In Brief Issue #1029

Christopher Blanden QC

I am delighted to announce that the Victorian Bar in conjunction with the Mental Health Foundation of Australia will host a (virtual) symposium on mental health for legal practitioners as part of Mental Health Month.

The symposium will be conducted entirely remotely and will be broadcast via zoom (without charge) to a national audience. To be held on the morning of Wednesday, 6 October, it will feature a highly qualified and interesting line-up of presenters.

Peer Support Barristers - Call For Nominations  

Members will have received an invitation to the launch of the Bar’s Revised Code of Conduct which comprises revised policies against sexual harassment, workplace bullying and discrimination. The revised policies are part of the Bar’s commitment to a respectful and professional work environment where sexual harassment, workplace bullying and discrimination are not tolerated. The revised policies have been informed by the issues highlighted by recent events and reviews relating to sexual harassment in the legal profession. I encourage all members to attend the virtual launch on Tuesday, 28 September.  We will be joined by Heads of Jurisdiction and the Legal Services Commissioner.

The revised policies against sexual harassment, workplace bullying and discrimination establish the positions of Peer Support Barristers. Peer Support Barristers will be available to assist, support, guide and advise those who are affected by any such behaviour. The Bar calls for nominations from members to fill three Peer Support Barristers positions.  There will be training provided for the role and this will take place in mid-November 2021. The training involves two sessions of three hours and will be conducted by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. There will be no cost to participants. 

Please address any queries and nominations to Miranda Tulloch ( at the Bar office​.

Christopher Blanden QC

Vicbar News & Events
Appointments – Magistrates' Court of Victoria

The Governor in Council has appointed five new Magistrates, including three members of our Bar, His Honour Magistrate Lawrence, Her Honour Magistrate Hollingworth and Her Honour Magistrate Lynch.

His Honour Magistrate Rohan Lawrence

Her Honour Magistrate Cecily Hollingworth

Her Honour Magistrate Cynthia Lynch

The appointments were effective from Tuesday, 21 September 2021. Details of the welcome ceremonies will be advised when they become known.

Reverse Mentoring Scheme – applications now open for Bar members

Today the Information and Technology Committee launches the Reverse Mentoring Scheme. The scheme involves pairing barristers under five years’ call (the mentors) with more senior barristers who wish to develop their technological and digital skills (the mentees).

The scheme will facilitate meaningful professional connections between junior and senior barristers and enable senior barristers to gain valuable insight into how juniors take advantage of the technological and digital opportunities of online and remote practice.

The scheme will run for at least three months. The pairs will meet at least three times, but the number of meetings and how often they meet is up to each pair.

In addition to specific goals set by the pairs, all mentees will have developed or improved the following skills as part of their interaction with their mentor:

  1. Managing matters and briefs by email.
  2. Accepting electronic briefs.
  3. Using digital documents in court hearings.
  4. Editing PDF documents: mark ups, highlights, tabs/bookmarks etc.
  5. Formatting Word documents: headings, tables of contents, bullets and numbering etc.
  6. Using all main video conferencing platforms relevant to the practice area.
  7. Planning for cybersecurity and digital document security.
  8. Risk management planning: including working from home, internet outages, damage to devices and losing files.
  9. Establishing which devices, tools and software may be relevant and useful to the practice area.

The Information and Technology Committee, which is administering this scheme, will make the matches and will aim to match mentors and mentees in the same practice areas if possible.

If you are interested in joining the first intake of this scheme as a mentor or mentee, please submit this application form here. The deadline for initial applications is Friday 8 October 2021.

Call for Nominations for Law Council of Australia: Business & Human Rights Committee

The Bar Council is seeking nominations for one (1) appointment to the LCA Business and Human Rights Committee (BHRC).

The Law Council’s Business and Human Rights Committee was established by the Executive in September 2014. It was formed to develop a policy focus in the emerging field of business and human rights law, consider how the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the Guiding Principles) can be implemented by Australian law firms, and raise awareness about the Guiding Principles for the legal profession.

Items on the Business and Human Rights Committee agenda include:

  • developing networks with government, industry associations and key stakeholders to understand their work on business and human rights;
  • providing feedback to government on the role of the legal profession in the implementation of the Guiding Principles;
  • organising events on the Guiding Principles and their applicability to the legal profession;
  • liaising with the Law Council’s Constituent Bodies on their engagement with business and human rights issues;
  • supporting the development of a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights for Australia;
  • utilising the Law Council’s Special Consultative Status to attend and participate in relevant UN business and human rights events; and
  • looking at how business and human rights training can be incorporated into legal education.

