Office of Public Prosecutions’ (OPP) solicitor Helen Fatouros has been named Government Lawyer of the Year in the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) President’s Awards.
Ms Fatouros received the award for leading the successful delivery of the Interactive Legal Education Program (ilep) aimed at raising the professional effectiveness of both prosecution and defence lawyers in advocacy and case preparation for sexual offence matters.
The LIV’s citation for the award said, in part: “Helen's expertise in sexual assault matters and dedication to improving advocacy and training standards for lawyers working in this challenging area were integral to delivery of a pilot training program to improve the way sexual assault matters are handled.”
Ms Fatouros has worked at the OPP since 2001 and in that time has developed expertise in prosecuting sexual assault matters and advocacy. She was previously the Directorate Manager of the OPP’s Specialist Sexual Offences Unit and is currently the OPP’s Legal Prosecution Specialist for Advocacy.
Solicitor for Public Prosecutions Craig Hyland congratulated Ms Fatouros on the award, saying it recognised her integral role in the delivery of ilep.
“The award not only recognises Helen’s significant effort in ensuring delivery of the project but also the many internal and external stakeholders who devoted their time and resources to ensure that the project has been so successful,” he said.
Ms Fatouros said she had worked with staff across the OPP Legal Practice and Corporate Services to deliver ilep, and had collaborated with several criminal justice partners.
“It has been extremely satisfying to bring together several of our criminal justice partners to work together towards a common goal of excellence and best practice,” she said.
Ilep, funded by the Legal Services Board, had an advisory committee with representatives from the Judiciary, the Department of Justice, Judicial College of Victoria, Victoria Legal Aid, Law Institute of Victoria, the Criminal Bar Association, Victorian Bar and Victoria Police.
Due to the success of ilep, the online sexual offences manual – which has attracted more than 350 registrations – has been extended for three months until 31 December 2012.
ilep has also involved four interactive and experiential workshops, and professional one-on-one feedback sessions for a small group of prosecutors and defenders at the end of a sexual offence trial.
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