Justice in the regions
For many of us, the blocks around William Street are the centre of our work universe. This week, I’d like to share some news about activities in one of our regional centres.
Geelong is home to a thriving legal community with more than 300 solicitors in the Geelong Law Association and Walsh Chambers based in the city.
The opening of the new legal year in Geelong was marked last week with a community-based celebration at Deakin University. ‘The law in our local community’ was the theme, and the Honourable Justice Michelle Quigley of the Supreme Court of Victoria, who has been instrumental in promoting justice in the community, reminded the audience that:
“Access to justice is not just about where the Courts and Tribunals are. It is also about what goes on inside those buildings: how our communities engage with the justice system and the effort made to improve engagement.”
There are some great initiatives in Geelong that are changing the way justice is accessed and served. These include a Magistrates’ Court pilot program for victims of family violence to give evidence by video link, Koori Court programs, a VCAT Fast Track Mediation and Hearing program to allow faster resolution of matters, and targeted community engagement programs to help explain how courts and tribunals work. These initiatives, the Honourable Justice noted, demonstrate the commitment to improving and facilitating access to justice that is fundamental to a modern civilised society and a well-functioning democracy. We’d like to acknowledge the work of the many members of our Bar who work or appear in Geelong and who are helping the administration of justice in this important regional centre.
The celebrations in Geelong included a Welcome to Country and didgeridoo performance by traditional Wadawurrung People, Nikki McKenzie and Norm Stanley. Together with the Honourable Justice Michelle Quigley, speakers included Aaron Jolly, President of the Geelong Law Association, Professor Iain Martin, Vice Chancellor of Deakin University, and Dr Ian Freckelton QC from the Victorian Bar. More than 130 people attended, including community leaders, students, local legal practitioners, and representatives of the courts and tribunals and the Victorian Bar.
You can read Justice Quigley’s speech at the following link: https://www.supremecourt.vic.gov.au/about-the-court/speeches/opening-of-the-geelong-legal-year-2020
Left to Right: Dr Ian Freckelton QC, His Honour Judge Gerard Mullaly, His Honour Judge Philip Misso, Magistrate Ann McGarvie, Supreme Court Justice Michelle Quigley and Prof. Iain Martin, Vice Chancellor of Deakin University
Congratulate your in-house colleagues
The finalists in the forthcoming Lawyers Weekly Corporate Counsel Summit have been announced. If you’d like to congratulate a colleague or a client, the finalists are published here: https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/corporate-counsel-summit/winners/2020-winners-and-finalists.
Winners will be announced at the award ceremony in Sydney on 20 March.