The issue of access to justice is a key theme of this fortnight's Government Bulletin. The Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales has recently released various publications highlighting the difficulties that the disadvantaged, people with illness and disability face in obtaining access to justice. Access is considered at multiple levels, including recognising the challenges for government agencies in dealing with self-represented litigants. At the Commonwealth level, the Productivity Commissioner has announced a public inquiry into Australia's system of civil dispute resolution, with a focus on promoting access to justice and equality before the law. Against this background, the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration (AIJA) has issued a call for papers for its April 2014 conference "Assisting Unrepresented Litigants – A Challenge for Courts and Tribunals". The issues identified by the AIJA will be of particular relevance to government agencies.
To start a conversation about Government Bulletin or issues of interest to NSW government lawyers, join the LinkedIn group NSW Government Lawyers by clicking on this link. Membership is open to lawyers employed in the public sector.
Join us on:
- 29 October for a seminar on NSW Government Agencies as Model Litigants, presented by Christine Jones. Click here for more information and to register.
- 12 November for a seminar on Statutory Interpretation: developments and recent case law, presented by Greg Wrobel. Click here for more information and to register.
In the media
NSW nurses told to behave after selfie
Jehovah's Witness teen loses appeal over life-saving
A Supreme Court judge rules a boy had to have the transfusion but his family appealed it, arguing that his maturity and competency should be enough to override the court's power. The Justice rejected the appeal but said the order would be removed when X turned 18 in January, allowing him to make the potentially life-or-death decision (27 September 2013). More...
ICAC finds security providers and public officials
The NSW ICAC has found that security service providers and public officials engaged in corrupt conduct in relation to work for several NSW public authorities including the University of Western Sydney (UWS), the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) and the then Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service (NSCCAHS) (26 September 2013). More...
Corrupt corrections officer supplied and used drugs,
The NSW ICAC has found that NSW corrections officer Robert Di-Bona engaged in corrupt conduct by supplying steroids to a colleague and a former inmate, and that Mr Di-Bona attended work under the influence of prohibited drugs (26 September 2013). More...
ICAC to resume public inquiry into allegations
concerning former City of Ryde Mayor
The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will resume its Operation Cavill public inquiry concerning allegations involving former City of Ryde Mayor Councillor Ivan Petch, and others, (20 September 2013). More...
Jamming trial to shut down contraband prison
Australia's first trial of mobile phone jamming in prison began today, in a major security initiative to shut down illicit phone use by inmates. The Minister for Justice said this is an important step forward for corrections in Australia as we combat illicit phone use in prisons, which has become a significant concern for jurisdictions around the world (24 September 2013). More...
In practice and courts
LJFNSW: New Access to Justice
The Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales (LJFNSW) has released the following publications relating to access to justice (September 2013):
Productivity Commission's Inquiry into Access to
The end of October 2013 in the closing date for comments on the Productivity Commission's Inquiry into Access to Justice Services. More...
This issues paper is intended to assist people preparing a submission to the Productivity Commission's new inquiry examining the current costs of accessing justice services and securing legal representation, and the impact of these costs on access to justice.
Assisting Unrepresented Litigants - A Challenge for
Courts and Tribunals 2014
The Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration (AIJA) welcomes the submission of abstracts of papers for consideration for the upcoming conference
CTTT Facts and statistics
The CTTT regularly collects data to help manage its case workload and to monitor operational performance against our customer service standards. Key facts and statistics for the 2012-2013 financial year have now been released (16 September 2013).
IPC NSW: Transborder Disclosures – Privacy Code of
The Privacy Commissioner has commenced consultation with NSW public sector agencies regarding a draft Privacy Code of Practice dealing with trans-border disclosures of personal information under section 19(4) of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998. Submissions close on 1 October 2013 and email us for a copy of the draft Code of Practice (17 September 2013)
NSW Sentencing Council: Now consulting: Standard Minimum Non-Parole Periods
The Council is reviewing standard minimum non-parole periods. A consultation paper has been released for community consultation. Responses are due by 25 October 2013.
