The Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) has presented a President’s Honorary Award to Victorian barrister Richard Wilson for his commitment to human rights and administrative law.
LIV president Michael Holcroft said Wilson (pictured) was a driving force behind many initiatives at the Institute.
In particular, he was honoured for his work in community consultation as co-chair of the LIV’s Reconciliation Action Plan and chair of the Indigenous Issues and Aboriginal Reconciliation Committee, as well as for his work in shaping the legal profession’s approach to mental health.
“Richard embodies the highest ideals of service to the law and giving back to the community,” said Holcroft
Wilson was also the chair of the LIV’s Charter of Rights Committee in 2011 and guided the LIV’s submission to the Review of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.
Holcroft said the LIV Legal Awards are a tribute to outstanding achievers right across the profession: from large law firms, community legal centres and government lawyers to suburban and country firms.
A key award is the Paul Baker Award, which was presented to Dominique Saunders, general counsel at the Australian Health Regulation Agency.
Saunders has more than 20 years’ experience in the community, public and private sectors, particularly in human rights, health, mental health, disability and discrimination law.
She is a member of the Mental Health Review Board, a former member of the LIV Ethics Committee, a member of Australian New Zealand Psychiatry Psychology and Law, a member of the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration and former chair of the joint Australian Medical Association/LIV Medico-Legal Committee.
Other President’s Award winners included John Fogarty, a litigation lawyer with Corrs Chambers Westgarth, who won the Rogers Legal Writing Award. Fogarty wrote the article Beware the Social Network, which appeared in the August 2012 edition of the Law Institute Journal.
Hall & Wilcox won the Law Firm of the Year Award for its: double-digit growth in the 2012 financial year, with similar forecast for 2013; growth of the partnership from 28 to 33 partners, and work for iconic Victoria clients such as the AFL, APN Property, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.
Vanessa Bleyer of Bleyer Lawyers won the Access to Justice Award. Bleyer was president of Lawyers for Forests until 2007 when she founded Bleyer Lawyers to help protect Victoria’s remaining native forests.
Meagan Keogh of Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) won the Accredited Specialist Award for her efforts in mobilising staff and practice resources to assist lawyers undertaking Specialist Accreditation.
In the last two years, VLA has assisted 81 lawyers to participate in the specialisation scheme in family, criminal, migration and children's law.
Denis Nelthorpe of Footscray Community Legal Centre won the Community Lawyer Award, while Helen Fatouros from the Office of Public Prosecutions won the Government Lawyer Award for her expertise in sexual assault matters and dedication to improving advocacy and training standards in this area.
Joseph Lukaitis won the Mentor Award, while Sandra Wendlandt, of Robert Stary Lawyers, won the Rising Star Award.
Michael Tehan, of Tehan George & Co, picked up the Regional Lawyer of the Year Award, while Ronald Rowe was awarded Suburban Lawyer of the Year.
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