Judicial inquiry into hotel quarantine program
Premier Daniel Andrews announced that The Honourable Jennifer Coate AO will head the inquiry, which will examine the operation of Victoria’s hotel quarantine program for returning travellers (02 July 2020). More...
Victoria Police officer convicted following IBAC investigation Operation Ithaca
A former Victoria Police Sergeant, Robert Beckingham, was convicted and sentenced at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court to a $7,500 fine after pleading guilty to a charge of unauthorised access to police information contained on the LEAP database that related to nine different persons (01 July 2020). More...
Victorian workplace manslaughter laws now in effect
Workplace manslaughter is now a criminal offence in Victoria with tough new laws introduced by the Victorian Government coming into effect. Negligent employers now face fines of up to $16.5 million and individuals face up to 25 years in jail (01 July 2020). More...
Concerns re risk of heavy-handed policing in Melbourne hot spots
Extraordinary police measures being used to enforce lock downs in Melbourne virus hot spots must be measured and be culturally appropriate (01 July 2020). More...
OAIC to enforce privacy safeguards in new Consumer Data Right
Businesses offering services under the Consumer Data Right which starts are required to meet strict privacy and security obligations so consumers can share their data with confidence (01 July 2020). More...
$2 billion partnership to deliver legal assistance services for Australians
A new partnership between the Commonwealth and states and territories will provide a significant boost to legal services available to vulnerable Australians, including people affected by domestic violence (30 June 2020). More...
New Victorian Public Sector Commissioner
Adam Fennessy has been named as the new Victorian Public Sector Commissioner. Minister for Government Services Danny Pearson announced Mr Fennessy’s appointment to the role. As Commissioner, Mr Fennessy will be responsible for driving excellence in policy, service and administration across the public sector and will work to maintain the sector’s professionalism and integrity (30 June 2020). More...
70 per cent don’t trust govt on personal data
An international survey has found Australians are highly distrustful of government surveillance and data collection, especially in relation to COVID-19 (29 June 2020). More...
ACMA publishes news paper
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released a position paper outlining its expectations for a voluntary code of practice on fake news and real news quality to be developed by digital platforms (29 June 2020). More...
Cyber security guide for Windows systems
The Australian Cyber Security Centre has produced updated guidance to help information technology managers securely configure their workstations and similar devices running Microsoft Windows operating systems (25 June 2020). More...
Audits test agencies’ fraud controls
The Auditor-General has produced his latest edition of Audit Insights, outlining key messages from a series of performance audits which examined the effectiveness of fraud control arrangements in three Australian Public Service Departments (25 June 2020). More...
Reappointment of the Registrar of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Ms Sian Leathem has been reappointed as the Registrar of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a further two year term to 6 April 2022 (26 June 2020). More...
ACCC reports investment scams on the rise
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released its annual Targeting Scams report, revealing scammers don’t discriminate and are targeting a range of different communities (25 June 2020). More...
IBAC and Ombudsman to collaborate on investigation into allegations of branch stacking, misconduct and other matters
Victoria's integrity agencies, the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission and the Victorian Ombudsman will pool their expertise to investigate alleged serious misconduct and corruption involving Victorian public officers (19 June 2020). More...
New appointment to the Victorian Law Reform Commission
The Victorian Government has announced the appointment of the Hon. Jennifer Coate AO, who brings to the Commission 35 years of experience across five court jurisdictions. It also announced the reappointment of Gemma Varley PSM (19 June 2020). More...
New laws to improve access to justice pass Parliament
Changes to improve access to justice and make it easier to bring class actions for silicosis, wage theft and other forms of wrongdoing are now law, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government. The Justice Legislation Miscellaneous Amendments Act 2019 paves the way for class actions – including cases of silicosis and wage theft (19 June 2020). More...
IBAC confirms Operation Fortescue
IBAC confirmed that it is investigating serious allegations of corrupt conduct. IBAC's Operation Fortescue will examine a range of matters concerning allegations of ‘branch stacking’, and other matters aired recently in media reports, and other related complaints made to IBAC (17 June 2020). More...
