In Brief Issue #1006

Christopher Blanden QC

Retirement of The Hon. Justice Peter Almond

On 31 March this year, Justice Peter Almond retired as a judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria, having been appointed on 27 July 2010.

Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions, there was no formal farewell. His Honour did, however, record a final address which can be accessed here.

We thank His Honour for his service to the people of Victoria and wish him well in retirement.

Revocation of complaint investigation delegations to the Victorian Bar

On 6 April 2021, the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner, Fiona McLeay, wrote to me confirming that she intended to withdraw the delegation pursuant to which the Bar investigates complaints against barristers and that the delegation would cease on 30 June 2021.

The effect of this change will be that any complaints against barristers will be investigated and dealt with directly by the Legal Services Board rather than the Bar.


The Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants (RCMPI) released 111 recommendations on 30 November 2020. Recommendation 88 was as follows –

“That the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner within 12 months revokes the Instrument of Delegation conferred on the Victorian Bar for receiving and handling complaints regarding barristers and resumes that function.”

It is important to note that no one submitted that the RCMPI should make that or any similar recommendation. Clearly, none of the difficulties the subject of the RCMPI arose as a result of the Bar investigating complaints against barristers.

The then-Attorney-General subsequently announced that the government would implement all recommendations of the RCMPI.

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 now open for the renewal of your PII and you should have received further information from the LPLC via email earlier this week. 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.

Appointment to the Supreme Court of Victoria – Kristen Walker QC

On Tuesday, 13 April 2021, the Victorian Government announced the appointment of Solicitor-General Kristen Walker QC as a judge of appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Ms Walker’s appointment follows a distinguished career of more than 25 years in the legal profession – most recently providing expert advice to the Government on significant legal issues as Solicitor-General since 2017.

Ms Walker was previously a barrister at the Victorian Bar, having signed the Bar Roll on 4 Nov 2004. Ms Walker had a diverse practice, specialising in constitutional law, and practising extensively in administrative, immigration and human rights matters. Ms Walker took silk in 2014.

Ms Walker’s appointment will start on Monday, 3 May 2021.

Details of the welcome ceremony will be made available when they are known.

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.

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 Deputy Chair of The Victorian Bar's Equality and Diversity Committee, Astrid Haban-Beer, will MC a panel session on ‘Gender Equality and Cultural Diversity in the Law’ with Her Honour Magistrate Urfa Masood and Barristers Rutendo Muchinguri and Daye Gang.

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

Please RSVP by Thursday, 22 April by registering here.

Victorian Bar News: Call for contributions from the Editors

We are delighted to report that our Winter Issue of Victorian Bar News (Issue 169) is now ‘in train’.

Whether returning to Chambers, finally engaging in face-to-face appearances in court, or continuing to work from home, the Bar News Committee wants to hear from you.

We are now calling for contributions for our June issue. Please let us know what you are thinking, feeling and doing right now. We are keen for your photos, vignettes, insights and articles on whatever topic suits you. This is your Bar.  

Here are some content ideas:

  • Court-craft - a learned skill or not? We are looking for war stories, lessons learnt and debate around that most amorphous of concepts!
  • The return of face-to-face Bar collegiality: We would love your photos and stories of events around the Bar.
  • What have you retained from the 2020 lockdown?
  • The return to ‘in-person’ advocacy: having been denied the opportunity for so much of last year, are there aspects of the art of persuasion which have struck you afresh?
  • Verbatim: Do you have an amusing exchange available in transcript you would like to share? (If so, please cover off any sensitivities around the matter before submitting).

Please keep your stories and photos flowing. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Our content deadline is Friday, 7 May 2021. Please submit to

You are also most welcome to contact us directly.

Best wishes,

Natalie Hickey, Justin Wheelahan and Annette Charak
The Editors

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.

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

Monday, 12 April 2021 marked 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.

Victorian Bar Law Week events

The Victorian Bar will be hosting two events during Law Week (17 – 23 May 2021):

  • Cross-examine a barrister is on Wednesday, 19 May 2021, 1-2:00pm. Here is your chance to hear from a panel of barristers and learn answers to the following questions: What is a barrister? Why do they get to ask the questions? Why do they represent people who are obviously guilty? Are they different from other types of lawyers? Why do they still wear 19th-century costumes? You can submit your questions by emailing by Friday, 14 May 2021. Register here.
  • Dispute resolution for small businesses is on Thursday, 20 May 20021, 5-6:00pm. The Victorian Commercial Arbitration Scheme (VCAS) provides a fair, quick, flexible and inexpensive method of dispute resolution for small business owners. If parties agree to use VCAS, they can receive a binding decision from a qualified arbitrator within 120 days of the process starting. The VCAS rules let the parties control the process – including the identity of the arbitrator and the place of hearings (online or in your country town or suburb). This webinar will explain how VCAS works – and how it can help you to sort out your disputes and get back to doing business. The panel is headed by Professor Clyde Croft SC, an experienced arbitrator and a former judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria. He will be joined by arbitrators Adam Rollnik and Fiona Cameron. Register here.

Thanks to the barristers and committees who have organised these events on behalf of the Victorian Bar.

