Covid-19 Updates & News

24 March 2020
Butlers Blog
Covid-19 Updates & the Law
COVID 19 is causing uncertainty in so many areas.  One question we are being asked, is “How it will affect existing Parenting Orders or Parenting Plans?”.  The answer to this will vary, depe...
07 April 2020
Butlers Blog
Covid-19 Updates & the Law
For many people, COVID-19 has caused a great deal of uncertainty in areas that they previously regarded as stable: their income, the value of their assets, their ability to travel and even their abili...
01 April 2020
Butlers Blog
Covid-19 Updates & the Law
These are unprecedented times.  We are witnessing and possibly experiencing widespread job loss and isolation.  As people do their best to cope with the changes around them, this has been ac...

Why is this Still Happening in 2020!? - An Open Letter on Domestic Violence in Australia

Sadly, domestic violence can affect everyone, men, women and children and can leave scars that may take a lifetime to heal. Domestic violence comes in many forms ranging from physical attempts to harm to intimidation, control and manipulation. 

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178 Hits

International travel and children in the current and post-Covid-19 world

It is no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Australians in ways that could never have been predicted.  From the immediate closure of our favourite restaurants, bars and clubs to the crippling and devastating effect it is having on our economy, our health, both mental and physical and our social lives.  

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206 Hits

Business Planning - from surviving to thriving

In recent weeks small businesses have been hit hard by the Federal Government restrictions in reaction to COVID-19.  Doors were shut overnight, and businesses were forced to adapt and adjust their trading systems in the blink of an eye, or risk becoming insolvent.

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304 Hits

George Pell, Bombshells & Evidence in the Family Court

Yesterday, 7 April 2020, the High Court handed down it’s decision granting Cardinal George Pell’s application for special leave and unanimously acquitting him of his conviction for child sexual abuse, which was previously upheld by the Supreme Court of Victoria.  Most of you will be familiar with this high-profile case and the December 2018 conviction that resulted in George Pell’s sentence of six years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of three years and eight months. 
 
Following the Supreme Court of Victoria’s decision, Cardinal Pell’s lawyers appealed to the High Court of Australia, arguing that the Appeal Court failed to take proper account of evidence which cast doubt upon his guilt.  On appeal, the High Court stated that the Victorian Court of Appeal judges “failed to engage with the question of whether there remained a reasonable possibility that the offences had not taken place”.  Furthermore, the High Court found that other witnesses’ evidence was “inconsistent with the complainant’s account”. 
 
In essence, the High Court found that there were flaws and inconsistencies in the evidence provided. As a result, the High Court found that the jury should have had reasonable doubt that the events could have occurred, or did occur, in the manner alleged. 
 
Generally, a Court will give consideration to two primary factors when reaching a decision:
  • Firstly, the relevant legislation;  and
  • Secondly, the facts presented which are relevant to the matter at hand, how those facts apply to the relevant legislation, and whether or not those facts share common traits with case law.  
 
The facts and documents which the parties present to a Court, (in other words, their evidence), is the basis upon which Court decisions are made.  However, there are strict rules for what is, and is not, admissible as evidence in Court.  These rules are designed to ensure the proper administration of justice and, especially in criminal matters, avoid wrongful conviction.  
 
In the Family Court of Western Australia, decisions are made by Judicial Officers, not a jury.  Judicial Officers are aware of the rules of evidence and what evidence may be admissible.  Lawyers often argue about the admissibility of evidence, and the Judicial Officer decides whether or not it is admissible.  This is different to criminal matters before a jury, where the Trial Judge provides direction to the jury about how the evidence is to be considered.  Despite this direction from the Trial Judge, juries may still be swayed by having heard evidence which Judges may find is inadmissible. 
 
However, given the personal nature of Family Law matters, it may not be possible for the rules of evidence to be applied.  Therefore, the Family Court adopts a more relaxed and flexible approach to the admissibility of evidence.  Judicial Officers utilise broad discretion as to what may or may not be admitted as evidence.  This approach within the Family Court is often confusing and frustrating for parties, practitioners, and those unfamiliar with the Court and the presiding Judicial Officer’s role.  
 
If you are involved in Family Court proceedings, it can relieve a lot of this frustration and stress if you have a basic understanding of the differences between how the Courts function.  It is worth your while to consult with your lawyer to discuss, understand and agree about how your evidence is best presented to the Court to gain the best result in your case. 
 
Contact us today to speak with our experienced and skilled Legal Team. 
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433 Hits

Why Do I Even Need A Will?

One question we often hear is; ‘Why do I even need a Will?’

Understandably, planning for your death is not usually something that you think about regularly. Often times it is considered the least important of tasks. However, considering that you could die at any moment, planning for what happens afterwards and ensuring that your estate is administered in accordance with your wishes should be considered one of the most important things you can do.

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451 Hits