The Law and You Forum

A diverse panel of experts discuss hot-topic legal issues at our annual Law and You forum.

Watch The Law and You Forum 2021

Last night Victorians around the state tuned in online for The Law and You Forum 2021, Age of innocence? Revisiting the age of criminal responsibility in Victoria.

Thank you to our speakers who each brought unique and insightful discussion points to the issue:

Liana Buchanan, Principal Commissioner, Commission for Children and Young People

Lee-Anne Carter, Statewide Community Justice Program Leader, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service

Dr Nick Fancourt, Paediatrician and Clinical Lead, Adolescent Health, Royal Darwin Hospital

Melissa Chung, Managing Lawyer, Youth Crime, Victoria Legal Aid

If you missed the event or would like to revisit any of the content, watch the full recording below.

What is The Law and You Forum?

The Law and You forum is a public event exploring different areas of the law that affect Victorians. A panel of experts moderated by our Executive Director hold a discussion before opening the floor to questions. First hosted in 2017, past topics have included sport and the law, and voluntary assisted dying.

Who can attend?

The Law and You forum is open to the public. Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date for the next forum and for booking details.

How much does it cost?

The Law and You forum is free.

Previous forums

Rights Limited: human rights in Victoria in the time of COVID-19

What are your human rights? Where do they come from? And what happens when they are constrained?

Held online in October 2020, the Forum explored the impact and implications of COVID-19 on our human rights.

The COVID-19 restrictions have put our human rights in the spotlight like never before. We are all living with tension between our rights as individuals and our responsibilities as members of our community.

For people living in the public housing towers in North Melbourne and Flemington, however, the scales were tipped decisively when they lost all the freedoms we normally take for granted. Human rights protection is suddenly very real and very local.

Could the current debate lead to an Australian national charter or bill of rights? And what difference would that make?

The panellists for the event were:

Inala Cooper - Director of Murrup Barak, Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development at the University of Melbourne.

Hugh de Kretser - Executive Director of the Human Rights Law Centre.

Maria O’Sullivan - Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, Monash University and a Member of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law.

Mohamed Nur - Community organiser and resident, North Melbourne public housing.

Suppression orders in Victoria: supporting or distorting justice?

Suppression orders imposed by courts have been big in the news in 2019. George Pell and barrister Nicola Gobbo, known during the suppression period as Lawyer X, are key examples.

Held in October at the State Library of Victoria, the 2019 Law and You Forum explored the current law and some of the thorny issues which surround it.

Are suppression orders essential to a fair trial for defendants, or does the public have a right to know about all aspects of the justice system and its outcomes?

Are suppression orders sometimes made because judges and lawyers believe juries can’t separate fact from comment?

Do suppression orders even work in a globally connected world when we can read international coverage online
And what about the rights of victims where matters or names are suppressed?

The panellists for the event were:

  • Louise Milligan – Reporter with ABC TV’s Four Corners and author of Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell
  • The Hon. Frank Vincent AO QC – former Supreme Court judge, author of the Vincent review of the Open Courts Act and member of the Victorian Law Reform Commission
  • Dr Matt Collins AM QC – President, Victorian Bar, renowned barrister and Senior Fellow at the Melbourne Law School
  • Rod Ratcliffe – Principal Registrar of the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal, and sometimes acting Juries Commissioner.
Is Sport Playing by the Rules?

On Wednesday 24 October 2018 Victoria Law Foundation presented The Law and You Forum at Federation Square, the second in our annual series exploring an intriguing area of the law.

This year’s topic, Is Sport Playing by the Rules? provoked insights on how sport’s separate legal ecosystems - with different rules, courts, judges and sanctions - compare to general legal standards and processes. In a wide-ranging discussion, panellists raised issues including violence, sledging and workers compensation, and the different treatments in sport, compared with community expectations.

Our four outstanding panellists were –

  • Rob Stary – defence lawyer and lifelong Bulldogs fan
  • Professor Russ Hoye, Director Latrobe Sport
  • Associate Professor Kate Seear, Monash University and Springvale Monash Legal Service and Outer Sanctum podcaster
  • Dr Bridie O’Donnell, Head of the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation Victoria physician and champion cyclist.
Perspectives on voluntary assisted dying

In October 2017 Victoria Law Foundation presented its inaugural community forum, exploring the voluntary assisted dying legislation currently before State Parliament, which could change the way Victorians approach end-of-life decisions for the terminally ill.

The Law and You Forum: perspectives on voluntary assisted dying was a unique opportunity for the public to hear from legal and medical experts with a range of views informed by their experience working in the front line with people who have terminal conditions.

On the panel of four, there were two lawyers, Julian Gardner AM and Kathy Wilson; and two medical professionals, Dr Scott King and Steven Amsterdam.