: DUAO - Vol 39(2)

DUAO - 2014 - Vol 39(2)

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Developments around the country

DownUnderAllOver is a round-up of legal news from both State and federal jurisdictions, and contains topical articles and short pieces from Alternative Law Journal committees around the country.

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Sentenced to a job scheme

Sue Erickson
Northern Territory

The Sentenced to a Job scheme — an initiative of the Country Liberal government — commenced in the Northern Territory last year as part of an overall reform of the prison system. The government is calling on local businesses to employ low-security prisoners and those businesses are eligible for grants to support the scheme. The government encourages local businesses that specialise in food services, laundry, horticulture, mechanical, textiles, upholstery, metal fabrication, number plate production, screen printing, furniture products, construction, maintenance, and packaging and assembly to recruit prisoners while they are serving their sentence. Prisoners who may participate in the scheme are assessed by the Department of Correctional Services and are generally within the last 12 months of their sentence of imprisonment.

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 140

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Increased fines for summary offences

Elyse Methven
New South Wales

The NSW government has dramatically increased penalty notice amounts for a number of summary offences, contrary to recommendations of the NSW Law Reform Commission. The fine increases are part of the NSW government’s ‘Alcohol and drug-fuelled violence initiatives’ introduced this year in response to so-called ‘one-punch’ attacks involving intoxication.

From 31 March 2014, NSW police have the power to issue penalty notice for the following crimes:

  • $500 for offensive language in a public place (previously $150);
  • $500 for offensive conduct in a public place (previously $200); and
  • $1100 for the continuation of intoxicated and disorderly behaviour following a move-on direction (previously $200).
(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 140

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Pilot Central Criminal Listing period

Skye Masters
ACT

Over a seven week period from February to April 2014, the ACT held its Pilot Central Criminal Listing period. This period was an initiative of the recently appointed Chief Justice, Helen Murrell; replacing the docket system that was formerly in place and condensing a high number of trials into the seven-week period. Based on the statistical likelihood of matters ending in a plea before the trial, trials are ‘over-listed’, with the matters not ending in a plea being allocated to judges at a weekly callover. The practical effect of this is that individual judges have less case management of the trials they ultimately preside over, but trials are likely to be heard in a more timely manner.

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 139

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Solicitor’s certificate of reasonable prospects: not just a tick in the box

Elizabeth Lee
ACT

Although it’s been in operation for more than a decade, there has been no test before ACT courts as to the circumstances in which solicitors may be personally required to pay costs pursuant to s 189(1) of the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act 2002 (ACT) (‘the Act’) for certifying reasonable prospects of success on unmeritorious claims.

(2014) 39(1) AltLJ 139

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Indigenous Law Centre vows to continue despite funding cut

Rebecca Gallegos
Federal

The Indigenous Law Centre (‘ILC’) based at UNSW is calling on the community for support following the federal government’s decision to discontinue its funding.

The ILC — which publishes the Indigenous Law Bulletin (‘ILB’) and the Australian Indigenous Law Review (‘AILR’) — is the only Indigenous law research centre in Australia. It has been in continuous operation since 1981 and, until now, has received funding from successive Australian governments.

(2014) 39(2) AltLJ 139

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