In Brief Issue #1003

Christopher Blanden QC

Open Justice Pilot Project

On Wednesday evening, I attended the launch of the Open Justice Pilot Project in the Neil McPhee room. This joint initiative between the Bar and Monash University seeks to link barristers doing pro bono work with students who can assist with research and other matters as part of their course. The Honourable Chris Maxwell AC, the President of the Court of Appeal, is the Patron of the project and spoke of the importance of those barristers undertaking pro bono work, utilising the project in order to allow it to continue in the future. Congratulations to my predecessor Wendy Harris QC who was instrumental in getting the project off the ground. I would encourage all barristers undertaking pro bono work to consider the benefits the project offers in preparing their cases. Details can be found on our website here.

Court Openings

I’m sure members were delighted to read the recent joint statement from the Honourable Anne Ferguson, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, and His Honour Peter Kidd, Chief Judge of the County Court of Victoria, in relation to the progressive resumption of criminal trials in regional courts across Victoria. On top of that good news, comes the announcement by the Chief Health Officer, Professor Brett Sutton, that Victoria has achieved effective elimination of the Covid-19 virus. It is to be hoped that the day when the courts will be operating at full capacity again is not too far away.

Christopher Blanden QC

Vicbar News & Events
Practising Certificate & Professional Indemnity Insurance Renewal – 2021/22

You will receive an email from the Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner (VLSB+C) on Monday, 29 March, outlining details of the practising certificate (PC) and professional indemnity insurance (PII) renewal process.

LSB online will be live on Monday, 29 March 2021, for the renewal of your PC. Members must renew before 30 June to continue to practise on 1 July. Members who renew after this date may incur a late renewal surcharge from the LSB+C.

The LPLC portal is expected to open in early April for the renewal of your PII and further information from the LPLC will be distributed closer to that date. The LPLC requires payment of the PII premium by Monday31 May 2021 and members are encouraged to renew online on the LPLC website.

Information on renewing practising certificates can be found on the VicBar website here.

Links for online lodgement, which can be found on the above webpage, will be available from the LSB+C and LPLC live dates, or you may go directly to LSB Online and the LPLC website.

Login to LSB Online and the LPLC renewal portal using your Practitioner Number as the username (your Practitioner Number will be included in the email sent to you by the VLSB+C or you can contact the Bar office for assistance). LSB Online deals with all PC administrative matters and there is no printed PC renewal form.

If you experience technical difficulties with LSB online, please contact the VLSB+C via their new lawyer enquiry form in the first instance. In addition, answers to frequently asked questions and LSB online user guides can be found here.

Should you require assistance renewing your PC, the Victorian Bar office can help you and members who need assistance should email or contact Daphne Ioannidis on (03) 9225 8326 or Susan Lawrence on (03) 9225 7105.

Last chance to nominate for the Pro Bono Awards

The Victorian Bar Pro Bono Committee invites you to nominate members who have made an outstanding contribution working pro bono in 2019-2020.

Nominations for the Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards close this Wednesday, 31 March, and can be made here.

There are ten categories, each recognising a different aspect of pro bono work. More information about the Award categories is here.

There are a range of new award categories this year. In particular, there is a new award named in honour of Justice Mortimer for outstanding pro-bono work in a Tribunal or the Magistrates’ Court. If you know of someone who has done outstanding pro-bono work in those jurisdictions, please consider nominating them.

The Awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday, 5 May at the Commonwealth Law Courts.

WBA Breakfast with the Stars – Rachel Doyle S.C. and Jennifer Batrouney QC on Power and Consent - RSVP 27 March

On Tuesday, 30 March, 8-9:30am, the Women Barristers Association presents Rachel Doyle S.C. in conversation with Jennifer Batrouney QC about Power and Consent – In the National Interest.

Tickets are $49 and includes breakfast at the Essoign Club and a copy of Rachel’s book, Power & Consent – In the National Interest.

RSVP by Saturday, 27 March, by registering here.

Indigenous Justice Committee – Mentoring Program 2021

The Indigenous Justice Committee of the Victorian Bar invites Indigenous-identifying law students and law graduates to apply for its 2021 Mentoring Program.

