In Brief Issue #1005

Christopher Blanden QC


Monday marks a most important occasion in the history of the Victorian Bar. On 12 April 1841, a Crown Prosecutor and four barristers (including Sir Redmond Barry KCMG QC) were admitted at the inaugural sitting of the Supreme Court in Melbourne. Dr Peter Yule, the author of the History of the Victorian Bar (currently in print), identifies this date as one that has the strongest case to mark the establishment of the Victorian Bar. Victoria was then the Port Phillip District of the colony of New South Wales. It would be a further ten years before Victoria separated from NSW to become a colony in its own right, and a further sixty years before Victoria became a state of the new Commonwealth of Australia. It is remarkable to consider that the Bar is, in a sense, older than Victoria as an institution and will celebrate its 180th anniversary this Monday. The Arts & Collections Committee has curated a 180th Anniversary display on the walkway between Owen Dixon Chambers East and West, which I would commend to members.

Child Care Submission

The Victorian Bar recently made a submission to the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP regarding the tax-deductibility of child care for consideration as part of the Commonwealth Government’s 2021-22 Budget process. The submission recommends that the Commonwealth Government adopt the proposal advanced by researchers at the University of New South Wales, which would give parents the option of receiving the existing child care subsidy or deducting child care expenses from their taxable income. We are grateful to those who worked on this important initiative – particularly Eugene Wheelahan QC and Nicholas Walter.

Members will find a copy of the submission here.

Christopher Blanden QC

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

LSB online is now live 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 on Monday, 12 April 2021 for the renewal of your PII and further information from the LPLC will be distributed on Monday. 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.

Judicial appointments - Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Jonathan Davis QC

The Governor-General in Council has appointed Jonathan Davis QC as a judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in the Melbourne registry, commencing on Tuesday, 6 April 2021.

Mr Davis is a highly respected barrister and member of the Victorian Bar, with more than 25 years of experience as a superior court advocate in commercial law, employment/industrial law, migration and administrative law.

Details of the welcome ceremony will be advised when they become known.

Jennifer Howe

The Governor-General in Council has appointed Jennifer Howe as a judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in the Melbourne registry, commencing on Tuesday, 6 April 2021.

Highly regarded Melbourne Barrister and member of the Victorian Bar, Ms Howe is a family law specialist and is well known for her strong practice and professionalism as Counsel for the Independent Children’s Lawyer in many complex matters.

Details of the welcome ceremony will be advised when they become known.

Other appointments

The Family Court of Australia (FCoA) and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (FCC) also welcome the Government’s announcement of the following judicial appointments:

  • Judge Paul Howard, elevated from the FCC to the FCoA, Brisbane.
  • Senior Registrar Colin Campbell, appointed to the FCC, Sydney.

The Courts’ Media Release is available here.

2021 Victorian Bar Dinner – tickets now available

All members of the Bar and Judiciary are warmly invited to the annual Victorian Bar Dinner on Friday, 21 May 2021, 7:00pm at the Plaza Ballroom. The event is black tie and will feature guest speaker The Honourable Justice Simon Steward of the High Court of Australia.

Tickets for the event are now available; you can book individually, or as a guest on an organised table, or as a table organiser. To book your ticket, please click here.

Event: 2021 Victorian Bar Dinner
Venue: Plaza Ballroom, 191 Collins Street, Melbourne
Day: Friday, 21 May 2021
Time: 7:00pm for 7:30pm start
Dress: Black Tie

If you did not receive an invitation, please contact as we may not have a current email address for you.

180th Anniversary of the Victorian Bar – curated artefacts on display

12 April 2021 marks 180 years since the founding of the Victorian Bar when, on 12 April 1841, a Crown Prosecutor and four barristers were admitted to practice at the inaugural sitting of the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne.

