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2018 COAT National Conference
7 - 8 June, 2018I QT Canberra, ACT

Conference Program

The theme for the 2018 COAT National Conference was 'Toward the Horizon - Tribunals of the Future'

To download a PDF copy of the 2018 COAT National Conference Program please click the Icon below.


Conference Program: Thursday, 7 June 2018
QT Canberra, ACT

For more information about each session, please click on the Hyperlinked tittles to download the presentation abstract.

Private Meeting Program

9.00 am

Workers Compensation Tribunal Members Meeting

Specialist Tribunals Meeting (Mental Health/ Health Practitioners)

11.00 am

Heads of Tribunals Meeting

Australasian Tribunal Administrators Group (ATAG) Meeting

Convened by Sian Leathem
CEO and Principal Registrar, Administrative Appeals Tribunal, NSW

12.00 pm


1.00 pm

Welcome to Country and Opening Address

Welcome to Country                         
Paul House
Noambri - Ngunnawal Custodian

Opening Address                                                
Gordon Ramsay  MLA
ACT Attorney-General

1.20 pm

Keynote Address
Access to Justice, Administrative Tribunals and the Rule of Law
The Hon. Robert Shenton French AC
Former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia

2.10 pm

Afternoon Tea

2.40 pm

Mastering the Tribunal tightrope: Recipes for Managing the Mayhem

Chaired by Richard Bruxner,  Northern Territory Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NTCAT)

Malcolm Schyvens, New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), Vicki Campbell, Employment Relations Authority, NZ and Justice Judy Hughes, South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal

Panel members will discuss examples of issues and their resolution in their jurisdiction.

Providing Access to Justice: Taking Tribunals to the Community

Jann Lennard, New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)/ ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT), Genevieve Nihill, Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Bertus de Villiers, State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia

Implications of the High Court's Decision in Burns v Corbett:Options for State Tribunals

Dr Anna Olijnyk

Lecturer, Law School, The University of Adelaide

Ten Minute Room Change

3.50 pm

Has the Adversarial System Passed its use-by Date?

The Hon. Rob Hulls
Director, Centre for Innovative Justice, RMIT University, VIC

Thrills, Spills and Skills – Session One: Litigants in Person

Dr Liz Richardson
Australian Centre for Justice Innovation, Monash University, VIC and Dr Janina Boughey
University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Thrills, Spills and Skills – Session Two:  Conflicts of Interests

Laura Beacroft, Sentence Administration Board (ACT)/ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) and Professor Peta Spender, ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT)

4.50 pm

Close of Day 1

7.00 pm

2018 COAT National Conference Dinner - Australian War Memorial
Pre Dinner Drinks @ 7.00 pm, Guests Seated by 7.30 pm

Conference Program: Friday, 8 June 2018
QT Canberra, ACT

8.00 am

Conference Registration – Tea and Coffee on Arrival

8.30 am

COAT Annual General Meeting

9.15 am

Keynote Address
Advance Australia Where? Making Sense of the Census
Denise Carlton
Chief Demographer, Australian Bureau of Statistics

10.15 am

Keynote Address
Automating Justice?: Rights and Liberties in a Digital World
Professor Genevieve Bell
Director of 3A Institute and Professor, Australian National University (ANU)

11.00 am

Morning Tea

11.30 am

Keynote Address
Tribunals of the Future: Dealing with Security Issues
Tom Howe QC
Chief Counsel, Dispute Resolution, Australian Government Solicitor

12.15 pm


1.15 pm

Tribunals of the Future: Emerging Challenges Dealing with Health and Aging Issues

Emma Montgomery
Senior Legal Member, Mental Health Tribunal, VIC
Sue Salthouse
Disability Advocate, ACT
Kate Carnell AO
Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, ACT

Thrills, Spills and Skills – Session Three: Communicating Clearly


Gina Frampton
Clear Communication Consultant, Writing Comes Alive, NSW


Security:  Tribunal Hearings Involving National Security and Other Sensitive and Confidential Issues – Providing Procedural Fairness

Tim Begbie
Senior General Councel, Dispute Resolution, Australian Government Solicitor and
Paul O’Sullivan AO CNZM, Former Diplomat and Director-General of Australian Security Intelligence Organisation

Five Minute Room Change

2.15 pm

Tribunals of the Future – Toward Digital Tribunals?

The Community Justice and Tribunals System in Singapore Small Claims Tribunals and Technology in Australian courts and Tribunals                       

Principal District Judge Bala Reddy,State Courts Signapore, The Hon. Justice Greg Garde AO RFD, President, Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), Warwick Soden OAM
CEO and Principal Registrar, Federal Court of Australia,

Thrills, Spills and Skills – Session Four:  Ex tempore Decisions

Lorraine Walker
ACT Chief Magistrate


Security:  How Secure is Your Tribunal?

Justin Davidson
Team Leader, Law Enforcement Team, Dispute Resolution, Australian Government Solicitor and Sian Leathem,
CEO and Principal Registrar, Administrative Appeals Tribunal, NSW

3.15 pm

Afternoon Tea

3.45 pm

Keynote Address
Governments and Tribunals             
The Hon. Philip Ruddock, former Commonwealth Attorney – General, The Hon. Rob Hulls, former Victorian Attorney-General and Doug Humphreys OAM, President, New South Wales Law Society

4.35 pm

Closing Comments and Announcement of the 2019 Conference Location

4.45 pm

Close of 2018 COAT National Conference

4.45pm - 6.00pm Post Conference Drinks

Continuing Professional Development Units for Tribunal Members

The Law Society and Bar Association does not accredit courses. The CPD scheme is based on self-assessment of the educational activity by the practitioner.  The topics included in the 2018 Conference Program are designed to cover the compulsory CPD units for Tribunal members is in the areas of ethics and professional responsibility, practice management and professional skills.  If you consider that the Conference content is relevant to your immediate or long term needs in relation to your professional development and practice of the law, then you should claim one “unit” for each hour of attendance, refreshment breaks not included.    

A Certificate of Attendance will be available in electronic format (pdf) at the conclusion of the Conference. When registering to attend, please select the option to receive a Certificate of Attendance. Alternatively, please visit the Conference Registration Desk on site, to request your Certificate of Attendance.


  • All Conference activities and schedules are subject to change without notice.  For any questions about the Conference schedule please contact GEMS Event Management Australia on +61 2 9744 5252.
  • Session attendance is on a first come, first served basis.

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Conference Secretariat


For all Conference enquiries, please contact GEMS Event Management Australia on +61 2 9744 5252.