There are many aspects to the solicitor-barrister relationship. In some ways the relationship is symbiotic: solicitors need barristers when a case requires specialist advice or is going to trial, and barristers need solicitors to refer work to them. It is certainly in the interests of solicitors to have good relations with at least some barristers and vice versa. However, many (but not all) barristers consider themselves to be the more senior arm of the profession, to the chagrin of solicitors.
When a barrister is instructed by the solicitor, the two act as a team in preparing for and presenting the client’s case. The solicitor’s role is to obtain the client’s instructions, sort the facts in a digestible format for the barrister and to gather the relevant information and evidence in preparation for hearing. The barrister on the other hand provides advice and performs the advocacy work in court. When the solicitor and barrister work well together, that is to the benefit of the client, whose chances of a favourable outcome are increased.
However, two Discipline Applications brought against solicitors in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) in 2013 show that disputes can arise between solicitors and barristers that can have serious consequences for the legal practitioner found to have acted unethically.
Continue reading “When the Solicitor-Barrister relationship turns sour”
The laws of defamation apply to social media as much as they apply anywhere else:
A FORMER high school student has been ordered to pay $105,000 to a teacher for writing defamatory remarks about her on social media in what is believed to be Australia’s first Twitter defamation case to go to trial.
Former Orange High School student Andrew Farley, 20, made “false allegations” about music teacher Christine Mickle on Twitter and Facebook in 2012, a year after he had left school.
Mr Farley, who had never been taught by Ms Mickle, seemed to bear a grudge against the 58-year-old based on a belief that she had something to do with his father, also a teacher, leaving the school, District Court Judge Michael Elkaim said in his ruling.
“There is absolutely no evidence to substantiate that belief,” Judge Elkaim said. “The effect of the publication on the plaintiff was devastating.’’
Anyone who frequents Twitter (or other social media) on a regular basis would know that false and defamatory assertions are often made about people. In some ways it’s a surprise that it’s taken this long for such a case to result in an award of damages in Australia.
Another twitter defamation case that went to court is that of Liberal pollsters Mark Textor and Lyndon Crosby against former Labor MP Mike Kelly for a tweet Kelly published about push polling.
When people go on social media to rant, they would be well advised to be careful that they do not open themselves to liability for defamation. A right to rant is not the same as a right to defame.
Most complaints about lawyers concern how high their legal fees are. The professional fees charged by lawyers are notorious. When many clients earn an average of $20-40 per hour, it can seem unfair that your lawyers charge you hundreds of dollars per hour. However, as this article will demonstrate, there are reasons why legal fees are so high.
Continue reading “Why are lawyers so expensive?”
On 4 November 2016, Judge Jarrett of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia dismissed a claim brought by Cindy Prior under section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) as a result of posts published on Facebook by students at the Queensland University of Technology that complained of being kicked out of an ‘Indigenous only’ computer lab. This ends a 3 year long legal saga and ordeal for the students concerned.
Continue reading “Identity politics, political correctness and section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act”
Witnesses are usually assessed according to their credibility and reliability.
In cases where there are disputes of fact, the performance of the relevant witnesses will be critical, as the case is likely to be determined according to which witnesses are believed and which are not.
This article discusses dome of the do’s and don’ts involved in giving evidence at a hearing.
Continue reading “How to be an impressive witness in court”
Labor Member for the federal seat of Griffith Terri Butler is being sued by one of the university students involved in the infamous case of the Facebook posts which resulted in legal action by a former administrative officer of the University of Technology (QUT) named Cindy Prior.
Continue reading “Labor MP sued for sliming student”
Amirah Droudis, the girlfriend of Lindt siege gunman Man Haron Monis and formerly named Anastasia Droudis, was yesterday convicted (ie found guilty) of the murder of the ex-wife of Monis.
The written judgment of Justice Johnson, delivered after a judge-only trial (due to adverse pre-trial media publicity), is particularly long and detailed. It goes into significant aspects of Monis’ life story because Droudis was intimately involved in them.
Continue reading “Why the girlfriend of Man Haron Monis was convicted of murder”