Queensland Law Society

President's update

As we near the end of the year, we reflect on the year we’ve had and the achievements that have occurred thanks to you – the solicitors of Queensland. We appreciate the efforts of each and every one of our members, through their various dedication to the work of the Society and wider legal profession. In my final column for the year, I will share my appreciation more fulsomely.

Our most recent work includes the release of the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council’s (QSAC) final report on sentencing for criminal offences arising from the death of a child. We are pleased to have made a submission to the review, and are equally pleased that the Queensland Government has committed to adopting all eight recommendations from the report.

In our submission – which is available on the QLS and QSAC websites – we acknowledged the tragedy of any child losing their life, and the greater tragedy when that is at the hands of another. Our submission looked at the law from the perspective of the heartbreaking stories of human cruelty and frailty that our criminal courts face daily and the role of the court in applying the law fairly, independently, objectively and adequately. We thank our Criminal Law Committee, including our chair Kurt Fowler, and Legal Policy Manager Binny De Saram for their swift and comprehensive work on this submission.

On Tuesday, we attended a public hearing for the Human Rights Bill 2018. The proposal to introduce a Human Rights Bill for Queensland has been discussed for a long time with lawyers on both sides of the fence. The Society formed a working group to review the Bill, make relevant submissions and speak at the public hearing.

Prior to this, we had convened a working group in 2016, which had presented conflicting views at a Parliamentary Committee hearing on whether a new law was beneficial. We were pleased to see the Government considering all arguments and consulting with relevant stakeholders.

This time around, our working group came to the same conclusion – that Queensland lawyers were divided on the issue. As such, we focused our submission on the anticipated effect of the Bill.

Our working group raised issues around civil and political rights; rights to freedom from violence, abuse and neglect; right to adequate housing; economic, social and cultural rights; limitation of the bill and other concerns.

Read the full submission.

I thank our Human Rights Working Group for their efforts on this important piece of legislation.

Recently we wrote to the Chair of RACQ raising our concern about the way they have been portraying lawyers acting for injured motorists in their publications. We have invited them to discuss any concerns they may have with us so we can clarify any misunderstandings.

It has been a big year for our advocacy team, and I thank each and every committee and working group member, chair, deputy chair and our legal policy solicitors and support staff for their efforts in 2018 for good law in Queensland for the public good.

Ken Taylor, QLS President