In Brief Issue #1021

Christopher Blanden QC

Last night the Victorian Bar and the Tax Bar Association, in conjunction with the Australian Bar Association, held a CPD webinar on taxation treaties and domestic law. Why am I mentioning a CPD that’s already taken place? The session was chaired by the Right Honourable Lord Hodge of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and the Bar’s office facilitated the entire exercise nationally and internationally. It is hoped this will encourage future international sessions of this kind — my congratulations to all involved, but particularly our office, which can claim much of the credit.

The result of the by-election to fill the vacancy in Category A of the Bar Council, brought about by the appointment of the Honourable Justice Helen Rofe QC to the Federal Court of Australia, was confirmed on Tuesday evening. Georgina Schoff QC won out in a large field of strong candidates. I congratulate Gina on her success and welcome her to the Bar Council. My thanks to all those who nominated for election and to all members who voted.

Last week marked the largely unheralded retirement of three long-standing members of the Supreme Court of Victoria. On behalf of the Bar, I thank the Honourable Justice John Digby, the Honourable Justice John Champion, retiring on Friday, 13 August, and the Honourable Associate Judge Alexander Jamie Wood for their outstanding service to the legal profession and the people of Victoria.

We note the recent appointment of Rear Admiral the Honourable Jack Rush RFD QC RAN to the position of Judge Advocate General of the Australian Defence Force, effectively the Chief Justice of the military justice system. We congratulate the JAG and wish him well in this vital role.

Finally, this week has seen discussion about comments by members of the Bar on social media. It is not the function of the Bar to monitor or control that use in any way. May I remind members of the need to be considered and respectful in their use of such media.

Christopher Blanden QC

Vicbar News & Events
2020-2021 Victorian Bar Council by-election results

Following the recent Victorian Bar Council by-election, Georgina Schoff QC has been elected to the Bar Council in Category A. 

Appointment of the Judge Advocate General - Rear Admiral the Honourable Jack Rush RFD QC RAN

The Military Bar Association congratulates Rear Admiral the Honourable Jack Rush RFD QC RAN on his appointment to the position of Judge Advocate General of the Australian Defence Force (JAG) and his commission to Rear Admiral of the Royal Australian Navy. The JAG was a former Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Chairman of the Victorian Bar Council and Queens Counsel. The Governor-General signed the appointment in Executive Council last week and the JAG was sworn in this week by a Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, in a private ceremony in the Federal Court. There will be a ceremonial sitting in the coming weeks and details will be circulated In Brief. The JAG is the ultimate authority within the military justice system and is effectively equivalent to Chief Justice of this important, specialist jurisdiction. Military discipline in the armed services is vital both in Australia and on operational service overseas. In view of the Courts Martial system of military justice and the creation of the International Criminal Court, an independent and properly operating Australian military justice system, together with the complementary jurisdiction of the civilian courts, ensures that accused Australian service personnel receive justice and fairness in military trials. We wish the JAG all the best in this new and important endeavour.

Executive Council last week and the JAG was sworn in this week by a Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, in a private ceremony in the Federal Court.  There will be a ceremonial sitting in the coming weeks and details will be circulated In Brief.  The JAG is the ultimate authority within the military justice system and is effectively equivalent to Chief Justice of this important, specialist jurisdiction.  Military discipline in the armed services is vital both in Australia and on operational service overseas.  In view of the Courts Martial system of military justice and the creation of the International Criminal Court, an independent and properly operating Australian military justice system, together with the complementary jurisdiction of the civilian courts, ensures that accused Australian service personnel receive justice and fairness in military trials.  We wish the JAG all the best in this new and important endeavour.  This is a great honour; not just for the JAG, but also for the Victorian Bar to have one of its members appointed to such an important National role.

LCDR Paul Panayi, RAN - President Military Bar Association

Court appointments

Federal Circuit Court of Australia

The Governor-General in Council has appointed the following judges of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in the Melbourne registry:

His Honour Judge Jonathan Forbes

Her Honour Judge Catherine Symons

The appointments were effective from Monday, 26 July 2021. Details of any welcome ceremonies will be made available when they are known.