The Committee typically meets 3 – 4 times per year, with one face to face meeting, and the others by telephone conference. Additionally, the Committee shares information regularly by email.

The Bar’s protocol for nomination and appointment of Vic Bar members to external bodies can be viewed here. You are encouraged to provide a detailed expression of interest, which should identify any relevant areas of experience or expertise. This will assist the Bar Council to select the best candidate for the position.

Please forward your expression of interest to Miranda Tulloch at The closing date for EOIs is 4:00pm, Monday, 4 October, 2021.

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.

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 are 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.

  • Ethical Cross Examination is on Monday, 27 September, 5:15-6:15pm. This session aims to remind barristers of how to undertake effective cross-examination while abiding by the barrister’s ethical obligations. This session is open only to barristers and is an online-only event. Click here to register.
  • Navigating the World of ebriefs is on Wednesday, 29 September, 5:15-6:15pm. This informative seminar will cover many aspects of working with ebriefs including: communicating your ebrief preferences to your solicitor; downloading and organising documents; updating the brief; annotating documents; and creating Court Books. 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 two-part seminar dedicated to the leadership role of senior members of the Bar. It is open to silks and senior junior counsel with ten 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
Virtual Mat Moves: Svenson Barristers + Grounded Movement

Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: MIDWEEK MAT MOVES // Svenson Barristers x Grounded Movement. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.

A movement session combining mat Pilates and clinical exercise. An opportunity for the Barristers and friends of List S to finish your work day with some quality movement in the comfort and safety of your own home. Register here. Hosted by Charissa Fermelis, Physiotherapist and Pilates Practitioner, and founder/director of Grounded Movement

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

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 our operational settings and the following will apply until further notice.


Consistent with the easing of restrictions in certain parts of regional Victoria, the Court resumed circuits at the following locations from 20 September 2021:

  • Latrobe Valley
  • Mildura
  • Warrnambool
  • Wodonga

The Court did not resume circuit at Geelong, from 20 September 2021, as anticipated due to the lockdown which commenced from 11.59pm 19 September 2021. The Court will resume circuit at Geelong after restrictions are lifted and in accordance with the prevailing Health Directions.

Consistent with the easing of restrictions in Ballarat from 11.59pm 22 September 2021, the Court will resume circuits there from 27 September 2021.

The Court aims to resume sitting at Shepparton from 18 October 2021.

The modified jury trial procedures to meet density quotient and physical distancing requirements will continue to apply as no exemption was provided in the latest Health Directions.

The Circuits criminal jury trials where physical distancing required – guide for the profession and court users sets out the necessary modified procedures.

Melbourne criminal jury trials

As there have been no significant changes to restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne, jury trials in Melbourne remain suspended.

Melbourne – onsite attendance by practitioners and other court users

The operational court settings that have been in place since 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 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 chambers of the presiding judge in the event of any uncertainty.

Melbourne and circuit - mask wearing

Mask setting 1 applies to criminal jury trials on circuit. This means, all trial participants (including the judge and counsel) must wear a mask.

Mask setting 2 applies to non-jury matters at Melbourne and on circuit provided the overall number of court users in the courtroom are at a minimum. This means, those in a speaking role (including the judge and counsel) are not required to wear a mask, but all other participants and other court users must wear a mask. In circumstances where in-person attendance of a large number of court users may be necessary, mask wearing by all court participants (including those in a speaking role such as the judge and counsel) will be required.

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.


The Court’s approach will continue to be reviewed as matters progress.

Changes to Supreme Court of Victoria file searches and affidavits

The Supreme Court of Victoria has new rules relating to court file searches and affidavits, which will come into effect soon.

As of Friday, 1 October 2021, evidentiary documents filed in a proceeding, including affidavits, exhibits to affidavits, witness statements, expert reports, written submissions, outlines of argument and chronologies, may not be inspected by any non-party until the document has been read or relied on in open court or for an application determined without a hearing. 

Prior to a hearing or determination, parties to proceedings will be required to provide details to the Court of any evidentiary documents they intend to rely on. 

There is no change to the process for submitting a file search request. However, there will be some changes to how documents will be made available upon a search.  Further information on those changes will be published soon. 

