find the latest legal job
Academic Dean and Head of School of the TC Beirne School of Law
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· An outstanding opportunity · Provide educational, research and organisational leadership
View details
Senior Property Lawyer I Commercial Litigator
Category: Property Law | Location: Arncliffe NSW 2205
· Rapidly growing law firm, working with a highly experienced team in a high growth industry across all areas of property and strata law
View details
Senior Property Lawyer I Commercial Litigator
Category: Property Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Rapidly growing law firm, working with a highly experienced team in a high growth industry across all areas of property and strata law
View details
Senior Property Lawyer I Commercial Litigator
Category: Property Law | Location: Sydney NSW 2000
· Rapidly growing law firm, working with a highly experienced team in a high growth industry across all areas of property and strata law
View details
4+ PAE Commercial Lawyer - Contract Role (Maternity cover)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· 4+ years PAE · End-to-end deal carriage
View details
Govt driving rural injustice

Govt driving rural injustice

The state government's reluctance to exercise discretion in relation to driving offences in rural NSW is leading to high rates of imprisonment, according to Nicholas Cowdery QC.Speaking at the…

The state government's reluctance to exercise discretion in relation to driving offences in rural NSW is leading to high rates of imprisonment, according to Nicholas Cowdery QC.

Speaking at the Rural Issues Conference at the Law Society of NSW last Friday (28 October), Cowdery said the unavailability of community-based sentencing options in rural and remote NSW is exacerbating the rates of imprisonment, which are twice as high as those in metropolitan areas.

Cowdery relayed the findings of a 2007 Sentencing Council inquiry into the relationship between penalties arising from the failure to pay a driving-related fine and a person's ability to obtain or hold a valid driver's licence.

Cowdery said that Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) charges and State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO) processes often meant people who fail to pay fines will end up losing their licence - and this, he said, is a significant disadvantage for people living in the country.

"The SDRO is a government institution without a heart which hasn't yet come across the word 'discretion' in the exercise of its powers," Cowdery said.

"If you don't pay a fine, you have your licence taken from you, and that can have a very serious impact on your ability to remain employed, maintain social and family connections, and lead a full life in remote and rural areas."

Cowdery added that the lack of community sentencing options that might otherwise be available creates a "double whammy" effect for country residents, and said the government's response to the Sentencing Council's recommendations was inadequate.

"[The government talks] about the implementation of new initiatives for the Department of Corrective Services (DCS), [yet] in this financial year the DCS has had $65 million taken out of its budget. So what new initiatives are we going to see implemented?" he asked.

"There wasn't much in the government response that gave us much hope that anything was going to change anytime soon. That response was in 2007. It's now 2011 and the problems are continuing."

Like this story? Read more:

Book commemorates diamond milestone for WA law society

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

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

Govt driving rural injustice
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Warning
Jan 18 2018
Lawyer highlights ‘unintended consequences’ on SSM estate planning
A succession lawyer has warned that the right for same-sex couples to legally marry could have a sub...
drug rehabilitation services available in rural and remote communities
Jan 18 2018
ALS survey shines spotlight on insufficient rehabilitation services
A new survey posted by the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) has revealed an alarming insight into ...
Scales of Justice
Jan 17 2018
Lawyers lash out over latest Dutton attack
A number of legal bodies have condemned federal home affairs minister Peter Dutton’s latest commen...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...