Federal Parliament to be cancelled amid growing interstate COVID-19 outbreaks
The next sitting of Federal Parliament will be cancelled because of the risk of coronavirus transmission as cases rise in NSW and Victoria. Parliament was going to sit for a fortnight from August 4 but the next sitting week, in which the government can pass legislation and the opposition can scrutinise its agenda, will now be from August 24 (18 July 2020). More...
Open Government takes another step
The next round of consultation to develop a third Open Government National Action Plan 2020-2022 has been announced by the Open Go. OGPAU said it had now moved into the drafting and deliberation phase and was seeking comments from stakeholders and community members. The Action Plan can be accessed at this PS News link and comments can be made on the OGPAU website at this link (16 July 2020). More...
Health makes marks with mask sheet
The Department of Health has released a factsheet explaining when people should wear a facemask to protect themselves and the community from COVID-19. The Department’s factsheet also provides guidance on how to wear a mask properly, including sanitising hands before touching the mask and putting it on. The one-page fact sheet can be accessed at this PS News link (13 July 2020). More...
Victoria's TAFE struggles as government says do more with less
As Canberra turns to the training sector to help restore economic growth, the Victorian auditor-general has revealed financial pressures in the state's TAFE system are so great the department of education and training has been required to provide assurances TAFE institutes can continue as "going concerns" (13 July 2020). More...
OAIC COVID-19 advice and guidance
We have developed advice and guidance on privacy and freedom of information in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak for individuals, Australian Government agencies and organisations covered by the Privacy Act 1988 (30 June 2020). More...
ACMA position paper: Misinformation and news quality on digital platforms in Australia
A position paper to guide code development—includes a model code framework for consideration, including objectives and outcomes to be achieved for the benefit of Australian users of digital platforms. The ACMA anticipates to have in place a single, industry-wide code by December 2020. The position paper, Misinformation and news quality on digital platforms in Australia - A position paper to guide code development has been published on the ACMA website.
Annual Federal Courts and Tribunals fee increases from 1 July 2020 - amended notice
The Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department has advised that, due to a number of small errors identified in the Annual Federal Courts and Tribunals Fee Increases Gazette Notice published on 9 June 2020, an amended notice has been published in the Government Notices Gazette on 29 June 2020 setting out the new fees payable from 1 July 2020. More...
High Court of Australia
High Court of Australia Bulletin  HCAB 04 (17 June 2020). More...
Current APH Inquiries and Consultations
Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee
Native Title Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 [Provisions]
Intelligence and Security Legislation Amendment (Implementing Independent Intelligence Review) Bill 2020
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security is calling for submissions on the Intelligence and Security Legislation Amendment (Implementing Independent Intelligence Review) Bill 2020. Further information on the bill can be found here. On 23 March 2020 the Senate extended the committee’s reporting date to 14 October 2020.
Australian Bushfires Disaster Emergency Declaration — Understanding your privacy obligations
The Attorney-General has made the Privacy (Australian Bushfires Disaster) Emergency Declaration (No. 1) 2020 (the emergency declaration) under Part VIA of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act). The emergency declaration was made in response to bushfires in Australia resulting in death, injury and property damage occurring from August 2019 into 2020.The emergency declaration expires on 20 January 2021.
High Court of Australia
High Court of Australia Bulletin  HCAB 05 (10 July 2020). More...
Victoria Legal Aid: Changes to legal aid from 1 July 2020
Removing grants of aid for adults for legal assistance in personal safety intervention order matters
Introducing new duty lawyer guidelines for personal safety intervention order matters
Limiting eligibility for child protection grants of assistance to exclude spouses and domestic partners (with some exceptions) (23 June 2020). More...
Joint statement by the Heads of Jurisdiction of Victoria’s courts and tribunals
In a joint statement, the Heads of Jurisdiction of Victoria’s courts and tribunal committed to making sure that our courts and tribunal are safe, healthy and respectful workplaces. You can read the statement here (29 June 2020).
Fortnightly bulletin that summarises the latest legislation and cases for the Victorian jurisdiction, as well as High Court of Australia cases (fortnight ending 3 July 2020). More...
Legal Services Council – June newsletter
The Legal Services Council’s June Newsletter (Issue 2, 2020) is available to read here (03 July 2020).
