In Brief Issue #1019

Christopher Blanden QC

Occasionally, significant milestones in the Bar’s history and individual contributions go unnoticed or unappreciated – I think this is because they don’t involve a high-profile case or barrister. So it was last week that an important personality at the Bar quietly celebrated her 83rd birthday.

Pat Utting started work for A B Nicholls & Dever in 1954 as a 16-year-old. Apart from a period in the 1960s to raise her family and another in the early 1980s when she worked for the Law Institute of Victoria, Pat has worked in Dever’s office ever since. Pat has assisted, counselled and organised a very significant proportion of the Bar over that period and continues to work two days per week on reception. I would like to acknowledge Pat’s long and continuing service to those at the Victorian Bar on behalf of all members.

On Wednesday afternoon, I had the great pleasure of welcoming Her Honour Judge Anna Robertson’s appointment to the County Court of Victoria. Even if continuing COVID restrictions had been lifted, there would have been insufficient room for those who wished to celebrate this very popular appointment, which also enjoyed a local, national and international audience on zoom. We wish Her Honour well in her future career.

May I remind members of the upcoming Bar Council by-election, which will occur on Wednesday, 28 July 2021. Nominations for those who wish to stand must reach the Secretary on or before 5:00pm next Tuesday, 20 July 2021. Please refer to the notice below for more information.

Christopher Blanden QC

Vicbar News & Events
Call for nominations for the Victorian Bar Council by-election

Nominations are hereby called for the 2020-2021 by-election of the Bar Council to replace a departing member in Category A: Queen’s Counsel, Senior Counsel, or junior counsel who are of not less than 15 years’ standing.

The Candidate nomination form is here and Nominator form is here.

Nominations must reach the Secretary on or before 5:00pm, Tuesday 20 July 2021 via email to

The forms must be signed by members of counsel who are eligible to nominate or be nominated. Conditions of eligibility to nominate and to be nominated are prescribed by clauses 45 and 48 of the Constitution of the Victorian Bar Inc.

Hard copies of the forms will not be accepted. Nominations received out of time will not be accepted.

One candidate will be elected in Category A: Queen’s Counsel, Senior Counsel or junior counsel who are of not less than 15 years’ standing.

The Bar Council has resolved to publish the following details following the conduct of the by-election: (a) the number of members who voted; (b) the vote tally for the successful candidate; and (c) the difference in vote tally between the successful candidate and the highest ranked unsuccessful candidate.  The names, ranking and vote tallies of unsuccessful candidates will not be published.

Voting will open at 5:00pm on Wednesday, 21 July 2021 and will close at 5:00pm on Wednesday, 28 July 2021.

Proposed reforms to the Constitution of the Victorian Bar

A Special General Meeting of the Victorian Bar will be held at 5:00pm on Wednesday, 4 August 2021, in the Neil McPhee Room, Level 1, Owen Dixon Chambers East, at which proposed amendments to the Constitution of the Victorian Bar will be put for the consideration of members.

The following documents are provided: notice of a Special General Meeting of the Victorian Bar Incorporated, explanatory memorandum and amendments, the proposed amended Constitution, and an interactive proxy form. Members must be logged in to view these documents.

A message to the Victorian Bar from the Health and Wellbeing Committee

Once again we find ourselves in lockdown. Understandably, our members may be experiencing an increase in professional, financial and personal pressures.  For those working from home, there may be an increase in stress, perhaps caring for young children, other family members or assisting students with remote learning, maybe experiencing feelings of isolation or simply dealing with the increased challenges that carrying on our practice in our home environment can bring.  

On behalf of the Bar’s Health and Wellbeing Committee, I wanted to remind you of some of the important resources available in this difficult period.

First, the Health and Wellbeing portal, contains useful information, resources and coping strategies concerning a number of issues relevant to us. The portal will be regularly updated and will be made more accessible via the VicBar website. Members are also reminded of an excellent array of CPDs that have been organised by the Committee this year and have been recorded which may be of assistance. 

Secondly, the Victorian Bar provides for up to five free, entirely confidential counselling sessions to all barristers and their immediate family.  I want to stress that seeking help is normal and sensible and all members should not hesitate to reach out if they need assistance. The services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  There are two alternatives on this front:

  • Bernadette Healy and her associates at Re-Vision Group.  Bernadette has many years of experience as a psychologist dealing with Bar members. Call 03 9650 5540.
  • Converge International is another independent crisis and counselling service delivered by qualified psychologists and counsellors. 1300 687 327.  

