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Judgment of the week ... Justice Ian Harrison in the NSW Supremes dismisses apprehended bias application ... Facebook posts by judge's tipstaff ... Finding that cases are decided by judges, not their staff ... Read more ... 

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The Obstructionist-in-Chief ... Three Pinocchios for Billy Barr ... Mueller's 11 obstruction findings ... Charging and indicting Trump ... SCOTUS takes on cultural issues with new term cases ... Noam Chomsky on how the US political system works ... From Our Man in Washington ... Read more ... 



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    "It is my vision for this country as your prime minister to keep the promise of Australia to all Australians. 

    I believe that Australia is a promise to everyone who has the great privilege to call themselves Australian. It's the promise that allows Australians quietly going about their lives to realise their simple, honest aspirations." 

    Vision statement from prime minister Scott Morrison, launching the Liberal Party campaign, May 12, 2019 ... Read more flatulence ... 

    Justinian Featurettes

    Muddied oafs ... It was 1956 - Sir William Slim was Governor General, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean surfaced in Moscow and My Fair Lady opened on Broadway ... It was also the year that two teams of NSW solicitors and barristers squeezed into their footy gear and scrummed down ... Read more ... 

    Justinian's archive

    When only the victim speaks the truth ... Author Bri Lee's book Eggshell Skull scoops up another prize - this time at the Australian Book Industry Awards ... A story of childhood sexual assault ... While the book continues to collect awards, the author's view about how natural justice ought to work should be read with caution ... In 2018 we published lawyer Joanna Jenkins's review ... It's timely to reprise her concerns about the book ... Read more ... 



    « Don't mention it | Main | Petty sessions »

    Yarraside's fragrant delights

    Marketing breakthrough as barrister appears on the side of trams ... Reptiles of the media warned not to connect coke sniffing associate with Federal Court judges ... Gilbert + Tobin spruces its image but keeps the plus ... Industrial action - how the Poms campaigned effectively against Cameron government's legal aid cuts  

    HAS anyone got up close and had a whiff of the perfume being marketed by barrister Gina Liano? 

    Breaking through a hitherto impenetrable glass ceiling she is the first Yarraside brief to advertise herself on the side of a Melbourne tram. 

    Actually, the tram is a moving billboard for her enchanting scent, which is also called "Gina" - so the fragrance and the person appear as a single identity. 

    Gina is even a bigger celebrity barrister than Sydney's Charles Waterstreet. Perfume and the law are the least of it - she's also a shoe and jewellery designer, author of an autobiography modestly called Fearless, art curator, and a star of the Foxtel trash TV show Real Housewives of Melbourne ... on it goes.  

    No one tells us about Gina better than Gina herself 

    "Intelligent, stylish, witty and feisty, Gina Liano, Criminal Barrister and single mother of two boys, this year blazed to national fame as the glamorous, no-nonsense star of Foxtel Arena's runaway hit series, 'Real Housewives of Melbourne'.

    Gina is no stranger to public life - both as a hardworking, highly respected and sought after criminal barrister of 15 years standing with a reputation for fighting for the underdog; and as a committed family member of Australian fashion royalty who works with her talented sisters Bettina Liano and Teresa (TL Wood).

    Besides fashion and the law, Gina has been a successful property developer and is a qualified art curator." 

    Gina Liano: breaking barristers at VicBar

    There's plenty more on Facebook

    Let's hope we see more barristers plastered down the side of trams. 

    Federal Court of Australia gets sniffy 

    The Federal Court of Australia got upset over a front page Daily Smellograph story earlier this month about judge's associate, James Cowled, who received a suspended sentence on a cocaine possession charge after producing a reference from a retired "Federal Court judge".  

    Cowled had been caught snorting the powder in the toilet of Mrs Sippy's bar in Double Bay. He had been an associate to former Federal Circuit Court judge Michael Lloyd-Jones and it was Lloyd-Jones who furnished the reference that carried weight with magistrate Lisa Stapelton. 

    Cowled said, "telling my former judge was one of the most difficult things I've done in my life". 

    Ms Stapleton did not record a conviction, telling the young dude that those who work in the justice system do not need "higher standards than everyone else, the law applies equally".

