PUBLIC DEBATES, forums, tours and fairs, all intended to increase understanding of the law’s influence on our lives, shaped the 22nd NSW annual Law Week, which ends today.
This year’s theme, ‘Relationships with the law’, was devised to draw attention to the different ways laws can protect individual rights. Justice agencies worked together to provide opportunities for the public to learn more about the legal system and how it works. This included the screening in public libraries across the State of Secrets of the Jury Room, a drama about the jury on a case in which a young man is accused of killing his teminally-ill lover.
The NSW Motor Accidents Authority, a major sponsor of Law Week also used the opportunity to drive home its road safety message to young people and listen to their views.
Major Law Week events in Sydney included the Schizophrenia Fellowship Parliamentary Luncheon at Parliament House, with guest speaker Justice Marcus Enfield AO, QC; a debate on the topic ‘More laws mean less justice’, which explored whether more laws and regulations deliver justice or deny individuality and freedom, with moderator Dr Tom Altobelli; and a talk by Chester Porter QC on common misconceptions about the role of barristers and solicitors in the criminal justice system and the right of every person accused of a serious crime to face their accuser. Also, Dowling’s select cases 1824 to 1844: Decisions of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, launched yesterday by NSW Chief Justice Jim Spieglman AC, questions how a society that began as a jail and dumping ground for criminals could transform into a sophisticated, free society fundamentally based on the rule of law. The book looks at the role of lawyers and the courts in assisting with that transformation.
President of the NSW Law Society John McIntyre said Law Week events were tailored to address community concerns and stimulate public debate on topical issues, including wills and estates, debts and neighbourhood disputes.