Legal Reporting Awards 2015 winners

Media Release

Victoria Law Foundation last night recognised more than eighteen media professionals for excellence in legal journalism at the Legal Reporting Awards 2015.

The Age, ABC TV, 774 ABC Melbourne, the Bendigo Advertiser and the Geelong Advertiser were among a diverse cross-section of winners recognised across 12 award categories.

Reporter of the year on legal issues was awarded to the Geelong Advertiser’s Anthea Cannon. Her portfolio of work demonstrated excellence in reporting of the courts, legal issues and the justice system – including interviews with key players in trails after judgments and exposure of shortcomings in the justice system in Geelong.

Nicole Ferrie from the Bendigo Advertiser took out the Columb Brennan Award for excellence in court-reporting. The judges congratulated Nicole Ferrie for her sustained coverage of the Harley Hicks trial and her insights into the courtroom.

The Tony Smith Award for reporting which promotes an understanding of the work of the courts was won by Steve Butcher from The Age. His entry demonstrated exemplary detail and context to explain controversial sentencing decisions in a number of different cases.

Victoria Law Foundation Executive Director Joh Kirby commended the outstanding quality of the entries.

‘There was a high volume of entries, making the task of judging very difficult,’ Ms Kirby said. ‘I congratulate all entrants for their hard work in conveying complex legal issues in a manner that is easy to understand by the general community.’

The Legal Reporting Awards are presented in partnership with the Supreme Court of Victoria. Entries were judged by a committee of representatives from Victoria’s courts, VCAT and media and communications experts.

See the full list of recipients for the Legal Reporting Awards 2015.

Media enquiries
Communications Manager
Telephone: (03) 9604 8100
Email: contact@victorialawfoundation.org.au

Law Talks Intensive brings the law to life for students in Sale

Discussing legal issues with a retired Supreme Court judge or police powers with a Senior Constable is not your average activity for VCE Legal Studies students. But more than 250 students from Sale and surrounding areas did just that – all part of Victoria Law Foundation’s recent Law Talks Intensive Program at Gippsland Grammar School.

Victoria Law Foundation’s Executive Director Joh Kirby said the program aims to engage students with the law and to encourage them to take an active and lifelong interest in their legal system. ‘Our Law Talks Intensive program is tailored to the VCE curriculum, but it focuses on helping students to think about the law beyond the classroom,’ Ms Kirby said.

Over two days, students heard from a broad range of presenters. They included representatives from the Victorian Law Reform Commission, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, the Supreme Court of Victoria, Victoria Police, the Juries Commissioner’s Office, the Gippsland Community Legal Centre and the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria.

Highlights included a sexting mock trial coordinated by Gippsland Community Legal Centre, mediation role-play, and interactive exam tips sessions. Students also visited the Sale Magistrates’ Court and met with His Honour Magistrate Alsop, learning about a typical day in the life of a magistrate and what it’s like to hear criminal law matters.

The following schools participated in the Law Talks Intensive program:
• Bairnsdale Secondary College
• Lavalla Catholic College
• Gippsland Grammar
• Maffra Secondary College
• Nagle College
• Catholic College Sale
• Traralgon Secondary College
• Yarram Secondary College.

For more information about our Law Talks Intensive, visit www.victorialawfoundation.org.au

Chief Justice’s Medal awarded to University of Melbourne law student

Media Release
12 March 2015 – for immediate release

Chief Justice’s Medal awarded to University of Melbourne law student

Melbourne Law School Juris Doctor student Kate Fitzgerald has been awarded the 2015 Chief Justice’s Medal for Excellence and Community Service.

Administered by Victoria Law Foundation on behalf of the Honourable Chief Justice Marilyn Warren AC, the medal is awarded annually to one graduating Victorian law student who has demonstrated academic excellence in their legal studies and a commitment to community service.

‘In addition to her impressive academic results, Kate’s commitment to community service is outstanding,’ said Victoria Law Foundation’s Executive Director, Joh Kirby.

‘Kate has shown impressive initiative and an unwavering dedication to overcoming social disadvantage within the community.’