Supreme Court of Victoria

The Governor in Council has made the following appointments:

Dr Catherine Gail Button QC as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria, effective Monday, 9 August 2021.

Her Honour Judge Amanda Claire Fox as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria, effective Friday, 13 August 2021.

Details of any welcome ceremonies will be made available when they are known.


Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal

The Governor in Council has appointed Mr Richard Wilson as a Deputy President of the Tribunal. Richard will take on the role of Head of Civil Division.

The appointment was effective from Tuesday, 27 July 2021.

Australian Bar Association 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

2021 Re-engagement Lunch

The Victorian Bar wishes to invite you to attend the 2021 Re-engagement Lunch from 1-3:00pm on Friday, 27 August 2021

The session will bring together members of the Bar currently on, recently returned from, or planning to take, parental leave for an informal discussion on issues such as returning to practice after an extended leave and maintaining connection while away. The discussion will be guided by insights from a barrister who has recently become a parent, with her experience acting as a springboard for discussion about your own particular challenges and successes.

Lunch will be provided. Please advise of any dietary requirements.

RSVP here by Friday, 20 August 2021.

BCL updates

Urgent Apple software update

Please update your Mac, iPad or iPhone as soon as possible

A BCL cybersecurity partner has confirmed that Apple has released a software update to correct a vulnerability found in previous versions of their software and systems. Please click here for information on how to update your devices.

Staying COVIDSafe at BCL

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.

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.

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.

  • Heads of Agreement: Binding or not? is on Monday, 2 August, 5:15-6:15pm. This seminar will analyse the legal principles underpinning Heads of Agreement, provide drafting suggestions, and analyse a range of significant cases. This is an online only event. Click here to register.
  • An introduction to the Visa Cancellations Working Group – AAT Limited Assistance Scheme is on Wednesday, 11 August, 5:30-6:30pm. This seminar will include a panel discussion presented by expert migration law barristers, who will provide practical insights into their experience of visa cancellation matters. It will also outline the key features of a new “AAT Limited Assistance Scheme”, including three zoom training sessions on Thursday, 26 August, Monday, 30 August, and Thursday, 9 September 2021. This is an in-person event only. Click here to register.

For more details about these events and other upcoming CPD and events, please visit our listings here.

Vicbar Life
Studio 11 - cCORDA exhibition

STUDIO 11 – Always worth a look! Level 11, Owen Dixon Chambers 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 $250 - $4000 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. Worksheets (with lots of Italian references) and statements are available on Level 11 East. For enquiries, contact

The Essoign Club

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 – is 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
Commonwealth and Victorian Courts' COVID updates

The Supreme Court of Victoria has published a cross-jurisdictional message from the Chief Justice on behalf of the Victorian Courts and VCAT in response to pandemic lockdown restrictions easing, which is available here.

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.

County Court of Victoria

Melbourne criminal jury trials

Consistent with the easing of restrictions from 11:59pm Tuesday, 27 July 2021 and the exemption from density quotients and physical distancing for courtrooms and spaces used for jury trials, the Court will recommence criminal jury trials in Melbourne from Thursday, 29 July 2021.

While a paired courtroom arrangement is not required, the Court will seek to provide a measure of comfort to those first juries empanelling after the lockdown period. Any criminal jury trial commencing between Thursday, 29 July and Friday, 6 August 2021 will use the paired courtroom arrangement while maintaining the traditional empanelment process in the courtroom. This means jurors in these trials will have the use of extended jury boxes and a jury room courtroom for adjournments and deliberation.

The Court will revert to single courtrooms for criminal jury trials commencing the week of Monday, 9 August 2021.

The Court has relisted those criminal jury trials that could not proceed during the lockdown period with minimal delay. The Court has contacted parties in those matters with a new trial date.

Other non-jury work

Non-jury work will continue to be heard.

Attendance at the Court for non-jury work will be at the discretion of the presiding judge and will be guided by factors such as whether the relevant physical attendance is necessary and appropriate in the particular case with regard to the capacity for remote participation. Parties should contact the presiding judge's chambers in the event of any uncertainty regarding remote or onsite attendance for a particular case.

