In Brief Issue #1007

Christopher Blanden QC

Review of Sexual Harassment in Victorian Courts and VCAT

Late last week, Junior Vice President, Helen Rofe QC, and I received a briefing from the author of the Review of Sexual Harassment in Victorian Courts and VCAT, Dr Helen Szoke AO. Of the 20 recommendations, one was directed to the Bar. Recommendation 6 suggested some changes to the Silk appointment process to better assess applicant character and previous conduct. Members will be pleased to know that the Bar, with the assistance of Jenny Firkin QC and Malcolm Harding S.C., had already begun preparing a leadership CPD for prospective Silks, which we were planning to roll out in the near future. With a small degree of tailoring, the Bar will be in a position to address this recommendation in time for the forthcoming Silk application process.

The Bar Council acknowledges the extensive work undertaken by Dr Szoke in preparing the Report and endorses the view that there is no place for any form of sexual harassment at the Bar or in our Courts.

March 2020 Readers

The March 2020 Readers had their Course interrupted by Covid and, as a result, missed out on actually (as opposed to virtually) signing the Bar Roll on completion of the Readers’ Course. This was remedied on Tuesday evening, when they completed that important step. I was delighted to preside over the Signing Ceremony and attend the following dinner in the Essoign Club. It is fair to say that spirits were high and a good time was had by all.


On Wednesday, the Bar sent out to members notice of a survey it is conducting in accordance with Recommendation 89 of the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants. The greater the number who complete the survey the more useful the information derived from it. We understand that most barristers will approach this task with reluctance, but ask that you nonetheless assist by taking the short time required to complete the survey. The survey can be accessed by members 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 now open for the renewal of your PII. 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.

Once you have completed the renewal process, you will receive an email from the LSB to confirm that your PC has been issued. You will then be able to download it via LSB Online.

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 Friday, 30 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

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.

CPD: The Bench and the Bar: a candid conversation about mental health in the wake of Covid

The Covid pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for us all. This, undoubtedly, has an impact on wellbeing. This seminar is less of a seminar and more of a candid conversation between the Bench and the Bar about wellbeing: concerns, questions, ideas. Nothing is taboo. And there will be no recording. It is a confidential collegiate conversation.

If you would like to make a comment or ask a question, anonymously through the chair, you can email her at




Dr Michelle Sharpe, The Hon. Chief Justice Anne Ferguson, The Hon. Justice Priest, The Hon. Justice Incerti, The Hon. Justice Quigley, His Honour Judge Woodward, Chief Magistrate Judge Hannan


Tuesday, 11 May, 2021 - 5:15pm to 6:15pm


Neil McPhee Room, Level 1 Owen Dixon Chambers East

205 William Street

Melbourne VIC 3000

1 CPD point(s):

Barristers Skills

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
Responses to the report of the Review of Sexual Harassment in Victorian Courts

Please click here to read the Victorian Courts' responses to the report from the Review of Sexual Harassment in Victorian Courts. 

The link includes:

  • cross-jurisdictional statement from the Courts Council, including the Heads of Jurisdiction and independent members (also available here), and
  • video from Victorian Chief Justice Anne Ferguson (transcript available here).
Commonwealth and Victorian Courts' COVID updates

Supreme Court of Victoria

The Chief Justice has issued a joint jurisdictional statement on behalf of the Victorian courts and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

You can access the statement 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.
The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia - family violence focussed training

There has been considerable public focus on and discussion recently about the shameful prevalence of family violence in our community. It is an issue faced by many individuals and families who come to the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia (the Courts) to have their family law disputes resolved.

As the safety of children and families is the highest priority for the Courts, it is important that judges, registrars, family consultants and other staff of the Courts are provided with the opportunity for regular training on the issues of family violence and the impact on children.

The Courts have recently engaged the Safe & Together Institute from the United States of America to deliver court-wide training based on the Safe & Together Model™ developed by leading expert, Mr David Mandel. 