The way affidavits and exhibits are filed with the Court will also change. From Friday 1 October 2021, they will be required to be filed as a single paginated document with a maximum of one exhibit or bundle exhibit if more than one document is referred to in the affidavit. Multiple exhibits or separate affidavits and exhibits will no longer be accepted. These requirements will not extend to affidavits filed with the Registrar of Probates, which will remain unchanged.

Practice Note SC Gen 20 Inspection of Civil Court Files by Non-Parties and Notice to the Profession (Changes to File Inspections and Affidavits) have been published on the Court’s website, providing further details of the changes and how they apply in the Common Law Division and Commercial Court.

Further information on these changes can be found in the Supreme Court news story.

Sentencing Advisory Council Report Released – Sentencing Older Offenders in Victoria

The Sentencing Advisory Council has released a report on Sentencing Older Offenders in Victoria.

The report studies 30,033 offenders sentenced when aged 60 and over in the ten years from 2010 to 2019 in Victoria, finding that:

  • between 2010 and 2019, the number of older offenders sentenced each year increased substantially, well beyond the growth of people aged 60 and above in the Victorian population.
  • the increase in older offenders in the higher courts was mainly due to an increasing number of historical sex offence cases. Almost one in five sex offence cases involving older offenders was sentenced 40 years or more after the offending.
  • the increase in older offenders sentenced in the Magistrates’ Court was mainly caused by an almost doubling of traffic/vehicle offences cases involving older offenders. The number of older offenders sentenced for assault and justice offences also more than doubled.
  • the number of older offenders sentenced to imprisonment each year more than doubled between 2010 and 2019, partly explaining Victoria’s aging prison population.

The report is available on the Council’s website here.

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
Age of innocence? Revisiting the age of criminal responsibility in Victoria

Kids in grade 5 can be charged, convicted and sentenced with crimes under Victorian law.

In Victoria, children are deemed to be criminally responsible at the age of ten. In contrast, many other countries have set the minimum age at 14 years – the age recommended by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Earlier this year, 31 countries called on Australia to raise the age of criminal responsibility. It has also been the subject of recent consideration by all Australian Attorneys-General and the Commonwealth Government. Nothing has happened.

What is the law that applies to very young offenders in Victoria? How does it work in practice? How ‘responsible’ can pre- and early teens be? And why do so many think the law needs urgent change?

Join us as we explore these questions at The Law and You Forum – Age of innocence? Revisiting the age of criminal responsibility in Victoria.

Tuesday 12 October 2021
5:30pm – 6:45pm

Online - We will email you a link before the event

Panellists will be announced soon! Stay tuned for updates

Free - Registration required

Click here to register.

Upcoming CIArb events

ACICA & CIArb International Arbitration Conference 2021

ACICA and CIArb Australia will be hosting the 2021 International Arbitration Conference during Australian Arbitration Week on 18 October 2021.

Our one day program includes a Welcome Address from the New South Wales Governor, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC and a Keynote Address from James Spigelman AC QC, and features a host of eminent speakers and expert practitioners from around the globe.

Click here to view the flyer for more information and to register.


CIArb Australia Annual Lecture 2021

CIArb Australia will be hosting the Annual Lecture 2021 during Australian Arbitration Week on Tuesday, 19 October 2021 between 5:00–6:00pm AEDT. The speaker for this year's lecture is Mr Bret Walker AO SC and the lecture topic is Privacy or Secrecy? Open Justice Values as a Challenge to Arbitral Procedure.

Click here to view the flyer for more information and to register.

UNCCA UN Day Lecture on the Singapore Convention on Mediation

UNCITRAL National Coordination Committee for Australia invite you to join us for an online lecture on the Singapore Convention on Mediation. The live, interactive webinar will occur across two consecutive afternoons from 5:00pm (AWST) on Wednesday, 20 October 2021 and from 5:00pm (AEST) on Thursday, 21 October 2021.

The lecture will include a keynote address from Khory McCormick, a past Australian delegation member for UNCITRAL Working Group II, which produced the Singapore Convention. Laura Keily, Founder and Managing Director of Immediation, an online dispute resolution platform, will join the discussion.

For more details, including registration (free of charge) and about the speakers, see the flyer here.

Australian Academy of Law 10th Annual Patron's Address - 21 October 2021

The flyer available here is for a free event held by the Australian Academy of Law, most likely streamed online.

