Big change to Victorian class actions passed amid political warfare.
A major change to class action law in Victoria could make it easier to bring litigation against big corporations for wage theft and consumer harm. Hotly-contested laws passed by State Parliament will allow lawyers running class actions to charge contingency fees, enabling them to take a cut of multimillion-dollar class action settlements.
Contingency fees are said to increase access to justice because the scheme forces lawyers to bear the cost for plaintiffs if they lose. At the moment, lead plaintiffs are liable for defendant’s costs if they lose, meaning class actions are usually brought by lawyers on a “no-win, no-fee” basis with most plaintiffs forced to obtain insurance or the backing of a litigation funder. Read More
Here are the latest updates from Australia’s courts and legal bodies as the coronavirus pandemic continues
The majority of courts have resumed normal operations, although health and sanitation guidelines will be followed in courtrooms. The latest protocols are as follows. Read More
Amazon reveals plan to build huge robot warehouse in Western Sydney
Online retail giant Amazon is building one of the largest warehouses in Australia in its latest efforts to expand its operations in the country. Construction on the 200,000 square metre robotics fulfilment centre has already begun at Kemps Creek in Sydney’s west, close to the under-construction Western Sydney airport.
The advanced storage and distribution facility is expected to create 1,500 warehouse jobs, in addition to 700 jobs during its construction. Read More
Legal groups advocate to #RaiseTheAge
A coalition of legal and advocacy groups has launched a campaign calling for a major law change to prevent young children from spending time behind bars. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal, medical and human rights groups launched the #RaiseTheAge campaign to call on the Australian government to change the laws that are currently seeing children as young as 10 sent to prison for minor offences.
According to the advocacy groups, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were disproportionately impacted, accounting for 70 per cent of these younger children as a result of “differential treatment”. Read More
South Australia to reinstate title of QC
In an effort to offer greater flexibility to senior members of the legal sector, the South Australian government will reintroduce the Queen’s counsel title.
Since 2008, barristers in South Australia taking silk have been appointed with the title of senior counsel, after the then state government ceased the appointment of QCs, in line with other state and territory jurisdictions that had discontinued its use.
However, with jurisdictions such as Queensland and Victoria having already moved to reintroduce the QC title, South Australia Attorney-General Vickie Chapman will similarly bring back the title, a move she says has “strong support” from the legal profession in the Festival State. Read More
Becoming a cross-jurisdictional lawyer
While the future of Australia’s legal sector is, at present, uncertain, one thing is clear – the way legal professionals will work has changed drastically, writes Matthew Kay.
Prior to lockdown, the sector was in the midst of significant change, with law firms realising the benefits of implementing new technologies. Of Australia’s 50 largest law firms, half have now implemented a formalised innovation function according to Thomson Reuters’ “2019 Australia: State of the Legal Market” report, which looked at data across the whole of 2019.
And, following this year’s significant shake-up of the status quo, law firms are even more fixated on implementing technology that can aid with agility and remote working. Ensuring clients receive a seamless service amid lockdown has, for most, been priority number one. Read More