To celebrate, the Art & Collections Committee has curated a display on the walkway between Owen Dixon Chambers East and West. Take a moment to look at artefacts from the Bar's collection and on loan. Among the items displayed are the silver cigarette case, which was first awarded by one barrister to another in 1895 in recognition of time and expertise given pro bono and has been passed on to deserving barristers over 125 years. There is also a snuff box given to a barrister by his colleagues after a humiliating day in court - the judge subsequently withdrew the criticism in open court.

Farewell dinner for Justice Pamela Tate

The Women Barristers Association is hosting a farewell dinner for its patron Justice Pamela Tate on Thursday, 29 April 2021 at the Essoign Club at 6:00pm.

Please join the event to celebrate the career of Justice Tate and her support of the Women Barristers Association.

This event is open to all members of the Victorian Bar.

To register, please click here.

The Victorian Bar and Australian Intercultural Society - Ramadan Iftar Dinner

The Victorian Bar together with the Australian Intercultural Society invites you to the 2021 Ramadan Iftar Dinner on Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 5:15pm, where members from a cross section of Melbourne's diverse society come together to share a meal and conversation.

The dinner will be held at the McPhee Room. Tickets are $50 per person (plus Eventbrite fee) and include a two-course meal.

Please RSVP by Thursday, 22 April by registering here.

Reconciliation Action Plan January – March 2021

The Reconciliation Working Group (RWG) has an ongoing role monitoring the implementation of the Bar’s RAP, a copy of which can be found here.

The RWG report that in the first quarter of this year:

  • The RWG has been actively communicating with Reconciliation Australia in respect of the development and implementation of the Bar’s second Innovate RAP. The Bar’s current RAP sets a solid foundation for the Bar to better engage with and assist the Aboriginal community. The Bar’s new RAP will be built on the current deliverables under our RAP with the view of ongoing improvement and progression;
  • The Indigenous Justice Committee has launched its mentoring program for 2021 and is in the process of inviting applications. The mentoring program is open to any Indigenous-identifying lawyer or law student. Each participant will be linked with a barrister and a Judge from either the Supreme Court, Federal Court or County Court to facilitate long-term career assistance;
  • The Bar has entered a Memorandum of Understanding with King & Wood Mallesons for the Waiwa Mudena Program 2021-23, which will provide Indigenous law students in Melbourne with the opportunity to participate in student shadowing experiences with Victorian barristers;
  • Planning is underway for this year’s Indigenous Law Students Clerkship Program, which operates in collaboration with the Federal Court and the Supreme Court. The Bar was able to offer clerkships to 6 Indigenous law students this year. Although the program has been postponed to July/August this year, the IJC has been actively communicating with the Courts and is grateful for the ongoing support and flexibility from the Courts over the years; and
  • The IJC has provided ongoing support in relation to the policy work of the Law Council of Australia with respect to legal issues involving Indigenous Australians.

The Indigenous Justice Committee is grateful for your ongoing support.

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.

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.

Practice & Profession News
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.

County Court of Victoria

On Thursday, 8 April 2021, the Court released a revised version of Onsite Attendance of practitioners and other court users protocol, which outlines the Court’s current position for onsite attendance. This protocol commences Monday, 12 April 2021 and is available on the Court’s website here.

On Thursday, 8 April 2021, the Court published an updated Commercial Division response to coronavirus COVID-19, available here. The document is effective as of Thursday, 8 April 2021, and will supersede the information in the Commercial Division response to coronavirus COVID-19 published on 23 November 2020.

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.


New report examines serious offending by people serving a community correction order in Victoria

A report released on Thursday, 8 April 2021, by the Sentencing Advisory Council finds 1.7% of people serving a community correction order (CCO) were sentenced in the four years to 30 June 2020 for a serious offence committed while serving their CCO.

The full Report is available to read here.

The Media Release announcing the Report is here.

Legal Services Council Newsletter - March 2021

The Legal Service Council Newsletter – issue 1 – March 2021 - is now available to read here.