Kate commenced her volunteer work six years ago as a tutor in the Homework Club at the Flemington public housing flats. After witnessing the social disadvantage faced by girls in the flats, Kate, together with a fellow student, designed and delivered a program called SheCanCreate, which was targeted specifically for girls from refugee and migrant backgrounds. Developed in consultation with the local community, the program ran in 2012, and again in 2013, after Kate and her colleague secured several rounds of competitive grants funding.

In addition to running SheCanCreate and completing her law studies, Kate has also volunteered extensively with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne, the Jesuit Refugee Services in Cambodia and the Africa Middle East Refugees Assistance organisation in Cairo. Most recently, Kate accepted a graduate position in Bangkok to work with the Australia–Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

For further information about the Chief Justice’s Medal, visit www.victorialawfoundation.org.au

Please direct media enquiries to Communications Manager:
Telephone: (03) 9604 8100
Email: contact@victorialawfoundation.org.au

Attorney-General opens Legal Laneway Breakfast

At Wednesday’s Legal Laneway Breakfast, Victoria’s Attorney-General, the Honourable Martin Pakula MP, gave his first speech since assuming office.

The Attorney-General outlined the legal outlook for 2015, including the priorities of the new Victorian Government.

Despite drizzly weather, over 300 members of the legal sector, including judges, magistrates, barristers, solicitors, court staff, community legal centre staff and law faculty staff and students came along.

Conceived as an alternative to the traditional church services marking the commencement of the legal year, the Legal Laneway Breakfast is now the biggest and most inclusive networking event in the legal calendar.

Victoria Law Foundation hosted the breakfast in association with: Australian Women Lawyers, Judicial College of Victoria, Legal Services Board + Commissioner, Leo Cussen Centre for Law, Sentencing Advisory Council, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, Victoria Legal Aid, Victorian Law Reform Commission, Victorian Women Lawyers, Women’s Legal Service Victoria, and the Young Lawyers Section, Law Institute of Victoria.

New human rights in three minutes video released

What are Human Rights?

Funded by a grant from the foundation, The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law today launched the first video in their Have you got that right? video series. When completed, the series will include 39 videos covering a range of human rights issues. And the best thing about them? They won’t put you to sleep.

Follow the Castan Centre on Youtube

Victoria Law Foundation awards $130,000 to diverse legal projects

Media release

Victoria Law Foundation has awarded $130,000 to four diverse legal projects aimed at helping people better understand the law

Sunshine Youth Legal Centre, Youthlaw, the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and Fitzroy Legal Service each received between $20,000 and $55,000 for targeted legal education projects.

Sunshine Youth Legal Centre will partner with local schools to find out why young people are accruing public transport fines, and the reasons they can’t pay them.

Disadvantaged young people will also find support to better understand the law through the Youthlaw project, ‘Reach out and connect’, which provides funding for legal education sessions and testing of Youthlaw’s new legal videos and mobile phone app.

The Magistrates’ Court will develop a new website for people representing themselves in intervention order proceedings, with information about the court, legal services and the police. The information will be tailored for both applicants and respondents, and will be explained using multimedia tools such as videos, interactive FAQs and online application forms.

The final grant went to the Fitzroy Legal Service, to design and deliver training explaining the criminal justice system to community workers. The project aims to assist community workers to more effectively support their clients experiencing criminal law issues.

‘Our mission is to make the law easier to understand for all Victorians’, said Victoria Law Foundation Executive Director Joh Kirby.

‘All these projects will provide people with support to better use their legal system to improve their lives – whether that’s about negotiating fines, accessing information through new technologies or being better prepared to represent themselves in court,’ Ms Kirby said.

Asylum seekers, local communities, benefit from law student’s community service

The 2014 Victoria Law Foundation Chief Justice’s Medal for Excellence and Community Service was awarded to Melbourne Law School graduate Amy Frew for her demonstrated commitment to asylum seekers, and, more recently, for her work on the Police Accountability Project website at the Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre.

‘Amy’s long-term volunteer work in supporting vulnerable people with better access to justice, made her the outstanding candidate for this year’s award,’ said Victoria Law Foundation Executive Director Joh Kirby.

‘Of her many impressive endeavours, her volunteer work for five years with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre stands out’.

‘In addition, she also volunteered with Victoria Legal Aid and the Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre, where she secured funding through a University of Melbourne grant to develop a new website for their Police Accountability Project’.