Criminal circuits

The Court will resume sitting at Geelong, Latrobe Valley, Shepparton, Ballarat, Wodonga and Warrnambool from Thursday, 29 July and Mildura from Monday, 2 August 2021.  

Mask wearing in Court

Mask wearing is at Setting 2 for cases 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. Setting 2 will extend to all circuit matters.

Mask wearing in public areas and QR check-in

Aside from the in-court exception for speakers above, mask-wearing is required in all other areas of court buildings, including at circuit courts.

All persons attending court are reminded of the need to check-in, using the QR code or with the assistance of Court staff if required.


The Court will continue to monitor the circumstances and will provide a further update as required.

Commercial Division

In response to the easing of restrictions announced on Wednesday, 28 July 2021, the arrangements set out in the “July Lockdown” document published on Thursday, 15 July 2021, are no longer in place.

The Commercial Division is reverting to the arrangements set out in the “Commercial Division response to coronavirus (COVID-19)” document, which has been updated to reflect the Chief Judge’s latest directions with regards to onsite attendance for non-jury work. The document is available here.

The most notable changes are:

Section 3.2 Applications by summons

Minor textual changes to state that applications by summons will continue to be heard remotely, subject to the overriding discretion of the presiding judicial officer.

Section 6 Trials

Trials will generally be conducted remotely, subject to the overriding discretion of the presiding judge.

Countdown to the commencement of the new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia

The new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia will officially commence operations on Wednesday, 1 September 2021 following the passing of legislation to amalgamate the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia.

The legislation and the new Court has provided an opportunity to change the conversation about family law litigation in particular. The architecture of that conversation includes asking litigants if there is a smarter, better way for them to separate without the impact, stress and expenses of protracted family law litigation.

Click here for more information.

Review of Judicial Impartiality – Survey of practitioners

At the request of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), the Law Council of Australia encourages members to complete this survey, developed by the ALRC as part of its Review of Judicial Impartiality.

The survey will be open until 11:59pm on Friday, 6 August 2021 and is available here.

Bar Library – New textbooks and Digital Bar Library

Guided by feedback and specific requests for particular areas to be better represented, the Bar Library has recently purchased many useful new books in various areas. Here is a taste of some of the titles that can be found on the shelves in the Richard Griffith Library:

The law affecting valuation of land in Australia

Rectification of documents

Judicial review of non-statutory executive action

Ong on estoppel

Principles of equity and trusts

Ethics and legal professionalism in Australia

Aviation law and drones: unmanned aircraft and the future of aviation

Sir Owen Dixon’s legacy

The Washington diaries of Owen Dixon, 1942-44

When doctors and patients disagree: ethics, paediatrics and the zone of parental discretion

General theory of law and state

Annotated Bankruptcy Act 1966

Law of agency

Statutory interpretation: principles and context

Uniform evidence in Australia

Corporations and associations law: principles and issues

Social media and the law

Law in commerce

Annotated administrative appeals legislation

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

Cybercrime: legislation, cases and commentary

Glissan’s advocacy in practice

Effective legal writing: a practical guide

Children and the law in Australia

Cross on evidence

Lawyer discipline

Annotated National Credit Code

The modern contract of guarantee

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

ABA National Brief - July 2021

In this month’s National Brief, President of the ABA, Matthew Howard SC, responds to the continued disruption of the pandemic on the administration of justice and updates members of the National Bar on the activities of the ABA, including preparations for the ABA 2021 National Conference. The National Brief is here.

Updated online sentencing statistics for over 250 offences in the higher courts

The Sentencing Advisory Council has released new sentencing data for the higher courts (the County and Supreme Courts) on SACStat, the Council’s online statistical database. The new data covers sentencing outcomes in the five years to 30 June 2020 for over 250 offences dealt with in the higher courts.

An offence requires a minimum of 10 sentenced charges over the five-year reference period to be included in SACStat’s higher courts data. SACStat also presents data for over 500 offences sentenced in the Magistrates’ Court in the three years to 30 June 2019.