The Mentoring Program matches successful applicants with two mentors (a barrister member of the Bar, and a judicial officer). The Mentoring Program has been running for some years now and the feedback has been positive. It is not meant to be onerous or intimidating, rather an opportunity for members of our communities to link in with members of the Bar and the Judiciary in a way that suits the mentees. The aim is to assist mentees on their journey as legal professionals and provide those professional introductions and contacts that can prove beneficial as they progress with their chosen pathways. The application form can be found here

Should members of the Bar or judicial officers wish to add their names to the pool of mentors, please email the Mentoring Program Coordinator

Digital courts survey for Bar members

Bar Council is seeking feedback from Bar members about the use of digital technologies during the past year. This will be used as a basis for forward-planning and specifically to respond to questions posed by the Federal Court of Australia, which is considering how it will utilise digital technology in the future for the conduct of its business.

Please complete the survey by Wednesday, 31 March 2021.

The survey is here.

Victorian Bar member CPD and events

The following are highlights of upcoming CPD and events for Victorian Bar members. You must be a member of the Victorian Bar and logged into the VicBar website to view these events.

  • Lawyers Mediation Certificate Course 2021 Mediation is an essential part of the justice system with a great many litigated matters being referred to mediation. Barristers and law professionals wishing to become an accredited mediator under the National Mediator Accreditation System can register for the Lawyers Mediation Certificate (LMC) six-day course here.
  • Ethical issues facing new barristers is on Tuesday, 30 March, 5–6:00pm. In this session, the New Barristers’ Committee is hosting an informal “Chatham House Rules” discussion for new barristers to ask questions about ethical issues that they are facing or have faced in practice. This event is online only. Click here to register.
  • The New Environment Protection Act – Update and focus on the Victorian environmental duty is on Wednesday, 31 March, 5:15-6:15pm. In this session, there will be a brief overview of the changes, consideration of transitional provisions, and a discussion of the introduction of a new environmental duty. This event is online only. Click here to register.
  • Child protection case update is on Thursday, 1 April, 5:00-6:30pm. This seminar will be a great opportunity for all legal practitioners working in child protection to get up to speed with recent case law relevant to the jurisdiction and to ask questions of some of the Counsel who appeared. This event is online only. Click here to register.
  • Managing secondary trauma as legal practitioners is on Tuesday, 6 April, 1–2:00pm. In this seminar, Dr Dawn D’Amico – a leading authority on secondary trauma – will explain what secondary trauma is, how to spot the signs of secondary trauma in oneself and others, and lead a discussion about ways that barristers can manage secondary trauma and where to find help. This event is online only. Click here to register.

For more upcoming CPD events, please visit our listings here.

Vicbar Life
The Essoign Club – breakfast and a la carte lunch menus

Dear Essoign Club Members,

We are open daily from 7:00am till late.

Breakfast – See our Breakfast Menu here for dine-in or takeaway.

Lunch – Daily Café Menu takeaway or delivery.

Lunch dine-in – See our A La Carte Menu here for dining in.

Bar – Open till late with light snacks available.

Catering & Events – Special lunches, working lunches, private dinners or something special you may have in mind. Email us at

We appreciate your ongoing support and look forward to seeing you in the Club.

New Studio 11 exhibition – bronze sculptures by Beatrice Magalotti and linocut prints by Aileen Brown

Bronze Sculptures by Beatrice Magalotti and Linocut Prints by Aileen Brown are now installed for your viewing pleasure. The accomplished one-off bronze works, 20 in total, including The Arrival and The Three Fates, touch on themes of migration, Greek mythology, the passage of time and connection. The whimsical, detailed limited edition Lino prints 51 in all, feature landscape, still life, our Australian wildlife with some cheeky pieces too, like Next Dance - The Fox Trot and Have Some! As always, everyone is welcome to come and view the works and pick up a worksheet at their leisure at Level 11, Owen Dixon Chambers East. All works are for sale directly from the artists. For Artists’ Statements, please click here.

Studio 11 would like to thank Beatrice and Aileen for sharing their works with us during this time. The exhibition is well worth a look and runs from Monday, 8 March until Friday, 9 April 2021. Don’t delay – time flies.