Changes to VCAT's Planning & Environment Division
VCAT’s Planning and Environment Division underwent substantial amendments as of 1 July 2020 which will improve how cases are managed. They will improve both administration and management of cases with easier and more efficient outcomes for users.
A number of new application forms have been developed and the list of current Practice Notes has been reduced to six with two remaining notes revised. Information provision has been simplified where possible, with redundant Practice Notes information now more readily available in new fact sheets and on its website here.
Other amendments such as the revamped Short Cases List and amendments to Major Cases List will see further improvements in our ability to process, hear and determine cases more efficiently, leading to better outcomes for the Victorian community An overview of the reforms can be read here.
Parliament of Victoria: Inquiry into the Victorian Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic - Have your say
The Public Accounts and Estimates Committee is accepting submissions to its Inquiry into the Victorian Government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Submissions close on 31 July 2020. More...
Update on VCAT Hearings
From 18 May 2020, VCAT will be progressing currently listed matters using telephone or video conferencing where they can reasonably proceed. VCAT will contact parties to confirm whether their matter will progress on the listed date and by which technology. VCAT are still accepting all relevant matters and will contact you to discuss potential hearing dates. Visit our website for further information.
Value of fee and penalty units set for 2020-21
The Treasurer has set an annual rate increase for 2020-21 of 0.00 per cent. The values of a fee unit and a penalty unit or the next financial year commencing 1 July 2020 are: The value of a fee unit is $14.81; and the value of a penalty unit is $165.22. More...
COVID-19 resources weekly update
We understand that members are worried about the risks of COVID-19. Please see the new section on our member website designed to answer some questions you may have, point you to government information websites, and let you know what VicBar and BCL are doing to assist members. Below is a summary of relevant updates and resources that were made available to you during the past week:
10 July 2020, the Federal Court of Australia issued Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Update 26. The Honourable Chief Justice James Allsop reiterated that in-person hearings in Melbourne have been suspended. His Honour added that hearings in other registries will not be permitted to allow litigants, witnesses or legal representatives from Victoria to appear in-person. The update is available to read here.
15 July 2020, the Supreme Court of Victoria issued a new safety measure for Victoria’s court and tribunal buildings. Anyone in Victoria’s court or tribunal buildings will be expected to wear a face mask when moving around court buildings. The announcement is here. Further information on how to wear a face mask properly can be found on the DHHS website here.
New health and safety measures
15 July 2020 - Anyone in Victoria’s court or tribunal buildings will be expected to wear face masks when they are moving around in a court building.
Jury trials recommencement delayed
08 July 2020 - Statement from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Chief Judge of the County Court
Fortnightly bulletin that summarises the latest legislation and cases for the Victorian jurisdiction, as well as High Court of Australia cases
Law Library of Victoria Bulletin No 13 (fortnight ending 17 July 2020)
View the latest, and previous, versions of the Law Library of Victoria bulletin
Ombudsman's recommendations - third report
Victorian Ombudsman: 30 June 2020
The report revisits recommendations made between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2020. It reflects the significant progress made in many cases by agencies, and discusses instances where further work still needs to be done. More...
VAGO annual plan 2020-21
VAGO plays a key role in promoting confidence in the public sector. We conduct audits to ensure that public sector entities are transparent and accountable to the Victorian Parliament and the community (24 June 2020). More...
Referrals, assessments and approvals of controlled actions under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
ANAO: 25 June 2020
The objective of this audit was to assess the effectiveness of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s administration of referrals, assessments and approvals of controlled actions under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. More...
Procurement of strategic water entitlements
ANAO Report No 2 of 2020-21: 16 July 2020
The objective of the audit was to examine whether strategic water procurements by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment were conducted consistent with government policy, were supported by appropriate program design, were planned and executed appropriately, and achieved value for money. More...
The Big Apple Group Pty Ltd v Melbourne City Council  VSC 393
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal – consent orders dismissing claim and counterclaim – subsequent application to set aside consent orders – whether VCAT has jurisdiction to collaterally review the existence of the agreement on which consent orders were based – whether the existence of the agreement is a jurisdictional fact – whether VCAT has implied or inherent power to set aside orders – whether VCAT functus officio once consent orders made – whether VCAT orders have effect until set aside – Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 ss 93(1), 119 and 120. granting planning permits for licensed premises.
