Is there a Criminal Cartel operating in Goulburn?

Businesses that make agreements with their competitors to fix prices, rig bids, share markets or restrict outputs are breaking laws and stealing from consumers and businesses by inflating prices, reducing choices and damaging the economy. [i]  Some estimates suggest that while a cartel is operating, the price of affected commodities rises by at least 10 per cent. Worldwide, cartels steal billions of dollars every year. [ii]

In Goulburn NSW, there are three lawyers designated to work on the NSW Children’s Court Care Panel.  Lawyers on the “Care Panel” are specifically trained to deal with care and protection matters in NSW.  For remote and rural areas, where care and protection proceedings have been instituted by the state, one lawyer is allocated to the children in the case, one is allocated to the department and the other will be the duty lawyer, in which will take on the case for the parents. 

Typically this means that there is no option for a second or third choice with legal representation and this constitutes a violation of the clients human rights, which Australia is obligated to abide by. (UNHRHC) states “to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing”.

In current children’s court proceedings, the departments solicitor is Robert Hosking,[iii]  the children’s independent legal representative is Alison Howarth[iv] and the mothers legal representative is Joanna Jasarevic.  The department also has an External Legal Practitioner, Kelly Stanford [v]– though she is not representing the department in this matter.

The children were removed in July 2016 on an Emergency Care and Protection Order (NSW Government) [vi] and placed into foster care with reasons for removal unsubstantive.  A requirement for such drastic action is that the department must bring the matter to the courts within three working days and explain exactly why such measures were required.  [vii]

If an ECPO is made, it will have a life not exceeding 14 days and may be renewed for a similar or lesser term on one occasion only: s 46(3).  A child who is subject to an ECPO is usually placed in the “care responsibility” of the Director-General, but another person may be allocated care responsibility.  Unlike an interim care order, an ECPO and an extension of an ECPO are “final” orders.  Once it is made, the proceedings are at an end and there can be no question of a further court date.  Having made the ECPO, the magistrate is “functus officio”.  There is no power to make contact or other orders.

These ECPOs are only to be used when a child or young person is at immediate risk of serious harm. [viii]  None of the legal representatives brought to the attention of the magistrate the fact that the department failed to abide by this stringent requirement.  In not following this crucial step, all representatives – whom are all paid by the state of NSW – all parties are seeking to prolong the proceedings.  The benefit to all parties is obvious – financial gain – at the expense of the clients.

When most children are removed, these rules are nearly always broken by those involved and getting paid to participate in the proceedings, including caseworkers, lawyers and judges.

  1. The children were removed WITHOUT ANY PRIOR INVESTIGATION as is required by the principle act,[ix]
  2. The children were removed WITHOUT ANY PRIOR MEDIATION as is required by the principle act [x], and
  3. The children were removed WITHOUT OFFERING ANY INTERVENTION as is required by the principle act.[xi]
  4. Furthermore caseworkers took more than a week to bring the matter before the court, when legislation clearly states “(1A) The care application must be made within 3 working days after the day (the “relevant day” ) on which the removal or assumption of care responsibility[xii]

A client knows nothing of what “consenting to establishment” means, so most agree with their legal representation - who are not working in the client's best interests.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN GOULBURN?  Will the magistrate do the right thing and make "Final Orders" as is required by law?  Even though this should have happened well before now, and even though all parties have failed to abide by the legislation that applies when children are removed on Emergency Care and Protection Orders?  Even though there was no Risk of Serious Harm.  Further court dates have already been granted by the magistrate - who is also failing to abide by the legislation.  He has already granted an extension of an order that cannot legally be made.

He must make his final orders determination when the matter hits court, that is law.  And that is exactly what is going to be submitted to the Judicial Review Panel and the Office of the Legal Services Commission.

As a result of this investigation we are requesting that there be a full investigation into the cartel operations of legal representatives in children’s court and family courts - by the appropriate authorities and with competent staff that have thorough knowledge and audit capabilities of the children's court proceedings.  We want statistics from government of how many children are removed on Emergency Care and Protection Orders – and how many lawyers and magistrates are incapable of following the law.  And those that have repeatedly broken it, and benefited financially, we want their assets seized, and the criminals jailed for acting as a cartel enterprise and the domestic trafficking of children.

Were your children seized on Emergency Orders and prior to a court hearing?  We would like to hear from you.


 [i] https://www.accc.gov.au/business/anti-competitive-behaviour/cartels

[ii] https://www.accc.gov.au/business/anti-competitive-behaviour/cartels

[iii] http://www.hoskinglegal.com.au/about-us/robert-hosking/

[iv] http://lawcorner.com.au/9685/alison-howarth-lawyer/

[v] http://www.stanfords.com.au/about-us/

[vi] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/caypapa1998442/s43.html

[vii] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/caypapa1998442/s45.html

[viii] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/caypapa1998442/s43.html

[ix] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/caypapa1998442/s30.html

[x] Ibid 37

[xi] Ibid 36

[xii] Ibid 45

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