Practice & Profession News
Supreme Court of Victoria 2019-20 Annual Report

The Supreme Court of Victoria’s 2019-20 Annual Report was tabled in Parliament on Thursday, 18 March 2021.

The Honourable Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Chief Executive Officer Matt Hall PSM thanked everyone who worked so quickly and with goodwill during 2019-20.

In their joint Foreword, the Chief Justice and CEO wrote: “We would never have wished for change in the way it arrived in 2019-20. But in responding through necessity we have accelerated longer-term projects to continue to modernise the Court and honed our focus on the needs of our Court users.”

The Annual Report is available to read here.

Commonwealth and Victorian Courts' COVID updates

Supreme Court of Victoria

From Tuesday, 6 April 2021, civil trials involving the cross-examination of one or more witnesses may be conducted in Court subject to the availability of a courtroom and appropriate safeguards. Click here for more information.

All Courts

For up-to-date information about the Courts’ responses, please visit their websites:

  • Federal Court of Australia – see here.
  • Family Court of Australia – see here.
  • Federal Circuit Court of Australia – see here.
  • Supreme Court of Victoria – see here.
  • County Court of Victoria – see here.
  • Magistrates’ Court of Victoria – see here.
County Court of Victoria – revised court guide for the intermediary pilot program

The County Court has released a revised Multi-jurisdictional court guide for the intermediary pilot program: Intermediaries and ground rules hearings.

The revised Guide:

  • Incorporates the extension of the IPP beyond the original end date of 30 June 2020.
  • Refers to a second video produced by the Judicial College of Victoria and its Vulnerable Witnesses public page.
  • Allows for the application of the Guide to additional venues without the need to amend the Guide.
  • Incorporates the repeal of s41(2) Evidence Act.
  • Makes clear that an intermediary is not a witness.
  • Incorporates additional directions the Court will, or may, give at a directions hearing before the ground rules hearing (‘GRH’), including:
  • where an intermediary is involved, the Court will direct counsel to consult with the intermediary before the GRH,
  • the Court may direct written questions be provided to the intermediary by 9:00am on the day before the GRH, and
  • the Court may direct written questions be provided to the Court where there has been non-compliance with directions or where it is necessary for the Court to rule on an issue.
  • Addition of a reference to a questionnaire where there is no intermediary.

The Guide is available on the County Court’s website here.

Law Council of Australia - Business Law Section’s Strategic Planning Stakeholder Input Survey

A reminder that the Business Law Section’s Strategic Planning Stakeholder Input Survey closes COB on Wednesday, 31 March 2021.

The Survey can be accessed here.

Not all of the questions raised in the Survey will be relevant to external stakeholders. However, any feedback will be gratefully accepted.

Should you have any queries about the Survey, please contact Greg Rodgers or Jessica Morrow.

Australian Bar Association National Brief #2 – 16 March 2021

It is one hundred years since Edith Cowan was elected to the WA Parliament, becoming only the second woman in the common law world (and the first in Australia) to do so. In the second of the ABA’s national communications, President Matthew Howard SC writes about some of the events of the past month that are likely to change our profession and our country.

Read more here.

Law Library – Digital Bar Library

Reinforce your argument with authoritative legal resources, available to you 24/7 at the Richard Griffith Library and the Digital Bar Library.

Collections are curated by law librarians who can also assist you with case research, database selection and research strategies.

Find out more at

Notice of Termination – Joint Managers appointed to Dunstan & Raftis Pty Ltd

On Monday, 29 July 2019, the Bar was notified that Mr Matthew Critchley and Ms Penelope Pengilley had been appointed by the Victorian Legal Services Board as Joint Managers to Dunstan & Raftis Pty Ltd.

Please be advised that the appointment of Mr Critchley and Ms Pengilley as Joint Managers terminated on Tuesday, 2 March 2021 and the law practice has been wound up.

If you have any questions about this matter, please contact Reshma Pickering on 03 9679 8048 or email

Notice of Termination – Manager appointed to Yasemin Ozer trading as Ozer Lawyers

On Friday, 4 September 2020, the Bar was notified that Mr Damian Neylon had been appointed by the Victorian Legal Services Board as the Manager to Yasemin Ozer trading as Ozer Lawyers.