‘Amy also volunteers weekly at Waller Legal, a law firm specialising in assisting victims of historical sexual assault,’ Ms Kirby said.

Ms Frew said her passion for social justice and human rights is the reason she studied law.

‘I believe that the goal of community service should be to engage and empower the community to uphold their rights, and this belief underpins my voluntary and professional service in the community,’ Ms Frew said.

Each year the Victoria Law Foundation Chief Justice’s Medal for Excellence and Community Service is awarded to one graduating Victorian law student who demonstrates academic excellence in their legal studies and a commitment to community service.

Media enquiries
Phone: (03) 9604 8100

Help with fines for youth in Melbourne’s West

Disadvantaged youth in Melbourne’s west will soon have help to contest public transport fines through the Sunshine Youth Legal Centre.

Supported by a grant from Victoria Law Foundation, Sunshine Youth Legal Centre will partner with local schools to find out why young people are accruing transport fines, and the reasons they can’t pay them.

It will also look at how schools and Public Transport Victoria can help make these laws clearer, and test negotiations to have several fines waived at once.

‘Roughly half the people coming to our legal centre are here because of unpaid fines’, said Sunshine Youth Legal Centre Clinical Legal Supervisor Michael McKiterick.

‘We need to know why the law in this area is not working. Part of the reason is probably that the system isn’t clear. Better education is one way to address this’, said Mr McKiterick.

This grant is one of four awarded by Victoria Law Foundation as part of its latest funding round for projects, which help the community better understand the law.

In addition to the Sunshine Youth Legal Centre, the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, Youthlaw, and the Fitzroy Legal Service will all share $130,000 in grant funding.

‘Our mission is to make the law easier to understand for all Victorians’, said Victoria Law Foundation Executive Director Joh Kirby.

‘All these projects will provide people with support to better use their legal system to improve their lives – whether that’s about negotiating fines, accessing information through new technologies or being better prepared to represent themselves in court’, Ms Kirby said.

The foundation has two general grants rounds each year, with the next round due to close on Monday 8 September 2014.

To contact the Sunshine Youth Legal Centre, call (03) 9091 8239 or email michael@footscrayclc.org.au.

Media enquiries
Phone: (03) 9604 8100

Victoria Law Foundation’s Legal Laneway Breakfast

Victoria’s legal community will gather tomorrow in Melbourne’s iconic Hardware Lane to mark the opening of the legal year and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Legal Laneway Breakfast.

Conceived as a non-denominational alternative to the traditional church services marking the start of the formal legal year, the Legal Laneway Breakfast – first held in 2004 – is now the biggest and most inclusive networking event in the legal calendar.

Victoria Law Foundation Chair the Honourable P.D. Cummins and Attorney-General the Honourable Robert Clark MP will speak at the event.

Around four hundred legal practitioners and members of Victoria’s judiciary, including judges, magistrates, mediators, barristers, solicitors, court staff, community legal centre staff, law faculty staff and law students, are expected to attend.

Victoria Law Foundation Executive Director Joh Kirby says the Legal Laneway Breakfast began 10 years ago as a get-together for women in the legal sector.

‘It has grown considerably in the past decade and is now an important opportunity for the entire legal sector to connect before the legal year gets under way’, Ms Kirby says.

‘The breakfast brings together people from all parts of the legal sector and encourages them to work together to address issues that affect Victorians’ access to justice.’

Victoria Law Foundation, a not-for-profit, independent statutory body that helps Victorians understand the law and their legal system, hosts the breakfast in partnership with Australian Women Lawyers, Judicial College of Victoria, Legal Services Board, Leo Cussen Centre for Law, The College of Law, Victoria Legal Aid, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, Victorian Law Reform Commission, Victorian Women Lawyers, Women’s Legal Service Victoria, and the Young Lawyers’ Section of the Law Institute of Victoria.

Media are invited to attend and photographs will be available for publication.

EVENT DETAILS
DATE: 30 January 2013
TIME: 8–9 am
LOCATION: Hardware Lane, between Little Bourke and Lonsdale Streets, Melbourne
SPEAKERS: Attorney-General the Honourable Robert Clark MP and Victoria Law Foundation Chair the Honourable P.D. Cummins

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