Current Legal Issues Seminars 2024

Bar Association of Queensland


The University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law


Supreme Court Library Queensland


2024 Seminar Series

The seminar series seeks to bring together leading scholars, practitioners and members of the judiciary in Queensland and from abroad to discuss key issues of contemporary significance.

  1. Legal Futures: Where Should Artificial Intelligence Take Us?  
  2. Youth Justice in Queensland 
  3. Class Actions – Equitable Fiduciary Supervision of Australian Class Actions

Download brochure for the 2024 series (PDF, 3.8 MB)

Seminar 1: Legal Futures: Where Should Artificial Intelligence Take Us?  

DateThursday 2nd May 2024
SpeakerProfessor Lyria Bennett Moses, UNSW Sydney

Dr Robert Mullins, TC Beirne School of Law, The University of Queensland   


The Hon Justice James Edelman, High Court of Australia

AbstractIt is never wise to predict the future – evolving capabilities of artificial intelligence systems in prediction and content generation are impressive and sometimes surprising. The original goal of artificial intelligence research was to create machines that simulated human learning and intelligence. In the outputs of generative AI, we can indeed find simulated human reasoning and text that could have been written by a human. Lawyers, alongside many others, have been impressed with AI systems’ ability to answer questions, pass exams, and produce documents that mirror, in at least some ways, the performance of human law students and lawyers. In light of this, it is tempting to reduce recruitment and start contemplating a world of avatar judges delivering automated justice based on documents authored through the use of large language models fine-tuned on the wealth of legal documents held in large law firms and the corpus of statutes and case law.
Before rushing towards such a future, we should pause to consider both what might be gained (and the skills we will need to achieve that) as well as what would be lost. In doing this, we need to step back and understand how different kinds of artificial intelligence system work – what they do well and where they can fail. Then, projecting into the future, we can ask about the affordances and limitations of hypothetical developments in artificial intelligence. Only after that can we approach some important questions: what skills will we need to provide legal services and operate legal institutions optimally in light of the capabilities afforded by developments in artificial intelligence? And, more importantly, how do we ensure that the core purposes and functions of our legal system are preserved by recognising the limits of simulation?
PapersDownload Rob Mullins Comment on 'Legal Futures' (PDF, 394.2 KB)
Download Lyria Bennet Moses' Artificial Intelligence Paper (PDF, 474.1 KB)

Seminar 2: Youth Justice in Queensland 

DateThursday 11th July 2024
Panel Speakers

Professor Tamara Walsh, University of Queensland, TC Beirne School of Law 

Ms Natalie Lewis, Commissioner of the Queensland Family and Child Commission 

Mr Damian Bartholomew, Youth Advocacy Centre

Magistrate Eoin Mac Giolla Ri, Beenleigh Magistrates Court


Her Honour Judge Deborah Richards, President of the Children’s Court of Queensland 

AbstractQueensland’s approach to youth justice ‘reform’ has been described as ‘tough on crime’. Yet, practitioners and researchers agree that a punitive approach to youth justice is actually crime-causing. It is now widely accepted that legal responses to criminal offending by children should be based on the principle of ‘minimal intervention, maximum diversion’, and that protecting children’s basic human rights is the first step towards crime prevention. This panel of distinguished experts will discuss ‘what works’ in youth justice, and why recent amendments to youth justice law in Queensland could actually result in higher rates of ‘youth crime’ 
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Seminar 3: Class Actions – Equitable Fiduciary Supervision of Australian Class Actions

DateThursday 17th October 2024
SpeakerProfessor Simone Degeling, UNSW Sydney
CommentatorMs Emma Costello,  King & Wood Mallesons

The Hon Justice Roger Derrington , Federal Court of Australia

AbstractStatute provides for class actions in the Federal Court of Australia, and the Supreme Courts of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. In a class action, members of the represented class are not parties to the proceedings. However, res judicata applies, such that all class members are bound by the outcome of the litigation. The class action is brought by a representative applicant who is the claimant of record and whose lawyer has carriage of the litigation. Some class members may have entered into a litigation funding agreement with a litigation funder. Others may not. As with other litigation, the proceedings may be concluded via judgment or settlement. Whilst the conduct of the actors in a class action may engage the relevant class actions statute, equitable fiduciary law has its own remit. As is well known, a fiduciary is bound by an obligation of loyalty which encompasses ‘two overlapping proscriptive “themes”’ (Grimaldi v Chameleon Mining NL [No 2] (2012) 200 FCR 296, [178]). First, the fiduciary must not act with a conflict or significant possibility of conflict between their duty and interest; their judgment must not be swayed by such considerations. Secondly, any gain which the fiduciary obtains or receives by reason or use of their position, or through knowledge or opportunity resulting from their position, must be given up to the principal. The fiduciary position must not be exercised for personal advantage (Grimaldi [178]). Equitable remedies are potentially available to group members in relation to breaches of fiduciary obligation arising through conduct which both engages the class actions regime and also that which does not. Equity therefore potentially offers an alternative supervisory and remedial path to group members in the carriage of class actions and a correlative compliance risk for those acting in the carriage of those actions who owe fiduciary obligations.
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