The annual Address was inaugurated in 2012, given by the Academy of Law’s then Patron, the Hon Robert French AC, then Chief Justice of Australia.  In 2020 it was given by Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC; in 2019 by the Academy of Law’s present Patron, the Hon Susan Kiefel AC, Chief Justice of Australia; and in 2018 by the then Chief Justice of New Zealand, the Right Honourable Dame Sian Elias GNZM PC.

The Australian Academy of Law is grateful to The Hon James Allsop AO, Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, for agreeing to deliver this, our tenth, Patron’s address. The topic of this year’s address – "Thinking about Law: the importance of how we attend to the problem at hand and of context”.

Book now for the International Bar Association's Global Showcase 2021

Last year, the IBA held a one-of-a-kind virtual event, the IBA 2020 – Virtually Together Conference, which took place during November. It was a resounding success with over 13,000 registrations! We are grateful to you, members and non-members, for supporting the conference.

This year the IBA invites you to join us for yet another first-of-its-kind event, the IBA Global Showcase taking place 25-29 October 2021. The IBA Global Showcase will be a virtual event, and registration will be FREE to both members and non-members of the IBA.

The IBA Global Showcase will highlight the wide range of important work undertaken, the huge expertise, and the experience the IBA membership has to offer and provide an important platform to share that knowledge with the widest possible global audience.

Throughout the week, there shall be a series of high-profile sessions, which will discuss some of the biggest issues and challenges facing the legal profession globally.

Furthermore, there shall be extensive networking opportunities for all who attend. The IBA Global Showcase will bring together the IBA’s membership and provide the opportunity of meeting once again, as well as the opportunity of making new friends and contacts through the networking sessions.

Whilst we are hopeful for a brighter tomorrow, we urge all our members to continue to take care and to engage with the IBA and the global legal community so that we can continue to support each other and protect the rule of law, human rights and core values of our profession.

We look forward to having you join us. Let us make this yet another memorable IBA event!

Click here to register.

Australian Insurance Law Association E-Trials Webinar - Thursday, 28 October 2021

Please click here to view the flyer for the upcoming AILA webinar on Thursday, 28 October 2021 (1:00–2:00pm).

The webinar focuses on ‘judicial expectations and arrangements for remote hearings’ and includes Bar members Mary Anne Hartley QC, Michael K Clarke and Lachlan Howe.

Careers & Opportunities
Expressions of Interest – Judicial Registrar, Magistrates' Courts of Victoria

The Chief Magistrate of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria seeks expressions of interest from qualified persons for appointment as a Judicial Registrar of the Court.

Judicial Registrars are appointed by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Attorney-General. All expressions of interest are treated confidentially and may be drawn upon on an ongoing basis as future vacancies arise.

The successful candidate will be legally qualified (admitted not less than five years), with substantial commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution experience and a demonstrated understanding of the Court’s processes. The candidate must also have superior communications skills, resilience, and the ability to make timely decisions according to law.

In particular, the candidate must possess a practical working knowledge of the following statutes that fall for consideration within the Court’s Industrial Division: -

Fair Work Act 2009
Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic)
Outworkers (Improved Protection) Act 2003 (Vic)
Child Employment Act 2003 (Vic)
Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018 (Vic)
Long Service Leave Act 2018 (Vic)
Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 (Vic)
Public Holidays Act
Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Act

Judicial Registrars may deal with and exercise all or any powers of the Court delegated to them pursuant to the Magistrates’ Court (Judicial Registrars) Rules 2015. These Rules delegate power in most jurisdictions of the Court. Candidates’ attention is drawn to the Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Other Acts Amendment (Federal Jurisdiction and Other Matters) Bill 2021.

Judicial Registrars are required to sit at all the locations of the Court throughout Victoria from time to time.

Expressions of interest, to be marked ‘Private and Confidential’, should include a resume, a short covering letter outlining your interest in the role and details of appropriate professional and personal referees. They should be posted to:

Ms Johanna Begbie
Director, People and Culture
Magistrates’ Court of Victoria
Level 6, 223 William Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Alternatively, expressions of interest can be emailed (please include all documents as one pdf attachment) to

All expressions of interest must be received by no later than close of business on Friday 8 October 2021. Any queries should be directed to Johanna Begbie on 03 9032 0904.

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

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, 30th September 2021