2021 marks the 21st year of the monthly Proctor column, Back to Basics (BTB).
21 years is a remarkable tenure when you consider that in this time the world has borne witness to remarkable milestones such as the invention of the iPod, the launch of Twitter, the end of monarchy in Nepal, the discovery of the Higgs boson, the human population reaching seven billion people, and Australia swearing in six Prime Ministers.
We speak with author Kylie Downes QC about what drives her and the launch of the third edition of the Back to Basics book.
This year marks the 21st year of writing the monthly BTB column. What first prompted you to begin this project?
I was a lecturer in evidence before I came to the Bar in 1996, and the topics of evidence and procedure are of great interest to me. In early 2000, I saw an opportunity to write a practical article about preparation of affidavits, so I wrote and submitted that article, which addressed the rules of evidence as well as procedure in relation to that topic. After that article was published in mid-2000, I was asked by the (then) editor to start writing the BTB column as a regular feature in Proctor, and it continued from then.
Did you expect it to continue for more than 20 years?
The short answer is ‘no’. I expected that I would run out of steam (and ideas for articles) well before now or that Proctor would tire of my column. However, that has not occurred, for which I am grateful, because I enjoy writing the column.
How do you determine which subjects to address in the BTB columns?
Generally, things happen in cases that I am briefed in which provide me with ideas for articles, or there are changes in the procedural rules which operate in the state or federal courts.
What benefits do you see readers gaining from this third edition?
The third edition is an up-to-date compilation of the best articles which I have written or co-written in the past 20 years. I say that these are the best of the lot because they address the topics which I consider to be most relevant to litigators in Queensland, and my intention is to provide practical guidance to practitioners (which I think I have achieved).
In what ways do you think the practice of law has changed over the last 20 years?
The practice of law has become more frenetic with the advent of email communications. Clients demand quicker responses from their lawyers, who in turn seek prompt attention from the Bar to the client’s matter. In addition, the manner in which legal research is performed has changed as unreported decisions on every legal topic are available electronically, which increases the workload of lawyers.
The third edition of Back to Basics is now available. Click to purchase your copy.