    He moved on to work as an associate to Judge Philip Dowdy, also of the FCC, but had not told his new boss that he had been caught snorting. Dowdy told the Smello that he was "very disappointed" to hear about the charge. 

    Lloyd-Jones was also disappointed - the newspaper later reported that he had furnished a reference because he thought the young blade was in court on a drink-driving charge.  

    Lloyd-Jones has asked the coppers to investigate. 

    Bruce Phillips, the director of public information for the Federal Court of Australia issued a statement to reptiles of the press asking them to take more care and not lump Federal Circuit Court judges in with Federal Court of Australia justices. 

    "It would be appreciated that more attention be paid to publishing the correct name of the court and if in doubt, please check before publishing." 

    Justices of the Federal Court of Australia would never hire coke snorting associates. That's something to be expected lower down the judicial food chain. 

    Bruce also gave a little tutorial about the four federal, courts and their different jurisdictions. 

    It looks as though the Tele subsequently may have corrected the online version of the stories. 

    G + T moves to the Hungry Mile 

    Gilbert + Tobin is moving to Barangaroo and refreshing its "brand", i.e. new logo and "visual identity". 

    The new 9,500 square metre office arrangement is open-plan with hot-desking and "idea generation spaces". 

    Managing partner Danny Gilbert says the office, "will introduce new ways of thinking ... to foster ideas and collaboration". 

    He even used Turnbull's "A" word: 

    "Today, we're known for being innovative and agile and not accepting the norm as the way of doing things." 

    Take it away Danny ... 

    Strike action and legal aid cuts 

    The Law Council has been hosting Steve Hynes, director of Legal Action Group in the UK and one of the architects of the campaign to defeat the 2013 legal aid "reforms" of former secretary of state for justice and Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling. 

    The Tory cuts to legal aid were a swingeing 25 percent, meaning a reduction of 350,000 individual cases. 

    In recent weeks the UK Supreme Court delivered a significant victory when it overturned the government's proposed "residents' test", designed to stop foreigners applying for legal aid. 

    There was also a successful challenge by the NGO Rights of Women to rules on qualifying for legal aid in domestic violences cases. 

    There were backdowns by the government, after protests from the profession, including scrapping the proposal to charge fees to those who were found guilty yet had not pleaded guilty prior to trial. 

    The cuts to legal aid fees had gained public notoriety because between 10 and 20 QCs had received more than £1 million each annually from the legal aid budget. This was a PR disaster for the profession and the government took full advantage of it.  

    Barristers took "industrial" action - for a while

    The English bar started to boycott high cost government cases. In April 2014, the movement got a boost when Alexander Cameron QC, the prime minister's brother, argued in court that a complex fraud trial should not go ahead because the defendants were inadequately represented due to legal aid cuts.  

    There was also a policy of barristers refusing to do "returns" - last minute briefs handed on from other barristers who were jammed. Criminal defence barristers also decided not to accept any new cases. 

    The government also wanted to cut the number of law firms on the legal aid procurement list by two-thirds, from 1,500 to 500. 

    Over a year ago, the bar and the government did a deal which effectively ended the barristers' boycott. This fractured the solidarity between legal aid solicitors and barristers. 

    In Australian terms, the bar scabbed on the solicitors who were holding out. The solicitors fought on against the imposition of dramatically reduced legal aid contracts on offer. Many of those firms just didn't tender for low level criminal work and legal aid coverage around the country began to collapse. 

    In January this year, the new justice secretary, Michael Gove, did a U-turn and dropped the government's law firm tendering plan and the fee cuts, basically accepting the it was not going to save the state any real cash. 

    The annual legal aid budget before Grayling came to office was £2.2 billion. It is now £1.6 billion. The payments and the scope of legal aid have been dramatically sliced, more so in the family law area. 

    The legal aid spending in England and Wales per capita is now equivalent to $A52, down from $A67 in 2012-2013. 

    The equivalent per capita spending in Australia is $26. Hynes said the fight to protect civil legal aid goes on. 

    At least a significant number of Grayling's original plans were reversed as a result of direct "industrial" action by lawyers. 

    There's a lesson in there, somewhere, for the Law Council. 

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