find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Vic courts, CPSU sign MOU

Vic courts, CPSU sign MOU

litigation and debt recovery practices in Victoria were in the grip of industrial action last week, with clients becoming increasingly frustrated because their actions could not be commenced or…

litigation and debt recovery practices in Victoria were in the grip of industrial action last week, with clients becoming increasingly frustrated because their actions could not be commenced or progressed. By Friday, the dispute appeared to have been resolved, but the question still remained: will the matter be settled for good before clients lose confidence in the system?

The Attorney General of Victoria Rob Hulls received a letter in December last year from the now former president of the Law Institute of Victoria Bill O’Shea. The letter expressed the concerns of the litigation lawyers’ section of the Law Institute with continuing industrial action by the Magistrates Court, County Court and Sheriff’s Office staff.

“Members of the public are being denied access to justice, they cannot issue proceedings, enter judgment and so on,” the letter read.

Cost implications for clients were also a significant focus in the former president’s list of complaints. O’Shea stressed that hearings that would usually be adjourned “on the papers” now required an appearance by the practitioners. “As you will appreciate this is a considerable addition to the costs incurred by the parties,” he said. “Members (of the Law Institute) in litigation and debt recovery practices report that staff are idle because the courts are not accepting documents for processing.”

Law Institute of Victoria CEO John Cain agreed costs were an issue and that they were limiting access to justice. He told Lawyers Weekly the bans were increasing the cost of litigation “because administrative features are normally in place”.

Just last week the Community and Public Sector Union were enterprise bargaining for state government employees. Then maintaining that the Government was offering a “lousy pay offer”, according to spokesperson Julian Kennelly, the matter did not seem to be headed for resolution in the near future. The lengthy wait concerned the Law Institute and O’Shea raised the ramifications in his letter.

“Already there is a huge backlog of documents in urgent need of processing. It must follow that once the bans are lifted there will be significant delays for a considerable time thereafter,” he wrote. More drastically, he added that “this can only have a negative impact upon public confidence in the justice system”.

“The Institute believes the clients are rightly aggrieved by the delay, inconvenience and extra cost they face as a result of this industrial dispute,” he said.

As a result of negotiations late on Friday, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the chief executive officer of the Magistrates Court, Mick Francis, and the Community and Public Sector Union. Now the only issue is whether the matter can be permanently resolved during the one month lifting of the work bans. Otherwise the issue looks to become a long standing one in Victoria.

Attorney General Rob Hulls was not personally available to speak to Lawyers Weekly about his reaction to the letter last week, however a spokesperson for the A-G asserted that “both parties are working towards a resolution of the enterprise bargaining agreement”. Pressed as to where the A-G stood on the matter, he said he believed that “any bans are unnecessary, but there is still good will on both sides with room to reach a resolution.”

This contradicted the Community and Public Sector Union’s viewpoint last week. Speaking to Lawyers Weekly, Kennelly argued that for the 25,000 state government employees for whom the Union was lobbying, there was a strong need for pay rises.

The Institute spoke to the Hulls’ office last Friday urging that the issue be resolved without delay, hence the current one month lift to the ban.

The Union’s previous agreement with the Government expired on 1 November last year, explained Kennelly. Despite logging their claims with the Government in September, the Union was “nowhere near” reaching an agreement for new wages and conditions last week. “We tried to move to a new agreement without any angst, but their position is lousy so we are currently in a bargaining position,” Kennelly said.

The memorandum of understanding added that the agreement did not detract from the purpose of the ban, which was to support the central Victorian Public Service claim.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Vic courts, CPSU sign MOU
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...