Law Week To Promote Community Understanding
24 April 2006 at 1:04 pm
Next Month’s celebration of Law Week (May 21-27) promises to be bigger than ever with the aim to promote greater community understanding of the law.
The national event is jointly co-ordinated in Victoria by the Law Institute of Victoria and the Victoria Law Foundation and offer a series of more than 100 events and activities across the state.
Professor Kathy Laster, Executive Director of the Victoria Law Foundation says Law Week provides an opportunity for community service providers and their clients to find out about the law and legal services.
She says whilst it won’t necessarily answer everything you ever wanted to know about the law, legal sector agencies make a special effort to open their doors and answer questions to make the law more accessible – for free!
The week includes activities that range from The great law Week debate, tours of city and regional law courts as well as cemetery tours visiting the graves of some of Melbourne’s most notorious law makers and breakers!
The Law Week Oration is called ‘The Defence of Unpopular Causes in a Climate of Fear’ This year’s annual Law Week Oration will be delivered by Lex Lasry QC with special guest The Hon Justice Marilyn Warren AC, Chief Justice of Victoria.
Lex Lasry QC is never one to dodge a thorny challenge. He recently defended Joseph Terrence Thomas (or ‘Jihad Jack’ as Thomas was tagged by the popular media) – the first person in Australia to be tried under new terrorist funding laws.
Lasry has also gained notoriety for his pro bono representation of 25-year-old Melbourne man Van Nguyen, convicted of importing heroin into Singapore and hanged last December amid impassioned controversy.
As the Law Council of Australia’s observer at the Guantanamo Bay Military Commission trial of David Hicks, Lasry reported that the military commission proceedings are so flawed a fair trial for Mr Hicks is virtually impossible.
Another highlighted event is “The Lawyer As Activist” with Justice Chris Maxwell.
The Fitzroy Legal Service, publisher of the Law Handbook, will be hosting a lunchtime seminar entitled “The Lawyer as Activist” with Justice Chris Maxwell, President of the Court of Appeal in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
An activist lawyer is described as one who uses her/his skills to make a difference, who assumes the responsibility, and seizes the opportunity, to make a difference. The first step is to realise that you can make a difference.
Justice Maxwell has been the President of the Victorian Court of Appeal since 2005. Prior to his appointment, Justice Maxwell was a QC and prominent human rights advocate, including as Counsel for the Tampa asylum-seekers in the 2001 Federal Court case and as President of Liberty Victoria.
To view the list of activities for Law Week go to:www.vic.lawweek.com.au.