The current inquiries in February 2011 are:
- Discovery of documents in Federal Courts
- Family violence and Commonwealth laws
Discovery of documents in Federal Courts
The Consultation Paper, Discovery in Federal Courts (CP 2), was launched in Melbourne on 17 November 2010 with a public seminar at which a panel of experts discussed the ethical issues canvassed in the Consultation Paper, including whether discovery was deliberately abused by lawyers and parties involved in federal litigation, and if so, how could this be avoided. The discussion was moderated by Professor Camille Cameron and Associate Professor Christine Parker (Melbourne Law School). The panel included:
- Prof. Rosalind Croucher (ALRC President)
- The Hon Justice Ray Finkelstein (Federal Court of Australia)
- Georgina Hayden (ASIC)
- Sue Laver (Telstra)
- Bernard Murphy (Maurice Blackburn Pty Limited)
- Stuart Clark (Clayton Utz)
- Michael D. Wyles SC
An account of the seminar and some of the issues discussed was provided on the Discovery blog: “Should professional conduct rules be amended to include specific legal ethical obligations concerning discovery?“
In Sydney, a round-table discussion was held in the Federal Court’s No.1 Courtroom. The discussion was moderated by ALRC President Rosalind Croucher and introduced by Chief Justice Patrick Keane of the Federal Court of Australia. Other participants at the table included:
- The Hon Justice Peter Jacobson, Federal Court of Australia
- Rebecca Gilsenan, Principal, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, and
- Stuart Clark, Partner, Clayton Utz.
Members of the audience also contributed to the discussion, including part-time ALRC Commissioner the Hon Justice Arthur Emmett and the Hon Andrew Rogers QC.
The closing date for submissions was 19 January 2011. Twenty-nine submissions were received, from law firms, law societies, barristers, bar associations, public interest advocates, Australian Government departments, the Family Court of Australia, and legal academics. Non-confidential submissions can be viewed on the ALRC website.
The Discovery Team continues to consider the direction of final recommendations in this Inquiry. The ALRC is due to report to the Attorney-General by 31 March 2011.
Family violence and Commonwealth laws
The Inquiry team has released a series of four Issues Papers covering the treatment of family violence in:
- immigration law;
- employment and superannuation law;
- child support and family assistance law; and
- social security law.
These Issues Papers are intended to encourage informed community participation in the Inquiry by providing some background information and highlighting the issues identified by the ALRC as relevant to the Inquiry.
The Issues Papers will be followed by the publication of a Discussion Paper in mid-2011. The Final Report is due on 30 November 2011.
If you wish to receive regular updates specifically about this Inquiry, please subscribe to Family violence and Commonwealth laws e-news.
We’d like to thank interns Kyrren Konstantinidis, Stacey McEvoy, Katie Batty and Catherine Farrell for their assistance.