Update to the Profession – 7 February 2024

  • The 2024 legal year has formally commenced.
  • On 2 February 2024, the Executive Director, Luke Rheinberger, Vice President, Will Justo, and I attended the church service for the opening of the legal year. Later that evening, it was an honour and privilege to be able to attend the annual dinner at Wrest Point Casino. It was a wonderful evening and this year we had over 260 in attendance. It was an opportunity to celebrate and recognise those who have made an outstanding contribution to our profession.
  • I want to again congratulate the 2024 award recipients:
    1. Ms Claudia Thomas – Pro Bono Legal Award (Individual)
    2. Bishops Barristers & Solicitors – Pro Bono Legal Award (Firm)
    3. Mr Manoj Fernando – Early Career Lawyer’s Award
    4. Family Law Committee – Outstanding Committee Award
    5. Ms Mary Anne Ryan – Legal Aid Tasmania Award
    6. The late Mr Tim Bugg AM – President’s Award
  • Each are deserving recipients who have made a significant contribution to the Tasmanian profession.
  • I want to acknowledge and personally thank all the staff at the Law Society of Tasmania, namely Shelley Riseley, John Zuleta, Shelley Harwood, Amanda Wesley, Francesca Beattie, Amal Cutler and the Executive Director, Luke Rheinberger for all the time and effort they put into organising the dinner.
  • I want to thank all our members who have supported the Vinnie’s School Essentials appeal over the last couple of weeks by making cash donations, bidding on the silent auction and donating lunch boxes. We exceeded our target and have collected over 50 lunchboxes which will be distributed to struggling families throughout Tasmania. For the winners of the silent auction, your Scales of Justice are available for collection from the Law Society in Hobart.
  • On 2 February 2024, the Executive Director and I had a meeting with the President and CEO of the Law Council of Australia, Greg McIntyre SC and Dr James Popple. One of the objectives of this meeting was to obtain information as to the priorities of the current President of the Law Council of Australia for the coming year. Mr McIntyre SC is very focused on ensuring access to justice which is such an important issue.
  • The Law Society of Tasmania remains concerned as to whether the Federal government will provide a commitment to Tasmania and contribute funds so that the Burnie Court complex is able to contain a fifth court and facilities for the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. The families on the North-West that use the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia are some of the most vulnerable families in Tasmania and deserve the use of a safe, modern, and purpose-built court facility. We will be making submissions to the Federal government over the next week, calling on them to make this commitment.

Julia Higgins