Firstly I would like to congratulate Deputy President of TasCAT, Marica Duvnjak on her impending appointment as a Magistrate.  Deputy President Duvnjak has had a distinguished career in the legal profession in both the private profession and for the Crown and more recently in her role as President of Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal.  This is an excellent appointment and there is no doubt that Deputy President Duvnjak will be an asset to the Magistrate’s Court.

I also welcome the news that the Attorney-General, the Honourable Elise Archer MP, intends to appoint two new Magistrates in the North and North West of the State; one to replace Justice Tamara Jago, following Justice Jago’s appointment to the Supreme Court and new Magistrate who will be based in the Devonport and Launceston Courts.  The latter appointment reflecting the demand in the Devonport and Launceston Courts and will hopefully alleviate pressure on the Court in those regions.

Since my last update, Executive Director Luke Rheinberger and I met with the Dean of the UTAS Law School, Professor Michael Stuckey, to express the Society’s concerns regarding proposed changes to the mode of delivery of the LLB at the Law School.

Mr Rheinberger and I have also met with the Director of the Legal Aid Commission, Mr Vincenzo Caltabiano, to discuss the Commission’s review of its procedures in administering aid for summary criminal matters and to voice concerns raised by some members of the profession regarding an increase in the time taken to obtain decisions on some applications for aid.  I look forward to continuing to work with the Commission with a view to improving the efficiency with which grants of aid are made.

The Litigation Conference and Dinner were held in Hobart on 12 November.  This was an excellent event and enjoyed the highest participation of any one day CPD event held by the Law Society.  On behalf of the Society I want to congratulate Amal and James from the Society, the Litigation Committee and all the speakers for a great event.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge all the hard work and achievements of Trevor McKenna during his term as President of the Society.  As you are no doubt aware, Trevor did a huge amount of work and achieved a great deal during his term.   His efforts in advancing inclusion and tolerance in the profession are particularly notable, including promotion of the Sexual Harassment Improving Workplace Culture workshop, the adoption of a Zero Tolerance Policy and the addition of an equality and wellbeing mandatory CPD point. Some of those initiatives were completed during Trevor’s term and others will continue to be pursued during the coming year, such as the Society’s Reconciliation Action Plan.  I would finally like to thank Trevor for the excellent handover he provided me over recent weeks and months.


Simon Gates
24 November 2021