In this issue:
- President's column
- Executive Director's report
- Upcoming AIJA Conference
- Recent AIJA publications
- Membership renewal
Our two transitions between executive directors and from Melbourne to Sydney have been somewhat more eventful than any of us could have anticipated due to the intervening impact of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects. All four of our permanent staff in Melbourne, Greg Reinhardt AM, our retiring executive director, Liz Richardson, our IFCE coordinator, Liz Porter, our media officer and Mary Young, our librarian, ceased employment on 31 March 2020.
Laurie Glanfield AM, our Deputy President, ensured that our Melbourne office was closed down and all the necessary or historical documentation, files and library collection were boxed and sent to our new office at Level 12 in the Law Society building at 170 Phillip Street, Sydney. The new office phone number is (02) 8099 2611. The board had hoped to hold the June AIJA Council meeting there with all of us in person and to host a dinner to farewell and thank Greg Reinhardt AM for his service, but this is not yet possible. The council’s June 2020 meeting was postponed and held using Microsoft Teams on 11 July 2020.
Our new Executive Director
Alison MacDonald, our new executive director whose first report is also in this newsletter, has been working since 4 May 2020 under difficult circumstances. I am pleased to say that she has been able to settle in well and to familiarise herself with the array of our activities. Alison has worked closely and effectively with the board, committees and in particular Laurie Glanfield, Justice Malcolm Blue and me, in establishing herself and the new office. Our Monash University student, Zak Gaddie, has now completed his degree but continues to work as a casual to assist Alison as she settles in during the forced isolation caused by public health orders. Alison has now employed two more part-time staff; Patrick Magee, another university student who will assist in managing the AIJA’s research projects and ICCE secretariat, and Josephine Porritt as an administrative assistant.
Strategic planning day
The board was planning that our October 2020 council meeting could be held in-person so that we could undertake an all-day strategic planning exercise to set a path for the future of the Institute. This will require each council member to think about the goals, purposes and direction of the AIJA and how it should proceed to achieve them.
The AIJA needs to define itself and identify to our members and stakeholders the important contributions we can, and want to, make to the administration of justice.
This is a time for reflection and renewal for the Institute. Alison will work with Darrin Moy, the Executive Director People, Culture and Communications of the Federal Court of Australia’s administrative entity, to prepare for the strategy day. Darrin has generously offered his services pro bono because of the potential and value that he sees the AIJA as offering. I hope that each member of council will be able to offer concrete visions, that Darrin will use his facilitative skills to enable us collectively to cohere into a way forward.
At its meeting on 4 August 2020 the board, faced with recent developments in the pandemic, concluded that it would be unlikely that any in-person council meeting could be held this year. We are exploring if, and how, we can pursue holding a strategy development session or sessions with audio visual technology.
Online conference – “Providing Justice in a Viral World: Where to from here?”
The board asked the Education Committee to organise an online conference as to how courts, tribunals and the legal profession have addressed operating under the public health constraints imposed by governments to deal with the global pandemic. Justice Julie Ward and her committee, with Alison’s assistance, have put together a really interesting program.
This virtual conference (see below) will occur in five sessions at 5:30pm to 7:00pm on Wednesdays beginning on 26 August 2020. This will be our first collaboration with the Law Society of New South Wales. The Law Society has devoted very significant resources to help host and market the virtual conference. There will also be a special (sixth) session on 9 September 2020 for government lawyers only.
I hope all of you will be able, virtually, to attend the conference or one or more sessions. There is, of course, a discounted rate for members. The board thought that this is a way that the AIJA should be responding to educate and inform our stakeholders on a core practical matter relating to the administration of justice.
Guide to Judicial conduct – potential revision
In light of the response of the High Court of Australia to the findings of the administrative inquiry that it arranged into claims of sexual harassment of Justices’ associates by a Justice of that Court, I raised with Chief Justice Kiefel AC whether the Guide to Judicial Conduct (3rd ed.) should be revised to deal with such issues. The Chief Justice noted that the Council of Chief Justices will consider how to update the Guide at its October 2020 meeting. In the meantime, most courts and tribunals have updated their sexual harassment and workplace behaviours policies.
I would like to express sincere thanks to her Honour Judge Barbara Baker for her contribution to the AIJA Council during her tenure. With the retirement of Judge Baker from the Federal Circuit Court she gave notice of her retirement from the council and Judge Grant Riethmuller of the Federal Circuit Court has taken Judge Baker’s place. The council welcomed Judge Riethmuller at its July meeting.
Queen’s Birthday Honours 2020
We are delighted to acknowledge that two members of the council, the Honourable Justice Susan Kenny AM and the Honourable Justice Peter Applegarth AM, became Members of the Order of Australia in the last Honours list.
The board is deeply appreciative of the ongoing support of our members. I encourage all of you to feel free to raise with Alison, myself or any board or council member, any issues or suggestions you may have as to how the AIJA can continue to perform, or improve, the important role that it plays, including any matters you think relevant for the forthcoming council strategy day.
I hope all of you stay well in this difficult time.
Executive Director's Report
I have been in the role of Executive Director for three months and given the circumstances it has certainly been a unique experience.
There has been much to keep me busy in the establishment of the AIJA in Sydney, not just the physical premises, but many administrative changes as well.
I am very grateful to the Board and in particular Deputy President Laurie Glanfield, for advice, guidance and time given to me as I settle into the new role. Laurie well and truly held the fort, with support from Zak Gaddie, in the period between Greg Reinhardt’s retirement and my commencement.
I have been involved in several meetings of all the AIJA standing committees, the AIJA Board, and the Council meeting which was held by Microsoft Teams in July. I look forward to the time when I can meet people in person.
