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
SECRETARY, CLANT

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.

The Fitzgeralds: 2014 NT Human Rights Awards

CLANT is proud to be a sponsor of the Fitzgeralds, the inaugural Northern Territory Human Rights Awards, named after Mr Tony Fitzgerald, CLANT stalwart and NT Anti-Discrimination Commissioner from 2002 to 2009.

We are starting off small, but hope with your involvement to grow the celebration and recognition of the work of those who on a daily basis  promote, encourage and advocate for Human Rights in the Northern Territory.

The Awards night will be celebrated on United Nations Day for Human Rights – 10 December 2014 – at a function at the Supreme Court, Darwin. 

We are now asking that you consider nominating colleagues work mates or friends for an Award.

There will be four awards

  • The Fitzgerald Youth Award
  • The Fitzgerald Justice Award
  • The Fitzgerald Change Award
  • The Fitzgerald Diversity Award

The nomination form which sets out briefly the broad scope of each award can be found at Fitzgeralds nomination form. Completed forms can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mailed to  Human Rights Awards, LMB 22 GPO, Darwin NT 0801

Nominations are open now and close on 30 October 2014. The Judging panel will include Hon. Justice Jenny Blokland and  NT Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Sally Sievers.

International Crim Law Conf, MCG, Oct 2014

crimlaw-header

The 14th International Criminal Law Conference will be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground from 8-12 October 2014.  The conference features a strong program of speakers who will address a broad range of topical issues.  Register here.

Peer Panel demonstration

Janet Truong, a member of the Chief Minister’s Round Table of Young Territorians, is running Peer Panel demonstrations with a view to establishing this restorative justice model for young offenders in the NT. The Peer Panel harnesses positive peer pressure to help participants understand their wrongdoings and pay back the community. It has been adopted in countries including the United States (where it is also known as "Teen Court"), Canada and England.

The next demonstration of the Peer Panel will be on Friday, 12 September 2014 at Darwin City Library - Civic Centre Function Room from 11:00am to 12:00pm. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Wednesday 10 September 2014.

Anti-Racial Vilification laws for the NT?

CLANT has supported the opposition to proposals (now apparently abandoned) to radically restrict the protection afforded to victims of racial vilification under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth).  In the context of this debate, on 27 August 2014 a private members Bill was introduced in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly to amend the Anti-Discrimination Act 1993 (NT) by inserting provisions similar to the existing Commonwealth anti-racial vilification measures.

The Bill is set to be debated in October 2014, and we will note the position taken by Members on this significant and sensitive issue with interest.

Read the Bill and second reading speech here

Criminal law reform issues update: August 2014

In August 2014, the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice presented Information Sessions on current Northern Territory law reform issues.  If you missed the session conducted in your area, you can catch up by reading this presentation (reproduced by permission of DoA-G&J), adapted here to cover only criminal law reform issues.

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