Why contingency fees ‘can benefit business’ and British law brings same sex marriages to Australia

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New Yorker tells Australian’s that contingency fees can be good for businesses... lawyers’ regulation fund used for legal aid in NSW... British Consulates set a date for same sex marriage... and why treason is a crime again in Jersey...

Contingency fees ‘can benefit business’
A New York lawyer is in Australia and has a fresh view of the issue of contingency fees. While many law firms and the Productivity Commission are keen for this kind of billing to be allowed, opponents suggest it would not be in the interests of business. However, Peter Calamari, who heads a top New York litigation specialist, suggests that allowing contingency fees creates an opportunity for creating more flexible billing options for clients. Read the full story.
 
NSW funds legal aid with public purpose fund
The fund which provides funds to regulate lawyers in New South Wales was rapidly heading towards a zero balance, with the biggest percentage of payments having been used for the Legal Aid Office. The Law Society, which administers the funds, collected from interest earned on money held by lawyers for their clients, says that legal aid should be funded by the Treasury. The Society urges both state and federal government to seek new funding for legal aid as it is ‘urgently required’. Read the full story.
 
Brits set a date
British Consulates in Sydney and Perth will begin to conduct same sex marriages under British law from June 27th. The law changed in Britain earlier this year and the Australian government has given its blessing to the Consulates holding the ceremonies where one of the partners has British citizenship. Although seen as a step towards same sex marriage becoming law in Australia, there is still much debate to come. Also being considered is whether same sex marriages under foreign law should be recognised; under current law the marriages at the British Consulates will not be recognised in Australia. Read the full story.
 
New law could be against human rights
A proposed New Zealand law may contravene human rights requirements if it is introduced in its current form. The Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Bill seeks to exempt buildings from upgrading fire and disability access if they are being strengthened against earthquakes. Disability Rights Commissioner Paul Gibson told a government select committee that the bill sends a message that those who are elderly or disabled are a ‘low priority’ and would represent a ‘backward step’ for New Zealand’s human rights record. Read the full story.
 
A slow day at the Jersey Government?
Despite many in the Channel Islands not really understanding why, the Jersey States assembly have debated, and agreed on, the validity of bringing back a law first introduced by King Henry VII in 1495. The Royal Court will now be able to try cases of treason – not something that crops up too often to be fair. The last UK prosecution was in 1946. The Jersey assembly voted 35 to 5 in favour of the change in law though... maybe they’d overheard someone plotting? Read the full story.

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