CPD: One Day Intensive (Alice Springs)

The Law Society Northern Territory presents a One Day Intensive on 7 March 2015 for Alice Springs practitioners. Registration details are pdfhere

CPD: Criminal Law in Practice

Legalwise is presenting a seminar with Jonathon Hunyor ("Mental Impairment and the Criminal Law: Fitness to Stand Trial and Criminal Responsibility") and David Morters ("Criminal Law: Recent Developments") in Darwin on 26 February 2015.  CLANT members can receive a 10% discount by enrolling with pdfthis Registration Form.

CPD: "Traps in Criminal Procedure"

As part of the NTBA Readers’ Course,  Professor Ross Martin QC is presenting a session in Darwin titled "Traps in Criminal Procedure" on 6 March 2015, to be repeated on 7 March 2015.  Registration details are pdfhere.


Bali conference to stay in Bali

For 30 years, CLANT has held its biennial conference in Bali, interrupted only once, in the months following the 2002 Bali bombings, when for reasons of security, the conference was moved to Port Douglas. We have scheduled the fifteenth Bali conference to be held at the Sanur Beach Hotel in Bali from 20 to 26 June 2015.

The recent spate of executions in Indonesia, with the threat of further judicially sanctioned killings has outraged the Australian and indeed the international legal community, and is of deep and acute concern to CLANT.  Some of our members and supporters have urged us to relocate the conference away from Indonesia, as a sign of that concern.  In response, the CLANT Committee has sought and received advice from our proposed conference speakers, our members and senior members of the legal community, including the judiciary, past CLANT Presidents, and CLANT Life Members. 

Passionately expressed, impeccably argued and widely divergent views have been expressed, but there is a very substantial majority (much more decisive than a vote of, say, 61 to 39) in favour of retaining the arranged venue, and accordingly we now confirm it.  We have had regard to, inter alia, the following considerations, distilled from the responses we have received, for which we are grateful:

  • CLANT members abhor and deplore capital punishment, wherever it is practiced
  • The issue of capital punishment in Indonesia is of particular current concern, because of the Executive’s recent decision to execute a large number of drug offenders on death row, including Australian offenders who have been represented by some of our own members
  • It is incumbent on CLANT to “send a message” that these executions are unacceptable to us
  • Changing the venue is unlikely to have any significant effect in influencing the Indonesian Government to change its policy
  • Moving the conference would give rise to a perception that CLANT parochially and unfairly places a higher value on the lives of Australian drug offenders than offenders from other countries
  • Moving the conference would unfairly single out Indonesia, one of many countries in  the region (including, it is to be noted, Australia) with an unsatisfactory human rights record  
  • Moving the conference now would be inconsistent with our long-standing commitment to maintaining the conference in Bali, over a period in which various Indonesian regimes have pursued policies with which CLANT members have strongly disagreed
  • Moving the conference from Bali would adversely effect the Balinese tourism industry
  • If we move the conference from Bali, a precedent will be set which may well result in us never returning
  • Holding the conference in Bali affords CLANT the opportunity to continue to engage with our colleagues in the Balinese and Indonesian legal community
  • Changing the venue would cause significant inconvenience and expense to CLANT members who have already made their travel arrangements, and to CLANT itself, which has already contracted with the conference venue

Many of the responses we have received urged us to include in the conference program a session dealing with the issue of capital punishment, featuring speakers from the Indonesian legal community. Although the organising committee is mindful that this would entail a risk of harmfully ruffling feathers, we are seriously considering amending the program as has been proposed.

The Fitzgeralds: Nominations Extended

A message from NT Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Sally Sievers:

I am pleased to be able to let you know that time to nominate yourself, an individual or organisation for the Inaugural NT Human Rights Awards has been extended until 6 November 2014.

We would love to receive nominations from a broad cross section of the Northern Territory community. Please take the time to nominate a friend, colleague or service.

Our website is up and running with an easy to complete electronic form, background on the Awards and why they are called The Fitzgeralds.

I am also pleased to announce that the third member of the Judging Panel joining myself and Judge Jenny Blokland is Professor Ned Aughterson, Head, School of Law at CDU.

We are looking forward to being flooded with your nominations.

CLANT AGM: 19 November 2014

CLANT members are hereby notified that in accordance with Clause 38 of the CLANT Inc. Constitution, the 2014 Annual General Meeting will be held at 5 pm on 19 November 2014 at the offices of the North Australia Aboriginal Justice Agency, 61 Smith Street, Darwin, NT.  The particulars and order of business will be:

  1. Presentation of audited statement of accounts and auditor’s report for 2013/14
  2. Committee report of the Association’s activities for 2013/14
  3. Special Resolution:   The Association’s Constitution be amended by inserting the following Clause 2A:

The assets and income of the Association shall be applied solely in furtherance of its above-mentioned objects and no portion shall be distributed directly or indirectly to the members of the Association except as bona fide compensation for services rendered or expenses incurred on behalf of the Association.

The audited statement of accounts will be made available for inspection by members not later than 5 November 2014, by being posted on the CLANT website.

Madeleine Rowley

The CLANT Financial Report 2013/14 is available pdfhere.

