In Brief Issue #1011

Christopher Blanden QC

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:

  • Funding for improvements to the County Court of Victoria building, including to increase the availability of criminal courtrooms ($12.2 million over three years) 
  • Funding to establish an early intervention fast track model in the Industrial Division of the Magistrates' Court of Victoria, including to facilitate early resolution of unpaid wages claims ($9.6 million over four years)
  • Funding in respect of "justice recovery", which includes expanding the Online Magistrates' Court; establishing an online case management team in the Children's Court of Victoria; employing additional audio-visual link technology support staff; a Coroners Court of Victoria special investigation into the deaths of aged care residents arising from the pandemic; and additional VCAT staff for the Guardianship List ($10.4 million in FY20-21)
  • Additional funding to continue and expand the Online Magistrates' Court program ($30.7 million over four years)
  • Funding to support VCAT identify new accommodation options ($1.5 million in FY21-22)
  • Funding to address increasing pressure on Victoria's justice system, including additional County Court staff to redress delays; additional judges for the County Court's Criminal Division to address the Court’s backlog; and continuation of the Children's Court online case management pilot ($33.4 million over four years), and
  • Funding to establish specialist family violence courts at the remaining Magistrates' Court headquarter courts ($42.6 million over four years as part of a specialist family violence integrated courts response).

For further information, I refer you to Budget Paper No. 3 - Service Delivery, which is here.

Judicial Welcomes

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.

Bar Council

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:

  • The barrister (or an authorised user, such as a clerk) requests funds for legal fees from clients to be held in an escrow account; and
  • After the barrister issues an invoice, the barrister requests that the funds be released. If the release is not disputed by the client, NAB will pay the funds into the barrister's nominated account.

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

Vicbar News & Events
Practising Certificates - renew your PII insurance before 31 May

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.

Appointments - Supreme Court of Victoria and Children's Court of Victoria

To the Supreme Court of Victoria

The Executive Council has appointed two members of the Bar to the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Mr Stephen O’Meara QC has been appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria, effective 18 May 2021.

Mr Richard Attiwill QC has been appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria, effective 18 May 2021.


To the Children’s Court of Victoria

The Executive Council has appointed the first-ever judicial registrars of the Children’s Court.

Ms Judith Benson has been appointed a judicial registrar of the Children’s Court, effective 25 May 2021.

Annual flu shots for Bar members

The Victorian Bar is offering members the annual flu vaccination in Owen Dixon Chambers East on 25 and 26 May 2021. Appropriate social distancing will be in place.

Bookings must be made online via the iMedical website. Instructions on how to book are here. You must be logged into the VicBar website to view and download the instructions.

There are a limited number of appointments available to Bar members from iMedical, and they will be allocated on a first-in, first-served basis.

While the flu shot is obviously not a vaccine against COVID-19, medical advice is that people should have the vaccination to limit the spread of flu symptoms that pose a threat to themselves and exacerbate the coronavirus's spread and severity.

If you cannot or do not wish to come into the city, consult your GP or local chemist about receiving the vaccination. The government provides free vaccinations to some individuals.

Women Barristers' Bar Association - Annual General Meeting - Friday 18 June 2021 at 4:30pm

The Annual General Meeting of the Women Barristers' Bar Association will be held on Friday, 18 June 2021 at 4:30pm in the Richard Griffith Library, 1st floor of Owen Dixon East, 205 William St, Melbourne.

At the AGM, WBA members will :
(a) consider and deal with the accounts of the Association for the year ended 30 June 2020
(b) elect Committee members including a Convenor, Assistant Convenors, a Secretary, Assistant Secretary, a Treasurer and ordinary members of the Committee.

The Committee proper will transact other business of which it has been given 14 days notice in writing to the Committee with such notice to be delivered to the secretary, Marion Isobel by email to

Copies of the Notice of the AGM, agenda, nomination form and proxy form will be emailed to WBA members shortly.

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? 9:00am Mondays to Fridays

Where? Via Zoom

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

Click here to register.

Seminar – Pathways to financial security for women barristers

As the end of the financial year is approaching, now is a good time to understand how you can take advantage of many Government incentives to reduce tax and build towards a comfortable retirement. The Women Barristers Bar Association, the Bar's Equality and Diversity Committee and legalsuper invite all members to a lunchtime learning seminar that will explore:

  • How super contributions can:
    • reduce your tax
    • help you save towards your first home, and
    • build your retirement nest egg.
  • How much is enough to fund a comfortable retirement?
  • What investment strategy is most suitable for you?
  • Practical considerations when preparing for career breaks or when approaching retirement.

