Queensland Law Society

President's Update

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Yesterday’s State Budget brought us a number of good news items.

It was especially pleasing to see the Government’s commitment to fund the Southport specialist domestic violence court permanently and the announcement of new specialist courts for Townsville and Beenleigh. Our media release summed up my thoughts on why these will benefit Queenslanders.

The re-establishment of drug courts is also very welcome. With their focus on the addictions that cause offending, these are a positive step in diverting offenders away from the criminal justice system toward rehabilitation.

This edition of QLS Update has more details on the Budget items relevant to the legal profession in Queensland.

There was more good news earlier in the week with the announcement of the Queen’s Birthday Honours, and on behalf of all members I congratulate Chief Magistrate Ray Rinaudo AM, a former QLS president, who was recognised for his “significant service to the law and to the judiciary in Queensland, to legal ethics and professional standards, and to the community”.

All round, it was a good week with plenty of positivity on a number of fronts.

Attending last Friday’s QLS Gold Coast Symposium was a pleasure, and the privilege of opening the event gave me an opportunity to focus on the positives and urge attendees to celebrate our many successes.

I said: “All Queensland solicitors can be proud of these achievements, as we all contribute in some way, but never forget that the daily work you do is essential to a workable civilisation, regardless of your area of practice. Technology may be coming to change the way we work, and what we do at work, but it can’t change why we do it: because people need us to do it; because without us there is no rule of law; because without us, there is chaos.

“So take some time today to be proud of your profession, to celebrate the good we do, and be invigorated by our achievements. Keep these things in mind when the howling winds of criticism, and the torrents of derision buffet your resolve. We are a force for good, we serve and sustain the community, and it is OK to be proud of that.”

I also really enjoyed being able to indulge my passion for succession law by presenting an afternoon session on recent case law developments.

It may not set everyone’s world on fire, but I was very excited to learn this week that the Australian Electoral Commission will now automatically remove a deceased person from the electoral roll once they are notified by the local office of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

This is a significant step in reducing the sad process of notifications that occurs when someone has passed on.

My other activities this week included the usual round of media interviews and the more enjoyable activity of thanking a member of the judiciary on behalf of the solicitors of Queensland for their many years of service on the bench, in this case Magistrate Michael Hogan at the Southport Magistrates Court.

In closing, it is important to remember that the ethical principles which underpin the Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules 2012 embody the notions of professionalism, courtesy and collegiality. The profession is defined by our values of fidelity, service and courage. This requires respect and courtesy throughout the profession.

Christine Smyth

QLS president