Click here to continue reading the Media Release.

Judicial College of Victoria - new resources on working 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.

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

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
Conference: The Politics of Death Penalty Abolition in Australia and Beyond

This conference on Thursday, 6 May 2021 reviews the politics of death penalty abolition from a number of perspectives—historical, legal and political, domestic and international. Presentations include a historical review of abolition in Australia, recent international trends in abolition, abolition as an element of international human rights advocacy and protection, the death penalty in extradition law, and the framing of abolition in death penalty jurisdictions. This conference is brought to you by Eleos Justice, Monash Law and Griffith University's Centre for Social and Cultural Research.

Find out more and register here.

ALRC financial services legislation webinars

The Australian Law Reform Commission invites you to attend two upcoming webinars.

These free, interactive webinars presented in partnership with Wolters Kluwer CCH Learning are part of the ALRC’s current inquiry into the potential simplification of corporate and financial services regulation in Australia.

Webinar: The Regulatory Ecosystem for Financial Services in Australia

Monday, 17 May 2021 at 1:00pm AEST

Can Australian financial services regulation be simplified?

Join the ALRC to explore the initial findings of its current inquiry.

This 90-minute webinar will explore the ALRC’s preliminary findings on the regulatory framework for corporations and financial services in Australia.

Webinar: Comparative Perspectives on Financial Services Regulation

Monday, 24 May 2021 at 5:00pm AEST

Join a panel of international experts to compare approaches to the design of financial services regulation across different jurisdictions.

In line with the initial focus of the ALRC’s inquiry, this 90-minute webinar will include a discussion of how key terms and concepts, such as financial products and services, are defined and delineated for the purposes of corporate and financial services regulation in different jurisdictions.

Resolution Institute Seminars

Assessing suitability and preparing for mediation

This Masterclass Series will extend your knowledge and develop and refine your skills in assessing the 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.

Difficult Conversations: how to prepare yourself and others

This session provides a simple tool (Stepping Stones) to help you prepare for a difficult conversation and so maintain your balance at the table in the conversation. The tool can also be used if you are coaching or preparing someone for a difficult conversation; for example, a staff member, or a party in a mediation or negotiation.

Included with the workshop is a Stepping Stones Checklist, a simple and invaluable guide for preparation and managing a difficult conversation at the table.

Click here to register.

Careers & Opportunities
Expressions of Interest - Appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

Expressions of interest (EOIs) are now open for consideration of appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

The AAT conducts independent merits review of administrative decisions made under Commonwealth laws. They review decisions made by Australian Government ministers, departments and agencies and, in limited circumstances, decisions made by state government and non-government bodies. They also review decisions made under Norfolk Island laws.

EOIs for appointment as a Senior Member in a Deputy Division Head role close at 11:59pm (AEST) on Sunday, 16 May 2021. EOIs for appointment as Deputy President, Senior Member or Member will be accepted on an ongoing basis over a 12-month period or until a new call is advertised.

If you expressed interest in 2019, you will need to submit a new EOI if you wish to be considered again.

Find out more about the AAT and how to apply by visiting our website. An advertisement has also been placed on the APS Employment Gazette

Expressions of Interest now open - Casual Sessional Teaching

Monash Law is one of the largest and most dynamic law schools in Australia. Consistently ranked amongst the top 30 law schools globally, we invite Expressions of Interest in working with our team of experienced professionals and leading academics.

Casual academic staff members are an important part of the faculty’s teaching program. They assist the Law Faculty to maintain a high quality in teaching and learning and to satisfy students’ learning requirements for units and courses and increase flexibility in subject offerings.

You are encouraged to submit an expression of interest application if you have obtained an Australian law degree with excellent results and relevant experience and have the capability to work within our teaching teams. Casual work may be available in lecturing, tutoring and marking, in private and public law units.

Please contact us via the Expression of Interest portal.

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, 29th April 2021