- Model Defamation Amendment Provisions 2020 (Consultation Draft)
- Inquiry into Professional Engineers Registration Bill 2019
- Council of Attorneys-General Age of Criminal Responsibility Working Group Review
- National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020-2024
- Religious Freedom Bills – Second Exposure Drafts
- Inquiry into a framework for autonomous sanctions under Australian law to target human rights abuses
Model Defamation Amendment Provisions 2020 (Consultation Draft)
The Law Society’s Litigation Law and Practice Committee contributed to a submission to the Review of the Model Defamation Provisions, which is being led by the Council of Attorneys-General Defamation Working Party (‘DWP’). This follows a March 2019 response by the Law Society to a Discussion Paper released by the DWP.
The Law Society expressed support for the following specific proposals contained in the Model Defamation Amendment Provisions 2020 (Consultation Draft):
- The proposed introduction of a ‘single publication rule’ to replace the current ‘multiple publication rule’ to provide that the applicable one-year limitation period runs from the date material is uploaded to the internet;
- The proposed introduction of a serious harm threshold to require plaintiffs to establish that a publication caused, or is likely to cause, serious harm to their reputation;
- The proposed introduction of a new defence for peer-reviewed statements and assessments in scientific and academic journals.
The Law Society supported the proposed introduction of a serious harm threshold. We took the view that a serious harm threshold should be considered by the court at an early stage of proceedings, to minimise the cost to the court and other parties of unmeritorious or spurious claims that do not satisfy the threshold.
Inquiry into Professional Engineers Registration Bill 2019
The Property Law and Environmental Planning and Development Committees contributed to a submission to the Inquiry being conducted by the Legislative Assembly Committee on Environment and Planning into the Bill.
We supported the establishment of a scheme for the registration and regulation of professional engineers. Our comments focused on the way in which the new Board of Professional Engineers will operate, with a focus on procedural fairness being afforded to an engineer involved in a complaint. We also submitted that the decisions made by the Board must be appellable and the appeal mechanism must be established as part of the initial framework, rather than dealt with by later regulations.
We suggested that any registration system, in order to be effective, must be complemented by a mandatory professional insurance regime. Provision of evidence of the currency of such insurance for the period of registration should be a condition of eligibility for registration.