Finally , I encourage you all to check in with each other and particularly to reach out to anyone who you feel might be struggling.  Importantly, being honest about your own feelings and experiences during this period may help those friends and colleagues to realise that they are not alone.  

Sally Flynn QC

Chair, Health and Wellbeing Committee


Subscriptions for the 2021- 2022 Financial Year are now due

Thank you to those members who have already paid their subscriptions. Subscriptions for the 2021-2022 Financial Year are due for members, and to make payment of your subscription, please click here.  If you have any questions relating to your subscription, please contact membership or call on 9225 8326.

Equitable briefing policy reporting 2020-2021

The 2020-2021 financial year has recently ended, and annual reports of Briefing Entities who have adopted the Law Council’s Equitable Briefing Policy are due by 30 September 2021.

If you have adopted the policy as counsel, please provide your annual report for the 2020-2021 financial year using the portal.

To assist you with reporting, the Equitable Briefing Policy Reporting Template and Guidelines provides detailed information on how to how to make a report and includes a reporting template to show the information required

Barristers who have adopted the policy have committed to providing a confidential annual report to the Law Council of Australia. The Law Council will subsequently collate data provided in the annual reports and produce a final report of figures for publication. All data published in the final report will be aggregated and de-identified, in order to maintain the confidentiality of individual Briefing Entities.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to submit your report.

VicBar SEC shadowing program

The VicBar Student Engagement Committee (SEC) is looking at organising high school and tertiary student work experience (shadowing) again in the latter part of 2021 or early 2022.

The purpose of the shadowing program is to give students a first-hand perspective of what barristers do in their day-to-day work. The program focuses on including students from diverse backgrounds and circumstances.

It is proposed that a student or students be allocated to a chamber's floor (where interest has been indicated) for one week, rather than allocating students to a single barrister. This is intended to provide greater flexibility to barristers and greater opportunities for students.

Chambers floors that have indicated interest will be noted by the SEC and approached closer to when shadowing is arranged.

If there are a number of barristers on your floor who are interested in participating, please send an email indicating interest in participating in the shadowing program and identifying: (a) your chambers floor, and (b) interested barristers from the floor, to:

BCL updates

Technology services & support for the Bar: Security options available to protect your practice

BCL is now offering free cybersecurity training for all barristers with an email. Each month barristers will receive material and assessments to improve their security awareness, with certificates issued upon completion of each module. To register, click here.

BCL Staying COVIDSafe

Please refer to Staying COVIDSafe at BCL for all information, communications, helpful links to COVID safe plans, restrictions as they happen and what we all need to do.

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.

  • Intensive cross examination workshop is on Thursday, 22 and 29 July, 5:00-7:30pm. This two-part workshop gives participants the opportunity to work with experienced cross examiners and senior advocacy instructors to further develop cross examination skills. Each participant will have an opportunity to perform an allocated cross examination task and receive feedback. This workshop is for members only. Click here to register.
  • Advocacy teacher training workshop is on Friday, 6 August, 5:00-7:30pm and all day on Saturday, 7 August 2021. This workshop is the first step in an ongoing program of advocacy teacher training. Those who successfully complete this program are eligible to teach in the mooting program of the Bar Readers’ Course. This workshop is for members only. Click here to register.

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

Vicbar Life
VicBar choir

The VicBar Choir invites you to join its group. A new term is starting soon. 

Time: 1–2:00pm, Wednesdays, Level 11 Owen Dixon Chambers East.

Dates: The choir will meet for an nine-week term, starting Wednesday, 21 July, to Wednesday, 15 September 2021.

Cost: $30 a week (casual – fee relief readily available) – $225 a term.

For more information, contact the Bar office on 9225 7111 or

Click here to view the flyer.

Studio 11 - cCORDA exhibition

STUDIO 11 – Always worth a Look! Level 11, Owen Dixon Chamber East. Come on down when you can. The cCORDA exhibition featuring 75 collaborative works by Michelangelo Russo and Jennifer Jabu is now installed for your viewing pleasure. If you love beautiful things, colour, texture, shape and groove, you will get  a return on your investment. Three-dimensional works, framed and stand alone, in various colours and sizes with prices ranging from $4000 - $250 are available for sale, with all proceeds going directly to the artists. The body of work and each piece is accomplished, complex, evocative and generous. Works sheets (with lots of Italian references) and statements are available on Level 11 East. For enquiries contact

The Essoign Club

Dear Essoign Members,

The Essoign Club will continue to be open from 7:00am and will operate as a takeaway and delivery as per the current restrictions in place.

