Electronic lodgment and electronic files – Supreme and District Courts Members will recall that in March 2017, the Society published information from the Supreme Court advising of significant changes concerning the means by which the profession and the public communicate with the superior courts of Western Australia in relation to civil matters. The changes concern the extension of the availability of electronic filing of documents and the creation of fully electronic files in the civil jurisdiction of those courts. As indicated to members by email alert last month, the Supreme Court has determined that documents lodged by the profession in the Court’s General Division civil cases must be lodged electronically via the eLodgment System from 4 September 2017 and, from 3 July 2017, most Supreme Court General Division civil documents will be available for lodgment via the system, in addition to all District Court civil documents. The new system offers significant benefits not only for the courts but also for law firms as registered users will be able to electronically lodge a civil document; receive court documents; view documents for matters in which they are a party; and search all civil matters. Use of the eLodgment system by the profession and litigants is intended to be maximised while at the same time ensuring that court users are not disadvantaged. To that end, the Society has been advised that provision will be made for non-electronic document lodgement in limited and appropriate circumstances. Further details may be expected soon. In the meantime, sessions relating to the new system aimed at practitioners and legal staff, with attendance attracting CPD points, will be conducted by the Supreme Court towards the end of this month. Further information about these sessions will be posted on the Court’s website: supremecourt.wa.gov.au.
Statutory legacy Under the Administration Act 1903 (WA), a statutory legacy is
available for a husband or wife, which may include a de facto partner as defined in the Act, whose spouse dies intestate. The current statutory legacy under section 14 of the Act is $50,000 or $75,0006. The statutory legacy has not been amended since 1982. The amount is manifestly inadequate. However, to increase the amount it is necessary to amend section 14. The Society recently wrote to the State Attorney General, the Hon John Quigley MLA in relation to this matter. I am pleased to report that the Attorney shares the Society’s view that the statutory legacy is inadequate and that legislative reform to section 14 will be considered. The Attorney has also indicated that he proposes continuing the working group previously set up to review the law of succession and which will report on further reform of the Act.
Continuing Professional Development Members will recall from my report in the February edition of Brief that the Society intends exploring greater flexibility in, and accessibility to, its Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme for the benefit of members.
with face-to-face, telephone and web video services. As part of LawCare WA, members of the Society have access to an independent and confidential professional counselling service to support wellbeing in the workplace and personal life. Members may access up to three free sessions per membership year. Members also have complimentary access to a wealth of online resources to help manage career, life, finances and health and wellbeing issues including: Money Assist; Career Assist; Lifestyle Assist; Manager Assistance; and Conflict Assist. For more information about LawCare WA please read the insert included with this edition of Brief. Please note that the new LawCare WA number for counselling and wellbeing support services is 1300 687 327. NOTES: 1.
Now the chambers of the Chief Justice of Western Australia in the 1903 building.
In deference to unsolicited feedback received at the event just described, this month’s President’s Report extends beyond one page.
Pages 12 – 13.
Pages 14 – 15.
Pages 16 – 19.
Depending on the circumstances set out in the section.
Since that report, work in this area has been ongoing. Executive has also recently approved an external review of the Society’s CPD programme. The purpose of the review is to ensure that the Society’s CPD programme continues both to reflect ‘best practice’ and to meet members’ needs. It is envisaged that any recommendations arising from the review will be put to Council before the end of 2017.
New LawCare WA counselling provider Finally, I am pleased to advise that the Society has entered into an agreement with a new LawCare WA provider for its counselling and wellbeing support services, Converge. Converge is owned by an Australian not-for-profit organisation and specialises in psychology and mental health. It has 95% coverage across Australia 03
Brief July 2017