Profession CPD & Events
Monash University livestream: Autonomous Robotics - Ethical Challenges and Legal Repercussions

What happens when a robot causes damage or harm to a person? Who is held responsible for its actions? What are the ethical concerns around using robots in human spaces?

Join the livestream of this unique workshop taking place on Friday, 16 April 2021, that demonstrates the design considerations, ethical challenges, legal repercussions, and consequences of robots used in community settings, in this case a hospital. You’ll have access to an international expert panel discussion on the ethics of robotics, a mock board meeting, mediation, and trial. 

Register here.

LAWASIA webinar - UNCITRAL 2021

LAWASIA has the great pleasure to invite you to join its upcoming webinar: 

  • UNCITRAL 2021 Overview and Legal Developments is on Wednesday, 14 April 2021, 5-6:00pm. Three speakers from UNCITRAL will provide an overview on the current work being undertaken by UNCITRAL this year including legal developments, both in Vienna and in the Asia Pacific Region. Learn more and register here.

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

ANU Defamation Law Conference: The Changing Landscape of Defamation Law

The ANU is holding a conference on the changing landscape of defamation law on Tuesday, 6 July 2021, 9:00am-6:00pm, at the ANU College of Law.

By bringing together leading scholars, practitioners and judges in the field of defamation law, this conference seeks to survey the landscape of defamation law, interrogating what defamation law is for, where its proper boundaries lie, the extent to which it is or should be influenced by online communications, and the future directions of reputational protection after the reforms.

This event will be delivered in a hybrid format - both in person and virtually via Zoom webinar.

Learn more here.

Diversity Council Australia – news and events

DCA’s latest e-newsletter 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
Expressions of Interest for nominations for appointment to the Detention Review Officer Scheme

The Department of Health is establishing a new panel of Detention Review Officers under recent amendments to the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (the Act) made by the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (State of Emergency Extension) Bill 2021. The scheme is intended to commence on Tuesday, 20 April 2021.

The role of detention review officers and the terms of appointment

The role of the Detention Review Officer is to review the decision of an Authorised Officer to detain a person for quarantine purposes (to contain the risks of COVID-19 spread) under section 200(1)(a) of the Act. Usually these are incoming passengers from overseas flights who are required to enter hotel quarantine (detention) for 14 days. The Officer will determine if the decision was appropriate (in accordance with the requirements under the Act) or if the decision should be referred to the Chief Health Officer for potential reconsideration. The detained person must receive a decision within 24 hours of the application for review being made.

The Act requires that appointees are an Australian lawyer of at least 10 years’ experience. Panel members will be appointed under an instrument of appointment from the Secretary of the Department of Health, and their appointment is treated as employment under the Public Administration Act 2004.

Further details can be provided by contacting Jaime de Ano.

Interested members should provide their expression of interest, together with a copy of their current CV to the EA to the President, via email by 4:00pm, Monday, 12 April 2021.

Expressions of Interest for appointment to the Legalsuper Board

A call for expressions of interest is sought from members with strong investment and/or financial skills and experience to be nominated by the Bar as a Director of Legal Super Pty Ltd. 

Legalsuper is an Australian superannuation fund dedicated to the legal community. It is the only industry superannuation fund for Australia's legal profession.

There are extensive requirements in both legalsuper’s constitution and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s (APRA) Prudential Standards, which govern director appointments to legalsuper.  As a superannuation fund, it is important that several directors on the Board have a high level of investment and/or financial skills and experience.

Nominees are required to complete a nomination form, which can be accessed here. The form also provides explanatory notes and background information.

The Executive of Bar Council will interview suitable candidates to which a representative of legalsuper will be invited to participate.

The Bar’s protocol for nomination and appointment of Vic Bar members to external bodies can be viewed here.

Please submit your expressions of interest to Denise Bennett, Executive Assistant to the President and Bar Council, at the Victorian Bar office at

The closing date for expressions of interest is 4:00pm, Thursday, 15 April 2021.

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, 15th April 2021