In his column the President mentions the online conference series, “Providing Justice in a Viral World: Where to from here?” which the AIJA is delivering in conjunction with the Law Society of New South Wales. I believe this will be a very interesting and relevant offering with a compelling cast of speakers. This is a significant project and a successful collaboration between the AIJA and the Law Society. I have enjoyed working with the Law Society team and will be very interested to see the series as it is delivered.
I am very keen to work with the Council on the strategy review and to seeing the outcomes of that review. I am eager to hear views on the future of the AIJA and how best to meet its goals and provide value to its members. I have certainly been giving consideration to those issues since I started and will enjoy the discussion. Having worked in professional associations for over twenty years, I know how critical it is to provide valued member benefits, both tangible and intangible.
The President also referred to the recent recruitment of part-time staff which has been a very positive next step. I said in my recent three-month review that I was looking forward to building and developing a team of people with complementary skills and experience to deliver on the AIJA’s objectives. I want to foster a workplace culture which is encouraging, supportive and open in its communication so that we may provide our absolute best.
I look forward to opportunities to meet more of our members and I welcome your feedback and ideas.
Upcoming AIJA Online Conference Series - Providing Justice in a Viral World: Where to from here?
In mid-March 2020 Australia and New Zealand began going into lockdown. The courts, however, could not. The change to remote, audio-visual hearings of all cases has been a technological, psychological and personal challenge for everyone involved in legal proceedings. It has had to ensure that the new medium for hearings conforms with the principle of open justice. As we look to the other side, what does the future hold for justice in a viral world?
Join us in partnership with the Law Society of New South Wales, for five online sessions Wednesdays from 26 August 2020 - 30 September 2020 as we explore how everyone has adapted, how we have been affected both professionally and emotionally, what we can do better and what changes will come out of this in the long term.
The conference will run as webcasts on the following dates, from 5.00pm to 7.00pm:
- Wednesday 26 August 2020 - What have we learnt that can improve the use of technology for court and tribunal hearings?
- Wednesday 2 September 2020 - The different sociological and neurological impacts of virtual or online courts
- Wednesday 16 September 2020 - Moving Court Hearings Online: The benefits, challenges and lessons learned from those that provide and support the technology
- Wednesday 23 September 2020 - The impact of current restrictions on the principle of open justice and access to the courts and tribunals
- Wednesday 30 September 2020 - The future for the administration of justice
Click here to register, and use the code AIJAM2020# to claim the AIJA members' discount. We hope to see you there. Registrations can be purchased at rate of $99 per session (or $149 for non-members), or a conference pass including access to all five sessions can be purchased for $399 (or $699 for non-members). Each session also offers 1.5 CPD points.
2020 Update of the National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book
With the latest update now complete, the National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book marks its fifth year as an essential resource assisting judicial officers around Australia in their management of domestic and family violence related cases. The July 2020 edition includes 142 new case summaries (5 Cth, 12 ACT, 27 NSW, 7 NT, 23 Qld, 15 SA, 6 Tas, 37 Vic, 10 WA), 70 new articles (41 Australian and 29 International) and 13 new ‘Other Resources’ (8 Australian, 5 International) along with updated legislation. The resource includes a new section dealing with victims of domestic and family violence who are also perpetrators (or alleged perpetrators) of domestic and family violence or other offences (see section 4.4.15).
The July 2020 edition of the National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book can be accessed at: http://dfvbenchbook.aija.org.au/
Research - Perpetrator Interventions in Australia: A National Study of Judicial Views and Sentencing Practice for Domestic Violence Offenders
The project focused on perpetrator interventions that are available to courts to address DFV, namely:
- sentencing for DFV-related offences
- family violence intervention orders (FVIOs)
- perpetrator intervention programs, including voluntary or mandated behaviour change programs and other offender programs, case management and clinical services targeting DFV perpetrators.
Through looking at the role that judicial officers play in administering these three types of perpetrator interventions, the project aimed to support the development of judicial information and guidance to enhance the effective use of perpetrator interventions in Australian state and territory courts.
This report can be accessed and freely downloaded at https://www.anrows.org.au/project/the-views-of-australian-judicial-officers-on-domestic-and-family-violence-perpetrator-interventions/ and more information is available at https://www.monash.edu/arts/gender-and-family-violence/research-projects/perpetrator-interventions.
We would like to remind Members that membership subscription renewals are now due for 2020-2021. If you have not already renewed your membership for this year, please do so via our website, or by contacting the Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org to request your log in details or an invoice.
International Framework for Court Excellence
The International Consortium for Court Excellence is delighted to announce the publication of the third edition of the International Framework for Court Excellence, a copy of which may be found here, on the IFCE website. A special edition of the ICCE Newsletter, which explains the enhanced features of this revised edition of the Framework and the background to it is available here.
The ICCE is also pleased to announce an upcoming webinar about the Third Edition of the Framework, as well as the challenges courts have had to face during the COVID-19 pandemic. Courts have been required to rearrange their approach to dealing with all kinds of court matters with almost no notice and to rely on technology to deliver remote interactions between parties, witnesses and courts. Can the continuous improvement methodology of the Framework assist courts in adopting a more orderly and considered approach to changes in court procedures?
The webinar is scheduled for 23 September 2020, at 12:00 pm AEST. Registration and program will be available shortly.
Donate to Support AIJA Research
The Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration (AIJA) is an approved Research Institute for the purposes of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth). In addition to supporting our work, a donation to the Research Fund will facilitate research by the AIJA relating to judicial and court administration. Donations of $2 or more are tax-deductible for Australian tax payers: ABN: 13 063 150 739. Your support will be gratefully received and acknowledged.
Donations can be made on the AIJA website at https://aija.org.au/support-aija-research/.
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