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    "What Simon Birmingham has been doing is absolutely fantastic. He has managed to un-mesh the terrible omelette that was created by the Gillard government, the Rudd government in terms of funding; he's undoing all that." 

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    Eldon's advice lands in court ... Was he a client or wasn’t he? ... Court of Appeal breathed life into a Brisbane solicitor's action against Lord Eldon over barristerial advice about failed NCA proceedings ... Sir Terence O'Rort reports ... From Justinian's archive, February 2004 ... Read more ... 


     

    « Sincere thanks for the rude letter | Main | Conduct unbecoming »
    Thursday
    Dec182014

    Adventures at conventionville

    Global advocacy convention in Taswegia ... Putting The Map on the map ... Federal Court issues hygiene edicts ... Former solicitor general disports himself ... MONA critiqued by judge ... Spanking disturbs UK judge ... A field agent reports 

    Tasmanian advocacy convention in full swing

    EARLIER this month, a team of international judges and teachers flew to Hobart for the Tasmanian Advocacy Convention. It was hosted by the Law Society and run by CPD Training (UK).

    The acting Governor of Tasmania, Chief Justice Alan Blow, honoured his late predecessor Peter Underwood's offer to hold a cocktail party at Government House for the delegates to the convention.

    One of the American guests wanted to know if Alan Blow's first name was Edgar.

    *   *   *

    DURING the convention the course leader, Peter Lyons, held a small drinks reception in his apartment at a well-known harbour-side venue.

    A well-dressed man asked the lady at the desk if he could be allowed to go to Lyons's room.

    "I can't just let you in," she said. "These are private apartments."

    "But he's having a party and I'm invited to it."

    Another woman came from a back office. "He's not allowed to have a party. We don't permit guests to have parties."

    More conversation ensued. There were now three members of staff involved. The would-be guest was getting a bit frustrated.

    "Well, I can't get him on his mobile. Could you please call him on the internal phone?"

    The phone rang and Lyons answered. It was the front desk. "There's a man here who says he wants to see you."

    "What's his name," he asked.

    "He says he's Will Hodgman."

    *   *   *

    AND so it was. Unlike some of his predecessors, the Premier of Tasmania doesn't travel with a host of minders. He has no airs and his demeanour is affable. His reaction to the failure to recognise him was typical. "You wouldn't believe that I am also Minister for Tourism."

    *   *   *

    The Prestidigitator and the Premier

    ONE of the guests at the function was Stephen Dixon, a young Englishman who was part of CPD Training's administrative team. Apart from making the IT work, he does nifty little magic tricks with coins and cards and spiders.

    The Premier was enthralled. Could he make the deficit disappear too? Young Dixon was appointed State Magician-General on the spot.

    *   *   *

    THE three day course was an intensive coaching session which culminated in a series of simultaneous trials. Tasmanian judges Duncan Kerr (Federal Court); Alan Blow and Stephen Estcourt (Supreme Court) presided as did Chief Magistrate Michael Hill and Magistrate Cath Rheinberger.

    Senior practitioners such as the Solicitor General Michael O'Farrell SC, Leigh Sealy SC, Peter Dixon and Greg Melick SC gave their time to help the cause.

    Some delegates came from as far as Canberra and the Northern Territory but most were members of the local profession and were of differing levels of experience.

    *   *   *

    THE convention was conducted at the Federal Court building. It is an example of how the word "wealth" shines in "Commonwealth." It has sumptuous Huon pine walls and copper panels. It's not a place where one would expect to see the great unwashed.

    Yet the rest rooms for toiling litigants and well-heeled counsel are full of helpful tips from the government.

    One sign is entitled Cough etiquette and respiratory hygiene. Patrons are exhorted as follows: 

    When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue to cover your nose or mouth;

    Dispose of the tissues afterwards;

    Wear a surgical mask, if possible.

    Another other sign gives excellent advice on how one should wash one's hands.

    Remove jewellery and cover abrasions;

    Wet hands with warm water, then apply soap or liquid soap;

    Lather for 15-20 seconds;

    Rinse hands under running water;

    Dry hands with clean towel.

    For the avoidance of doubt, the sign contains this helpful tip.

    During the lather, pay particular attention to the backs of hands and fingers, fingernails, fingertips and the webbing between fingers.

    Important hygiene advice from the Federal Court

    And just in case the toilet-goer can't read, the government provides smart diagrams of two hands being washed.

    You know what they say about he who comes to equity ... 

    *   *   *

    Judge Drummond: art critic

    ONE of the overseas judges, Mark Drummond from Illinois, took his wife Carol to MONA, the jewel in Tasmania's cultural crown.

    MONA is undoubtedly an impressive achievement, but there is an unmistakeable whiff of the Emperor's new clothes about the place.

    Judge Drummond's findings?

    "1. I have not yet acquired either the sophistication, or the gullibility, whichever is required, to understand modern art.

    2. Although I cannot paint like a Van Gogh or a Degas I'm pretty sure I could put a couple of goldfish in a wide, white porcelain bowl, put a carving knife into the bowl and set the whole thing on a chair. I would also be willing to accept whatever sum of money anyone is willing to pay me to do this provided I can recover the cost of at least the fish, knife and bowl. I will provide the water for free.

    3. No one who works at MONA appears to have a sense of humour, with the exception of the "guard" standing next to the above-mentioned exhibit who dryly told us that there are actually six goldfish, two of which work one day and then get two days off while their fellow fish take the next."

    Goldfish working in shifts at MONA

    *   *   *

    THE English judge, His Honour Simon Brown QC is well-known to readers of Justinian. He is an old Harrovian with impeccable manners. His indefatigability is legendary, but a few thought that even he might be waylaid by his plan to leave Blighty on the Sunday night and be fresh enough to teach in Tasmania a few days later.

    On the Thursday of the convention, he looked jaded. One of the trainers said: "I told you that you were taking a risk with jet lag."

    "Oh it's not jet lag. It was the couple in the room next to me last night."

    He was asked, "Did you ring reception and complain?"

    "Oh no. That would not be right ... Although, I was very tempted to say something at 3am when the spanking started." 

    *   *   *

    GOVERNOR Underwood had planned to preside at one of the trials. The convention marked his contribution to the learning of advocacy by presenting the Peter Underwood Award. It was won by Jessica Wade.

    Jessica is a talented young prosecutor from the DPP's office who was judged by the trainers to have made best use of the skills she had learned on the course.

    *   *   *

    Sealy SC: disporting himself

    FINALLY, former Solicitor General Leigh Sealy was seen to be disporting himself on the chaise longue at the Government House reception.

    The reception did not last long enough for tiredness to be a factor. In any event he was moved on by Special Forces.

    Sealy SC: a helping hand

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