Please be advised that the appointment of Mr Neylon as Manager terminated on Tuesday, 2 March 2021 and the law practice has been wound up.

If you have any questions about this matter, please contact Reshma Pickering on 03 9679 8048 or email

Notice of Termination – Manager appointed to Armour Legal Pty Ltd

On 27 March 2020, the Bar was advised that Mr Matthew Critchley had been appointed by the Victorian Legal Services Board as Manager to Armour Legal Pty Ltd.

Please be advised that the appointment of Mr Critchley as Manager terminated on 20 March 2021 and the law practice has been wound up.

If you have any questions about this matter, please contact Reshma Pickering on 03 9679 8048 or email

Profession CPD & Events
Monash University event - Google/Fitbit merger

The European Commission and the U.S. DOJ have approved the controversial Google/Fitbit merger based on a static, conventional view, according to which only limited issues arise from a merger of complements. In this online seminar on Tuesday, 30 March 2021, join Associate Professor Zhijun Chen of Monash Business School's Department of Economics, who will discuss if Google's acquisition of Fitbit is approved, what does this mean for personal data and consumers? Register here.

LAWASIA webinar – State measures to save business during the pandemic in Asia and Europe

LAWASIA’s webinar State measures to save business during the pandemic in Asia and Europe is on Wednesday, 25 March 2021, 10-12:00pm.

According to experts, the global gross domestic product will increase by only 0.1% instead of the previously expected 2.6%. World trade is estimated to decline by 1.7% from 2020 to 2021.

Governments are striving to prevent entering a downward spiral due to collapsing companies, job losses and panic in the financial sector. Massive support measures are therefore taken in every country for the economy and affected companies.

This webinar aims to give an overview of government measures in the UK, Malaysia, Germany, and China. Experts from all four countries will speak about support in employment law, special regulations under insolvency law and financial state support for companies.

Registration is complimentary, and all LAWASIA members, friends and supporters are encouraged to attend.

Learn more and register here.

Diversity Council Australia – news and events

This week, workplaces throughout Australia will be celebrating Harmony Week to acknowledge the contributions of multicultural communities by hosting events and activities with global food, music, and traditional dress.

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, one in four of Australia’s 25 million people were born overseas; 46% have at least one parent who was born overseas, and nearly 20% of Australians speak a language other than English at home.

Migrants and refugees regularly experience racism, but not in the same way as others. Their experiences are often shaped by when they came to Australia and from where they come.

DCA’s latest e-newsletter explains its work in eliminating racial discrimination, which is available to read here.

To view access DCA’s resources or webinars, you’ll need to be a member of Diversity Council Australia. To become a member, please register here and we will forward you the login instructions. You will need to use your VicBar email address.

Careers & Opportunities
Australian Academy of Law Annual Essay Prize 2021

The Australian Academy of Law is pleased to announce the offering of its Annual Essay Prize for 2021.

This year, eligibility to submit an essay is broadened by reverting to the original entry rules as below.

The Prize is open to anyone, wherever resident, who is studying or has studied legal subjects at a tertiary level, or who is working or has worked in a law-based occupation. There is no limit by reference to the age or seniority or experience of, or position held by, a person who may submit an entry. Accordingly, judicial officers, legal practitioners, legal academics and law students are all eligible to submit an essay.

The Prize amount is $10,000.

The essay topic for the Prize in 2021 is as follows:

  • “Outstanding fundamental issues for First Nations Peoples in Australia: what can lawyers contribute to the current debates and their resolution? Note: 'Outstanding fundamental issues' may include, but are not limited to, constitutional recognition, treaty or bijuralism.”

The deadline for the submission of an essay is Tuesday, 31 August 2021 and this time limit is strictly observed, as the Rules Governing the Annual Essay Prize make clear.

Please find attached the Essay Cover Page with further instructions on how to submit an essay.

In Brief submissions

If you would like to contribute relevant news, events and updates for barristers and the legal profession to In Brief, please send an email with your content to or complete this submission form.

Deadline for the next issue:5pm, 31st March 2021