Members of the legal sector from across Victoria joined us online to celebrate the new legal year at our 19th Legal Laneway Breakfast, our second to be held remotely.
While we once again couldn’t celebrate in person, the event was an opportunity to reflect on the past year and explore what’s in store for 2022, with contributions from Attorney-General of Victoria Jaclyn Symes MP, Victorian Legal Services Board CEO and Commissioner Fiona McLeay, Victoria Law Foundation’s Executive Director Lynne Haultain and special guest speaker Craig Foster AM.
Attorney-General praised the dedication and commitment of the legal profession
Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes MP thanked the legal community for their ongoing work in the face of many challenges.
‘The dedication and commitment of many has seen that the wheels of justice have continued to turn, and in many instances flourished.
‘Your adaptability and willingness to try new approaches has been invaluable and we’ll continue to work with you to ensure the justice sector’s recovery.’
The Attorney-General went on to outline her areas of focus in 2022, including working through court backlogs by targeted investments, crime prevention, development of the 10-year strategy to address sexual violence, abuse and harm.
Legal Services Commissioner highlights the positive impact that lawyers can make
Legal Services Board CEO and Commissioner Fiona McLeay also praised the adaptability of the legal sector in a time of change, and how this has opened new opportunities for improved access to justice.
‘This year marks 25 years of legal regulation by the Victorian Legal Services Board and its predecessors. It’s a great opportunity to look back at the changes we have seen within the legal profession over that time, as well as the consider the things that have stayed the same – including the good that lawyers do.
‘COVID has significantly disrupted how we work and forced change on all of us, including the way we deliver legal services and help our clients access the courts.
‘While there are some challenges with this, it has also enabled people who can’t travel perhaps due to disability or their rural location, the opportunity to access services that may have previously been difficult or impossible to reach.’
Ms McLeay also spoke about lawyers’ primary obligation to the courts and the administration of justice.
‘As we start a new year, I encourage you to re-commit to this fundamental obligation and play your part in the administration of justice and upholding the rule of law.’
Craig Foster AM encourages all to use their powers for good
Our special guest speaker former Socceroo, broadcaster and human rights activist Craig Foster AM spoke passionately about human rights and equality, and the responsibility on us all to consider how our work affects others.
‘Your job changes lives, for the better and worse, and we’re all accountable for the actions we take and the consequences we create. I’d like to encourage you to give more thought and take responsibility for the laws that you write or defend and contend that conscience must play a part in all our professional lives. We are people first, professional actors second and this is too often forgotten by us all.
‘And that you place a strong sense of human equality, compassion and solidarity with others at the centre of all your work. That we all do, in fact.’
Victoria Law Foundation Executive Director shares our 2022 plans
Victoria Law Foundation Executive Director Lynne Haultain gave an update on key projects such as the Public Understanding of Law Survey (PULS) which is about to go into the field.
‘This is world first research and will set Victoria up with an evidence base on legal need and understanding which can underpin practice and policy for years to come.’
Ms Haultain also highlighted our International Access to Justice Online Forum which is open for registrations, Community Legal Grants which are now open for applications, and of course, Victorian Law Week!
‘At the VLF we haven’t missed a beat in delivering on our work in research, education and grant-making… and we continue to engage with thousands of school students across the state.’
Helping Kinfolk improve the lives of Victorians
This year the Legal Laneway Breakfast supported Kinfolk. During the pandemic, Kinfolk's in-house Food Relief Program has provided hundreds of meals a week to Victorians facing food insecurity due to family violence, homelessness and other complex pressures.
We encourage all attendees, colleagues, and friends to make a donation.