Kweifio-Okai v SPG Corporation Pty Ltd  VSC 386
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – VCAT – application for leave to appeal on questions of law – application seeking return of deposit for purchase of apartment and damages in tort for property damage – necessary parties not joined – no VCAT jurisdiction in tort claim – whether it was open to VCAT to summarily strike out the application – order that applicant pay respondents’ costs – whether costs order justified – whether applicant was denied procedural fairness – duty to assist self-represented litigant – Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 ss 75 and 109.
Maguire v Parks Victoria  VSCA 172
JUDICIAL REVIEW – standing - whether applicant had standing to challenge decision on basis of lack of public consultation – applicant asserted that he would participate in public consultation – whether interference with claimed amenity sufficient to support standing – absence of a special interest – standing not established – Australian Conservation Foundation v Commonwealth (1980) 146 CLR 493;  HCA 53, applied – leave to appeal refused.
WOTCH Inc v VicForests (No 4)  VSC 433
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE —– interim injunction – whether serious question to be tried – whether balance of convenience favours granting injunction —– timber harvesting of State forests – application of the precautionary principle – protection of threatened species following 2019/20 Victorian bushfires – Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Vic) – Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act 2004 (Vic) – Code of Practice for Timber Production 2014.
Gemcan Constructions Pty Ltd v Westbourne Grammar School  VSC 429
ARBITRATION – agreement to arbitrate – Arbitrator and rules to be nominated pursuant to item of schedule to agreement marked ‘Not Applicable’ – whether valid and binding agreement – Commercial Arbitration Act 2011 (Vic), s 10 (number of arbitrators), s 11(3) (court appointment in absence of agreement) and s 19 (determination of rules of procedure)
ARBITRATION – Commercial Arbitration Act 2011 (Vic), 11(3) – choice of senior or junior counsel as arbitrator – experience as arbitrator – fees of arbitrator – complexity of factual and legal issues in arbitration – balancing exercise – Senior counsel appointed.
Consumer and Other Acts Miscellaneous Amendments Bill 2020
Assembly 2nd reading 16 June 2020 - Makes a range of miscellaneous amendments to consumer legislation, including gambling licensing arrangements, residential tenancies reform, working with children checks, and the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal.
Crimes Amendment (Manslaughter and Related Offences) Act 2020 (Vic)
Increases the maximum penalty for these offences from 20 years to 25 years’ imprisonment.
Sections 1 to 27 of this Act came in by forced commencement 1 July 2020 s.2(2)
Act Number: 16/2020 Date of commencement: 1 July 2020
Justice Legislation Miscellaneous Amendments Act 2020 (Vic)
Sections 1 to 27 of this Act came in by forced commencement 1 July 2020 s.2
Act Number: 22/2020 Date of commencement: 1 July 2020
Justice Legislation Amendment (Access to Justice) Act 2018 (Vic)
Part 10 Division 5 (sections 67 to 71) of this Act came in by forced commencement 1 July 2020 s.2(5)
Act Number: 15/2018 Date of commencement: 1 July 2020
Sentencing Amendment (Emergency Worker Harm) Act 2020 (Vic)
Sections 1 to 6, 9 to 20 of this Act came in by forced commencement 1 July 2020 s.2(1)
Act Number: 23/2020 Date of commencement: 1 July 2020
Justice Legislation Miscellaneous Amendments Act 2020 (Vic)
Act Number: 22/2020 Date of assent: 30 June 2020
Sentencing Amendment (Emergency Worker Harm) Act 2020 (Vic)
Act Number: 23/2020 Date of assent: 30 June 2020
Wage Theft Act 2020 (Vic)
Act Number: 21/2020 Date of assent: 23 June 2020
No 70 Electronic Transactions (Victoria) Regulations 2020
7 July 2020 - Exemption for wills, codicils and other testamentary instruments and for personal service requirements
No 72 Local Government (Electoral) Regulations 2020
7 July 2020 - These Regulations are made under sections 325 and 326 of the Local Government Act 2020and section 29 of the City of Melbourne Act 2001
Victorian legislation can be accessed here.
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