointment as Senior Counsel is welcome and well deserved. Mr Crawley has been in practice for many years in South Australia and the Northern Territory and he demonstrates all of the attributes required for appointment as Senior Counsel, including exemplary knowledge of the law, a high level of skill as an advocate and a demonstrated commitment to the best traditions of the Bar and the administration of justice.”

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2018 John Koowarta Reconciliation Scholarship

Applications now open

The Koowarta Scholarship was established in 1994, with the aim of promoting the study and practice of the law by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and, commemorates John Koowarta as a member of the Winychanam community and a traditional owner of the Archer River region on the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland. John Koowarta is widely regarded as being at the forefront of Aboriginal land rights in Australia during the late 1970s and early 1980s. He is today revered as one of the most important figures in the progression of Native Title rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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Legally Assisted and Culturally Appropriate Family Dispute Resolution – Call for EOI

Relationships Australia Northern Territory are about to embark on a project providing Legally Assisted and Culturally Appropriate Family Dispute Resolution (LACAFDR) services to families who have experienced domestic violence.

The project will include facilitating family law mediations in Darwin, Palmerston, Alice Springs, Katherine, and other rural and remote locations.

We invite Territory legal practitioners to join us in this project, by providing legal advice and representation to the parties involved. A pre-determined base hourly rate and disbursements will be paid to private practitioners.

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Mandatory sentencing does not make the community safer

Media attention has recently been drawn to calls to increase mandatory sentences of imprisonment for assaults on Police officers.

Law Society NT (Society) president Mr Tass Liveris said, “Northern Territory courts lock up more people than anywhere else in Australia and it hasn’t reduced crime or re-offending. We are all seeing our imprisonment and re-offending rates continually going up. Our Indigenous imprisonment rate is in crisis. Making sentencing laws even harsher is not going to stop assaults or make the community any safer; it will only make these problems worse.”

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Law Society NT calls on people in the NT to tell their story as part of a national review into access to justice

The Law Society NT (Society) calls on people in the Northern Territory to tell their story as part of a national review into access to justice.

The Society today called on people in the Northern Territory to help show the human face of the crisis affecting access to justice in Australia by telling their story to the Law Council’s Justice Project – which has today moved into its consultation phase. The Justice Project is a comprehensive national review into the state of access to justice in Australia, supported by the Society, focusing on challenges for the most vulnerable. Consultation papers, overseen by a Steering Committee of eminent lawyers, academics and jurists including former High Court Chief Justice, the Hon. Robert French AC, have been distributed nationally.

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Strong Local NT appointments to the Local Court

The Law Society NT (Society) welcomes the announcement of the appointment of Judge Elizabeth Morris as Deputy Chief Judge of the Local Court.

Society spokesperson Maria Savvas said, “Judge Morris is respected by the legal profession and has a significant and longstanding connection to the Northern Territory. Her commitment to the Northern Territory community is demonstrated through her considerable involvement since arriving in the Northern Territory in 1990. Judge Morris’ ascension to the position of Deputy Chief Judge is well deserved and recognises her dedication and leadership within the Local Court.”

The appointment of Greg Macdonald as a new Local Court judge is also welcomed by the Society.

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Reversal of Community Legal Centre funding cuts important for the Northern Territory

Law Society Northern Territory (Society) welcomes the Attorney-General's announcement today that the federal government will no longer cut $35 million, or 30%, out of funding to community legal centres (CLC) from 1 July 2017.

Society president Mr Tass Liveris said, “Territory CLCs have been under-resourced for far too long and are in increasingly high demand. Every year, a growing number of Territorians facing legal disputes have been unable to access legal assistance, leading to significant social and financial consequences affecting the whole community. The federal government’s 1 July cuts would have been crippling for Territory CLCs and had devastating consequences here, especially for families, women and children and remote and Indigenous Territorians.”

