In Brief Issue #1025

Christopher Blanden QC

A paralegal/law student working with one of our members has started an initiative to help raise awareness and money for Afghanistan's humanitarian crisis. Titled "Camp 4 Afghanistan", the idea is to camp out at home and help raise money. Information can be found here. Please consider supporting this worthwhile project.

The Law Council of Australia has invited a nomination from the Bar of one individual for its 2021 President's Award, conferred in recognition of an Australian lawyer's outstanding contribution to the public or other service. The eligibility criteria can be found here.

Many Victorian barristers have won this award in the past. We ask that you turn your mind to which of our members might qualify and be appropriately nominated this year and advise the Bar office accordingly by Thursday, 9 September 2021. More information is in the notice below. I am delighted to announce that recently retired the Honourable John Digby QC has accepted the Bar Council's invitation to take up the role of Chair of Barristers' Chambers Limited. John's seniority and experience are precisely what is required at this important and difficult time. I anticipate the appointment will be formalised in the next few days.

Finally, the government overnight quietly changed the stay-at-home directions to significantly restrict in-home childminding. We anticipate this will adversely affect our members. We will provide an update this afternoon, but rest assured we will contact the Attorney-General's office and others in government to minimise any adverse effects.

Christopher Blanden QC 

Vicbar News & Events
Wear It Purple Day event at 5:30pm today!

The LGBTIQ Working Group of the Equality & Diversity Committee is celebrating Wear It Purple Day at 5:30pm on Friday, 27 August 2021.

We are hosting an event and a CLE Seminar.

Wear It Purple Day is a much-loved annual event celebrated across Australia in workplaces large and small (including many law firms, government departments, and NGOs) to show rainbow young people and kids that we love and support them.

To celebrate, the LGBTIQ Working Group is proud to present a CLE seminar Legal challenges faced by the trans and gender diverse communities, which will give an insight into the key legal issues commonly facing the Trans and Gender Diverse communities and why it is important lawyers have a practical understanding of these unique issues.

Everyone is welcome!


Register now for the Bar’s online event and wear a touch of purple (or a lot, hey, it’s your party), get some purple cupcakes delivered/fix a purple-tini and/or update your zoom video border to get in on the celebrations here.

We will attempt to take a screenshot of everyone’s fab purpleness on the night (tech permitting). Please feel free to opt out and leave your camera off if you prefer.

Register here.

We are also very excited to have our own Liz Bennett and Gemma Cafarella on the panel – this is not to be missed!

Save the Date – Junior Bar Conference 2021

An afternoon of specialised workshops, seminars and socialising, open to barristers of less than five years’ call.

This year the Junior Bar Conference will focus on the important question of how to develop a practice at the Bar - a question of critical importance with the impact of COVID-19 on the legal industry.

The program will include a plenary session for all attendees on how to develop and maintain a practice and how to ensure your practice is financially viable. Specialised sessions on building different practice areas will then follow.  

The day ends with a post-conference networking function for presenters and guests, junior silks and members of the junior bar. 

  • Date: Friday, 5 November 2021
  • Time: 1:30-5:30pm. Drinks from 5:30pm.
  • Venue: Level 1, Owen Dixon Chambers East, 205 William Street, Melbourne.

Registrations open soon.

Proudly supported by legalsuper


Wellbeing resources for Bar members and their families

Now that we find ourselves in an extended lockdown again, members may continue to experience increased professional, financial, and personal pressures. For others, lockdown fatigue may be taking a toll on their mental health. Everyone's experience of this pandemic is unique yet valid.

During this time, members are reminded to take advantage of the resources and services that the Bar offers to members and their families.


Please visit the Bar's health and wellbeing portal for helpful information, resources, and coping strategies for issues relevant to members.


The Bar provides five free, entirely confidential counselling sessions to all barristers and their immediate families.  The services are available 24 hours a day, seven 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. Call 1300 687 327.  

R U OK? Day on 9 September – a conversation could change a life

It is critical now more than ever to check in with your colleagues, families and friends. The simple question "Are you OK?" is a great way to encourage people to express themselves and talk about their struggles.

A helpful video can be found here for those wanting to know what to say after "R U OK?"

Sally Flynn QC
Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Committee

Law Council of Australia – President’s Award 2021

The Law Council of Australia (LCA) has invited the Victorian Bar to nominate a person for the 2021 Law Council’s President’s Award.

Members are invited to put forward their suggestions on whom the Bar Council should nominate for the Award. The eligibility criteria for the Award is available to read here.

