LAW WEEK celebrated its 21st year last week. The annual event, which aims to improve public access to law, has grown to include hundreds of local events nationwide.
Initially only held in NSW, Law Week is now celebrated across Australia. Last week in NSW, fairs, court tours, lunch-time talks, debates and public forums took place.
Appropriately for this coming of age anniversary, ‘safe partying’ was one of the themes reviewed last week. Aimed at secondary students, the education module was part of the Crime Prevention Workshop program run by NSW Police Youth Liaison Officers and the Department of Education.
NSW Law Society president Gordon Salier said: “we want to make sure that what starts off as an occasion for having fun doesn’t become a teenager’s unfortunate introduction to the law”. Parties highlighted a number of concerns such as security, under-age drinking, drugs and drink driving, he said.
Alternatives to the court system were promoted throughout Law Week, NSW Attorney-General Bob Debus said. Speaking before Law Week, he said he would encourage people to visit the highly successful Community Justice Centres with their mediation and conflict management programs.
“This alternative to the court system avoids the adversarial environment and the heavy costs associated with court-handled disputes,” Debus said. “We’re particularly keen to see that the less advantaged in our community have access to justice.”
Local events tailored to community concerns were planned from Coffs Harbour to Nowra, and Dubbo to Broken Hill, the Law Society said. These included public talks on wills and estates and mock trials for high school students.