In Brief Issue #1027

Christopher Blanden QC

Child minding update

As another week in lockdown looms, there is at least a minor improvement in the child-minding situation for single parents. Otherwise, there is not much joy to report in our efforts to provide some relief for members facing the uncomfortable reality of juggling family and professional responsibilities. We will continue to make representations on your behalf.

Leadership at the Bar CPD

Yesterday, a notice about the Bar’s CPD Seminar entitled Leadership at the Bar was circulated. The seminar will take place on Thursday, 14 October 2021 and is open to silks and senior junior counsel with ten or more years of seniority. Completion of Part 1 of the CPD will be a pre-requisite for those intending to apply for silk in 2022. As the session will not be recorded, could I encourage anyone considering such a move to register their attendance. May I also take this opportunity to thank the Victorian Bar’s Equality and Diversity Committee and, in particular, Jenny Firkin QC for their hard work in developing and organising this important event.

Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards

The next Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards Ceremony is scheduled for March 2023. In a change from previous practice, nominations for the next Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards will now open approximately 18 months in advance. Usually, the call for nominations occurs for a limited period before the ceremony. However, nominations for the 2023 awards are now open from September 2021 to November 2022.  This change to the period in which nominations are open will enable a greater number of nominations and permit court and tribunal personnel and fellow barristers to immediately recognise outstanding pro bono activities by submitting a nomination as and when the work occurs. Nominations are open now. For more information about the awards or to submit a nomination, please click here.

Christopher Blanden QC

Vicbar News & Events
Call for nominations for the 2023 Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards

Nominations for the next Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards are now open.

The next Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards Ceremony is scheduled for March 2023. In a change from previous practice, nominations for the next Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards will now open approximately 18 months in advance. 

Usually, the call for nominations occurs for a limited period before the ceremony. However, nominations for the 2023 awards are now open from September 2021 to November 2022. 

This change to the period in which nominations are open will enable a greater number of nominations and will permit members and court personnel, who know the great pro bono work done in our courts and tribunals, to immediately recognise outstanding pro bono activities by submitting a nomination as and when the work occurs.

If you are aware of barristers who are making an outstanding contribution representing parties on a pro bono basis, please consider making nominations throughout the nomination period.

For more information or to submit a nomination, click here.

Information about the Awards includes a short video featuring the Honourable Chris Maxwell AC, President of the Victorian Court of Appeal, explaining how pro bono assistance provided by barristers makes a difference to vulnerable people in our community. The Pro Bono Committee is grateful to Michael Rivette, barrister and past Deputy Chair of the Pro Bono Committee and past Chair of the Communications Committee, for all his hard work in creating this excellent video.

Members are reminded that information about how you can get involved in the Victorian Bar’s Pro Schemes is available on the Pro Bono page of the members’ website here.

Victorian Bar arbitration survey

The Victorian Bar is conducting a survey to ascertain the extent to which its members are actively involved in the field of arbitration. This includes Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), World Bank’s Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), International Commercial, Domestic, Family Law and sports law arbitration. 

If you are involved in arbitration of any sort or seek to develop a practice in arbitration, please complete the survey here.

The survey should not take more than a few minutes to complete. Please complete the survey by Wednesday, 15 September 2021.

This survey is intended to allow the Victorian Bar to collect relevant data to formulate policies and initiatives to assist members to further develop their arbitration practices.

Rainbow Breakfast – 8:00-9:00am on Monday, 13 September 2021

The LGBTIQ+ social group of the Victorian Bar are piloting a new social event designed for those who are morning people as opposed to afternoon drink fans.

Start the week right by joining our Rainbow Breakfast from 8:00-9:00am on Monday, 13 September 2021. A safe and friendly space to catch up and share everything from lockdown woes and Zoom mishaps to your insta-worthy breakfast.

General acclaim will be awarded to the person drinking from the most lockdown-appropriate mug. All welcome (including children and pets).

Hosted by Rebecca McEwan, a welcomed transfer from the NSW Bar. Please make her feel warm and welcome to Melbourne and email Rebecca with any queries (

Click here to register.

