Law for School Counsellors NSW 2017


One Day Seminar

Date: 16 August 2017
Time: 8.45am – 5.15pm
Venue: UNSW CBD Campus, Level 6, 1 O’Connell Street, Sydney
CPD points: Counsellors, psychologists and lawyers attending receive CPD points
Cost: $595 (Early Bird, expires 27 July 2017); $695 (standard); Prices include GST

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8.15    Morning Coffee and Registration

8.45    Welcome from LawSense

8.50     Opening Remarks from the Morning Chairperson

Cheryl Sewell, School Counsellor, Sydney Grammar School

9.00     Note Taking and Record Keeping: Navigating Best Practice, Rights and Obligations

  • Reviewing current laws and codes applying to note-taking and record keeping
  • Outlining common legal pitfalls for school counsellors
  • Case studies and examples:
    • examining good notes v bad notes recording meetings and conversations
    • considering good reports v bad reports
  • Amending or modifying notes or reports at a later date – what are the legal considerations?
  • Exploring best practice in storage and access to notes and reports
  • Requests under Chapter 16A of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998: when are you required to disclose, what are the exceptions and when do the exceptions apply?
  • Subpoenas: understanding when you can legally refuse to produce documents or limit what you produce

Angela Wood, Partner, Maddocks Lawyers; Non-practicing Psychologist

Privacy, Confidentiality and Employment Obligations: Practical Approaches to Addressing Key Challenges and Conflicts for School Counsellors

  • Reviewing the current laws and codes affecting privacy and confidentiality obligations of counsellors in public and private schools
  • Examining employment obligations of counsellors, including counsellors who also work in private practice
  • Who can consent? Can children give informed consent to release their information, including health information?
  • Examining cases and scenarios where:
    • information is shared under Chapter 16A of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 without a request – what are the pitfalls?
    • a student has moved to another school – what information can / should be shared
    • parents have requested information, but the student does not wish it to be released
    • the principal has requested information, but the student does not wish it to be provided and it potentially conflicts with your duty of confidentiality
    • you receive a confidential medical report – to what extent can you provide this to other staff or contractors of the school?
  • Understanding and managing potential conflicts where a school counsellor also works in private practice

Zeina Milicevic, Special Counsel and Helen Lauder, Senior Associate, Minter Ellison Lawyers

Student Deaths: Managing Investigations and Coronial Inquests

  • Reviewing investigations and Coronial inquests – when do they occur and what is the process? How are the police involved?
  • Understanding the potential role of the school counsellor in investigations and coronial inquests
  • Reviewing key rights and obligations of the school counsellor in:
    • dealing with police
    • providing files, including your notes, to an inquest
    • writing reports
  • Appearing as a witness at an inquest: understanding your role and what to expect

Nevena Brown, Principal, Meridian Lawyers Limited

Balancing Duty of Care with Complex Family Law Disputes: Learnings from School Experiences

  • Reviewing the types of court orders and arrangements affecting separated parents:
    • family law: court orders, parenting plans and subpoenas
    •  apprehended violence orders
  • Understanding orders: how they affect schools and how they should be managed
  • Reviewing recent school experiences, responses and key learnings:
    • when students are presented for enrolment
    • where there have been no court orders and the school is concerned about the parent attending school activities and the parent’s behaviour
    • where the school counsellor has suspected or known family court orders have been breached
    • where there have been apprehended domestic violence orders which have been breached by a parent at school
    • where the child told the school counsellor they do not wish to be with a parent, despite court orders allowing the parent time with the child
    • where the school counsellor have been asked to provide a statement or give evidence
    • where a subpoena has been issued for school counsellors records
  • Keeping records and court orders – what records should be kept and what information should be recorded

Margaret Baker, Principal Legal Officer, NSW Department of Education; NSW Chapter Member, ANZELA

1.15     Lunch

AFTERNOON SESSION – 2.00pm to 5.15pm

2.00    Opening Remarks from the Afternoon Chair

Pauline Kotselas, Leader, Psychological and Wellbeing Services, Student Engagement and Interagency Partnerships, Department of Education NSW

2.05     Dealing with Children Exhibiting Problematic or Troubling Sexualised Behaviour in Schools

  • Legal updates: reviewing laws affecting children exhibiting problematic or troubling sexualised behaviour
  • Examining how the law views criminal responsibility at different ages – from primary age to secondary
  • What steps should be taken where there are only rumours or suspicions of abuse by students and the suspected victim is not being cooperative? When should a school investigate? When should you take steps to notify authorities?
  • Understanding the rights and obligations of the school in investigating: how it should gather evidence; what evidence and from what sources (such as a phone)
  • Handling police investigations: what are your rights and obligations in responding to police seeking to interview you or request documents?

Michael Waterhouse, General Counsel, NSW Department of Education

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: Examining Key Learnings to Date for School Counsellors

  • Reviewing developments affecting school counsellors from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
  • Understanding the implications for counsellors:
    • evaluating the school counsellor’s role and obligations in light of the Commission
    • identifying duties in dealing with school management and providing input into school policy
    • managing confidentiality obligations
    • mandatory reporting and engagement with external authorities
  • Managing the role of the school counsellor to meet learnings from the Royal Commission

Amanda Ryding, Partner, Colin Biggers and Paisley Lawyers

Cyber-Bullying and Sexting Update: Exploring Options to Protect and Support Students

  • Law update: reviewing the current law applying to social media – duty of care, privacy and relevant legislation
  • Cyber-bullying case studies – what have schools done well and how can they improve?
  • Sexting cases: mitigating risks and damage and clarifying the role of the school counsellor in investigations
  • Dealing with sexting allegations – what steps can you take to limit or prevent distribution?
  • Exploring evolving technologies and platforms – what are the emerging challenges to consider in dealing with cyber issues?

Alex Kohn, Partner, Makinson d’Apice Lawyers

5.10     Closing Remarks from the Chairperson

5.15     Close of the Seminar

Presenters / panelists include:

Angela-Wood-WebAngela Wood has specialist experience in the health, as well as in the disability and community services sectors. Her clients include a range of public, private and not-for-profit health providers throughout Australia. Before practising law, Angela had experience in the health and community services sector as a practising psychologist.

Photo-Nevena-Brown-WebNevena Brown has over 25 years’ experience as a health and insurance lawyer. Her experience with medical and allied health professional negligence claims began in 2000 when she advised Avant and Guild Insurance Ltd regarding civil claims against its members. Nevena now acts nationally for allied health and medical indemnity insurers, assisting a range of health practitioners

Michael-Waterhouse-online-edit-25.2.14Michael Waterhouse is General Counsel at the NSW Department of Education. Before becoming a lawyer, Michael had a diverse career in the political arena and NSW public sector. In 2001, after being the Chief of Staff for the Minister for Education and Training for two years, Michael took up his current role to lead the Department’s Legal Services Directorate.

alex-kohn-webAlex Kohn has extensive experience in advising educational institutions, including on contract law; discrimination; procedural fairness; administrative law; WHS; bullying claims; coronial inquests; negligence claims and professional standards issues. Alex has a deep understanding of legal issues affecting the education sector and has advised hundreds of schools over 30 years.

Margaret-Baker-Department-onlineMargaret Baker has worked for the NSW DoE for over 15 years. Over that time Margaret has provided legal support and advice to people working in schools, TAFE NSW, State Office and other Department areas. This advice ranges from prevention of legal liability and legal risk reduction, to privacy, contracts and compliance. She has also represented the Department in courts and tribunals.

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