The seminar is on Wednesday, 9 June 2021, 12-1:00pm.

For more information, please see the legalsuper flyer here.

To register, click here.

Light refreshments and sandwiches will be provided.

This event is proudly supported by legalsuper – the profit for members superannuation fund has supported the legal community for over 30 years.

National Reconciliation Week 27 May - 3 June 2021

The Indigenous Justice Committee encourages members of the Bar, their staff and families to take the opportunity during National Reconciliation Week to learn, reflect and acknowledge the significance of Reconciliation today. The theme this year is “More than a word, Reconciliation takes action.” Two legal milestones bookend the week – 27 May 1967, the date of the successful 1967 Referendum, and 3 June 1992, the day the High Court of Australia delivered its judgment in Mabo (No. 2).

The CPD offered by the IJC to address Reconciliation in action will take place at a later date, due to the availability of the speakers. Details will be advertised as soon as practicable.

The IJC recommends the following external events occurring during NRW:
Virtual—legal issues:
Melbourne University: Treaty, More than a word
Sydney, Level 22 Barristers Chambers: Law and the Uluru Statement from the Heart
In person with family members
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait language learning for both young and old (click here to view the 50 words project).

Anne Sheehan and Tim Goodwin
Co-Chairs Indigenous Justice Committee

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.

  • No, the murder charge cannot be settled for an unlawful assault is on Monday, 24 May, 5:15-6:15pm. This CPD will discuss Crown processes, indictments, instructions, discontinuances and other issues. This event is in-person only. Click here to register.
  • Effective Strategies to deal with the psychological fallout of bullying or incivility in post covid legal practice is on Thursday, 27 May, 1:00-2:00pm. This CPD is presented by Dr D’Amico, a leading psychotherapist based in the United States and author of ‘Trauma and Well-being Among Legal Professionals’ which is a culmination of her research into wellbeing among legal professionals in Canada, the United States, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia. This is an online event for members only. Click here to register.
  • Current Trends in International Arbitration: early openings, mediation pauses and tribunal experts is on Wednesday, 2 June, 5:15-6:15pm. This seminar will explore various procedural techniques which have been used in the resolution of International Arbitration disputes and will also discuss the use of mock hearings as a preparatory tool in International Arbitration. This is an in-person event and will also be available online via live stream. Click here to register.

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

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. Please email us at

We appreciate your ongoing support and look forward to seeing you in the Club.

Practice & Profession News
High Court of Australia Oral History Podcast

The High Court of Australia building in Canberra is listed on the World Register of Significant Twentieth Century Architecture. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the opening of the building, the Court commissioned an oral history podcast. The podcast was launched by the Chief Justice on Wednesday, 19 May 2021.

The podcast focuses on the construction phase of the High Court building. There are four parts:

                Part 1 – The Vision

                Part 2 – The Debate

                Part 3 – The Artistry and

                Part 4 – The Vibe.

The podcast is available here.

Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia - 2021-22 Budget

The Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia to receive $100 million in Government funding announced in the 2021-22 Budget

The Family Court of Australia (FCoA) and Federal Circuit Court of Australia (FCC) welcome significant funding announced last night as part of the 2021-22 Budget, together with other recent funding, which allows for the appointment of 2 additional FCoA judges, and eight additional FCC judges. It also provides for important judicial support and reform measures.  

The $100 million of additional resources (over the four years to 2024-25) will help to introduce much-needed support to judges and reforms that will lead to a reduction in delays and improve safety outcomes for litigants involved in family law and other disputes.

More information about the funding boost is here.

Commonwealth and Victorian Courts' COVID updates

Supreme Court of Victoria

On Monday, 17 May 2021, the Supreme Court of Victoria published this Notice to the Profession, relating to changes to in-person hearings.

County Court of Victoria

From Monday 24 May 2021, the Court will begin to unpair courtrooms used for jury trials in light of the clarification provided by the Department of Health that physical distancing is not required in courtrooms or court facilities used for jury trials.

The Court will also move to ‘mask setting 4’, which means masks are not required to be worn by all trial participants. Trial participants may wear a mask if they wish, subject to the following:

  • Those addressing the Court should be clearly heard and understood
  • The accused will be required to remove a mask when pleading during arraignment
  • Juror will be required to briefly remove a mask when answering during any callover during empanelment, and
  • Juror will be required to remove a mask when addressing the Court regarding a verbal or written excuse, and during the striking of the jury.

Any new trial commencing from 24 May 2021 onwards will adopt, as far as possible (and with any necessary COVID-Safe overlays), the pre-COVID jury trial processes. Notably:

  • Empanelments will take place in the trial courtroom with the jury panel sitting in the body of the court.
  • Each courtroom’s adjoining jury room will be used by the jury during adjournments and deliberation.