Converge – specialist phone lines for members

Converge International understands that people face many challenges in their lives and that these sometimes require specialised support. We believe the counsellors providing this support should be specialists with specific social or cultural experience, knowledge and understanding. Converge offers access to members to one session of specialist support (available during business hours only), in addition to Converge’s existing Employee Assistance Program services.

For more information about the specialist phone lines, please read the brochure.

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 Friday 24 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.

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 from 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 depends on the support of those Bar members 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.

  • Character matters in the AAT – insights with practice leader senior member Theodore Tavoularis is on Wednesday, 15 September, 5:30-6:30pm. This information session provides an invaluable opportunity for attendees to gain insight into this important and fascinating jurisdiction from the Practice Leader of the jurisdiction. The session is open to all persons but will be of particular interest to participants in the AAT Assistance Scheme training session series. This is an online-only event. Click here to register.
  • Magistrates’ Court Practitioner Townhall is on Monday, 20 September, 4:15-5:15pm. Similar to last year’s Townhall, this session is to provide practitioners an update and an opportunity to ask questions regarding the ongoing work being undertaken in the Magistrates’ Court as Victoria continues to navigate through covid-recovery and a new normal. This is an online-only event. Click here to join the meeting or visit the Upcoming CPDs page for meeting details.
  • NBC Foundations Series - Intervention Orders is on Wednesday, 22 September, 5:15-6:15pm. This session will deal with the practical and legal workings of the intervention order jurisdiction of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. This session is open only to barristers and is an online-only event. Click here to register.
  • Leadership at the Bar is on Thursday, 14 October, 4:30-6:30pm. For the first time, the Victorian Bar presents a 2-part seminar dedicated to the leadership role played by senior members of the Bar. It is open to silks and senior junior counsel with 10 or more years of seniority only. Subject to Government health guidelines, the session will be delivered in person in the Neil McPhee Room, Level 1, Owen Dixon Chambers East. If Covid-19 restrictions are prohibitive, it will be delivered online. Confirmation and details will be advised by email closer to the date. This session is open only to barristers. Click here to register.

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

Vicbar Life
Member noticeboard

Bar members are encouraged to check the Member Noticeboard page for items available from other members.

If you have any items available to sell or give away to other members, please contact Daniel Cousens at, with a description of the items as well as photos if available.

Member Benefits portal for Bar members

Victorian Bar members are encouraged to use the 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 Supreme Court of Victoria has published a cross-jurisdictional announcement from the Chief Justice, on behalf of the Victorian courts and VCAT, in response to yesterday’s announcement that COVID-19 restrictions will ease in the regions from tomorrow, except for Greater Shepparton. You can read the message here.

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal – potential exposure

All hearings listed at the VCAT on Friday, 10 September and Monday, 13 September have been postponed after a potential COVID-19 exposure.

A spokesperson said the tribunal was working closely with the Department of Health “in relation to a potential exposure of a COVID-19 case at a VCAT premises earlier this week”.

“All VCAT matters listed for Friday 10 September and Monday 13 September have been postponed. Parties that are impacted by these adjournments will be updated on their new hearing dates as soon as possible.”

For up-to-date information about the Courts’ responses, please visit their websites:

  • Federal Court of Australia – see here.
  • Federal Circuit and Family 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

The Court has reviewed the operational court settings, and the following will apply until further notice.

Melbourne criminal jury trials

Jury trials in Melbourne remain suspended during the lockdown period.

This means all Melbourne criminal jury trials listed during the weeks commencing Monday 30 August, and 6, 13 and 20 September 2021 will be vacated.

Trials that were listed during this period will be listed for a call over before a Listing Judge. The Court will be in contact with the parties soon in relation to a call over date.  

The purpose of the call over will be to discuss with the parties options for relisting the trial and to ascertain whether there is any pre-trial and pre-recording of evidence that can be done during the lockdown period. The Court intends to utilise this time to ensure that matters will either be ready for empanelment on day one of the re-listed trial dates by refining any outstanding issues in dispute or, in appropriate circumstances, resolving the case.

