In Brief Issue #1039

Róisín Annesley QC

This week commenced with the 2021 Senior Counsel participating in the Silks’ Bows ceremonies before the Supreme Court of Victoria, the Federal Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit and Family Law Court of Australia. The ceremonies are steeped in the tradition of counsel informing the Court of their appointment as Senior Counsel, and the Court recognising and welcoming their achievement and reminding them of their obligations to the Court, their clients and the profession. It was a happy occasion for the 2021 Silks to celebrate with their families and peers.

Bar Council was delighted to receive 476 expressions of interest from members to serve on Bar Committees for 2022. This is up approximately 30% on 2020.  It is great to see such enthusiasm and engagement from members. Such a high level of interest will enable a number of committees to be substantially refreshed with new members, while maintaining continuity. Bar Council will consider the final composition of committees at its meeting on 13 December 2021.

Consistent with its commitment to transparency and for the first time in my memory, Bar Council, sought expressions of interest for directors of Barristers Chambers Limited from members. Sixteen EOIs were received and will be considered by Bar Council in consultation with BCL.

On Thursday, the first training session for the Bar’s Peer Support Barristers was held. Under the Bar’s Code of Conduct policies, Peer Support Barristers are the first point of contact for people with enquiries related to discrimination, sexual harassment or workplace bullying. I thank the following members who have volunteered to be Peer Support Barristers: Lachlan Armstrong QC, Elizabeth Bennett SC, Michelle Sharpe, Amanda Hurst, Jack Tracey, Jo Swiney, Sarah Keating, Kylie Weston-Scheuber, Caitlin Dwyer.

This week, I met with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Ferguson informed me that jury trials in both criminal and civil jurisdictions and in-person trials will return in a staggered manner from this week. This was very welcomed news for the Bar. The Court will continue to conduct some hearings and judicial mediations online at this time.

The Magistrates' Court of Victoria has published a new Practice Direction regarding COVID Recovery. This Practice Direction, No. 5 of 2021 - COVID Recovery, applies from 6 December 2021. For more information, see the notice below.

Róisín Annesley QC

Vicbar News & Events
Appointments – Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia

The Governor-General in Council has appointed the following members as judges of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

The Honourable Justice Andrew Strum – (Division 1) Melbourne registry

Her Honour Judge Anna Parker – (Division 2) Adelaide registry

The appointments were effective from Friday, 26 November 2021.

Redevelopment of the Bar’s IT systems and website

Yesterday, Victorian Bar members will have received an email regarding providing feedback on the Bar’s IT systems and website.

The Bar Council has decided to undertake a necessary redevelopment of the Bar’s IT systems and website. This is a substantial project affecting all aspects of the Bar’s operations including subscriptions, membership records, barrister profiles, news, CPD and Bar associations. This is separate from services provided by BCL. An IT Steering Group, chaired by Michael Shand AM QC, has been established to oversee the project.

We encourage all members to click the link in the email to provide us feedback.

Expressions of Interest for appointment to the Victoria Legal Aid Collaborative Planning Committee

The Victorian Bar has been invited to nominate a member of counsel for appointment to the Victoria Legal Aid Collaborative Planning Committee established in 2019 to provide evidence-based advice and recommendations to VLA’s Board in relation to:

  • legal and related needs of the community;
  • the provision of legal aid; and
  • VLA’s strategic planning and legal assistance functions under section 6(1)(ab) and (ac) of the Act.

Membership of this Committee includes representatives of VLA, the Law Institute of Victoria, Victorian Bar, Victorian Law Foundation, Department of Justice and Community Safety, the Federation of Community Legal Centres, the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and Djirra. Members are usually CEOs of the organisations or alternatively a senior member representative.

Appointments are generally for a three-year period and there are four meetings per year.

The Bar’s protocol for nomination and appointment of Vic Bar members to external bodies can be viewed here.

To assist the Bar Council in selecting the best candidate for the position, your expression of interest should identify any relevant areas of experience or expertise.

