In Brief Issue #1008

Christopher Blanden QC

New Executive Director

After an extensive search, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Amanda Utt as the new Executive Director of the Bar. As most will be aware, Amanda stepped into the role of acting CEO on very short notice late last year. She has done a wonderful job since that time. With runs on the board and obvious familiarity with our organisation, Amanda ultimately won through in a field of impressive candidates. We welcome Amanda to her new and important role.

Dinner for The Honourable Geoffrey Nettle AC QC

I am delighted to announce that the Bar will be holding a dinner at the Essoign Club on Friday, 4 June 2021, to mark the retirement of The Honourable Geoffrey Nettle AC QC as a Justice of the High Court of Australia. Details will be provided in due course.

Counsel Committee

Recently a conduct issue has been brought to the attention of the Bar Council. Almost invariably, these matters are referred to, and fully investigated by, the Counsel Committee, which then makes recommendations to the Bar Council as to how the particular matter should be dealt with. The undertaking of those investigations and the subsequent recommendations are facilitated by the details remaining confidential. Members should have full confidence that this process is followed in any relevant case.

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.

2021 Victorian Bar Dinner – Last week to register!

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. Registrations close on Thursday, 6 May 2021.

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.

WBA's Breakfast with the Stars - No 2 of 2021

Please join us on Wednesday, 19 May 2021 for WBA's next Breakfast with the Stars.

Start the day with a warm breakfast and good company as you enjoy an "In conversation" session with special guests Her Honour Justice Michelle Quigley and Marita Foley SC.

This event will commence at 7:30am and conclude at 9:00am.

Tickets are $47 per person and we ask that you register by no later than Wednesday, 12 May 2021.

Click here to register.

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

Melbourne Yoga and Pilates Ten Minute Move - free sessions

Want to start getting fit but don’t have the time? Join Melbourne Yoga and Pilates for FREE daily 10 minute Move sessions on Zoom in May comprising flexibility and toning exercises. All fitness levels are welcome so let us show you how easy it is to incorporate fitness into your busy lives.

When? 8:00am Mondays to Fridays

Where? Via Zoom

What else? Dress in comfortable clothing, no equipment needed.

Click here to register.

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.


Sisters in Crime Australia 15th Law Week event:  Witness for the Prosecution: Supporting survivors of sexual assault. YouTube from 6:00pm (AEST), Friday 21 May

Sisters in Crime Australia is again proud to join forces with the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre, Victoria University, to present its 15th Law Week event.

An expert panel – Louise Milligan, Jane Patrick, Michele Williams QC and Rachel Spencer – will discuss the experience of survivors of sexual assault and their journey through the Australian legal system. Too often survivors are re-traumatised by their court trial, equating it to reliving the rape or sexual assault because of the questions they are asked, and the details they are required to give about their appearance, behaviour and past experiences.

Justice is often elusive in these cases. Almost 90% of sexual assault victims in Australia say they are not willing to go through our justice system. Of the cases that do go to court, approximately 10% end in a conviction, allowing most perpetrators to continue in society unhindered and undeterred. Even when survivors do get justice, the process is so bruising that many wish they had never tried.

Join us as the panel discusses how the justice system could be improved in order to minimise the trauma for survivors, ensure perpetrators are brought to justice, and society made safer.

The event is free to watch through YouTube from 6:00pm (AEST) on Friday 21 May. You can also help support the work we do to promote women’s crime writing by donating $10 and go in the draw to win one of three $150 book packs (details below).

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.
  • How to not screw up a Hague Case- Tips & Traps is on Wednesday, 5 May, 5.15-6.15pm. This seminar will discuss the 1980 Hague Convention/the Child Abduction Convention in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, recent case law and some of the significant changes in the approach of the Australian Courts, case studies and tips and traps from cases worked on by practitioners who practice in the area. This event is online only. Click here to register.
  • The Bench and the Bar: a candid conversation about mental health in the wake of Covid is on Tuesday, 11 May, 5:15-6:15pm. 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. This event is in-person only. Click here to register.
  • Expert Evidence Workshop- The ability to work with expert witnesses is now a requirement for every area of practice. This workshop is a good opportunity to conference with, examine and cross examine expert witnesses in guided simulations. This is a three-day workshop and is suitable for barristers at all levels of seniority. Click here to register.

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

Vicbar Life
Studio 11 JACK MACK solo exhibition

Studio 11 - Always worth a look, now hosts an eclectic, earthy JACK MACK solo exhibition for your viewing pleasure at level 11 East. Why not take a break and enjoy the 40 works (photography and sculpture) by local artist Jackie Mackinnon. The exhibition runs from Monday, 26 April to Friday, 25 June 2021. As always, works are for sale, commission-free. Work sheets are on the floor.

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).
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.

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.
Judicial College of Victoria - Criminal Charge Book updated

The Criminal Charge Book has been updated to include new statutory murder and sexual offence directions.

Updates include: 

Access the Criminal Charge Book 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

Profession CPD & Events
Monash University 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.

Law & Business Seminar Series: Should Australia Permit Dual Class Listings?

In this third instalment of CLARS Law & Business Seminar Series being held online on Wednesday, 12 May 2021 speaker Professor Marc Moore of University College London will discuss the topic of 'Should Australia Permit Dual Class Listings? In recent years, leading global stock exchanges including Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Tokyo and Shanghai's STAR market have permitted issuers to list with dual-class share structures to encourage more tech and other high-innovation company listings. Then, at the end of 2020, the UK government commenced a consultation on the possibility of loosening the London Premium Listing sector's characteristic hostility to weighted voting structures. Against this backdrop, is it now time for the ASX to consider following suit and reforming its longstanding one share/one vote rule with respect to Australian listed companies?

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.

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.

Click here to find out more and register.

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.

Click here to find out more and register.

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

Lawyer - Common Law Division, Supreme Court of Victoria

The Common Law Division of the Supreme Court of Victoria is seeking a legally qualified individual to join a specialised team of lawyers and registry officers providing end-to-end case management support to the Division's specialist lists and judiciary.

Working principally with proceedings in the Personal Injury, Institutional Liability, Dust Diseases and Civil Circuit Lists, the successful applicant will manage matters under the supervision of judicial officers, Deputy Registrar and Senior Lawyer responsible for these Lists. The role includes a range of legal and operational responsibilities centred around the preparation of matters listed for directions and interlocutory applications. It requires excellent legal research, teamwork and organisational skills, and a high degree of initiative and self-direction.

The successful candidate will have significant demonstrated experience and interest in civil matters, in particular those involving personal injury litigation.

Click here for more information and to apply.

EOI - Planning Panels Victoria's Legal Services List

Planning Panels are established under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (PE Act) and Environment Effects Act 1978 to facilitate public participation in the planning and environment decision making process through the consideration of submissions, conduct of hearings and preparation of reports. Planning Panels are advisory, with the final decision made by the responsible statutory body or Minister for Planning. Planning Panels Victoria requires legal assistance on specific matters or as Counsel assisting on major projects including Panels, Advisory Committees and EES Inquiries. PPV maintains a Legal Services List comprising Members of the Victorian Bar, appointed for two-year terms, from which to engage Counsel.

Expressions of interest for appointment to PPV's Legal Services List are invited. Applicants must have a thorough understanding of the PE Act and demonstrated experience appearing before Panels, Advisory Committees and EES Inquiries.

Read more here.

Learn about Planning Panels Victoria here.

Matters considered by Planning Panels Victoria are listed here.

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, 6th May 2021