In Brief Issue #1040

Róisín Annesley QC

Last Friday, I met with the State Coroner Judge John Cain.  Judge Cain gave me a personal tour of the Coroner’s Court and was particularly delighted to show me Court 1 in which he is currently conducting an inquest into St Basil’s Aged Care home. I have to say two full Bar tables was a great sight to behold. The Bar Council will host a Meet the Coroners night and CPD early in 2022, which will be an opportunity for members who are interested in appearing as counsel assisting or on behalf of an interested party to learn more about how the Coroner’s Court works.

Bar Council held a productive strategy day on Saturday, 4 December. Priorities for Bar Council this year include advocating for more in-person court hearings; minimising subscriptions; ensuring BCL is responsive to the needs of members, and constitutional change to secure greater representation on Bar Council of non-silk members of more than 15 years call. Small working groups were formed to focus on these issues and members will be kept informed of developments.

On Wednesday, 8 December I attended the unveiling by Ruskin QC of the photographic portrait of Richard Stanley QC in the Peter O’Callaghan QC Gallery.  Richard was a leading common law silk and was greatly respected and admired.  It was an honour to welcome Richard’s former colleagues to celebrate his legacy with the Stanley family.

This morning I met with the Chair and the CEO of the Legal Services Board, Fiona Bennett and Fiona McLeay. We had a general discussion about the year ahead. In the coming months we will have further discussions about how the Bar and the LSB can work together to inform the community as to the role of barristers; expectations of the LSB in relation to the issuing of practising certificates; as well as avenues of support from the LSB to the Bar with particular projects.

Tonight, I have been invited by Chief Justice Alstergren to address the Melbourne Registry of the Federal Circuit and Family Law Court of Australia, in relation to the response of the Courts and the profession to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst acknowledging the flexible response by courts, I intend to advocate for a return to more physical as opposed to virtual hearings, in accordance with the recent survey conducted by Bar Council.

Members ought to have received an invitation to drinks next Friday to close out the 2021 Legal Year. I hope to see many of you next Friday in the foyer of Owen Dixon Chambers West. Details can be found in the email invitation sent to members on 9 December 2021. 

Opening ceremonies for the 2022 Legal Year, will commence with the Synagogue Service to be held on Friday, 28 January 2022. The Red Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, the Eastern Orthodox Service and an Ecumenical Service at St Paul’s Cathedral will be held on 31 January 2022. The Virtual Legal Laneway Breakfast will be held on Wednesday, 2 February 2022. For more information on the opening of the legal year ceremonies, please see the notice below.

Róisín Annesley QC

Vicbar News & Events
Peer Support Barristers

This week, the first training session for the Bar’s Peer Support Barristers was successfully completed by nine of our members.

Peer Support Barristers are barristers who have volunteered to be contacted by, and who have been trained to provide support and advice to, those who have experiences, or observe,  discrimination, sexual harassment and/or workplace bullying.

Please see here for the list of Peer Support Barristers.

Congratulations Werner Dittrich for winning the Moondani Balluk Outstanding Indigenous Student award

The Victorian Bar’s Indigenous Justice Committee congratulates one of its law clerks, Mr Werner Dittrich, for being awarded the Moondani Balluk Outstanding Indigenous Student award by Victoria University’s College of Law and Justice.

Werner is a Muruwari man, whose traditional country is in north-western NSW and southern Queensland and who was born in Innisfail in north Queensland. Werner is in his third year of a Bachelor of Laws at Victoria University. His particular interests are constitutional law and criminal law.

Moondani Balluk is a culturally safe and supportive place for Aboriginal students and staff at Victoria University. Moondani Balluk means ‘embrace people’ in the Woiwurrung language of the Wurundjeri people. The award Mr Dittrich received is for an outstanding Indigenous student in the Moondani Balluk program.

Now in its 13th year, the Victorian Bar Indigenous clerkship provides an opportunity for Indigenous law students to undertake paid work experience, with a placement at each of the Federal, County and Supreme Courts and a week spent ‘at the Bar’ with a Barrister. More information about the clerkship program can be found here.

End of Year Drinks - 5:00-6:30pm Friday, 17 December 2021

The Victorian Bar Council is delighted to invite members of the Bar and Bench to the Victorian Bar End of Year Drinks at 5:00-6:30pm Friday, 17 December 2021 in the Peter O’Callaghan QC Gallery.

