Law for School Counsellors & Guidance Officers 2017


Date: 30 August 2017
Time: 8.45am – 5.15pm
Venue: Royal on the Park Hotel, Brisbane
Price: $595 Early Bird (until 17 July 2017); $695 Standard
CPD points: Psychologists, counsellors and lawyers attending receive CPD points

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8.00    Morning Coffee and Registration

8.45     Welcome from LawSense

8.50     Opening Remarks from the Morning Chair

9.00     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 to release of confidential information? Can children give informed consent to release their information, including health information?
  • Examining cases and scenarios where:
    • the principal has requested information, but the student does not wish it to be provided and it potentially conflicts with your duty of confidentiality
    • parents have requested information, but the student does not wish it to be released
    • 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

Nick Le Mare, Partner, Corrs Chambers Westgarth Lawyers

Note Taking, Record Keeping and Subpoenas: 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
  • Subpoenas: understanding when you can legally refuse to produce documents or limit what you produce

Tracey Jessie, Principal, Jessie Lawyers; former School Principal with DET

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?

Tim Longwill, Partner, McCullough Robertson Lawyers

Student Deaths: Understanding and Dealing with 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 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

Kathryn McMillan QC, Barrister and Mediator, Queensland Bar; Adjunct Professor, TC Beirne School of Law

1.10     Closing Remarks from the Morning Chair

1.15     Close of Morning Session for Lunch (45 Minutes)

AFTERNOON SESSION – 2.00pm to 5.15pm

2.00     Opening Remarks from the Afternoon Chair

Barb Davies, School Counsellor, Loreto College Coorparoo, President, ACCSSQ

2.05     Dealing with Student-on-Student Sexual Abuse

  • Legal updates: reviewing laws affecting sexting and student-on-student sexual abuse in schools
  • Examining how the law views 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 should it 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?

Alistair Macpherson, Director, Corney & Lind Lawyers

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

Susan Wilson, Child Protection Support Officer, Anglican Schools Commission, Qld

Family Law Review: Effectively Navigating Court Orders, Parents and Your Obligations

  • Understanding Family Court orders and parenting plans
  • Exploring the School’s role in response to Family Court orders and parenting plans
    • What are the School’s obligations?
    • What are the parents’ obligations?
    • “Equal shared parental responsibility” and “sole parental responsibility”.
    • Does the student have any rights?
  • Addressing and responding to parental demands under Family Court orders and parenting plans
  • Exploring real-life scenarios and considering practical and legal responses:
    • a parent demands that the School enforce the Family Court orders;
    • the student does not wish to go with the parent, despite Court orders allowing the parent to spend time with the student
    • responding to legal procedures;
    • responding to a subpoena for school records, including guidance counsellors’ notes; and
    • giving evidence in Court

Tracey Jessie, Principal, Jessie Lawyers; former School Principal with DET

5.10     Closing Remarks from the Afternoon Chair

5.15     Close of Seminar

Presenters / panelists include:

Nick-Le-Mar-Web-EditNick Le Mare is a Partner and Corrs Chambers Westgarth and a former General Counsel of Queensland Rail and former General Manager Workplace Relations at Virgin Australia. He has built a strong reputation within the Queensland workplace relations industry, noted for his practical approach and ability to achieve results.

Trace-Jessie-webBefore studying law Tracey Jessie was a teacher and principal within Education Queensland. Tracey now advises a range of educational institutions on employment matters. Tracey has extensive experience leading investigations and complaints on behalf of employer organisations. She is experienced in preparing employment contracts, policies and procedures for employers.

Tim Longwill-webTim Longwill is a legal practitioner of over 20 years experience.  He is a specialist industrial lawyer with significant exposure to the education sector.  Tim was also recently named for the third year in a row as being among ‘Australia’s Best Lawyers’ by the Financial Review.

kathryn-mcmillan-qc-webKathryn McMillan QC has been a barrister since 1988. In 2013 Kathryn was appointed Queen’s Counsel, having been a Senior Counsel since 2006. Kathryn has previously held appointments including: Member, Mental Health Review Tribunal; Member, Psychologists Board and Counsel for the Medical Board of Queensland in the Queensland Public Hospitals Commission of Inquiry..

AlistairAlistair Macpherson is a director of Corney & Lind Lawyers, where he focuses on legal issues affecting schools, non-profit entities and other corporate clients.  Prior to working in private practice, Alistair was employed as an in-house solicitor with a number of government organisations advising across the various areas of law relevant to government enterprise. He has also worked as a criminal prosecutor with the ACT DPP and the Queensland DPP.

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