Government Law Afternoon Spring 2020

Government Law Afternoon Spring 2020

The Law Society’s Government Law Committee presents their Government Law Afternoon. This event is designed for lawyers working within, or involved with, government departments, and covers all four core areas.

Sessions will cover Royal Commissions, trademark disputes, legal research skills, and the ethics of a lawyer's advisory role to government.

Click here for more information about the Government Law Committee.


  • When: 11.20am - 4:40pm, Wednesday 11 November 2020 . In consideration of other attendees, we seek your cooperation in arriving on time.
  • Where: The Boathouse by the Lake, Menindee Drive, Barton
  • Lunch and light refreshments will be provided throughout the afternoon
  • Members will earn 4 CPD units, 1 in each of in Core Areas 1, 2, 3 & 4
  • Cost (incl GST): $230 members, $300 non-members, $60 students/CLCs
  • Registrations close 1 November 2020

Fees are payable upon registration. 30 days payment invoices are available to members at the discretion of the Law Society. A 1.3% surcharge may be incurred on online payments. The Society reserves the right to cancel or alter events at its discretion, and in such circumstances, attendees will be notified via email.

Cancellation policy: All cancellations must be made in writing, and all cancellations will incur a fee, however, no charge will be incurred for substituting another person. Outside of the cancellation periods given below, a $10 administration fee will be incurred for any cancellation made. If a registered attendee fails to attend without notifying the Society in writing, no credit or refund will be offered and 100% of the total cost will be retained by the Society. CPD Events — In the case of CPD events, for cancellations made within two working days of the event, 50% of the total cost will be retained by the Society as a cancellation fee and the balance may be used as a credit towards other CPD events or be refunded. If you choose to keep a credit it will remain valid for 12 months from the event date, after which time it will expire. Webinars — In the case of live or on-demand webinars, as connection details are sent when registration is completed, no refund or cancellation is available. Social events — In the case of social events, no refund can be made after the RSVP date of the event.

Definitions: 'Registration' means any booking given to the Society in writing, on our website, or by phone. 'Member' means any member of the ACT Law Society, including associate members and honorary members. 'Young Lawyer' means any member who has held a practising certificate for five years or less. 'CLC' means any member working for a recognised community legal centre, or holding a volunteer practising certificate. 'Student' means a full time student studying law at a recognised Australian tertiary institution.



Single ticket $230.00 (GST incl.) Register


11:20-11:35am Registration


  • Peter Cain, Chair of the Government Law Committee, ACT Law Society

Session 1: Banerji and implications for government lawyers

Conduct obligations of public sector legal practitioners and limits on expression of opinion on governmental and political matters: you have a good job, now don’t stuff it up. Includes discussion of Bercove v Hermes (1993) 51 ALR 109, Banerji v Comcare [2019] HCA 23 and Rumble v HWL Ebsworth [2019] FCA 1409.

  • Paul Vermeesch, Deputy Chief Solicitor Dispute Resolution, Australian Government Solicitor
  • Convened by Sarah Byrne
12:40-1:20pm Lunch

Session 2: Harnessing the Power of Electronic Evidence

Harnessing the power of electronic evidence is vital for the future of legal practice.

The speed and accuracy of legal operations are being accelerated by technology. With automated systems and electronic evidence, legal processes are being simplified and streamlined. A lawyer’s competency and ability to use modern digital technologies is fast becoming an essential aspect of legal practice. Law In Order facilitates electronic evidence services in various ways. Understanding how to work with electronic evidence and how to navigate digital platforms is crucial for the modern lawyer.

In this seminar Nicholas will unpack why it is vital for a professional working with electronic evidence to have a general understanding of technology and IT to ensure one can sufficiently work with electronic evidence across multiple online platforms and ensure optimal matter workflow.

  • Nicolas Wilson, Lead Consultant, eHearing Services, Law in Order
  • Convened by Genevieve Butler

Session 3: Developments in Federal Compensation Law

The rehabilitation and compensation of employees of the Commonwealth and certain licensees, such as the Australian Capital Territory, is an increasingly complex area of law, which has undergone a range of changes since the commencement of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth) (“SRC Act”) on 1 December 1988.

In this session, Peter will provide an update on some of the more recent and important authorities and Tribunal decisions relevant to the SRC Act scheme.  Among other things, Peter will explore the factors that are relevant to determining psychological injury claims.  Peter also will discuss some of the more novel claims that have been made, such as a claim for compensation for the upkeep of a “mindDog”.

  • Peter Woulfe, Barrister, Blackburn Chambers
  • Convened by Mark Smith
3.20-3:40pm Afternoon tea

Session 4: Managing mental health challenges in the workplace

This session will provide practical guidance and tips to public sector managers on managing staff with mental health concerns; from prevention and identification of mental health issues, through to handling terminations of employment. The session will address the most frequently asked questions lawyers get on this issue, for example: How do you support staff during periods of acute mental health issues? Can I still performance manage someone with a psychological illness? What should I do when an employee is returning to work? What are the legal risks?

  • Kirsty Easdale, Minter Ellison
  • Convened by Christine Plevey

Thank you and close

  • Peter Cain, Chair of the Government Law Committee, ACT Law Society



Paul Vermeesch, Deputy Chief Solicitor Dispute Resolution, Australian Government Solicitor

With over 30 years’ experience as a government lawyer, Paul’s expertise includes employment, industrial and administrative law, Paul is the author of two of AGS’s most popular and cited publications, AGS’s Legal Briefings on Misconduct in the Australian Public Service and Dealing effectively with unsatisfactory performance in the Australian Public Service.

Nicolas Wilson, Lead Consultant, eHearing Services, Law in Order

Nicholas has a background in law and media; with 7 years’ experience in news media production and broadcast television, having worked on some of Australia’s premier television productions, including Seven News and Sunrise; along with extensive legal experience assisting barristers as a law clerk in various legal matters in NSW, QLD and WA since 2014. Nicholas’ diverse range of legal and media technology skills means he can deliver dynamic solutions within the LegalTech space of eHearings. Also possessing strong cross-cultural competency, having worked on Audio Visual events in Singapore and was a delegate at the United Nations in 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Peter Woulfe, Barrister, Blackburn Chambers

Peter is one of Australia’s foremost Commonwealth workers compensation barristers, regularly appearing in the Federal Court and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Peter also regularly appears in most other courts and tribunals.  He has a diverse and varied range of practice, including administrative law, civil matters, Defence, insurance, industrial and employment law. Peter is the Deputy Chair of the Federal Litigation and Dispute Resolution Section of the Law Council of Australia.  He is the Chair of the Commonwealth Compensation and Employment Law Committee. He is the Chair of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Liaison Committee. Peter is also the Secretary of the Council of the Bar Association of the Australian Capital Territory.

Kirsty Easdale, Senior Associate Minter Ellison

Kirsty is an experienced senior workplace lawyer in MinterEllison's Workplace team, based in Canberra. She has expertise across the full spectrum of employment, industrial relations and work health and safety matters. She has advised and represented ACT, NSW and Commonwealth government employers on employment relations, strategy and decisions.

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