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Solicitor Sarah Love from the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions was awarded the 2018 John Hennessy Research Scholarship at the Government Solicitors conference in Sydney on 4 September.

Love, who graduated with a Master of Forensic Mental Health from UNSW last year, plans to use the scholarship funds to research drug courts in NSW, Nashville, Tennessee and Cape Cod, and to investigate the case for a regional drug court in Lismore, NSW. “Having worked as a prosecuting solicitor in Sydney and Lismore, I have seen first hand community members come through the revolving door of the conventional criminal justice system,” Love said.

“Problem-solving courts, their use and implementation have been demonstrated as being beneficial in making offenders accountable for their actions and playing an active role in their rehabilitation while reducing recidivism and assisting people to live reformed lives.”

Jeffrey Gabriel was awarded the Michelle Crowther PSM Excellence in Government Solicitors Award for his work as Director of the Solutions Group at the Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO).

Jackie Finlay, a solicitor at Legal Aid NSW, was highly commended for her work in the development of national approaches to service delivery in the National Disability and Insurance Scheme.

The conference began with an opening address from Peter Hall QC, Chief Commissioner of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption. The 200 attendees at the conference sponsored by Law In Order and Holding Redlich also heard an update on the National Redress Scheme and the delivery of apologies to victims of historical child abuse.

Justice Robertson Wright of NCAT, Acting Justice Ronald Sackville AC of the Court of Appeal of the NSW Supreme Court, barrister Mark Robinson and solicitor Carl Freer debated the work of tribunals. The conference then group split into four sessions on a range of topics, including blockchain and the top 10 changes that affect NSW government contracts.