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Alice Springs Local Court Judge a win for diversity and access to justice

Law Society NT (Society) welcomes the Attorney-General's announcement today that the Supreme and Local Court Registrar, Sarah McNamara, has been appointed a Local Court judge in Alice Springs.

Society President Mr Tass Liveris said, "The Society has long supported judicial appointments from within the local profession to the greatest extent possible, diversity in the legal profession and the judiciary and access to justice in the regions. Registrar McNamara’s appointment progresses each of these causes.”

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Symmetra Unconscious Bias Training for Legal Practitioners

Lawyers typically make a multitude of decisions daily, affecting themselves and others, and where unconscious biases are in play, the outcomes may be less than optimum and often contrary to your intentions.

In this interactive course, practitioners will learn about the concept of unconscious bias, how it affects their business and industry, and equip themselves with tools to increase their effectiveness in decision making situations. Videos, case studies and revealing questions engage the learner in this relevant and fast paced program. A practical toolkit is provided to enable practitioners to counteract bias in decision situations.

Please click here for further information about this training.

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Law Society NT appoints new CEO

Law Society NT (Society) is proud to announce the recent appointment of Kellie Grainger to the office of the Chief Executive Officer.

Ms Grainger’s appointment follows a Territory-wide recruitment process in the latter part of 2016. Ms Grainger was admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1996 and worked in private practice in Hervey Bay, before moving to the Northern Territory in 2012. Ms Grainger has been employed by the Society for almost 5 years. Since 2012, she has been the Manager Regulatory Services and in addition, she has been the acting CEO of the Society since June 2016.

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Youth Justice: A step in the right direction

Law Society NT (Society) supports the government’s announcement to increase annual funding of the youth justice system, with a focus on increased services for diversion and bail support.

Society President Mr Tass Liveris said, “Northern Territory courts lock up more young people than anywhere else in Australia, which is extremely expensive and does nothing to reduce crime and re-offending. For many years the Society has said that rather than spending money on locking people up, government ought to invest in programs such as diversion, bail support, youth conferencing and rehabilitation. Early childhood intervention is critical and is proven to help steer young people away from the criminal justice system, which the entire community wants to see, rather than entrench them in it..”.

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Community sick of seeing revolving door of jail

Law Society Northern Territory (Society) today expressed support for the statement in relation to youth sentencing that was issued by the Chief Justice on 20 January 2017.

Society President Mr Tass Liveris said, “As was noted by the Chief Justice, the nature and function of judicial office means there are heavy restrictions on the extent that judges can enter into public debate about their decisions and about issues in the justice system. However, the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration Guide to Judicial Conduct recognises that in some circumstances, carefully measured public comment by courts may be desirable and important to assist the public’s understanding of the administration of justice. Given the prominence that youth sentencing has had in recent public discussion, the statement by the Chief Justice accords with well established principles and may assist to enhance public confidence in the judiciary.”

The Society makes no comments about any public perceptions or whether there has been any change in the behaviour of judicial officers following the announcement of the current Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

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Identifying juvenile offenders does nothing for the community

Media attention has recently been drawn to orders made by the Youth Justice Court to supress the names of young people appearing before that Court.

Law Society Northern Territory (“Society”) president Mr Tass Liveris said, “It is important to remember that the Northern Territory is the only place in Australia where juvenile courts are completely open to the public and make no restriction on reporting proceedings. The Society has long held the view that the Northern Territory should step into line with the rest of the country on the issue of open juvenile courts. Mr Liveris said, “The Society made calls on the last Territory government to amend the Youth Justice Act to restrict the publication of youth court proceedings, but in spite of those calls there are no restrictions at all. We need to do what we can to reduce the alarmingly high levels of juvenile incarceration, reintegrate juveniles into the community and stop the cycle of re-offending.”

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Office Location

Level 3, 9 Cavenagh Street
Darwin NT 0800

Mailing Address

GPO Box 2388
Darwin NT 0801


Telephone: (08) 8981 5104
Fax: (08) 8941 1623
ABN: 62 208 314 893