find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Property Lawyer
Category: Property Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· 12 Month Contract · Diverse Work
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Infrastructure Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Perth WA
· We'd be particularly interested to hear from you if you were a lawyer who knows your way around the infrastructure and energy sectors.
View details
Governor of Tassie urges lawyers to speak out

Governor of Tassie urges lawyers to speak out

GOVERNOR OF Tasmania Peter Underwood has spoken out in defence of judicial method and urged law students to follow his example, even for unpopular causes. In his breakfast address to the 30th…

GOVERNOR OF Tasmania Peter Underwood has spoken out in defence of judicial method and urged law students to follow his example, even for unpopular causes.

In his breakfast address to the 30th Australian Law Students Association Conference on 9 July, Underwood chose a particularly controversial case to illustrate his point, drawing on the recent Aurukun Nine rape case which involved the lenient sentencing of men convicted of raping a 10-year-old female child. The former Chief Justice of Tasmania conceded that the “learned judge” [Cairns District Court judge Sarah Bradley] had erred in law, but that the legal system had “corrected the error”.

“I draw your attention to the uninformed opinion that abounded in the popular press and on talkback radio that the sentencing judge be ‘stood down’ or ‘removed’ or ‘face an enquiry’,” Underwood said,

“But, even if there had been no appeal, we who have studied law understand that an independent judiciary is a matter of principle — more important than error in any single case and [one which] must not be jettisoned to satisfy uninformed public outrage and clamour.”

Underwood takes his role as public figure and educator seriously, participating in the judging for several of the ALSA Conference competitions, including witness examinations and the final of the Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot.

The ALSA Conference is an annual event which draws more than 250 students to compete in competitions including mooting, examining, interviewing and negotiating.

Highlights include the Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot and the Australian Law Reform Commission Kirby Cup.

Amongs the other distinguished judges at the event were former Chief Justice of the High Court Sir Anthony Mason, former Chief Justice of the NSW Supreme Court Sir Laurence Street, Justice Peter Heerey and Magistrate Glenn Hay.

The newly appointed Governor clearly has a passion for teaching, and an easy rapport with young law students — his son is a final year law student at the University of Tasmania and an activities co-ordinator for the Tasmania conference.

“I love being here with students and teaching, I’ve also taught with the advocacy institute and the college of law in England and Wales,” Underwood said.

“When I was Chief Justice I used to teach in the legal practice course, advocacy and Supreme Court practice, so it was natural for the university to pick on me, and also my son is doing final year law here.”

He believes that the new pre-admission practical legal training requirements are a positive development for the profession.

“I think it’s essential,” he said.

As for the university experience, he agreed that many law students participating in the ALSA Conference in their final year risked becoming too caught up the process of applying for clerkships and articles.

“It’s not of course, but I think [public service] should be part of the culture of the law school — not lectures about it but staff should embrace it and talk about it , it should be a background culture that being a lawyer requires an obligation to do public service.”

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

Governor of Tassie urges lawyers to speak out
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 17 2017
It's time for politicians to commit to eradicating domestic violence
The national shame of domestic violence cannot be left unaddressed, writes Christine Smyth. ...
Nov 16 2017
From lawyer in law firm to senior governance professional
Promoted by Governance Institute of Australia As a law graduate, Kate Griffiths never imagined...
marriage equality
Nov 16 2017
Legislation the next hurdle for marriage equality
Lawyers have underscored the importance of ensuring same-sex marriage legislation does not limit ant...
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 & ...