‘Driverless cars and the law’ on the agenda at ALA conference

4th Oct 2017

If a driverless car is involved in an accident, who is at fault? These and other questions will be hot topics of discussion at the upcoming Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) annual National Conference being held in Darwin this month.

The challenges posed to traditional workplaces by the ‘uberfication’ of the workforce will be another area of law examined by employment experts during the conference. In addition, the winner of the ALA’s prestigious Civil Justice Award will be announced on the first day. This award recognises individuals and organisations around the country who have displayed outstanding advocacy in their work for human rights and social justice.

With issues such as judicial decision making, employment in the age of technology, wrongful convictions, managing and resolving institutional abuse cases, statutory compensation scheme reform on the conference agenda, members of the Australian legal profession should not miss this opportunity to keep abreast of the latest developments in these important and topical fields.

The two-day ALA National Conference is being held at the Darwin Convention Centre from Friday 20 October, 2017 from 9:00am and will examine legal issues ranging from ‘Unnecessary Surgery: Patients at Risk – Medicolegal Consequences’ through to ‘Law in the Age of Disruption – Dealing with the Challenges of the “Uberfication” of the Workplace’ to ‘Mandatory Reporting Child Sexual Abuse – The Australian Experience: Is this the Best Way to Protect Children from Predators?’.

ALA National President Laura Neil said the ALA National Conference 2017 would be an outstanding networking opportunity for the more than 150 personal injury, human rights and criminal law lawyers and other legal professionals who had already registered to attend.

Mrs Neil said that the conference’s packed program demonstrated the ALA’s ongoing commitment to the professional development of its growing membership.

“This year the Australian Lawyers Alliance’s National Conference will focus on the fundamental issues which will give lawyers across Australia who practice in personal injury, compensation and criminal law the edge in representing the best interests of their clients,” Mrs Neil said.

“The law is constantly adapting to new challenges and new technologies, and it is vital for lawyers to be on top of the latest developments,” Mrs Neil said.

“The questions that driverless cars pose to modern society are a great example of the challenges facing the legal system. If a vehicle controlled by a computer is involved in an accident, who is at fault? How do insurers treat autonomous vehicles? Should a driverless vehicle prioritise the life of a passenger or a pedestrian in an emergency? These are the types of issues lawyers and legislators are facing, and which will be discussed at our annual conference,” Mrs Neil said.

Other conference sessions available for media coverage will include:

  • Law in the Age of Disruption – Dealing with the Challenges of the “Uberfication” of the Workplace - Carolyn Howe, Principal and Katrina Pederson, Branch Manager, Shine Lawyers (QLD)
  • Into the Future: Driverless Cars and the Future of Transport Accident Law - Katie Minogue, Associate, Maurice Blackburn (VIC)
  • Valuing the Labour of Employees in Receipt of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Who Become Self-employed After Injury - Thena Kyprianou, Consultant, McInnes Wilson Lawyers (ACT)
  • International Laws and Conventions Affecting Claims in Australia - Richard Royle, Sir Owen Dixon Chambers (NSW)
  • Wrongful Convictions - Tom Percy QC, Albert Wolff Chambers (WA)
  • The Charlie Gard Case - Social Media v The Law in a Post-truth World - David Hirsch, Selborne Chambers (NSW)
  • PLUS Sessions on Ethics, Abuse law, TPD/Disability, NIIS/NDIS Update

The conference attracts up to 10 CLE/CPD points and is attended by plaintiff and defendant lawyers as well as representatives of the various regulators and insurers.

The Australian Lawyers Alliance is a national, non-profit association that promotes justice, freedom and the rights of the individual.

The full conference program can be found here: