Queenslander! Townsville CPD Enthralls
On Wednesday 13 July, The Townsville Supreme Court presented Legal Issues of Today: An update on key developments in law as part of the Bar Association’s CPD series.
The Honourable Justice David North, Supreme Court of Queensland, chaired the evening and emphasised the talent within the ranks of Townsville’s legal profession. The speakers and speeches were:
- Dr Louise Floyd, Associate Professor of Law JCU & Barrister: “From Rossato to ZG Operations; Casuals to Contractors – Key Developments in Employment Law”. Dr Floyd has been published in the world’s leading law journal, The Law Quarterly Review. She was the first Australian to win The MacCormick Fellowship to Edinburgh Law School and on numerous occasions she has been International Visiting Fellow to Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School in America’s Ivy League. Dr Floyd has written a book on employment law for Cambridge University Press; and she began her career as a Judge’s Associate. Dr Floyd assisted in organising the CPD. In her paper, Dr Floyd analysed the recent employment law case law decided by the High Court of Australia on casuals and contractors in the workplace. She underscored that the court is placing a renewed focus on the black letter wording of an extensive employment contract to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor. Parallel to the case law, the Federal Government has passed laws on the rights of casual workers to request conversion to permanent employment. With the election of a new federal government, legislative change is likely to continue so as to aim for greater job security for workers. These developments are especially important to the evolving digital economy, as gig workers are traditionally contractors and may be part-time.
- Ms Lucy Martinez – Principal, Martinez Arbitration: “What’s New in Arbitration Law – what you need to know”. Ms Lucy Martinez is a First Class Honours Graduate from The University of Queensland Law School. She was a Judge’s Associate to judges of both the Queensland Supreme Court and the High Court of Australia. She won a Fellowship to Columbia University Law School in America’s Ivy League and she also worked at that institution for some time. Lucy’s Arbitration work has seen her successfully live and work in New York and London for many years. The advent of the digital economy means she can undertake her arbitration work in her hometown, Townsville – and we are lucky and happy to have her home. (She is, indeed, part of a most respected Townsville legal family). Ms Lucy Martinez spoke about the significance of arbitration to agreements and dispute settlement. Numerous businesses rely on arbitration in their commercial contracts and find it an efficacious way to transact business – especially in terms of enforcement across jurisdictions.
- Ms Angela Fortt, Principal, Mackey Wales Law: “Sexual Harassment at Work: what and why you need to know” Ms Fortt has an excellent reputation throughout the Townsville and North Queensland Profession for being smart, practical, reliable and a tremendous team player. She has served on various professional representative bodies: she was past President of the Townsville District Law Association; past Committee Member, North Queensland Law Association; and past President and Life Member Townsville Community Legal Service. Ms Fortt undertakes litigation, dispute resolution, insolvency, leasing and employment law work. She spoke on legal developments pertaining to sexual harassment in the workplace. In particular, Ms Fortt highlighted the legal need for employers to be pro active in creating an equitable, non-discriminatory and safe workplace. Up-to-date workplace policy and staff training are important.
- Mr Ben Schierhuber, Associate Director Advisory, BDO: “Good Phoenix? Bad Phoenix? An Insolvency Law Update”. Mr Schierhuber has recently come top of Australia in a number of his insolvency subjects and should become qualified as a Liquidator in the coming months. He was CA ANZ 2019 Young CA Regional Advocate, QLD. Mr Schierhuber – a graduate in both accounting and law from JCU – has an excellent reputation for mentoring the young and works as a sessional academic at JCU. He works full-time for BDO in Business Restructuring and Forensics. Mr Schierhuber spoke about the new insolvency laws on phoenix companies. Phoenixing has long been an issue in insolvency law. Although voluntary administration law, for example, aims to resuscitate a struggling business, there are unfortunate instances where some directors might asset strip a company in order to defeat creditors, only to start a similar business with a similar name using the assets of the former corporation. Mr Schierhuber analysed how the new laws aim to deal with that latter problem.
The audience included barristers (and we were especially pleased to welcome Justin Greggery QC), solicitors, academics, former Judge’s Associates now embarking on their careers in law, plus a smattering of law students and community members. After the speeches, light refreshments were enjoyed at The North Queensland Club, where the State of Origin 3 build-up played on the TV in the background. The CPD evening finished shortly after the start of the game and both the CPD and the football were a triumph!