What happened this fortnight in law?

What happened this fortnight in law?

29 November 2021 By Naomi Neilson

In this fortnightly update, Protégé wraps up the biggest headlines that law students, graduates and all other new lawyers should be across. This time, it includes a major class action, a new defamation proceeding and major law reforms.

1: Principal to pay compensation for ‘harsh, unjust’ dismissal of solicitor

Starting with our most recent update, a founding principal who handed termination letters to two employees following allegations of a failure to pay commissions has been ordered to pay at least $24,000 in compensation. The lengthy proceedings ended in a finding that the terminations were unfair, “harsh”, and “unjust”.

2: ‘Alarming provisions’ in Religious Discrimination Bill: HRLC

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In arguably the biggest news of the fortnight, the Religious Discrimination Bill is now before Parliament. It is a slightly watered-down version from its previous (and very controversial) drafts, but there are still plenty of provisions in it to cause concern. In this article, Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) explores what needs to change.

3: Affirmative consent laws passed in NSW

In a massive step for victim-survivors of sexual assault and rape, common sense reforms have officially passed NSW Parliament. The reforms will simplify sexual consent laws and ensure a more effective prosecution of sexual offences, in what Attorney-General Mark Speakman said was a “matter of respect”.

4: Another class action launched against a2 Milk

A2 Milk has been hit with yet another class action this year after being accused of deceiving shareholders over its failure to accurately predict its sale performance. Investors and shareholders hit a2 Milk with the class action to “recover their losses”.

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5: Walama List ‘crucial’ to addressing Indigenous over-incarceration

The introduction of the Walama List pilot, which will deliver a more culturally specific and community-based approach to sentencing for eligible Aboriginal offenders, has been welcomed by the NSW Law Society for its capacity to “make a significant difference” in the lives of Indigenous people and on the criminal justice system.

6: ‘Kaleidoscope justice’: Victim-survivors shape recommendations

Across 91 major recommendations that include alternatives to criminal trials and an independent body, the Victorian Law Reform Commission proposed a plan for reforming the nature of the justice system to better respond to victim-survivors’ needs for support, acknowledgement and participation throughout a trial process.

7: Man wrongfully identified as Cleo Smith abductor launches defamation

ICYMI, an Indigenous man who was falsely identified by the Seven Network as the person who had abducted Western Australian girl Cleo Smith has launched defamation proceedings, telling media that the ordeal had left him fearful of being attacked on the streets and harassed online.

8: Mental health ‘must be talked about’

As 40 per cent of law students have been found to experience stress or depression to the extent of requiring treatment, extra support in the form of mentors and mental health initiatives is paramount moving forward, according to this mental health advocate and lawyer.

9: Young lawyers must ‘start to develop their own capabilities in leadership’

Future leaders are missing out on opportunistic, observational learning as a result of the pandemic, according to one chief client experience officer.

10: Drafting better corporate policies to protect staff from violence

Last week was International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Lawyers Weekly explores why better protections for employees against domestic and family violence is increasingly essential and how businesses can move forward.

What happened this fortnight in law?
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