Proctor : July 2018
3 PROCTOR | July 2018 Northshore Hamilton | Brisbane CBD | Melbourne | Sydney The Process Serving Evolution Continues Redefining Process Serving, Skip Tracing and Investigations through Innovation, Quality, Culture and Experience. 1300 712 978 www.riskandsecurity.com.au Northshore Hamilton | Brisbane CBD | Melbourne | Sydney The Process Serving Evolution Continues Redefining Process Serving, Skip Tracing and Investigations through Innovation, Quality, Culture and Experience. 1300 712 978 www.riskandsecurity.com.au Northshore Hamilton | Brisbane CBD | Melbourne | Sydney The Process Serving Evolution Continues Redefining Process Serving, Skip Tracing and Investigations through Innovation, Quality, Culture and Experience. 1300 712 978 www.riskandsecurity.com.au Civility and respect are the foundations of true professionalism. As guardians of the justice system in the state, we are held to a higher standard, with rules and ethical standards that assist in guiding us along the way. My personal experience throughout my career has been that while my fellow Queensland solicitors will robustly put forward their argument on behalf of their client, they will, in the majority, remain civil towards the other side. We should enjoy and embrace our peer relationships, acknowledging that we are all professionals in the same field. Not all jurisdictions are as lucky as Queensland, and civility has always been a hot topic of discussion. I would like to draw on some of these discussions from a different jurisdiction, and in fact, a different country, to provide some insight. The American Bar Association (ABA) has often spoken about civility in the legal profession, producing resources, programs, discussion papers, journal articles and presentations throughout the years. In 2013, the American Bar Association Journal published an article by lawyer and freelance journalist GM Filisko discussing the rising problem of incivility within the profession, the ways it was being addressed, and what more could be done to resolve the issue. Today the topic remains such a hot one that the article has been republished as a cover story on the ABA Journal website. The four main areas that Filisko discusses include leaders of the profession and the judiciary calling out uncivil behaviour when it occurs; increased training in the profession that addresses civility and professionalism; the introduction of civility requirements in some state courts in the United States; and lawyers policing their peers and calling out incivility, including more mentoring for younger lawyers by senior practitioners. Most recently, a panel discussion in Kentucky discussed ‘The Breakdown of Civility in Political Discourse – What Does it Mean for the Legal Profession’. The panel addressed the ways that politicians could learn from lawyers who have been discussing civility for over 30 years, as well as the relationship between civility in law and in politics. This issue is of such import to the American Bar that there is a taskforce within the ABA dispute resolution section dedicated to addressing civility issues. It has also released a model continuing legal education program for state and local Bar associations, recently releasing a discussion guide to provoke conversation and dialogue. Reflect before you react As mentioned, Queensland’s solicitors on the whole are great role models for those entering the profession in terms of their level of civility. Also, in Queensland we are fortunate to have many magistrates and judges who exemplify professionalism and set a positive standard for practitioners. We have training and guidance available for Queensland solicitors through our QLS Ethics Centre. The centre aims to equip lawyers with the information and tools they require to act ethically at all times, as well as educating the community on legal ethics. Services such as the QLS Senior Counsellor program also assist in providing a ‘phone a friend’ service to lawyers who have an ethical or professional query. I encourage practitioners to go one step further and mentor younger solicitors and those who have an interest in law. By connecting with the next generation, we can instil in them some of the traditional values and standards of a tried and true profession. The key to maintaining civility and collegiality in the profession is to not only reflect before you react, but also to remain connected. I challenge you to take the time to reflect upon your role in the justice system and the wider community from time to time. It is very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and to put aside the whole-picture view. I also encourage you to find ways that you can engage with colleagues, your community, your Society and the wider profession. We are always learning and we can always teach others something new, or reaffirm their thoughts and practices. Civility is something we should all be able to expect from our colleagues. Our profession is known for its high ethical standards and so we must continue this into the future. I applaud you all for setting a high standard. Queensland State Budget Last month the Queensland Government handed down its 2018 Budget. We have wrapped up the justice system offerings in the news section of this month’s edition. We were pleased to see a handful of allocations in the justice arena, including commitments to domestic and family violence, child protection, prosecutions and detention centres. However, we were disappointed to see a lack of funding for our court system including judicial appointments. It appears we are putting more money into the start and end of our justice system – police and detention – but nothing for the middle part of the process. I hope to see more commitments to our courts in the future, as this is a pillar of our justice system and ensures that justice is served adequately and fairly in our state. Ken Taylor Queensland Law Society president firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @QLSpresident LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ ken-taylor-qlspresident President’s report Reflect before you react Civility: Courtesy or obligation?