Melbourne - criminal judge alone trials

One trial by judge alone, which is midstream, will continue. Given its equivalence with jury trials, the interests of justice demand that it proceeds to a conclusion as efficiently as possible. 

Circuit including jury trials

The current lockdown extension is State-wide.  However, the Premier has said:

While these restrictions are implemented state-wide for now, we will review the epidemiological conditions and subject to public health advice, we will consider easing parts of regional Victoria next week.

In light of this, circuit work from Monday, 6 September 2021, will remain as it is for the moment. The Court’s capacity to run jury trials on circuit will depend on the detail of the prevailing restrictions put in place, even if there is some easing of restrictions within the regions.

Melbourne and circuit – onsite attendance by practitioners and other court users

The operational court settings that have been in place since Wednesday, 18 August 2021, will remain.

This means only matters of urgency or priority can be conducted by the Court onsite and only where there is no reasonable alternative. The restrictions explicitly limit the attendance of court users (practitioners, parties and others) to the extent necessary to support the functioning of the court.

Onsite attendance at a Melbourne or circuit court by any practitioner or court user will be very much by exception and will require approval of the Chief Judge, coordinated through the chambers of the presiding judge.

Parties with matters listed during the lockdown period should contact the presiding judge's chambers in the event of any uncertainty and before travelling to circuit if the case is a circuit matter.  

Melbourne and circuit - mask wearing

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 must wear a mask. Mask setting 2 extends to all circuit matters.

Melbourne and circuit - letters of authority

The profession should obtain any letter of authority or work permit 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.

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. Direct your queries and discussions to the LPLC Chief Risk Manager or any LPLC Claims Solicitors on (03) 9672 3800 or email

International Criminal Court - Counsel Support Section - Elections 2021

Please refer to the letters below for information on the election process for the Disciplinary Board and Disciplinary Appeals Board members for counsel and the representative of counsel in the Advisory Committee on Legal Texts (ACLT).

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Counsel Support Section at the e-mail address

Appointment of the representative of counsel in the Advisory Committee on Legal Texts

Elections of Members of the ICC Disciplinary Organs

Do you have experience with concurrent expert evidence?

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. The survey closes on Friday, 17 September.

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

Appointment as Manager of the incorporated legal practice Dean’s of Law Pty Ltd

On Friday, 3 September 2021, the Victorian Legal Services Board (‘the Board’) resolved to appoint Mr Howard Rapke as Manager of the incorporated legal practice Dean’s of Law Pty Ltd (‘the Law Practice’), pursuant to section 334 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (‘Uniform Law’).

The appointment is for a period of nine months and expires on Monday, 6 June 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 theLaw Practice may be impacted by this appointment. Please contact Mr Rapke on (03) 9321 9752 or by email at if you have any concerns about payment of your fees.

Profession CPD & Events
International Bar Association - upcoming webinars

In September, the International Bar Association presents three upcoming webinars presented by the IBA Asia Pacific Regional Forum (APF). Registration is free for IBA members, and we hope that one or more sessions below match your interests:

  1. China and Europe: current challenges and future changes of investments (Wednesday, 15 September, 9:00am BST) – Organised by the China Working Group of the IBA APF, our panellists will relay their first-hand experiences and opinions on the economic relationship between China and Europe, along with its development, changes, challenges, and trends.
  2. Navigating international transactions in the new tax world: investments, tax havens, digital tax and the G20 tax deal (Friday, 17 September, 12:30pm BST) – Presented by the India Working Group of the IBA APF and supported by the IBA Taxes Committee, our panellists will speak on the current tax situation in India, the changes in investment structures, aspects of the BEPS programme and the future of tax on digital multinationals.

Please click on the above session titles for further details. To register for free, please click Book online from the webinar webpage and log in to MyIBA using your registered email address. If you have forgotten your login details, please click forgot password and enter your registered email address. You should then receive an email to reset your password.

We look forward to you joining the events. If you have any questions, please contact

AALA National Cultural Diversity Summit - 18 September 2021

The AALA National Cultural Diversity Summit was launched over the weekend – please click here for the brochure with more information.