On offer we will have coffee, juices, soft drinks, salads and sandwiches along with daily specials and take away beer or wine.

A daily menu will continue to be sent to our members.

We would like to thank you for your support as always.

See you soon.

Practice & Profession News
Commonwealth and Victorian Courts' COVID updates

The Victorian Government has announced a statewide lockdown for five days from midnight Thursday, 15 July until midnight Tuesday, 20 July 2021 inclusive.

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.

Supreme Court of Victoria

The Supreme Court of Victoria have published a joint jurisdictional statement from the Chief Justice, on behalf of the Victorian courts and VCAT.  The statement is in response to the lockdown announced yesterday afternoon.

You can access the statement here.

County Court of Victoria

Criminal jury trials

Those criminal jury trials underway may continue at Melbourne and on Circuit, subject to the views of the judge and the parties. Self-evidently, there is a strong public interest in those trials proceeding to verdict, where possible. The Court deems the continuation of any jury trial which has begun as essential.  Criminal jury trials which were due to be empanelled Friday 15 July, Monday 19 July or Tuesday 20 July 2021 will not be able to proceed. Every effort will be made to relist these trials over the coming weeks. The Court will be in contact with the parties soon in relation to these re-listings.

Criminal judge alone trials

A trial by judge alone which is midstream will continue. Given its equivalence with jury trials, the interests of justice demand that it proceeds to conclusion as efficiently as possible.  By their nature, the Court considers the completion of such trials as essential to the administration of justice.  Where onsite attendance is needed for the efficient completion of a trial by judge alone, the Court would authorise it.

Civil jury trials

Civil jury trials underway may continue at Melbourne, subject to the views of the judge and parties. The Court deems the continuation of any jury trial which has begun as essential.

Other non-jury trial work

Save for work considered essential to the administration of justice, all other non-trial jury work in all Divisions will have to be conducted, if at all, completely offsite. This means that all matters are to be conducted remotely. A case will only be considered essential where is it essential that it be heard during the lockdown.  There must be compelling reasons why the case must go ahead Friday 15 July, Monday 19 July or Tuesday 20 July 2021, and where it must involve onsite attendance. Given the timing of this announcement the Court appreciates that it may be too late to organise for alternative arrangements which may lead to some unavoidable attendance. Parties with matters listed on these dates should contact the chambers of the presiding judge in the event of any uncertainty.


This is a Statewide lockdown. The above considerations apply equally to all circuit work – jury and non-jury work.

Mask wearing

Mask wearing is at Setting 2 for cases which are conducted onsite, namely those in a speaking role, including counsel, are not required to wear a mask, but all other participants and other court users (including jurors) must wear a mask. The Setting 2 will extend to all circuit matters.

Letters of authority

The profession should obtain any letter of authority to attend onsite at court from their respective organisations, should this be required. An accused’s bail papers will suffice to attend onsite at court.

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
ABA 2021 National Conference

Registrations are now open for Re-emerge. The Australian Bar after COVID-19:  Energised, Innovative Enduring

16-18 September 2021. State Library of Victoria and fully live-streamed.

For more information and to register, visit

Major Sponsor: The Australian Financial Review

Monash University events

Reflections on the 20th anniversary of the Corporations Act

The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) is one of Australia's most significant and complex pieces of legislation. To mark the 20th anniversary of the Act, Monash Law, the Commercial Bar Association, and the Victorian Bar will host a joint panel comprised of eminent speakers who will provide insights about the operation and evolution of the Act from practitioners, academia, and the judiciary.

Join the Centre for Commercial Law and Regulatory Studies of Monash Law for this second instalment of the National Commercial Law Seminar Series in 2021. The event is being hosted online on Wednesday, 21 July 2021, and includes the following speakers:

  • The Honourable Justice Connock, Supreme Court of Victoria
  • The Honourable Associate Justice Hetyey, Supreme Court of Victoria
  • Professor Jennifer Hill, the inaugural Bob Baxt AO Professor of Corporate and Commercial Law at Monash University Faculty of Law and Director of the Centre for Commercial Law and Regulatory Studies (CLARS)
  • Philip Crutchfield QC, Barrister, Victorian Bar
  • Chair: Sam Rosewarne, Barrister, Victorian Bar

Register here.

Castan Centre – Human rights law conference

Gender inequality persists and women’s voices must be heard. Under a human rights-based approach, homelessness can and must be ended. Charters of rights have proved themselves in Victoria and other jurisdictions and can and must be implemented at the federal level.

