The Warren Centre hosted Bret Walker SC on Wednesday 30 November for a lecture on Professional Performance in Engineering and how professional standards of care fit within the framework of Australian law.
A distinguished NSW lawyer, Mr Walker has been a barrister since 1979 and a Senior Counsel since 1993. He covers a wide variety of areas of law across criminal, corporate and governmental cases, and has served as President of the Law Council of Australia and President of the NSW Bar Association, as well as Australia’s inaugural Independent National Security Legislation Monitor.
He spoke on the heavy responsibility for life that engineers bear, comparing the profession’s situation and best practice to that of medical doctors. This responsibility makes the need for consistent and well-observed professional standards particularly significant.
The event also marked the launch of Revision 3 of the PPIR Protocol, which follows a legal review by Mr Walker to ensure that it more closely reflects the precise language of the legal profession. The latest revision reflects Senior Counsel advice incorporating minor changes to ensure that the Protocol reflects not only engineering’s own description of the widely accepted practices of the profession, but also reflects the precise language of the legal profession.
Former PPIR Director Christine Kanellakis, co-author of the original Protocol, introduced the latest revisions. The new Protocol narrows the scope of risk assessment to realistic risks, acknowledges that unexpected matters emerge during engineering tasks, and narrows stakeholders from the community at large to those whom professional engineer reasonably believes may have a material interest in the engineering task. Minor drafting adjustments also improve clarity of the document.
We will be publishing video highlights of the event and a dedicated Q&A with Bret Walker in January 2017.