Gender equality at the Bar: Latest report on equitable briefing
Earlier this month, the Law Council of Australia released its latest annual report on its Equitable Briefing Policy here. The Policy is designed to promote the advancement of women within the legal profession by encouraging all solicitors and entities to consciously increase the number of female barristers they brief. The Bar continues to be a particularly male-dominated sector of the Australian legal profession, with male barristers over the age of 60 outnumbering female barristers of all ages in NSW.
The Law Council of Australia’s Equitable Briefing Policy promotes an interim target for female barristers to receive at least 30 per cent of all briefs and at least 30 per cent of the value of all brief fees by 2020. Encouragingly, the latest annual report indicates that women received 27 per cent of all briefs during the 2018-19 reporting period and projects that the 2020 target will be surpassed within the 2019-20 reporting period.
Less encouragingly, the report indicates that female barristers continue to receive a disproportionately lower share in the value of all brief fees. Despite receiving 27 per cent of all briefs in 2018-19, female barristers received only 20 per cent of all fees, indicating that male barristers receive 2.7 times the number of briefs than women but are paid four times as much.
Nevertheless, progress continues to be made under the Equitable Briefing Policy, which has been adopted by 443 entities since 2016.
The NSW Government’s own Equitable Briefing Policy is modelled on the Law Council’s Equitable Briefing Policy and applies to all NSW Government sector agencies, which must make reasonable efforts to brief women senior and junior barristers, with aspirational targets (20 per cent senior and 30 per cent junior) for the percentage of briefs issued and percentage of fees paid within each rank.
The last reported data in NSW is from the 2018/2019 year, with statistics from the NSW Government Equitable Briefing Report 2018-2019 Financial Year indicating that NSW government agencies are exceeding the aspirational targets in the Equitable Briefing Policy. In the 2018/2019 financial year, 33 per cent of NSW government agency Senior Counsel briefs were to female Senior Counsel, and 32 per cent of the junior counsel briefs were to female junior counsel. Over the financial year, female junior counsel accounted for 30 per cent of the junior counsel fees, with female Senior Counsel accounting for 37 per cent of the Senior Counsel fees. Female barrister briefs made up 32 per cent of the total briefings, while only holding 23 per cent representation at the Bar. Data for the most recent reporting period is expected soon.
Authors: Christine Jones, Rebecca Weakley & Clare Giugni
NSW Parliament passes reform boosting protection for counsellors and support for victims
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Law reforms will encourage more victims of sexual or family violence to seek help
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Domestic violence training for community and religious leaders
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Law Council reports ‘welcome shift’ in equitable briefing
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National Cabinet meeting, 18 September 2020
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LSC: Regulation of litigation funding schemes
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New law council of Australia guidelines - Equitable briefing policy
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COVID-19: Information for attending court - 25 September 2020
The New South Wales Bar Association’s consolidated guide to COVID-19-related court arrangements has again been updated in terms of recent developments.
Amendment to UCPR forms 62, 64 and 66, and creation of UCPR form 164
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NSW IPC international day of democracy 15 September 2020
The Information and Privacy Commission NSW (IPC) supports International Day of Democracy on 15 September 2020. Learn more about International Day of Democracy here and see the Information and Privacy Commission’s information for NSW public sector agencies and citizens about COVID-19 here.
Fifth edition of “Sentence” now available
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ICAC: Public inquiry into allegations concerning former MP Daryl Maguire
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NCAT: Requesting support made easier with new NCAT form
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NCAT: Change to appeal panel callover days
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The fourth New South Wales Bar Association Professional Standards Scheme will remain in effect until 30 June 2025. You can learn more about the scheme here.
JUDCOM: Decisions reserved
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EFL v Secretary, Department of Education  NSWCATAD 239
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW — Freedom of information — Personal information
Choi v University of Technology Sydney  NSWCATAD 238
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (Access to Information) s110 Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 - restraint order of unmeritorious access application - application seeking leave to make a Government information public access application where restraint is in place
Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning v Zonnevylle  NSWCA 232
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW — administrative tribunals – scope of authority of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to dismiss proceedings as vexatious – where respondent sought review of a decision determining his application for access to information held by a government agency – where respondent persisted in allegations of misconduct against officers of the agency after those allegations had been dismissed by the Tribunal – relevance of history of making similar allegations in other proceedings – where Tribunal’s decision dismissing proceedings as vexatious overturned by Appeal Panel – whether Appeal Panel erred in regarding persistence in claims that were bad in law as being outside the scope of the collateral purpose principle – whether Appeal Panel erred in declining to have regard to previous litigation brought by the respondent
Griffin v Sydney Trains  NSWCATAD 234
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - Government Information (Public Access) – whether disclosure of government information could reasonably be expected to endanger or prejudice any system or procedure for protecting the safety of any person - whether disclosure of government information could reasonably be expected to endanger or prejudice the security of or any system or procedure for protecting any place, property or vehicle - whether disclosure of government information could reasonably be expected to facilitate the commission of a criminal act – clauses 2 (d), (e) and (f) of the s14 GIPA Act Table – no conditions to be imposed by the Respondent on the use or further disclosure of the information – balancing of public interest considerations for and against disclosure
O’Keefe v Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages  NSWCATAD 233
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – registration of birth – whether Registrar should correct the Applicant’s date of birth as recorded in the Register – Applicant born in the early hours of the morning – incorrect date provided for entry into the Register
Pearson v Nepean Blue Mountains Health District  NSWSC 1278
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Judicial review – Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW) r 49.19 – Review of Registrar’s decision not to transfer proceedings from the District Court to Supreme Court
EIO v Central Coast Council  NSWCATAD 230
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Freedom of information – consultation with third parties – risk of harm, serious harassment or serious intimidation
DTN v Commissioner of Police (No 2)  NSWCATAD 227
ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW – health information – review of conduct of agency admitted to be a contravention of Health Privacy Principle – ancillary order that the agency search its records and correct any documents containing incorrect information
Bills introduced – 23 September 2020
Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Amendment (Coercive Control—Preethi’s Law) Bill 2020
Government Sector Employment Amendment (Teleworking) Bill 2020
Liquor Amendment (Right to Play Music) Bill 2020
Bills revised following amendment in Committee
Liquor Amendment (24-hour Economy) Bill 2020
Stronger Communities Legislation Amendment (Courts and Civil) Bill 2020
Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament – 23 September 2020
Stronger Communities Legislation Amendment (Courts and Civil) Bill 2020
Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
Constitution (COVID-19 Emergency Measures) Amendment (Prescribed Period) Regulation 2020 (2020-550) — published LW 18 September 2020
Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (COVID-19 Prescribed Period) Regulation 2020 (2020-551) — published LW 18 September 2020
Interpretation (COVID-19) Regulation 2020 (2020-553) — published LW 18 September 2020
Local Government (General) Amendment (COVID-19) Regulation (No 3) 2020 (2020-554) — published LW 18 September 2020
Photo Card Amendment (Digital Photo Cards) Regulation 2020 (2020-559) — published LW 18 September 2020
Stronger Communities Legislation Amendment (COVID-19) Regulation 2020 (2020-562) — published LW 18 September 2020
Government – 18 September 2020
Stronger Communities Legislation Amendment (Crimes) Bill 2020
Crimes Amendment (Assault of Emergency Services Workers—3 Strikes Sentencing) Bill 2020
Dividing Fences Amendment Bill 2020
Public Works and Procurement Amendment (Workers Compensation Nominal Insurer) Bill 2020
Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament – 18 September 2020
Adoption Legislation Amendment (Integrated Birth Certificates) Bill 2020
Police Amendment (Promotions) Bill 2020
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.