The purpose of this conference being hosted on Friday, 23 July by webinar, is to focus attention on contemporary Australia's critical human rights issues with outstanding speakers and moderators who are experts in their field and rapporteurs to sum up the discussion. Speakers include:

  • Kristen Hilton, Former Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner
  • June Oscar AO, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner
  • Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM, President, Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Leilani Farha, Global Director of The Shift, Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing

Register here.

Australian Law Reform Commission webinars 19 and 20 July 2021

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

These free, interactive webinars relate to the ALRC’s current inquiries.

Review of Judicial Impartiality

Judicial impartiality Q&A: exploring viewpoints

Monday, 19 July 2021 at 1–2:30pm

Join us as we explore different perspectives on proposals and questions raised in the Judicial Impartiality Consultation Paper.

In this webinar, we will discuss views from the bench, the profession, academia, and the community on proposals made and questions raised by the ALRC’s Judicial Impartiality Consultation Paper.

Review of the legislative framework for corporations and financial services regulation

The devilish detail of financial services laws

Tuesday, 20 July 2021 at 12–1:00pm

In partnership with Melbourne Law School, the Australian Law Reform Commission is excited to launch the Company and Securities Law Journal Special Issue: financial services laws – understanding the devil in the detail.

This webinar will explore financial services laws in Australia through the lens of the CSLJ Special Issue. The articles result from close collaboration between leading legal scholars and the ALRC as part of the current Inquiry into financial services legislation in Australia.

LAWASIA committee webinar month series - July and August 2021

LAWASIA is excited to announce that the registrations for the LAWASIA Committee Webinar Month Series are open!

LAWASIA's committees offer a comprehensive and practical work program targeting the needs of legal practitioners and their professional organisations. The webinar series will give you the opportunity to broaden your knowledge and understanding, while exploring topics including When RCEP Meets the Belt And Road InitiativeEnforcement of Bilateral Investment Treaty ArbitrationNew Impulses in Tax Law and UNCITRAL: Enhanced Asset Tracing and Recovery in the Digital Age.

Registration is complimentary for all LAWASIA Members, so if you are not a LAWASIA member, we invite you to join or renew your membership today and avail of the free webinars!

To learn more and register, please click here

Australian Academy of Law – Emerging scholars: contemporary issues in crime and criminology

The Australian Academy of Law will be hosting a free event Emerging scholars: contemporary issues in crime and criminology from Perth, in person and online on Wednesday, 28 July 2021.

Click here for more information and to register.

Careers & Opportunities
2022 John Koowarta Scholarship round

The Law Council would like to inform the Constituent Bodies that applications for the 2022 John Koowarta Reconciliation Law Scholarship (Koowarta Scholarship) are now open.

Applications close: COB Friday, 3 September 2021.

The Eligibility Criteria for the Koowarta Scholarship is attached with this memo and is also available online. Scholarships will be awarded on the recommendation of an Advisory Committee appointed by the Law Council of Australia. The successful applicant will receive a scholarship to the value of up to $5,500 for the 2022 academic year, or, on a pro-rata basis an offer for periods of part-time study.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Council by email at

Click here for the application form.

Judicial College of Victoria – employment opportunities

The Judicial College is in the midst of an exciting period of growth and transformation, as it builds internal capability to support the judiciary into the future.

New opportunities include a range of roles across the College’s education and information services teams, including:

  • Director, Judicial Education - VPS 6.2
  • Content Developer, Judicial Education - VPS 5
  • Legal Research Officer, Projects - VPS 4

Find out more here.

Law Council of Australia Tom Yuncken Young Construction Lawyer Award 2021

The Construction and Infrastructure Committee of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia has been conducting the Tom Yuncken Young Construction Lawyer Award since 2008. The Award was established in memory of Allens Arthur Robinson, partner and construction lawyer, Tom Yuncken, a former Chair of the Victorian Committee.

The Award was initially offered to Victorian lawyers, but since 2018 has become a national award.

The Business Law Section (BLS) offers the Award, sponsored by the Society of Construction Law Australia (SCLA).

Thanks to the generous support of the BLS & SCLA, the winner of the 2021 Award will receive $2,500, and the finalist/s will be assisted to attend the Society’s Conference in Hobart in October 2021. For more information, visit

The flyer and entry form may be found 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 below.

The Prize is open to anyone, wherever resident, who is studying or has studied legal subjects at a tertiary level or 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 submitting an essay is 31 August 2021 and this time limit is strictly observed, as the Rules Governing the Annual Essay Award 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, 22nd July 2021