Please submit your expression of interest to Denise Bennett at

The closing date for expressions of interest is 5:00pm, Thursday 9 December 2021.

BCL - ​​​​​​​Staying COVIDSafe at BCL

As we have throughout the pandemic, Barristers’ Chambers Limited and The Victorian Bar remain focused on safeguarding the health, safety and wellbeing of the Bar, our people, our contractors and the community.

All buildings and a large proportion of individual floors remain on restricted access as we have done throughout lockdowns.  As we come out of restrictions and are living with the virus it is important to continue to reiterate the importance of us all (barristers, clerks, all occupants, BCL employees, contractors and public visitors) having responsibility in doing their part.

One small part of this is to ensure we are minimising the spread of COVID-19 as we increasingly return to chambers. Whilst most buildings and floors are already restricted and group representatives have been informed, effective Monday 11 October swipe cards are again required until further notice. This includes all BCL buildings (including Owen Dixon Chambers East and West), lift lobbies, and individual floors (if this arrangement is not already in place). 

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.

  • Misleading or Deceptive Conduct – Overview & Case Update is on Monday, 6 December, 5:15-6:15pm. The key elements, common types of claims, recent case law and defences will be summarised in this seminar, which is part of the Commercial Bar’s Silks/Juniors Mentored CPD series. This CPD is only for Barristers and is an in-person event and will also be available online via live stream. 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 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.

Click here for the monthly best buys!

The Essoign Club

Dear Essoign Club Members,

Art Exhibition - Join us at the club on Tuesday, 30 November from 5.30pm. See flyer here for details.

We are open daily from 7am – till late

Breakfast - for dine-in or takeaway.

Lunch – Daily Café Menu take away or delivery.

Lunch Dine-In - A La Carte from midday.

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 issued a Notice to the Profession outlining changes to in person hearings.

It is no longer necessary to make applications for in person hearings in any matter before the Court. The Court will operate on a series of default positions and exceptions set out in the Notice.

Additionally, the Court has published an update on operational changes in line with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. Criminal jury trials have resumed as a priority, courtroom arrangements have returned to normal and the number of trials able to be run concurrently has increased.

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 Criminal Division

Following a determination by the Juries Commissioner to exempt unvaccinated jurors (without a medical exemption) under new provisions of the Juries Act 2000, the County Court will recommence criminal jury trials from Friday 26 November 2021 in Melbourne and some circuit locations.

Please find below the following documents for your information:

Health and safety protocols

These protocols outline arrangements for the orderly and safe conduct of matters heard at the Court over the ‘opening up’ phases of the State Government’s Roadmap, taking into account the vaccination status of legal practitioners and other court users.

Jury trial guides

The protocols and guides are available on the Court’s website.

Subject to any additional PPE requirements consistent with the vaccination protocols, the Court remains at mask setting 2 for both jury trials, and non-jury matters, requiring masks to be worn by non-speaking participants.

High Court of Australia Robing Protocol November 2021

Please click here to download the High Court of Australia Robing Protocol November 2021.

Update to the profession: court forms and Lighthouse Project monthly update

Update to the profession: court forms

Grace period for forms ended

The three month grace period provided for filing old Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia forms, after the commencement of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA) on 1 September 2021, has ended.

From Monday 29 November 2021 only the new, approved FCFCOA versions of court forms can be filed.

All FCFCOA forms are available from the website -

Work has continued to improve the new forms since they were first published, including minor amendments and corrections.

We always recommend accessing forms directly from the website, to ensure you are using the most up-to-date version.

Documents to be filed to initiate family law proceedings

The FCFCOA is currently considering the number of documents to be filed when initiating family law proceedings, balancing the need for judicial officers to have relevant details about the issues in dispute, including risk and safety concerns, with the overarching purpose of conducting family law proceedings as quickly, inexpensively and efficiently as possible.

The Court will provide further updates in this regard in due course.

Please note you are required to comply with pre-action procedures before you initiate Court proceedings. For more information about the Court’s expectations, pre-action procedures and dispute resolution, see the Court’s website.