Please email with your suggestions and include a CV and a statement about the nominee’s achievements and how he or she fits the eligibility criteria by COB Thursday, 9 September 2021. This will enable the Bar Council sufficient time to meet and consider all suggestions and submit a nomination to the LCA in early October.


Each year, five of the Law Council’s most recent Past Presidents participate in a judging panel for the President’s Award. This is a prestigious annual award conferred in recognition of an Australian lawyer’s outstanding contribution to the public or other service. The Award is presented at the Law Council’s Gala Dinner. The judging panel will convene to consider the nominations following the close of nominations. The Law Council Gala Dinner is scheduled for Thursday, 25 November 2021, held at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.

Previous recipients of the President’s Award are (2007) Mr Lex Lasry QC, (2008) The Hon Ted Mullighan QC, (2009) Mr Bret Walker SC, (2010) Mr Colin McDonald QC, (2011) Ms Debbie Mortimer SC, (2012) Mr Mark Woods, (2013) Ms Elizabeth Heenan, (2014) Mr Geoffrey Eames AM QC and Ms Raelene Webb QC, (2015) Mr Ian Kennedy AM, (2016) Mr Julian McMahon, (2017) Mr David Neal SC, (2018) Mr Phillip Boulten SC, (2019) Ms Haley Allan and Mr Bill Mitchell and, (2020) Mr Stephen Keim SC.

Victorian Bar and Monash University Open Justice Project

Members working on pro bono matters can once again seek assistance from selected Monash University law students through the Open Justice Project. Students can assist with legal and paralegal tasks, such as legal research, simple drafting, and preparing chronologies or summaries of evidence. The Project is now in its second intake; during the first intake, barristers reported that they received very high-quality assistance on a wide range of matters. Barristers seeking the assistance of a student for a pro bono matter should complete the request form on the Open Justice Project webpage.

The Open Justice Project is a collaboration between the Victorian Bar and the Monash Faculty of Law. It establishes a panel of later year undergraduate and postgraduate students at the Faculty who provide pro bono legal assistance (such as research and paralegal assistance) to barristers in pro bono matters. The Patron of the Project is the Honourable Chris Maxwell AC, President of the Court of Appeal. For further information about the Project, members can see the Open Justice Project webpage here.

BCL - commercial tenancy relief and staying COVIDSafe

Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme Regulations 2021

The new Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme Regulations 2021 were passed on Tuesday, 24 August 2021 and are effective for the period Wednesday, 28 July 2021 to Saturday, 15 January 2022.

Click here to view the COVID-19 BCL Rent Relief Scheme with details on eligibility, criteria and application form.

BCL’s ability to continue to provide this relief and support to those most in need is dependent upon the support of those members of the Bar who can continue to pay rent.

If you have any questions please contact BCL by email at


Please refer to Staying COVIDSafe at BCL for all information, communications, helpful links to COVID safe plans and 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.

  • Evidence in Administrative Appeals Tribunal matters is on Monday, 30 August, 5:30-7:00pm. This is the second of the three training sessions under the AAT Limited Assistance Scheme established by the Visa Cancellations Working Group and will be presented by leading migration law practitioners with expertise in AAT visa cancellation matters. This is an online-only event. Click here to register.
  • What judges want is on Wednesday, 1 September, 5:00-6:00pm. Join Federal Court of Australia Taxation NPA Judges together with leading tax senior and senior junior counsel for a discussion of what to do (and not to do) when preparing and appearing in tax cases. This session will not be recorded and is an online-only event. Click here to register.
  • Ethics for practice in child protection is on Thursday, 2 September, 5:00-6:30pm. This session will review the most common ethical issues arising in child protection practice with a panel of experienced Counsel. This session will not be recorded and is an online-only event. Click here to register.

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

Vicbar Life
Member Benefits portal for Bar members

Victorian Bar members are encouraged to use our Member Benefits online portal, where you can access a wide variety of discounts, special offers, and member-only deals as part of your Bar membership.

The exclusive benefits are available Australia-wide and are not generally open to the public.

To activate your account and access the benefits, please click here. You must log in using your login details.

The Essoign Club

Dear Essoign Members,

The Essoign Club will remain open from 7:00am and operate as a takeaway and delivery as per the current restrictions.

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

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

As always, we would like to thank you for your support.

See you soon!

Practice & Profession News
Commonwealth and Victorian Courts' COVID updates

The Victorian Government has announced an extension plus additional restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne until 11:59pm, Thursday, 2 September 2021. 

The Supreme Court of Victoria has published a joint jurisdictional statement from the Chief Justice on behalf of the Victorian courts and VCAT in response to the increased regional restrictions. You can access the statement 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

Please click here for a notice regarding Regional Victoria criminal trial listings (as at August 2021).