Registration is free for members and non-members alike and capped at 500 attendees with limited spots remaining. A link to the registration page is here.

ICC Make Climate Action Everyone's Business Conference

The Make Climate Action Everyone’s Business Forum hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce from 1 –13 November 2021 will catalyse peer-to-peer discussions and frank exchanges between business leaders from small, medium-sized and multinational enterprises representing different sectors and jurisdictions; policymakers leading the UN negotiation process as well as local government representatives and UN agency heads.

This fully virtual Forum aims to bring together 10,000+ participants from over 100 countries and will be organised around five key themes, focusing on critical issues to consider when developing the necessary regulatory frameworks and incentives needed to enable rapid decarbonisation of the global economy.

Please register your interest here if you'd like to stay up to date on opportunities to attend this event. 

LAWASIA 2021 Virtual Annual Conference 15 - 18 November 2021

We are thrilled to announce that the registrations for the LAWASIA 2021 Virtual Annual Conference are officially open!

Are you ready to live a fully immersive event experience where you will be able to move freely across multiple sessions, have meaningful connections by interacting across various networking lounges and meeting spaces, all from your home jurisdiction?

Don't wait and book your spot today for this unique virtual event! Visit the conference website and check out the registration fees to find out which category you fall into!

If you wish to avail of our exclusive discounted member rates, we’ve got you covered! Sign up or renew your LAWASIA Membership here.

We look forward to welcoming you to the LAWASIA 2021 Virtual Annual Conference and hope that this year’s conference will challenge and inspire you through insightful discussion, meaningful connection, and engagement!

To learn more about the conference and register, please click here.

Careers & Opportunities
Legal and Policy Officer – Supreme Court of Victoria

The Common Law Division of the Supreme Court of Victoria seeks a legally qualified individual to join a team of lawyers and registry officers providing end-to-end case management support to the Division's specialist lists and the judicial officers charged with their management.

The successful applicant will have the opportunity to gain invaluable experience in the Court's civil jurisdiction and a unique insight into the operation of the Court.

As Legal and Policy Officer, you will work closely with the Principal Judge, judicial registrars and deputy registrars of the Common Law Division. You will undertake and coordinate research, policy advice and reports on areas of priority to the Court to ensure its smooth running and to identify and address emerging issues and trends in litigation.

For further information on this position and to submit your application, please visit click here by Sunday, 12 September 2021.

Expressions of interest - NT Director of Public Prosecutions

An opportunity exists for a highly experienced legal practitioner to be appointed as the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Northern Territory.

The right candidate will be an exceptional senior legal practitioner with an admission period of at least 10 years, and:

  • Possess an ability to operate with professional integrity and independently make sound decisions at the highest level.
  • Be capable of communicating effectively with the public, judicial officers, police, government agencies, and the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.
  • Have substantial practical experience in criminal law and highly developed
    legal and advocacy skills.
  • Proven budget and people management capabilities.

Expressions of interest with supporting details and referees should be addressed to:

Gemma Lake
Acting CEO, Department of the Attorney-General and Justice
GPO Box 1722
Darwin NT 0801

Or email to

The closing date is Thursday, 30 September 2021. Enquiries should be directed to Ms Lake on telephone (08) 8935 7400.

Further information about the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions can be found at

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.

Current vacancy - Training Officer - full time, flexible, permanent position based in Brisbane

An exciting opportunity is currently available to join the Dispute Resolution Branch’s Training Team in the role of “Training Officer” as part of the Department of Justice and Attorney General, Queensland Government. The current vacancy is for a full time flexible (permanent position) based in Brisbane, Queensland. 

For more information, including an in-depth description of the role description, merit criteria and how to apply, please click here.

Applications will close on Monday, 13 September 2021. 

The Dispute Resolution Branch is a Recognised Mediator Accreditation Body (RMAB) pursuant to the NMAS and delivers a wide range of training and professional development courses relating to mediation, conflict management, effective communication and conflict coaching.

Should you wish to make any further enquiries, please feel free to contact the Dispute Resolution Training Team c/o:  07 3738 7017 or via email:

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, 16th September 2021