Published – articles, papers, reports
Investigation into the possession and supply of steroids and other matters involving a Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) corrections officer
ICAC NSW; released 26 September 2013
The Commission finds that, in December 2012 and February 2013, Mr Di-Bona supplied prescribed restricted substances (steroids) to fellow CSNSW officer, Christopher Warren, for cash payment
Investigation into allegations of corrupt conduct in the provision of security products and services by suppliers, installers and consultants
ICAC NSW; released 26 September 2013
The Commission finds that security industry consultant, Daniel Paul, security systems installer and integrator Kings Security Group Pty Ltd directors Peter (Charles) Diekman and Peter Roche, NSCCAHS employee Robert Huskic, Q Video Systems' (QVS) Paul Thompson, Kings employee David McMicking and Austek Security managing director Jonathan Nguyen engaged in corrupt conduct. View full report
Corruption offences NSW
NSW Parliamentary Research Service; 24 September 2013
This e-brief begins with an outline of ICAC's role in investigating corruption. It then examines the main criminal offences in NSW that target corruption. Next, it refers to the recent ICAC findings in relation to the former Minister, Ian Macdonald. This paper also discusses past proposals to reform corruption offences in NSW and Australia Corruption offences
Government advertising 2012-13
Audit Office of New South Wales; 23 September 2013
This audit reviews two advertising campaigns by government agencies in New South Wales and finds that they complied with the relevant laws. More...
Crimes Amendment (Zoe's Law) Bill 2013 (No 2) NSW
NSW Parliamentary Research Service; 24 September 2013
This e-brief provides commentary on the Crimes Amendment (Zoe's Law) Bill 2013 (No 2) , a Private Member's Bill introduced in the Legislative Assembly on 29 August 2013 by Mr Chris Spence.
Gaudie v Local Court of New South Wales and Anor  NSWSC 1425
COURTS AND JUDGES - apprehended bias - claim for prerogative or appellate relief following refusal by Magistrate to disqualify himself - application that Magistrate disqualify himself on ground of apprehended bias - application refused by Magistrate - factors relevant to disqualification application - material known to fair-minded bystander - relevance of Guide to Judicial Conduct - relevance of judicial oath - relevance of judicial statements concerning domestic violence in Aboriginal communities - relevance of comments made by Magistrate in peremptorily dismissing disqualification application in another matter - comments of Magistrate in letter and interview expressed in vehement and trenchant terms - cumulative effect of matters complained of - errors of law in decision refusing application - apprehended bias established - prohibition granted.
O'Shane v Harbour Radio Pty Ltd  NSWCA 315
TORTS - defamation - judicial officer suing in respect of criticism of her performance of her judicial function - defence of truth - Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005, r 1.21 - questions referred to Court of Appeal - whether the defence of truth is precluded by the principle of judicial immunity - consequences for the proceedings
TORTS - defamation - judicial officer suing in respect of criticism of her performance of her judicial function - defence of truth - Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005, r 1.21 - questions referred to Court of Appeal - whether the defendants defence of truth constitutes an abuse of process as inconsistent with the principle of finality
TORTS - defamation - whether a judicial officer is barred from bringing defamation proceedings with respect to defamatory publications relating to criticism of the performance of a judicial officer's judicial function
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - operation and effect of the Commonwealth Constitution - Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005, r 1.21 - questions referred to Court of Appeal - whether the principle of judicial immunity is consistent with the implied freedom of political communication - whether discussion about the discharge by a judicial officer of the judicial function in a particular case is a discussion concerning political or governmental matters
PROCEDURE - questions referred to Court of Appeal before trial - amendments to pleadings in appeal court - whether questions should be answered.
Regulations and other statutory instruments
Allocation of the Administration of Acts 2013 (No 4—Amendment) (2013-544) — published LW 20 September 2013
Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Amendment (Community Corrections) Regulation 2013 (2013-546) — published LW 20 September 2013
Bills introduced etc Government
The object of this Bill is to amend the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 with respect to the setting of standard non-parole periods for offences.
The Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 currently exempts private educational authorities from provisions of the Act that make it unlawful for an educational authority to discriminate against a student or prospective student on the grounds of sex, marital or domestic status, disability, homosexuality or age or on transgender grounds. Private educational authorities include all non-government institutions at which education or training is provided, such as private schools, business and coaching colleges and private universities.
The object of this Bill is to remove these exemptions for private educational authorities.
Acts assented to
To enable the Governor to appoint an Assistant Inspector for the Police Integrity Commission and for the to hold office as Inspector of the Independent Commission Against Corruption as well as amending the Police Integrity Commission Act 1996 and the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1994 to ensure that the Ombudsman deals with investigations of the above persons.
Police Integrity Commission and Independent Commission Against Corruption Legislation Amendment (Inspectors) Act 2013 No 72 — Assented to 24 September 2013
For the full text of Bills, and details on the passage of Bills, see Bills.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.