This update is also available from the Court’s website:

Update to the profession: court forms | Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (


Lighthouse Project Monthly Update - November 2021

Please click here for the November 2021 edition of the Lighthouse Project newsletter.

This edition centres on the Lighthouse Project Evatt List and includes a Q & A with Evatt List Senior Judicial Registrars and Judicial Registrars. This will be the final newsletter for 2021 and contains information regarding Lighthouse Project operations over the Christmas/New Year period.

The Lighthouse Project Update newsletter will be recommencing in February 2022 and the Project looks forward to communicating all important updates, changes and developments in 2022.

If you have any feedback or questions on the project they can be sent via email to –

COVID Recovery - Practice Direction No. 5 of 2021

The Magistrates' Court of Victoria have published a new Practice Direction regarding COVID Recovery.

This Practice Direction, No. 5 of 2021 - COVID Recovery, applies from 6 December 2021.

It revokes Practice Direction ‘X’ and Practice Direction 1 of 2021, effective 6 December 2021.

Click here for more information and to read the Practice Direction.

The National Brief #6 and new ABA Executive Team

The National Brief #6

Please click here for the latest ABA National Brief.

ABA announces New Executive Team

The Australian Bar Association has announced the election of its executive team for 2021–22. Please click here to read the media release.


VLF report - Smarter data: the use and utility of administrative data in Victorian courts and tribunals

We are very pleased to announce the release of our report: Smarter Data: The use and utility of administrative data in Victorian Courts and Tribunals.

This is the second in our Data Mapping Project, which maps and analyses the administrative data in three areas: legal assistance, courts and tribunals, and dispute resolution bodies.

The aim is to examine the use and utility of administrative data in the civil justice system, a foundational step in understanding its availability, suitability and utility in answering access to justice questions.

Our findings in this report show that administrative data in Victorian courts and tribunals are used for many important operational purposes, however, less is known about the people involved in civil matters and their experience.

Routine collection of additional data would make it easier to see the people who use courts and tribunals, making the data smarter and offering operational and access to justice insights.

The report is available for download 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
AAL Event - Freedom of Expression in the United Kingdom and Australia considered comparatively

Tuesday, 7 December 2021, 6:00pm (ADST) 7:00am (GMT)

In what manner does the law restrict investigative journalism and how do the Courts protect public interest stories? This event compares the position in the United Kingdom and Australia. Four experts will discuss these issues and then participate in a Q&A.  Mr Desmond Browne CBE QC, former Chairman of the Bar of England and Wales, Joint Head of 5 RB Chambers, will be the Chair.

Further information can be found on the flyer.

Please register for this event here.

​​​​​​​Recent Trends in Climate Litigation and Human Rights by The Honourable Justice Brian Preston

Thursday 9 December 2021

5:00pm – 6:15pm AEDT

Online via Zoom

Register here.

To mark Human Rights Day, join this year's Castan Centre for Human Rights Law and King & Wood Mallesons Annual Lecture by The Honourable Justice Preston. This lecture will address human rights trends in climate litigation both in Australia and overseas, including examining the foundations of these trends, current cases, and possible future directions.

Careers & Opportunities
Senior Lawyer - Common Law, Supreme Court of Victoria

Senior legal role in the Common Law Division of the Supreme Court of Victoria – VPS Grade 5 - Full time, fixed term to 4 July 2022 with the possibility of extension.

The successful candidate for this Senior Lawyer role will have a unique opportunity to contribute to the administration of justice in Victoria and to be a leading member of a small team. Providing expert legal and procedural support to judicial officers in order to promote just, efficient, timely and cost-effective resolution of proceedings. As a Senior Lawyer, you will provide key pre-trial case management support to the judicial officers managing the Personal Injuries, Dust Diseases, Institutional Liability and Civil Circuit Lists of the Common Law Division and will supervise other legally and non-legally qualified staff who also provide such support.

For further information on this position and to submit your application, please visit by 13/12/2021.

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, 9th December 2021