Queensland Law Society

President’s Update

Christine Smyth

Tonight Queensland Law Society will present the third lecture in the 2017 Modern Advocate Lecture Series, and we have the honour of welcoming Justice Applegarth of the Supreme Court of Queensland, who will speak about ‘Issue Framing in Oral and Written Submissions’, a subject of importance to all advocates.

I very am pleased to note that, once again, we have a full house – and we will also live-stream the lecture on Facebook, ensuring that those who could not attend tonight can still view the presentation. The ongoing success of this series and the support it has received is great to see; the series was envisaged as a way of increasing collegiality in the ranks of the legal profession, and I feel that important gains are being made in that regard.

I am of course grateful to Justice Applegarth and the past speakers who have given freely of their time in this cause. I could ask for no better example of the collegiality the Society is seeking through these lectures, than the willingness of such esteemed speakers to participate.

Late last week I was delighted to learn that a significant multinational company has expressed very strong interest in our QLS Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

Apparently they read about our RAP in Proctor and, after looking at a number of different RAPs, were particularly impressed by what we have been able to achieve, to the extent that we will be meeting with representatives of the company next week to explain how we were able to create our RAP and perhaps assist them in developing their own.

We have also had contact with a number of law firms and other organisations with an interest in the RAP process and will be continuing to provide them with information and assistance.

The multinational company has thousands of employees in Australia, many of them in Queensland, and it is a tribute to the hard work put in by members our RAP Working Group that the result is now attracting this kind of attention.

Speaking of the RAP, its launch in July was a significant and well-executed event, and I am pleased to advise that you can now view highlights of the launch online, as well as read more about our RAP initiatives.

The current big issue of the moment is, of course, marriage equality, and we considered the question of whether we should not just make a comment on this topic but formulate a policy position.

We are the representative body for some 12,000 solicitors and, after consultation, Council took the view that forming a policy position through consultation was important.

Accordingly, a policy was developed through a number of committees which have a nexus with the law related to this matter.

As an organisation that stands for good law and good lawyers for the public good, it was critical that this policy was based on law rather than emotion. Our policy appropriately reflects the Society’s commitment to good law, and good law does not discriminate on innate qualities.

Our policy position is that the discrimination currently facing same-sex couples in the federal legislation constitutes a breach of fundamental legal principles which requires rectification through legislative amendment.

Australia is a land of many cultures, backgrounds and beliefs, and it is our duty as solicitors to foster and work for the good of the community as a whole.

You can read more in our media release and our policy position.

Last week I mentioned the 25 and 50-year pin presentations on the Wednesday night, which was a convivial and enjoyable event. It was pleasing to see The Courier-Mail congratulate our ‘Ocean’s 75’ team on their contribution to the profession. View some pictures from the evening.

Last Friday night I attended the annual Bar Association of Queensland dinner at which the standout was the witty and informative address by Justice Brown of the Supreme Court.

A word of advice from Justice Brown for advocates was that, that which does not annoy pleases! đŸ˜‰

Christine Smyth

QLS president