Peter Maley SM

In an article submitted to the Law Society Northern Territory journal Balance, CLANT President Russell Goldflam has supported the call for an inquiry into the conduct of Peter Maley SM.  Mr Goldflam said:

In order to uphold confidence in the administration of justice, enhance respect for the institution of the judiciary and protect the reputation of judicial officers, three basic principles are said to govern the conduct of judicial officers: impartiality, judicial independence and integrity. For a judicial officer to publicly continue an association with a political party is inconsistent with the principle of both impartiality and judicial independence. Judicial independence is constitutionally fundamental, but also peculiarly fragile.

Throughout this imbroglio, no-one has suggested that Mr Maley has not been true to his oath of office. However, from time to time judicial officers are required to rule on issues which go the heart of political affairs, which is why the wall separating judicial office from political involvement must be rigorously maintained: if judges or magistrates remain publicly associated or involved with a political party, there is a real risk that they will not be seen to exercise their judicial functions “without fear or favour”.

Exacting standards of fitness and propriety to practice law in the Northern Territory are required by the Legal Profession Act 2006 (NT) as construed and applied by the Supreme Court.  It is trite to observe that the standards expected of judicial officers are even more stringent. Regrettably, Mr Maley, whether in a moment of injudicious mischievousness or unguarded candour, has publicly reasserted his ties to a political party.  “100% Darwin” was, I thought, terrific theatre, but not so good for maintaining confidence in the administration of justice.

Read the complete article here.

Munch at Manoli's with CLANT: 7 August 2014

CLANT members are invited to join the Committee for dinner at Manoli's in Smith St, Darwin on Thursday 7 August at 7.30 pm.  Numbers are limited, so RSVP by COB Tuesday 5 August to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view reserve your seat at our table.

Speaking of the CLANT Committee, we have a couple of new members:  we are delighted to welcome Alan Woodcock and Catherine Voumard to fill the vacancies left by departing members Shahleena Musk and Chris Edwards.

Bottoms up on the balcony with Blokkers (again)!

The NT Women Lawyers Association invites you to Patron's Drinks 2014 from 5:00 - 6:30pm Friday 8th August, hosted by Her Honour Justice Blokland

Guest Speaker Felicity Gerry QC, and Special Guest Amy Challans President Australian Women Lawyers Association

Judges Balcony, Level 6 Supreme Court

Partners and male members of the legal profession welcome

RSVP by 5 August to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bali Conference: 20 to 26 June 2015

CLANT is delighted to announce tha the 15th biennial Bali Conference, on the theme "Curing Injustice" will be held at the Prama Sanur Beach Hotel, commencing with a Cocktail Party on Saturday 20 June 2015 and concluding with a Gala Dinner on Friday 26 June 2015.  Solusi Business Solutions, our conference organisers are holding confirmed accommodation with great rates for all room categories. Registration and hotel bookings is open: contact Solusi

Presumption against (some) joint trials reversed

The Criminal Code Amendment (Presumption for Joint Trials Act) 2014 commences on 1 July 2014.  The intended effect of the Act is explained in this letter, which includes links to the Act, the Explanatory Memorandum and the Second Reading Speech.

Correctional Services Bill: further corrections required

The Northern Territory Commissioner of Correctional Services has invited  stakeholders to comment on this draft of the Correctional Services Bill 2014 (NT).  CLANT has contributed this submission. Although CLANT acknowledges that the draft is a significant improvement on earlier versions of the legislation, in CLANT's view the Bill in its current form still fails to adequately protect the basic rights of prisoners, and inadequately regulates the exercise of powers by correctional services officers. 

The North Australia Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) and the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (CAALAS) have lodged this joint submission, raising similar concerns and addressing the provisons of the Bill in greater detail.

In addition, the Human Rights Law Centre has made this submission, highlighting aspects of the Bill which are, it is argued, incompatible with Australia's human rights obligations.

Innovative justice responses to sexual offending

CLANT commends readers to the Centre for Innovative Justice's recent report "Innovative justice responses to sexual offending – pathways to better outcomes for victims, offenders and the community", an important contribution to a difficult policy issue.

Death on Manus: Public forum

Death on Manus forum

Legislative amendments

Members are reminded of the following Northern Territory legislative amendments which came into force in April 2014:

  • Misuse of Drugs Act
    • scope of the aggravating circumstance of supply in an indigenous community broadened and tightened
    • Schedule 2 list rationalised
    • regulation-making power extended to include the moving of a drug, and specified quantities, from Schedule 2 to to Schedule 1
  • Criminal Code
    • s331B inserted, empowering a court to require a person to undergo an psychiatric or medical assessment by an expert nominated by the prosecutor and approved by the court, where the accused intends to lead expert evidence relating to their state of mind or medical condition
    • Powers of court and police to order forfeiture and destruction of child abuse material extended

CPD on Sentencing Federal Offenders

If you missed the CPD presented on 10 April 2014 by CLANT Committee members Lyma Nguyen and Rebekah O'Meagher on sentencing federal offenders, here are their pdfnotes and their handy pdfchecklist.

Council of Law Reporting (NT)

CLANT acknowledges the important (and largely voluntary) contribution by the Northern Territory Council of Law Reporting and its Editor-in-Chief, Cameron Ford, to the law, to lawyers and to the community through the publication of the Northern Territory Law Reports and the Northern Territory Law Journal.

CLANT has recently contributed $2,000 to support the Council's continued activities.

CLANT provides additional further assistance to Titus Ani

CLANT has previously provided some $45,000 to support the pro bono legal team acting to save the life of Nigerian national Titus Ani, who is on death row in Indonesia.  At its meeting on 16 April 2014, following a detailed briefing and update of the case from Colin MacDonald QC, the CLANT Committee unanimously resolved to provide a further $15,000 to this cause. 

Summary Procedure Reform

CLANT has made this Submission to the Northern Territory Government in relation to the Justice and Other Legislation Amendment (Summary Procedure) Bill  2014. 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.  CLANT also supports the conferral of powers on magistrates to provide sentence indications and sentencing discounts of up to 40% for early pleas.

However, CLANT opposes the remainder of the Bill, which contains serious flaws and deals with procedural matters which, in CLANT’s submission, are best left to the court itself to manage.  As previously reported here, those matters are currently regulated by Practice Direction No. 4 of 2014, which was issued by the Chief Magistrate following detailed and comprehensive consultation with stakeholders, including CLANT. In CLANT's view, the Bill should be delayed at least until a reasonable opportunity has been provided to gauge the effectiveness of the Practice Direction.    

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