Welcome to the Criminal Lawyers Association of the NT



The CLANT committee have come to the difficult decision to postpone our ‘I Can’t Believe it’s not Bali: Lockdowns and Lock Ups’ Conference set to be held in Darwin from 10 to 13 August 2021.

All delegates will be refunded their registration fees (less $60), and will receive their pre-purchased conference shirts and satchels.

The  Conference will proceed at a date to be fixed in the first half of 2022 at the Darwin Convention Centre as originally planned.

Subject to speaker availability, we hope to provide a programme with as much of the same content as possible.

This has not been an easy decision and we hope this is enough notice to avoid any further inconvenience to interstate delegates.

The committee takes this opportunity to thank Dee Berkley of Solusi Business Solutions for her hard work and all of our presenters for their ongoing efforts in making themselves available.

If you still intend to and are able to come to Darwin, please contact myself as we may be in a position to provide some ad hoc social and professional learning functions.

Thank you all for your understanding and we very much hope to see you next year for our biggest and best ever conference.

Kind regards

Marty Aust


I Can’t Believe it’s Not Bali: 

Lockdowns and Lockups

CLANT is excited to announce that our 18th Biennial Bali Conference will be held in Darwin, commencing with a cocktail party on the evening of Tuesday 10 August and culminating in our Gala dinner on Friday 13 August 2021.

The 2021 CLANT conference coincides with both a global pandemic that has seen an immediate reimagining around the practice and procedures of criminal law both home and abroad; and importantly it also coincides with the 30th Anniversary of the final report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. It took about30 days for the pandemic to create real change in the processes surrounding the manner we practice criminal law, yet in 30 years we have seen little change or meaningful improvement in access to justice for First Nations people. This conference looks to focus on what we can do to improve the criminal justice system, starting by looking in our own backyard.

We are delighted to confirm a programme including:

·         Phillip Boulten SC, Forbes Chambers, NSW

Keynote address

·         Acting Justice Lex Lasry QC,  Supreme Court of Victoria

What does racial discrimination look like in Victoria and how can we change?

·         Justice Jenny Blokland, Supreme Court of the Northern Territory

In the Netherlands the gaols are running on empty. How has it happened?

·         Lloyd Babb SC, Director of Public Prosecutions NSW

A truth universally acknowledged – Prosecution disclosure

·         David Edwardson QC, Bar Chambers, SA

Lessons from the trial of Scott Douglas Austic

·         Stephen Lawrence, Black Chambers, NSW

Bassi v Commissioner of Police (The Sydney #blacklivesmatter protest case) – the right to protest and the Covid 19 response

·         Professor Dr Thalia Anthony, University of Technology Sydney

Homelessness in the NT and the vicious cycle of criminalisation

·         Nicole Spicer, Acting Managing Principal Solicitor, Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office

Victoria’s Truth & Justice Commission

·         Michelle Swift, Forbes Chambers NSW and Beth Wild, Managing Solicitor Top End Crime, NAAJA

A therapeutic approach to adjudicating domestic violence

·         Stephen Karpeles, Custody Notification Scheme Manager, NAAJA

“The Black Hole” – Why the Custody Notification Service is such an important development for Aboriginal people in police custody in the Northern Territory

·         Trevor Moses, William Forster Chambers, NT

Customary law and cultural practice in sentencing in the NT: Section 16AA of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)

·         Travis Jackson, Sir Owen Dixon Chambers, NSW

Judge-alone trials – A journey into the abyss or a modern approach to Criminal Law?

·         Steven Ledek, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, NT

Alleviating Aboriginal witness trauma and protecting best evidence in the interests of fairness and justice in the criminal courts of the NT

·         Lisa Parker, University of South Australia

Criminal Appeals Against Guilty Plea Convictions

·         Ben Grimes of ARDS Aboriginal Corporation

Linguistics v the Law: Can divergent approaches to s 85 of ENULA be reconciled?

·         Gabriel Chipkin, Victorian Legal Aid

‘Turning the tables’: Defence tendency applications in criminal litigation

·         Julianna Marshall, Manager of Policy and Education, CAWLS

Coercive control in the context of the NT

·         Bali Players, Trial of Andrew Ballard [NOT], written and directed by Rex Wild QC

·         Guest Panellists: including George Georgiou CCJ (Victoria), Dina Yehia DCJ (NSW), David Woodroffe (PLO, NAAJA)

PLUS: Larrakia / Darwin Legal History and Cultural Tour, conducted by Richie Fejo, James Parfitt (Fejo), Don Christophersen and John  Rawnsley (separate booking required)

Our conference has never been held in Darwin before and we look forward to welcoming practitioners, judicial officers and key stakeholders to our home.

These conference dates coincide with the annual Darwin Festival and we anticipate many opportunities for learning as well as leisure and recreation.

Register here. If you have any further questions or issues please contact Dee Berkely via Dee@solusibs.com or 0437 710 090

* I’ve been doing images for CLANT since 1997, and the Dingo has always been a feature as a symbol of “defending the unrepresented accused”. This time a bit different–all but one of their previous conferences have been held in Bali. For those, I have always used the Frangipani, the floral emblem of Bali. Coincidentally, last year, the city of Darwin “rediscovered” after 54 years its floral emblem was Brachychiton Megaphyllus, or the Red Kurrajong. Thus, a different flower for this year’s conference!  (Chips Mackinolty)

Copyright Chips Mackinolty 2020


The Criminal Lawyers Association of the Northern Territory (CLANT) has some 150 members in the NT. Through our biennial conference – “the Bali Conference” – we have welcomed many hundreds more criminal lawyers from every jurisdiction in Australia to join us.  One of the key features of this website is CLANT’s archive of papers, presentations and play-readings given at our biennial conferences over the years.

For over 30 years, CLANT has been an effective and powerful voice for the improvement of the criminal justice system in the Northern Territory, representing both defence lawyers and prosecutors, practitioners from the public sector, the private profession and the independent bar.

In a jurisdiction where offending rates, incarceration rates and recidivism rates are higher, and growing faster, than anywhere else in Australia, there are enormous challenges for the criminal justice system.

The Criminal Lawyers Association of the Northern Territory is strongly committed to addressing these problems. Among our Objects and Purposes are:

  • to promote and advance the administration of the criminal justice system and development and improvement of criminal law throughout the Northern Territory
  •  to actively contribute in public debates in issues relating to the criminal justice system
  • to promote and encourage the protection of human rights and compliance with international human rights principles in the Northern Territory
  • to promote the professional discourse, development and social interaction amongst the profession

In pursuit of these Objects, CLANT is proud to promote and support a range of campaigns, programs and causes.


Membership is open to any person who either contributes to the field of criminal law or criminal jurisprudence, or who practices criminal law, in the Northern Territory of Australia.  Law students are eligible to be Associate Members. If you wish to become a member of CLANT and are eligible for membership, write to the CLANT Treasurer, and pay the biennial membership fee, which is currently $20.  In addition, all persons who are eligible for membership and attend the biennial CLANT conference, thereby become members.


If you are interested in joining the CLANT Committee, please let us know.

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