This document outlines the Court’s approach to trial listings for ‘legacy trials’ and ‘new initiations’ and the projected time to trial in each circuit location.

High Court (2022 Sittings) Rules 2021

The Justices of the High Court of Australia have made a Rule of Court appointing the High Court sittings for 2022. The Rule of Court is available here. The Rule of Court appoints the Full Court sittings to be held in Canberra throughout the year and the days on which special leave applications will be heard. Where required, and if practicable, sittings of the Court will continue to be held in Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Hobart and Perth. Additional sittings may also be held on other days as required, for example in matters requiring expedition. These sittings will be appointed by the Chief Justice pursuant to Rule 6.04.2 of the High Court Rules 2004.

Australian Bar Association and KordaMentha - concurrent evidence practices survey: hot tubbing – hot or not?

KordaMentha and the Australian Bar Association are seeking views of practitioners about concurrent evidence practices in Australia.

If you have first-hand experience with concurrent evidence and would like to be part of the survey, we encourage you to participate.

More information is here. Take the survey here.

Good Counsel – Practice Risk Guide for Barristers

LPLC has just published a new risk management resource for barristers. Good Counsel —  Practice Risk Guide for Barristers provides details of the types of mistakes made by barristers based on the professional indemnity claims made in Victoria since LPLC began insuring barristers in 2005, and provides recommendations on how to avoid those mistakes. The guide also provides links to risk management checklists and a list of cases relevant to conflicts, and personal costs orders. LPLC welcomes discussion with any Victorian barristers about the contents of this Practice Risk Guide. Contact can be directed to the LPLC Chief Risk Manager or to any of the LPLC Claims Solicitors on 9672 3800 or email

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.

The 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
Castan Centre for Human Rights Law: Australia’s Legal Obligation to Protect Afghan Interpreters

Join this webinar on the treatment of Afghan interpreters and Australia's legal obligation to protect those who have helped Australia. The Australian government’s treatment of Afghan interpreters and other Afghan nationals who have assisted Australia has been a topic of controversy in past months. This panel will examine Australia’s moral and legal obligation to protect workers who have helped Australian troops.

In this online seminar on Tuesday, 31 August 2021, speakers will discuss historical examples of Australia’s past troop withdrawals (e.g. from Vietnam and Iraq) and how other countries have dealt with the issue (particularly the United States and the United Kingdom). It will also place the debate within the broader context of granting humanitarian visas and Australia’s approach to refugee applications from Afghanistan. In particular, what does the grant of special visas to interpreters and other workers mean for how we treat other refugees fleeing Afghanistan?

Speakers include:

  • Emeritus Professor William Maley, Australian National University
  • Sitarah Mohammadi, Deputy Chair of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network.

Register here.

Upcoming Melbourne Law School events

Melbourne Law School invites you to attend the following upcoming free public events:

  • Reimagining the relationship and reshaping our institutions presented by Tim Goodwin, Barrister, Victorian Bar, on Wednesday, 8 September 2021, 6–7:00pm, in-person at the G08 theatre, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham St, Carlton, or online via Zoom. Visit the event's webpage for more information. Register here to attend in person. Register here to receive the Zoom link to watch online.
  • Gridlock: reforming Australia’s institutions to unblock policy reform presented by Professor John Daley, Professorial Fellow at Melbourne Law School, Wednesday, 15 September 2021, 6–7:00pm, in-person at G08 theatre, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham St, Carlton. Visit the event's webpage for more information. Register here to attend in person.
2021 NELA National Conference (online) 3, 10, 17 and 24 September

Are our environmental laws fit for purpose?

The National Environmental Law Association is holding its annual conference online this year over four afternoons in September.

Session 1 - National environmental law accountability and the need for a national Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)

Friday 3 September 2021 from 4:00-5:30pm AEST (via zoom)


  • The Hon Justice Nicola Pain (NSWLEC) will speak to ‘Conceptualising a Commonwealth EPA.’  
  • A/Prof Robert Niven (UNSW, Canberra) will speak to ‘Environmental Contaminants in Australia” the Need for a Commonwealth EPA.’
  • Mr Peter Cochrane, IUCN Regional Councillor (Oceania), will provide an IUCN Update to coincide with the IUCN’s global Congress opening in Marseille, France.


  • Individual sessions - $50 non-members, $30 members. 
  • All four sessions - $190 non-members, $110 members.

We encourage you to join or renew your membership - $80 per annum for individuals.