Sentencing Summary Reports for Magistrates’ and Higher Courts

SACStat includes short narrative reports summarising sentencing outcomes for all offences displayed in the Magistrates’ Court and many offences displayed in the higher courts. The summaries can be printed and are easily accessible on smartphones and tablets.

SACStat User Guide

The Sentencing Advisory Council has also published a two-page user guide with handy hints on using SACStat, and a summary of the counting rules for the data. More detailed resources can be found on the SACStat website: ‘About SACStat’, ‘How to Use SACStat', 'Technical Notes' and 'Glossary'.

SACStat can be accessed free of charge from the Council's website.

Please feel free to contact us at if you have any queries.

Appointment of Manager to the incorporated legal practice Settle Safe Pty Ltd trading as ‘Goodman Group Lawyers’

On Friday, 23 July 2021, the Victorian Legal Services Board (‘the Board’) resolved to appoint Mr Paul McCarthy as Manager of the incorporated legal practice Settle Safe Pty Ltd trading as ‘Goodman Group Lawyers’ (the ‘Practice’)—pursuant to section 334 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria) (‘the Uniform Law’).

The appointment is for a period of approximately nine months, expiring on 1 April 2022, unless the appointment is extended or otherwise terminated in accordance with section 340 of the Uniform Law.

Members of the Victorian Bar who have recently been briefed and/or undertaken work for the Practice may be impacted by this appointment. Please ensure that this information is made available to all Bar members and ask that they contact Mr McCarthy 03 9609 1643 or by email on if they have any concerns about payment of their fees.

Profession CPD & Events
International Bar Association - upcoming webinars

A complete list of upcoming IBA events can be found on its events diary page.

For details on how to become a sponsor, please email

Certificates of attendance for the above sessions will be provided to all IBA members who have registered in advance and attended the live broadcast for a minimum of 30 minutes; please make enquiries at

Diversity Council Australia – upcoming events

The Victorian Bar is a member of the Diversity Council Australia (DCA).

DCA is the independent not-for-profit peak body leading diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It provides unique research, inspiring events and programs, curated resources and expert advice across all diversity dimensions to a community of member organisations.

As members of the Bar, you have exclusive access to DCA’s resources and events. Upcoming events are listed here.

To access DCA’s resources or webinars, you’ll need to register with the Diversity Council Australia here, and we will forward you the login instructions. You will need to use your VicBar email address.

If you are already a member of DCA, you can log in to register for webinars here.

CLARS Law & Business Seminar Series: How much do investors care about social responsibility?

In this CLARS Law & Business seminar, Associate Professor Hirst will discuss empirical evidence on investors' willingness to sacrifice investment returns for social purposes and how investor preferences relate to the important current debates about social responsibility, corporate purpose, and stakeholders.

In this online seminar on Tuesday, 17 August 2021, Scott Hirst, Associate Professor of Law of Boston University, will also be joined by Dean Paatsch of Ownership Matters who will provide commentary.

Register here.

Judicial Review of IAA Decisions

Tuesday 17 August 2021, 4–5:00pm.

Presenters: Mathew Keneally, Victorian Bar, and Greg Hanson, Victorian Legal Aid

This session will provide an update on case law relating to judicial review of decisions made under Part 7AA of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).

It will assist barristers and practitioners in identifying legal errors in decisions of the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA).

Click here to register.

Lucinda Lecture 2021: The Honourable Justice James Edelman - Aliens, Defence, Juries, and Marriage

Monash Law is honoured to present the 2021 Lucinda Lecture, to be delivered by The Honourable Justice James Edelman, High Court of Australia, on Thursday, 19 August 2021, from 6:00pm–7:10pm. The session will take place online via webinar. Register here.

About the lecture - Aliens, defence, juries, and marriage

There is an important divide in constitutional interpretation that has been described as a difference between interpretation and construction, or between concept and conception, or between meaning and application, or between essential meaning and non-essential meaning. However it is described, this difference has been recognised in many decisions of the High Court of Australia. This lecture will explore the difference by reference to High Court decisions in relation to four constitutional concepts: aliens, defence, juries, and marriage.

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.

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, 5th August 2021