Proctor : June 2019
7 PROCTOR | June 2019 QLS praises $320m investment in youth justice reform Queensland Law Society has praised the State Government’s proposed $320 million investment in a raft of much- needed juvenile justice reform measures, in particular the funding of a new specialist Children’s Court magistrate. QLS President Bill Potts welcomed the announcement of an additional magistrate, the building and staffing of a new and upgraded existing detention centre, and a range of community initiatives to prevent children from ever seeing the inside of a detention centre. “QLS has been a very vocal and strong advocate for reforms in the juvenile justice system and the funding announcement is certainly a good start to protecting vulnerable and troubled children who may fall foul of the law,” Mr Potts said. “The Society particularly supports the move to provide an additional specialist magistrate and funding for various early intervention initiatives to prevent youth offending, keeping minor offenders out of court, reducing the number of youths in detention and options that divert juveniles away from the youth justice system.” The announcement comes nine months after former Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson released his report and recommendations for a wide-ranging overhaul in the way the state deals with young offenders. The package announced by Queensland Youth Minister Di Farmer includes: • an additional specialist Children’s Court magistrate • community-based Queensland Police supervision for high risk youths on bail across the state’s south-east • community youth responses to crime hotspots in three locations – Brisbane, Ipswich and Cairns • enhanced youth and family wellbeing measures for Indigenous family wellbeing services • a transitional hub to divert young people from police custody in Mount Isa • construction of 48 new beds and a boost in staff numbers to alleviate the serious overcrowding in existing youth detention centres. “The Society will continue to advocate long and hard in the youth justice space to ensure focus is placed on preventing crime before it happens rather than inflicting punishment and onerous rehabilitation on children,” Mr Potts said. NEWS HSF recognises work of Brisbane lawyer Herbert Smith Freehills has announced the award of its Kathryn Everett Leadership Fellowship for Women to Brisbane Senior Associate Bianca Janovic (above). The award was created in recognition of Ms Everett, a senior intellectual property partner who passed away in 2013. The fellowship recognises her unique contribution to the firm and its people through leadership roles and passions that included leading the firm’s diversity initiatives and strongly supporting its pro bono program. Ms Janovic, who works in the firm’s disputes practice, is involved in complex commercial litigation, strategic reviews, regulatory investigations and pro bono work. She is co-chair of IRIS, the firm’s LGBTI Network, and in 2014 won the Law Institute of Victoria’s Rising Star of the Year award in recognition of her technical skills as a commercial litigator, leadership in LGBTI rights and significant contributions to Indigenous reconciliation and pro bono work. Ms Janovic plans to use the fellowship to attend Harvard’s Women’s Leadership Forum: Innovation Strategies for a Changing World in Boston early next year. Courts release Family Violence Plan The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia have released a Family Violence Plan, which aims to provide a comprehensive set of actions to support people experiencing, or at risk of, family violence. Family Court Chief Justice Will Alstergren acknowledged the important work of the courts’ Family Violence Committee in bringing the plan to fruition, along with those who contributed to its development. “The courts take family violence very seriously and realise that we must continually strive to do better,” his Honour said. “This plan identifies clear goals, actions to be taken and timelines in relation to protection from family violence; safety at court; and information and communication.” The plan refines and updates the Family Violence Plan 2014–16. It builds on the work of the courts under the 2014–16 plan and will be used by administrative staff, decision-makers, legal practitioners, service providers and others involved in the overall family law system. It covers areas as diverse as building layout, security screening, risk assessment, safety planning for individual litigants, and education and training of staff. It also covers the review and updating of the Family Violence Best Practice Principles, a document designed to assist judges, legal practitioners and litigants understand the legal requirements for all matters in which family violence is alleged. A copy of the Family Violence Plan is available from the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia websites.