Monthly compilation of key updates for the legal industry – December 2019
Digital adoption and the shake-up of legal practice
Last year Thomson Reuters, in partnership with Lawyers Weekly, launched the inaugural “Tech and the Law” report, shining a spotlight on how law firms are incorporating technology into their business offering.
Lawyers Weekly spoke to James Jarvis, VP of product design and delivery at Thomson Reuters legal professionals, Asia and emerging markets, on some of the results gathered from the report, how these have changed or remained unchanged since its launch and where to next in the world of all things tech and law. Read More
Federal Government to crack down on tech giants
A $27 million investment into the ACCC and a brand new code of conduct are part of the Federal Government’s raft of reforms intended to crack down on unregulated American tech giants.
The reforms come in response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Digital Platforms Inquiry, which slammed tech heavyweights like Google and Facebook for their impact on the Australian media landscape. Read More
Volkswagen slammed with record $125 million penalty
German car manufacturer Volkswagen has been ordered to pay $125 million in penalties by the Australian Federal Court after breaching consumer law by making false or misleading representations.
Volkswagen’s $125 million fine is the largest total penalty order ever made by the Federal Court for contraventions of Consumer Law.
The penalty follows Volkswagen’s admission that it lied about its compliance with Australian diesel emissions standards. Read More
The legal aid crisis is real – and it’s families who are in the firing line
Unlike state funding for criminal, child protection or mental health matters, legal aid funding for family law relies on the commonwealth. Legal aid has traditionally been a shining example of commonwealth-state cooperation, with both levels of government contributing to make assistance available for a range of serious legal problems.
But the commonwealth’s share of legal aid funding has dropped dramatically over the past two decades from an almost equal share to less than 30% in Victoria today. The legal aid scheme for family law in Victoria is teetering on the brink. Read More
Peak legal and medical groups push to lift minimum age of criminal responsibility to 14
The Australian Medical Association has joined a Law Council of Australia push to increase the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 14 to prevent the jailing of children as young as 10.
In a joint policy statement, to be released on Tuesday, the country’s peak medical and legal bodies argue that increasing the age to 14 will help reduce indigenous incarceration rates and fulfil international law obligations. Read More
Western Australia legalises voluntary assisted dying after ‘momentous process’
Under the scheme, terminally ill adults in pain and likely to have less than six months to live – or one year if they have a neurodegenerative condition – will be able to take a drug to end their lives if approved by two medical practitioners.
WA follows Victoria in enabling voluntary assisted dying, with the scheme expected to be implemented in 18 months’ time. Read More