Victorian Bar and Monash University Open Justice Project

The Open Justice Project has now commenced, with Monash University law students available to assist barristers working on pro bono matters. Students can assist with legal and paralegal tasks, such as legal research, simple drafting, and preparing chronologies or summaries of evidence. Barristers seeking the assistance of a student for a pro bono matter should complete the request form on the Open Justice Project webpage

The Open Justice Project is a collaboration between the Victorian Bar and the Monash Faculty of Law. It establishes a panel of later year undergraduate and postgraduate students at the Faculty who provide pro bono legal assistance (such as research and paralegal assistance) to barristers in pro bono matters. The Patron of the Project is the Honourable Chris Maxwell AC, President of the Court of Appeal. For further information about the Project, members can see the Open Justice Project webpage 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.
  • Preparing for Family Law Property Mediations is on Thursday, 22 April, 5:15-6:15pm. This seminar will be an opportunity to hear from two experienced barristers about how they approach mediations, from the perspective of counsel and mediator. This event is online only. Click here to register.

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

Vicbar Life
The Essoign Club – The Lex Pistols return

The Essoign Club is delighted to announce that The Lex Pistols will be back performing live at The Essoign Club on Thursday, 22 April at 5:30pm.

VicBar Choir

The VicBar Choir invites you to join its group. A new term is starting soon. 

Time: 1:15–2:15pm, Wednesdays, Level 11 Owen Dixon Chambers East.

Dates: The choir will meet for an eight-week term, starting Wednesday, 21 April, to Wednesday, 23 June 2021.

Cost: $30 a week (casual – fee relief readily available) – $250 a term, free trial session.

For more information, contact Emma Swart at

Click here to view the flyer.

Click here for the registration form.

Practice & Profession News
Commonwealth and Victorian Courts' COVID updates

Supreme Court of Victoria

On Monday, 12 April 2021, the Court issued a public statement in response to the State Government’s announcement late on Friday about COVID-19 density quotients.

The Court has also published a pre-recorded farewell video message from Justice Almond, to mark His Honour’s retirement from the Court. You can access the video here

County Court of Victoria

On Wednesday, 14 April 2021, the Court released the below updates:

Mask setting 3 – criminal jury trials

As a result of updated health advice, the Court will move to mask setting 3 for criminal jury trials from Thursday, 15 April 2021. All trial participants will not be required to wear a mask (unless they wish to) except in the following circumstances:

  • Jurors will be required to wear a mask during the empanelment process, up to the point of entry into the jury courtroom. Jurors may then remove their mask (if they wish) prior to entering the trial courtroom.
  • Instructing solicitors will be required to wear a mask while in the jury pool room (save for the period where they are required to remove their mask for the identification process).
  • Trial participants will be required to wear a mask when moving between locations using a lift if 1.5m physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Trial participants will still be required to carry a mask with them at all times to allow for wearing of a mask in any circumstances where 1.5m physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Should instances of reported community transmission in Melbourne occur, the Court will seek urgent health advice with respect to the immediate re-introduction of mask-wearing and at short notice, the Court may require all trial participants to revert to mask setting 1 or 2.

The Court will also continue to monitor the circumstances and will seek ongoing health advice to determine if this setting is appropriate.

Other changes to criminal jury trial procedures

Changes have been made to the Melbourne Resumption of Criminal Jury Trials Guide for the Profession and Court Users which incorporate mask setting 3, the process for three empanelments in one day, as well as amended juror screening questions and a COVID-safe process for the conduct of e-trials using iPads.

The latest version of the Guide, with these changes, is here.

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.

New resources: How to work with vulnerable witnesses

The Judicial College has released a suite of resources to help you work with vulnerable witnesses in the courtroom.

These resources include best practice videos, visual aids, and guides and cover topics such as:

  • Identifying communication issues with vulnerable witnesses
  • How to conduct a Ground Rules Hearing, and
  • How to manage the questioning of vulnerable witnesses.

Find out more here.

NEW eBooks accessible 24/7 for Barristers & Legal Practitioners

The Law Library of Victoria improves access to justice by providing online legal information to all eligible Victorian legal practitioners.

To access these new Lexis Nexis titles you must:

  1. Be a registered library user
  2. Log into the library website

Once you have the library website open in your preferred browser, click on any of the titles below:

Appointment of Manager to Serene Teffaha trading as Advocate Me

On Wednesday, 14 April 2021, the Victorian Legal Services Board (‘the Board’) resolved to appoint Mr Jacob Uljans as Manager of the sole practitioner Serene Teffaha trading as Advocate Me (‘the Law Practice’), pursuant to section 334 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (‘Uniform Law’). The appointment is for a period of approximately six months and expires on Friday, 29 October 2021, unless the Board determines to extend the appointment or the appointment otherwise ceases in accordance with section 340 of the Uniform Law.

The Board determined to appoint a Manager because the Board is satisfied that there is a need for an independent person to be appointed to take over professional and operational responsibility for the Law Practice as the principal no longer has a practising certificate and because of concerns held by the Board relating to the management of the law practice.

Members of the Victorian Bar who have recently been briefed and/or undertaken work for the Law Practice may be impacted by this appointment. Please contact Mr Uljans on 03 9603 3478 or by email at if you have any concerns about payment of your fees.

Profession CPD & Events
Resolution Institute: Assessing suitability and preparing for mediation

This Masterclass Series will extend your knowledge and develop and refine your skills in assessing suitability and preparing for mediation. Designed for those who have completed mediation training and wish to develop a practice and those keen to refresh their approaches to preparing for mediation. Each of the following Masterclasses will focus on essential knowledge and skills needed to establish trust and build rapport; assess suitability; manage expectations; assist in preparation; make appropriate referrals and ultimately craft a process that meets the participants' needs.

Click here to register.

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, 22nd April 2021