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