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Conference to explore year of change for property lawyers

Conference to explore year of change for property lawyers

By Karin Derkley

Real Property 


Property Law Conference attendees will hear about how the upheavals of the past year could bring about a shift in how property law operates in the future.

Property Law Section executive committee member Malwina Peacock says the conference will be an opportunity for members to share their experiences of what has been a year of extraordinary change, and also to discuss possible longer term changes.

"The Property Law Conference has always been an important event for letting people catch up on various developments and network with their peers.

"In Victoria at the moment we are more (physically) isolated from each other than ever and at the same time there have been such a lot of changes going on in property law. So it's going to be especially worthwhile coming along to hear different people's experiences about what has happened over the last year."

But the conference is also an opportunity for asking “what we can we push for that maybe as property lawyers we wouldn't have pushed for before?”, she says.

"It depends on whether property lawyers are looking at this as just a temporary blip on the radar where in six months' time when we have a vaccine everything's going to go back to normal, or whether we want to make some longer term changes coming out of this period."

This year's keynote speaker is VCAT deputy president Catherine Aird.

Ms Peacock says she is looking forward to hear the deputy president explain how the tribunal went about adapting its practices and processes to deal with restrictions under COVID-19 world.

"It will be interesting to hear about how they were able to pivot to enable hearings and mediations to take place, including the changes to lodging requirements in the new Covid space.”

She says conference attendees will also be keen to hear whether the tribunal might consider retaining some of the changes. "Some of the improvements have been excellent and opened up a lot of opportunities in terms of time savings for suburban and regional lawyers not having to commute for a mediation for instance into the city."

The impact of the mandatory code of conduct for commercial tenancy arrangements which has required landlords and tenants to renegotiate lease agreements will be the subject of two conference sessions.

"There’s been a huge amount of new law to get across in a very short space of time, says Ms Peacock, who is chair of the LIV’s Leases Committee. “Lawyers are trying to negotiate agreements, as they're obliged to under the regulations, but with really no guidance as to what a judicial interpretation might be of a particular section or regulation and what it means."

Barristers Samuel Hopper and Abilene Singh will provide an update on the developments in leases over the past 12 months, while Victorian Small Business Commission senior manager Mark Schramm will explain the free mediation service and other support services provided by the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme that has been implemented to alleviate financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of COVID-19.

Practitioners will also hear about:

  • key case law updates over the past 12 months
  • a new generic residual document created by the VLRS and PEXA
  • ethical issues for property lawyers
  • risks and challenges to practitioners during the COVID-19 period, with a particular focus on cyber fraud and the use of video conferencing

Find more information and register for the conference here

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