Outgoing Queensland Law Society (QLS) president Christine Smyth has called for solicitors to be considered equal to barristers when appearing in Gold Coast courts. A fierce advocate for the Glitter Strip, the immediate past president of the QLS Spoke to the Gold Coast Bulletin about sexism in the legal fraternity, the push for more women on the bench and her controversial bid for re-election last year.
Our Partner, Immediate Past President of the Queensland Law Society Christine Smyth said the decision to close Magistrates Courts on the Gold Coast during the Commonwealth Games had been made without any consultation and would have a huge economic impact on the Gold Coast's legal industry.
"The decisions are being made in a vacuum without consultation from the peak legal body that represents the very users of the court system and that's concerning," she told AAP.
President of the Queensland Law Society Christine Smyth told The Courier-Mail that Mark Nichol, 54, wrote a text message before committing suicide. He did not hit send on the message but it was later found on his mobile.
"The message was titled My Will with a smiley face icon. It was argued that the emoji undermined the seriousness of the will. This was a contested application but the judge upheld it as a legitimate will despite the emoji and also the fact the message was not actually sent,” Ms Smyth said.
“Each generation develops its own language and emojis are part of the new literacy. This is going to be an ongoing challenge in courts as lawyers argue the context and interpretation of these seemingly harmless icons.”
Professional services firms are being urged to train their staff on email security procedures after two Queensland law firms have reportedly lost “millions” to hackers in a complex scheme tricking them into paying funds to scammers.
The Brisbane Times reports the Queensland Law Society has issued a warning to firms in the region after at least two firms lost “several millions” when scammers hacked email accounts and directed settlements and payments into their own accounts.
The email scam involves cyber criminals approaching firms via email, posing as prospective clients and asking details about their services. The scammer eventually agrees to sign on as a client, then sending through personal documents to the law firm. These documents prompt the employee on the other end to enter the login details of their work email address, which the scammer harvests.
Robbins Watson Solicitors managing director and IT expert Andrew Smyth said hackers have been making attempts to access staff email accounts "almost every day" at his workplace.
Mr Smyth described the hackers' two-step plan.
The first phase sees the scammer email a law firm expressing interest in using their services, a common backstory is that they are buying a house and are interested in conveyancing services.
THE Palaszczuk Government says euthanasia legislation is not on its agenda as it heads into their second term of government.
However State Parliament could still be made to vote on the issue after Labor passed a motion during their state conference earlier this year calling on the Government to create legislation around the issue.
The motion proposed a Parliamentary Inquiry be established into the issue.
It comes as the Victorian Labor Government recently passed their Voluntary Assisted Dying bill which would legalise the practice throughout the state.
A Government spokesman said: “With regard to the legislation of voluntary euthanasia, it is important to remember that there remains significant concern about the legislation of euthanasia and the ability of government to ensure that the lives of the vulnerable, the elderly, and those unable to speak for themselves are sufficiently-protected,” the spokesman said.
Dying with Dignity Queensland president Jos Hall said voluntary euthanasia has “more support than marriage equality”.
“Politicians have no idea how much support there is in the community,” she said.
Law Society president Christine Smyth said she believed yesterdays verdict in the Nixon case would “prompt debate, particularly given the light that has been cast by the Victorian legislation”.
She said the law of assisted suicide was “at the crossroads of morality and the law” especially given the state’s ageing population.
“Jurors are human beings and at the back of every jurors mind is the tension between the primacy of life and the removal of suffering of someone who is much loved”
Ms Smyth recommended Queenslanders facing similar situations to seek “both medical advice and counselling”.
This morning, our Partner and 2017 President of the Queensland Law Society spoke to ABC Radio Brisbane about reform to the family law system.
Two gay men on Queensland's Sunshine Coast are struggling to make sense of a barrage of hate mail left in their letterbox in the wake of this month's national vote in favour of same sex marriage. Our partner, 2017 Queensland Law Society President Christine Smyth said there could be various ramifications under Queensland's anti-discrimination legislation and/or stalking laws in the Criminal Code.
Our Partner, the 2017 QLS President spoke with Emma Griffiths on ABC Radio Brisbane last Thursday, 16 November 2017 in relation to Estate Planning and the recent case of the text message Will.
The national shame of domestic violence cannot be left unaddressed, writes Christine Smyth.
During my term as Queensland Law Society president, I have often spoken out about the need for more judges and court resources, and that is particularly the case when it comes to the resources focusing on domestic violence.
This week, two new magistrates have been appointed to the Southport Domestic Violence Specialist Court – and while this is certainly a step in the right direction, more needs to be done.
I confess that this is something of a bittersweet moment for me – while I am glad to see resources being put into the courts, the fact that those resources are needed specifically for domestic violence issues shows that we have a very significant problem; that is something that should trouble us all greatly.