The Family Violence Protection Amendment (Information Sharing) Act 2017 (Vic)(‘the Act’) was assented this year (2017) in June, and is part of a state-wide effort to address the issue of domestic violence through the implementation of an information sharing scheme. The Act aims to address the culture of reluctance in reporting and sharing information about perpetrators, with special regard to the issue of balancing the perpetrator’s right to privacy and the victim’s right to safety. In a, Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings noted:
Legal action against H.J. Heinz Company Australia Ltd (Heinz) commenced on Monday 24 July 2017, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) alleging the "Little Kids Shredz" range misleads the public about the nutritional content of the product. The Federal Court has heard that the food for toddlers, marketed as being made almost entirely from fruit and vegetables contains so much sugar it should be deemed confectionery by experts.
Last week (21 July 2017), the final report from the Ministerial Advisory Panel on Voluntary Assisted Dying was delivered in Victoria detailing the Panel's recommendations for a safe and compassionate voluntary assisted dying framework for Victoria.
The NSW Department of Justice has issued a consultation paper for issues raised by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse about civil litigation reform. The consultation paper deals with three major issues: expanding the duties of institutions to prevent child abuse; ensuring that survivors can easily identify a proper defendant to civil claims; and requiring institutions to have insurance cover for child abuse. Public submission on issues raised in the consultation paper are open until 5pm on 4 September 2017.
Former high profile criminal lawyer, Timothy Meehan, has been sentenced to five and a half years imprisonment for nine fraud offences committed at his former law firm. Mr. Meehan was sentenced after pleading guilty to a scheme to dodge bankruptcy and tax payments by taking client payments in cash amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In the case of Mahajan v Burgess Rawson & Associates Pty Ltd  FCCA 1560 (6 July 2017), the Federal Circuit Court (Melbourne) has decided a commercial real estate firm unlawfully dismissed an administrative assistant in the last week of her probation period because she was pregnant and took leave days to deal with illness, despite the company arguing work performance issues led to the dismissal.
The Attorney-General’s Department has released an exposure draft of a Bill that would prevent the cross-examination of family and domestic violence victims by their perpetrators during the course of family law proceedings. The draft Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties) Bill 2017 (Cth) ("the draft Bill") and an associated consultation paper are currently open for public comment, with submissions to close on Friday, 25 August 2017.
On 17 July 2017 by Media Release the Australian Law Reform Commission (the ALRC) announced the release of a Discussion Paper dealing with the "Incarceration Rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples" (the paper is DP 84 and is available). The ALRC is calling for comments and feedback on its questions raised in the discussion paper and its law reform proposals.
In mid-June 2017, the Victorian Government saw the appointment of Douglas Trapnell QC as a judge of the County Court of Victoria as well as the appointments of barrister Mark Gibson and Catherine Parkes as Crown Prosecutors. The Victorian Director of Public Prosecution John Champion S.C. described the appointments as ‘welcomed.’
A recent report by the Tasmania Law Reform Institute has outlined the need for review of the dangerous prisoner regime, which is encapsulated in the Sentencing Act 1997 (Tas) ('the Act'). The dangerous prisoners regime allows the court to declare an offender as such, and therefore allows for indefinite sentencing until the classification is disharged. The key finding of the report is that the flaws in the current regime are causing courts to err on the side of caution, and under-utilising it. The report compares the Tasmanian legislation with similar laws in Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory and South Australia. The author of the report,:
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