Mask setting 4 is explained in the Court's guide for the profession and court users here.

This Guide applies where there is no physical distancing requirements in courtrooms or court facilities used for jury trials and replaces the Recommencement of Melbourne criminal jury trials guide for the profession and court users version 6 published 14 April 2021.

If physical distancing, density quotas and any other health and safety measures are re-introduced, the County Court will seek expert health advice and may suspend the procedures in this Guide and re-introduce any, all or additional provisions in the Recommencement of Melbourne criminal jury trials guide for the profession and court users version 6 published 14 April 2021.

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.
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 Peter Bruce Millar trading as Millars

The Bar has been informed that on 7 May 2021, the Victorian Legal Services Board resolved to appoint Ms Madeline Prior as Manager of the sole practitioner Peter Bruce Millar trading as Millars (‘the Law Practice’), pursuant to section 334 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (‘the Uniform Law’). The appointment is for a period of approximately four months, expiring on 5 September 2021, unless the appointment is extended or otherwise terminated in accordance with section 340 of the Uniform Law.

The Board determined to appoint a Manager because Mr Millar has passed away and 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.

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 Ms Prior on 03 9557 6831 or by email at if you have any concerns about payment of your fees.

The Bar will be notified upon the termination of the management.

Profession CPD & Events
ALRC 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.

Hellenic Australian Lawyers Association Webinar

The Hellenic Australian Lawyers Association is hosting a presentation by the Honourable Justice Emilios Kyrou entitled "Pitfalls of Lawyers communicating with the media". The presentation will be conducted online via Webex on Wednesday, 2 June 2021 from 6:00pm.

Justice Kyrou will canvass the risks to lawyers when communicating with the media, including:

  •     Breach of confidence
  •     Breach of professional conduct rules
  •     Contempt of court
  •     Waiver of privilege, and
  •     Misleading or deceptive conduct.

Justice Kyrou is a Judge of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria, and was appointed to that position in July 2014 after serving as a trial Judge since May 2008.

SAVE THE DATE! Family Law & Children's Rights Conference, 12-16 July 2021

Welcome to the 8th Family Law & Children’s Rights Conference: World Congress 2021 Through the Eyes of a Child, the major international event focusing on family law and family law processes and the rights of children and youth, jointly organised by the World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights and LAWASIA, The Law Association for Asia and the Pacific.

The conference will take place virtually over the five days of our proposed Singapore conference from Monday, 12 July through to Friday, 16 July 2021. Due to the need to hold a virtual conference, the number of sessions we are able to provide has been significantly reduced and we regret that we will be unable to accommodate all speakers whose papers have been previously accepted.

The conference will consist of 4-5 sessions per day. Because of international time zones, the sessions will be pre-recorded but as much as possible, we will endeavour to add on live Q&A sessions. 

For more updates about the programme and speakers, please visit the official website:

Administrative Law on the Edge - AIAL National Conference 2021

The Conference invites discussion and debate on the many-faceted 'edges' of administrative law. It seeks to examine a number of themes and contemporary challenges in administrative law, including the nature of any 'boundary lines' of administrative law, the scope to challenge automated 'decision-making'.

The current state of judicial review, the scope to challenge the exercise of non-statutory executive power and whether the performance of government functions that are 'outsourced' is outside administrative law bounds.

Thursday, 22 July 2021 & Friday, 23 July 2021
RACV City Club, 501 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Conference Dinner - 6:15pm for 7:00pm start, Thurs 22 July 2021 | Hotel Windsor, 111 Spring Street, Melbourne

All enquiries should be directed to: AIAL National Secretariat by phone on 02 6290 1505 or email at

Register here.

Careers & Opportunities
2021 William Ah Ket Scholarship launches

The Asian Australian Lawyers Association, together with Maddocks, as a founding sponsor, and the University of Melbourne Law School, as a supporting partner, is pleased to announce the William Ah Ket Scholarship essay competition for 2021.  The scholarship – named after Australia’s first barrister of Chinese background and a former member of the Victorian Bar – is open to all final year law students, law graduates undertaking practical legal training and young lawyers with no more than five years’ post-admission experience.

For further information, please click here.

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 amount of the Prize 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 31 August 2021 and this time limit is strictly observed, as the Rules Governing the Annual Essay Prize make clear.

Those Rules can be accessed on the Academy’s website:

Refer to the Academy’s website also for further information about the actual submission of an entry as well as information on previous winners.

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, 27th May 2021