Symposium on summary criminal procedure

On 19 October 2014, CLANT President Russell Goldflam wrote to NT Attorney-General John Elferink as follows:

At the invitation of the Acting Director of Legal Policy in the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice, I attended the “Symposium” conducted on 8 October 2014 by Professor Hampel on summary criminal justice reform.

CLANT appreciates the opportunity to be invited to participate as a stakeholder in government’s consultations with the community regarding law reform, and we commend the Department for the professional and transparent manner in which it routinely conducts such consultations on a wide range of issues.

CLANT has been keenly and constructively involved in this particular issue, as follows:

    • I was a member of the Steering Committee convened by the Chief Magistrate to draft a Practice Direction incorporating key reforms to summary hearing procedure, and participated in intensive lengthy deliberations in January/February 2014 culminating in the promulgation on 11 March 2014 by the Chief Magistrate of PD No. 4 of 2014.
    • On 18 March 2014, CLANT notified its members of the Practice Direction via the CLANT website, here.
    • In response to an invitation for submissions issued by the Department on 16 April 2014, on 16 May 2014, CLANT made this submission.
    • On 23 May 2014, CLANT notified its members of its submission, via the CLANT website, here.
    • On various occasions since 23 May 2014, I have inquired with Departmental Policy Officers as to the progress of the matter, which has also been a topic of frequent discussion amongst CLANT members.

Following all of this, Professor Hampel’s Symposium was, I am obliged to say, a most disappointing event. 

Like innumerable other legal practitioners around Australia, I have directly benefitted from Professor Hampel’s outstanding work as an advocacy trainer, and I am personally indebted to him for his enthusiasm and skill in that field.  However, in my respectful view, this Symposium added no value to a law reform project in which we have now been engaged for the best part of a year.  The event took the form of a two hour admonitory lecture, in the course of which attendees were urged to change their culture and move with the times.  This may have been salutary advice to an audience of Victorian members of the Bar back in the 1990s, but it is my firm view that it served no useful purpose for contemporary practitioners in the Northern Territory. 

Regrettably (and surprisingly, given the promotion of this event as a “Symposium”), no significant time was allowed for questions or comments from the floor, and the responses given were brief and superficial. 

Several of the participants, including both defence counsel and prosecutors, subsequently expressed their frustration to me about the event, and I have been directed by the CLANT Committee to communicate this to you. I am informed that the associated event held the following evening was very poorly attended by members of the Bar, for whom it was specifically intended.

I refer you again to the issues we have addressed in detail in our submission noted above.  As we have previously stated, “CLANT supports the Bill's key aim of reforming the summary justice system to make it more efficient, in particular by having more cases settle, and at an earlier stage.”  Nevertheless, we have identified some serious impediments to successfully implementing these reforms, and it remains CLANT’s firm view that the draft Bill should not proceed in its current form.

Frank Vincent: the 2014 Austin Asche Oration

On 4 September 2014, Hon. Frank Vincent AO QC delivered the Austin Asche Oration in Darwin on the topic "Law and Order in a Rapidly Changing Society".

For those of you who missed this event, and by permission of the orator and the editor of the Northern Territory Law Journal (where in due course the Oration will appear), CLANT is now pleased to publish the Oration.

Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation Lecture: 23 October 2014

CLANT Patron the Hon. Justice Virginia Bell will deliver the ninth annual Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation Lecture, to be streamed live from Sydney to the Supreme Court, Darwin, on Thursday, 23 October 2014.  Following the launch by the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation of "Psychological Wellbeing: Best Practice Guidelines for the Legal Profession" earlier this year, Justice Bell will discuss the Best Practice Guidelines and their significance in driving change in the profession.

To attend, book here.

Alarmed but not Alert: "Daniel's Law"

CLANT has strongly criticised the announcement by NT Attorney-General John Elferink on 15 October 2014 of legislation to introduce a Northern Territory Sex Offender Public Website (NTSOPW).

CLANT's views are set out in "Alarmed but not Alert", an article for the Law Society journal Balance.

40 years on and going strong!

CLANT congratulates the publication by the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency of "Celebrating 40 Years of Aboriginal Legal Services in the Top End 1972 to 2012".

CLANT is proud to have provided a modest contribution to the production costs of this colourful and informative booklet.

Bail Amendment Bill (2014): more bad medicine

In March 2013, CLANT made this submission to the NT Department of Justice review of the Bail Act.  In July 2014, the government circulated a consultation draft of the Bail Amendment Bill.  Regrettably, the draft Bill does not adopt either of CLANT's key recommendations, which were that there be a general presumption in favour of bail, and that the offence of breaching bail be repealed.  On the contrary, the Bill broadens the range of offences attracting a presumption against bail.  In response, CLANT has made this further submission.  

Youth detention under review(s)

On 2 October 2014 CLANT, together with 11 other signatories, issued this statement calling for urgent action from the Northern Territory Government to improve youth detention facilities and commission a purpose-built youth detention facility.

Also on 2 October 2014, NT Attorney-General John Elferink announced an "independent review into the youth justice system". Notwithstanding this, the following day Northern Territory Children's Commissioner Dr Howard Bath announced that he would conduct a "comprehensive independent inquiry into the operation of youth detention facilities"

CLANT welcomes both these initiatives, and will watch their progress with keen interest.

Copyright © 2012-2016 Criminal Lawyers Association of the Northern Territory | Website by TropicsNet