More information, including registration, is available here

Become a NELA member here

Mental wellness of lawyers webinar

Join the Law Council of Australia and the Law Society of Singapore for a special webinar discussion on the mental health challenges facing legal practitioners on Tuesday, 7 September 2021 at 3:00pm.

While solicitors and barristers carry out vitally important work daily, the pressures and stresses associated with that work can negatively affect a person’s mental health and wellbeing.

Opened by Presidents Dr Jacoba Brasch QC and Gregory Vijayendran SC, the webinar will consider the structural issues contributing to mental health challenges in the legal profession and options to ameliorate these.

This is a free event for Australian lawyers; however, registration is essential.

Register here.

Careers & Opportunities
Expressions of interest: Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory

The Attorney-General of the Australian Capital Territory, Mr Shane Rattenbury MLA, invites expressions of interest from eligible and suitably qualified people for appointment as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory.

The Chief Justice is responsible for ensuring the orderly and expeditious discharge of the business of the Supreme Court.

Expressions of interest are sought from all areas of the legal community, including the private, government and community sectors. Women, people with disabilities, people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, people from culturally diverse backgrounds and those who identify as LGBTIQ are encouraged to apply.

Click here for more information and to apply. Expressions of interest close Sunday, 29 August 2021. 

Costs Registrar – Supreme Court of Victoria
  • Full time, ongoing role
  • $124,033 + 10% superannuation (VPS 6 position), and
  • The role is based in the Melbourne CBD, with remote hybrid working options available.

The Supreme Court of Victoria is seeking a Costs Registrar to preside in the Costs Court which hears and determines costs disputes arising from litigation in the Supreme Court, County Court, Magistrates Court and VCAT, and cost disputes between solicitors and clients pursuant to the legal profession legislation.

To be successful in this role, you should be able to demonstrate a sound knowledge and application of the law, rules and procedure pertaining to legal costs disputes, an ability to exercise sound judgment under pressure, personal authority and integrity, a high level of verbal and written communication skills as well as interpersonal skills required to work in a multi-disciplined environment.

Duties include:

  1. Preside in taxation hearings in party/party legal costs disputes (Supreme Court, County Court, Magistrates Court and VCAT) and those pursuant to the legal profession legislation;
  2. Conduct mediations in all legal costs disputes before the Costs Court;
  3. Undertake assessments of disputed legal costs pursuant to the Supreme Court Rules; and
  4. Contribute to the operation of the Costs Court by maintaining the integrity of taxation records, identifying and managing issues impacting the Costs Court and providing written and verbal expert advice as required.

Applicants are not required to separately address the key selection criteria.

For any enquiries regarding this position, please contact Judicial Registrar Conidi at

For further information on this position and to submit your application, please visit by Tuesday, 7 September 2021.

Expressions of Interest: Magistrates' Courts of Victoria

The Attorney-General, Jaclyn Symes, seek expressions of interest from suitably qualified persons for appointment as magistrates of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria.

Magistrates are appointed by the Governor in Council, on the advice of the Attorney General. Further information is accessible by clicking the hyperlink:

Magistrate |

Magistrate |

Potential applicants are encouraged to consider the Framework of Judicial Abilities and Qualities for Victorian Judicial Officers, available here.

Expressions of interest close at midnight on Wednesday, 1 September 2021.

Executive Contract Officer – Senior Crown Prosecutor (Darwin)

The Northern Territory DPP has a vacancy for an Executive Contract Officer – Senior Crown Prosecutor based in Darwin.

Click here for more information and to apply.

Applications close Tuesday, 7 September 2021.

Commonwealth Lawyers Association nomination period now open for candidates for 2021-2024

The Bar received an invitation from the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) to provide a nomination for appointment to the CLA Council. The current composition of the Council is available here. For further information about the nomination, please click here.

One of the prerequisites to be able to nominate is CLA membership. The Bar is currently not a CLA member organisation, and members who have individual CLA membership are encouraged to submit a nomination. You can access the form by clicking here.

The CLA is a membership organisation for professional lawyers, academics and students practising within the Commonwealth. It also welcomes international lawyers and academics with an interest in its works. The Council is the governing body of the CLA, with a membership of the Council a highly prestigious appointment, bringing credit and Commonwealth-wide recognition to the individual concerned and to his/her parent institution and country.

Please note that nomination does not guarantee election, as the full CLA membership will participate in an e-vote in December 2021 to select the final composition of the Council.

2022 John Koowarta Scholarship

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, seniority, 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 Tuesday, 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 for further information about the actual submission of an entry and 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, 2nd September 2021