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Disputes between neighbours about trees are common. They may involve dangerous branches, roots that damage property, or even poison. The law in this area is complex and difficult to find, while it is not clear to people how they can resolve their disputes without expensive and stressful legal action. That's why the VLRC recently completed a report on the law of neighbourhood tree disputes, recommending a new Act to help people resolve their problems. In this episode of 'Old Law, New Law' Nick and Gemma talk to Emma Cashen, team leader of the tree disputes inquiry, and Natalie Lilford, the Commission's community law reform manager.

Community Law Reform

One of the Victorian Law Reform Commission's functions is to examine, report and make recommendations to the Attorney-General on any matter the Commission considers of general community concern. These Community Law Reform projects, which are separate from those initiated by the Attorney-General, deal with relatively minor issues which, nevertheless, deeply affect the lives of Victorians. They exemplify the Commission's commitment to community consultation and the idea that law reform best comes out of the day-to-day experience of ordinary people.   

Discussing the importance of our Community Law Reform program is Community Law Reform Manager Natalie Lilford and Chair of the Commission, the Hon. Anthony North QC.   

Presented by Gemma Walsh and Paul Galloway.

Committals

By the time those accused of serious crime have their day in court, they have already undergone a pretrial process. Committal proceedings can involve court appearances, pleas, presentation of evidence and witness testimony. What is the point of all this pre-amble? Does it speed up the course of justice or bog it down?

In this episode of Old Law, New Law, we look at the committal process in Victoria and why it might be in need of reform. We discuss the key issues with Michael McKiterick, leader of the VLRC team looking into committals, and Senior Research and Policy Officer Briana Proud.

Hosted by Nick Gadd and Gemma Walsh.

Contempt of Court

'Contempt of court' can include everything from blowing bubblegum in court to publishing suppressed information. But what actually is it, and does the law need to be reformed? Nick Gadd and Gemma Walsh speak with Anna Beesley and Helen Donovan, and Bruce Gardner, Chair of the VLRC. They discuss scandalising the court, contempt in the face of the court, juror contempt, publication contempt, disobedience contempt, and whether it can send you to jail. 

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