2021-2022 Victorian Budget - Measures announced in respect of Victorian Courts and Tribunals
The Treasurer of the State of Victoria announced the 2021-22 Budget yesterday. It contains funding for several initiatives of importance to the Victorian Bar, as Victorian barristers, Courts, and Tribunals continue to grapple with the prior and ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The items of interest include:
For further information, I refer you to Budget Paper No. 3 - Service Delivery, which is here.
In a small sign that things are returning to normal, yesterday afternoon, I had the great pleasure of once again attending an ‘in-person’ welcome in the County Court. His Honour Judge David Purcell, appointed in June last year, was formally welcomed in a very well-attended ceremony in Court 3.3, presided over by His Honour Chief Judge Peter Kidd. The welcome speech, delivered by James Mighell QC on behalf of the Bar, is available here. The capacity to celebrate such milestones in person has been sorely missed. I am sure we all look forward to many more such celebrations in the future.
At last night’s Bar Council meeting, we were most fortunate to have the attendance of both the Honourable Justice Peter Riordan and the Honourable Justice John Dixon of the Supreme Court of Victoria, to discuss the return to in-court hearings and the ongoing use of the technological and logistical advances brought about by COVID-19. It was an interesting exchange of views and this will be an ongoing process. We thank their Honours for their attendance and invaluable input.
Also, at Bar Council last night, we approved the 2022 Bar budget. I wish to thank the Bar Treasurer, Mary Anne Hartley QC; Assistant Treasurer, Robyn Sweet; and the Bar’s Manager, Finance and Membership, Susan Lawrence for the massive amount of time spent in its preparation. Shortly, members will learn of the direct benefits that will flow through to them from this hard work.
NAB Escrow Account
We are currently exploring the utility of a service offered by NAB that has the potential to change the face of trust accounting. The service is called the NAB escrow service. It is free to use and you do not need to be an existing NAB customer to register and join. The service works as follows:
There is a dashboard on the online portal that provides the barrister and authorised users with up-to-date information regarding all matters and escrow accounts.
We will explore this service with NAB and report further.
Christopher Blanden QC