Current inquiries update

Family violence and Commonwealth laws

In February/March 2011 the team released four separate Issues Papers, dealing with Employment and Superannuation; Immigration; Child Support and Family Assistance; and Social Security. There were staggered closing dates for submissions throughout April, and the ALRC received more than 80 submissions.

View public submissions to the Issues Papers >>

Throughout June, the ALRC held Advisory Panel Roundtables around the main areas of Commonwealth law under consideration in this Inquiry: migration; employment; superannuation; social security; child support and family assistance; and income management. ALRC inquiries usually establish an expert Advisory Committee, but because of the complex nature of this Inquiry we opted for specialist panels in each of the key areas under review.

The team is now putting the finishing touches on the Discussion Paper, due for release in the third week of August.  If you wish to be notified about the Discussion Paper, please subscribe to Family violence and Commonwealth laws e-news.

The Final Report is due on 30 November 2011.

Thank you to intern Julie McKenzie for her assistance to the team during the semester.

National Classification Scheme Review

By the closing date for submissions to the Issues Paper, 15 July 2011, the ALRC had received a record number of submissions, more than 2400, for any ALRC Inquiry to date. A first round of 24 face-to-face consultations has also been conducted with representatives from a range of organisations. The Classification team is now working towards delivering a more detailed Discussion Paper in September.

Based on submissions in response to the Issues Paper, the face-to-face consultations, and a review of relevant legislation and government reports, the ALRC developed a set of eight draft principles for reform. We envisage them as the main principles that should underpin any new policy framework. The ALRC published these principles on 12 August 2011 on an online public discussion forum.

We would like to thank the interns who have assisted the team over the last few months: David Rowe, Jennifer Ruiz and Jacqueline Serkowski. A very special mention must also be made of the contribution of Kate Nielson, a Harvard who spent nearly a year with us and became a fully-fledged member of the Classification team over the past few months.

Discovery of Documents in Federal Courts

The ALRC delivered its Final Report, Managing Discovery: Discovery of Documents in Federal Courts (ALRC Report 115), to the Attorney-General on 31 March 2011. The Report can be viewed online, or downloaded in PDF, or purchased from the ALRC website.

The Report makes recommendations about, among other things: the production and inspection of documents prior to discovery; when parties should file discovery plans; best-practice guidelines on the formation and content of discovery plans; judicial and practitioner training; the role of registrars and referees; costs orders; pre-trial oral examinations; and data collection.