MORE solicitors on the bench, an overhaul of the Trusts Act (yes, it’s not sexy but it’s important) and standing up for good laws – it promises to be another big year for the reinvigorated Queensland Law Society.
Promised a “soft landing” as she took over the reins at QLS over the Christmas/New Year break, President Christine Smyth has instead hit the ground running with major issues and even a High Court swearing-in ceremony.
In Picture: Queensland Law Society President Christine Smyth.
Part of a planned transition, Ms Smyth, a succession law expert from the Gold Coast, plans to keep up the momentum created by previous president Bill Potts that saw the society return to a powerful public organisation not afraid to speak out on important issues.
Talking to Corridors of Power about the year head Ms Smyth named some key issues the society would continue to target as it aims to represent nearly 10 000 solicitors across the state.
“What I see for my role as President is to advocate for good laws and policies,” she said.
“Solicitors are the glue to rule of law. We are the cornerstone of the democratic process and we are what stands between the state and people.
“The metadata legislation is something on everyone’s radar – the whole big brother is watching you.
“I see that as being something that will be of concern to the public because it affects everyone.
“As succession lawyer I also want to see the implementation of the new trust act in Queensland that was written in 1974. It’s not sexy stuff but it impacts on each and every single one of us.”
Queensland Law Society president Christine Smyth, Australian Women Lawyers president Ann-Marie David, High Court of Australia Chief Justice Susan Kiefel, Women Lawyers Association of Queensland president Cassandra Heilbronn and Law Council of Australia president Fiona McLeod. [Picture: Supplied]
Ms Smyth also didn’t hesitate to continue the tradition of pushing for more solicitors to be appointed as judges and magistrates.
“Absolutely! Our position is that if we truly want diverse and representative judgments then solicitors should be promoted to the bench,” she said.
“We are some 10,000 members, at the Queensland Bar there are only 900, so I am confused about why there is a disproportionate number of barristers versus solicitors appointed to the bench.
“That not to say there is not a place for barristers – barristers do an important job – but we have a vastly greater number of solicitors appearing more frequently in courts so there is no reason why they shouldn’t be appointed.”
The society is also planning to focus on supporting regional practitioners and deal with continued digital disruption across the industry.
– Emmaline Stigwood