This blog is maintained by Michael Eburn, Senior Lecturer in law at the University of New England, Armidale NSW, to discuss legal issues affecting the emergency services (that is fire, ambulance and rescue services) in Australia.

Why Michael Eburn? I am an academic researcher looking at legal issues affecting and applying to the emergency services. I am the author of Emergency Law (2nd ed 2005, The Federation Press, 3rd ed at press) the only book (or at least the only one that I know of) on the subject of Emergency law in Australia.

Apart from that book I have written numerous articles and given conference papers and inservice training on legal issues affecting the emergency services. You can see my CV here.

Here I will put up my thoughts and reflections on developing issues, in particular developments in the law that I think may impact upon the law that applies to the emergency services. I also want to hear from the members of the emergency services, paid and volunteer. If there is an issue that you think needs discussion post it here and we’ll see what comes out of it.

Having said that I have to add the usual lawyers disclaimers. This is not a place for providing specific legal advice, so I wont be able to answer questions that are based on actual events, such as ‘we responded to a job and now someone wants to sue me, what should I do’. For those jobs you (or more importantly, the service of which you are a member) needs to get legal advice from a practising lawyer. I also wont comment on questions about service decisions, so questions like ‘My service has just issued a directive/policy/item of PPE and I think it is illegal, what do you think?’ wont be answered. Finally I wont get into inter-personal issues ‘A fellow member said this, is it defamatory or can we kick them out of the service?’. Having said that I want to hear as many things as possible because if I know the issues that are affecting the members I can do more productive and useful work in trying to find answers. If your concern clearly falls in the above categories then understand I may not be able to give an answer, but remember there is no harm in asking and if I think I shouldn’t answer a question or comment on an issue, I’ll say that.

I hope this site proves useful and interesting for all and I look forward to our discussions.

Michael Eburn
29 January 2009