A SERIES of lunchtime talks took place in Sydney this week as part of National Law Week. Organised by the Law Society of NSW and held at the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts on Pitt Street, the talks gave people the chance to become a “one-hour expert” on everything from wills to buying and selling a home.
The aim of Law Week, said the Law Society, was to provide community understanding of the law and the legal system, and to improve the public’s access to legal services.
On Monday, the topic covered was Understanding Family Law. It provided an overview of the federal Family Law Act 1975 and what the courts take into account when considering disputes involving property, access and custody. Solicitor Lesley Young from Stacks discussed the increasing role of mediation and the courts’ preference for parties to reach agreement between themselves, with assistance.
Tuesday’s session was entitled Buying and Selling Real Estate: from first home to retirement. Solicitor Joaquim Fernandes from Sydney Law Consultants covered the ‘buyer beware rules’, the new format contract, joint or other ownership, pre-purchase enquiries, finance approval, exchange, settlement, stamp duty, mortgage and loan security duty.
Wills and estates and planning for the future were covered on Wednesday. Subjects included assessing the legal requirements of a will, changes to a will, how divorce affects a will and what happens if you don’t have a will or if it is not valid. Solicitor George Gordon from EH Tebbutt & Sons explained the procedures to be followed in estates after a person dies. He discussed powers of attorney and the desirability of giving them.
Solicitor Christine Graff from Blake Dawson Waldron spoke about women and the law on Thursday. Issues discussed included maternity leave, discrimination in the workplace, domestic violence and family law.
As Lawyers Weekly arrived on desks today, the law in the workplace was discussed by solicitor Gordon Henderson from Henderson Workplace Lawyers. The rights and obligations of employers and employees were examined, including topics such as industrial awards, unfair dismissal, discrimination, annual leave, health and safety and superannuation.