RSVP by Tuesday, 14 December 2021. Members will have received an email invitation including the RSVP link.

Victorian Bar office closure dates

The Victorian Bar office and Victorian Bar Mediation Centre will close for the Christmas-New Year holidays at 5:00pm on Thursday, 23 December 2021. The Bar office and Mediation Centre will reopen at 9:00am on Monday, 10 January 2022.

We wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season.

Opening of the Legal Year 2022

The following services for the 2022 Opening of the Legal Year will be taking place:

Friday, 28 January 2022

  • Synagogue Service

9:00am at the East Melbourne Hebrew Congregation, 488 Albert Street, East Melbourne. Counsel are asked to robe (but not wig).

Monday, 31 January 2022

  • Eastern Orthodox Service

9:00am at St Eustathios Greek Orthodox Church, 221 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne. A collaborative service involving the Greek, Antiochian, Russian, Serbian and Romanian Orthodox Churches followed by morning tea. Judges and counsel robe. Assemble at 8:45am for the procession. For more details, click here.

  • Red Mass

9:00am at St Patrick’s Cathedral, East Melbourne. Subject to Covid-19 restrictions, His Grace, Archbishop Peter Comensoli will host morning tea after the mass in the presbytery grounds adjacent to the cathedral. RSVP to or 9602 5440 for the morning tea by 14 January 2022. Judges and counsel: robe and medals are worn. For more details, click here.

  • Ecumenical service

9:30am at St Paul’s Cathedral, Flinders St Melbourne. A Choral Morning Prayer service will be led by the Dean of Melbourne, the Very Revd Dr Andreas Loewe. The preacher will be the Master of Catholic Theological College, the Very Revd Dr Kevin Lenehan, STL, STD, PhD. Members of the Legal Profession are invited to process and robe.

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

  • International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) community opening

9:00am at Waldron Hall, County Court of Victoria.

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

  • Virtual Legal Laneway Breakfast 2022

8:00am online and is open to all members of the legal community. Speakers at the event include Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes MP and Victorian Legal Services Board CEO, Commissioner Fiona McLeay and Socceroo, human rights activist and recent law graduate Craig Foster AM. Click here to register.  

Thursday, 3 February 2022

  • Geelong Community Opening of the Legal Year

9:00am online and will be hosted by the Honourable Justice Michelle Quigley.

Save the Date - 2022 Victorian Bar Dinner

The 2022 Victorian Bar Dinner will be held at the Plaza Ballroom on Friday, 27 May 2022. Be sure to keep the date free in your diary.

Victorian Bar and Monash University Open Justice Project

The Open Justice Project will take a break between 17 December 2021 and 14 February 2022. Requests for assistance can still be sent through via the online form during that period, and the barrister allocated a student upon return of the project.

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

Look out for our new and exciting events in the new year, including CPD offerings from the Children’s Court Bar, Compensation Law Bar, Common Law Bar and Tax Bar Associations in February and the Junior Bar Conference on 25 February 2022.

Be sure to visit the CPD Catalogue to watch those CPD’s or In Conversations that you may have missed this year and to ensure you meet your CPD obligations for the year.

The Victorian Bar team wishes you a joyous festive season and restful holiday break. 

The following is an event for Victorian Bar members.

  • Gently reflecting on Loss and Grief is on Wednesday, 15 December, 5:00-7:00pm. A special forum is being held on loss and grief. It will include specific reflection on the recent loss suffered by a very junior member of the bar and will be facilitated by Bernadette Healy (Psychologist, The Re-Vision Group). Click here to register
Vicbar Life
Studio 11 - cCORDA Exhibition - Last week!

STUDIO 11 – Always worth a Look! Level 11, Owen Dixon Chamber East. Come on down when you can. The cCORDA Exhibition featuring 75 collaborative works by Michelangelo Russo and Jennifer Jabu is now installed for your viewing pleasure. If you love beautiful things, colour, texture, shape and groove, you will get a return on your investment. Three-dimensional works, framed and stand-alone, in various colours and sizes with prices ranging from $4000 - $250 are available for sale, with all proceeds going directly to the artists. The body of work and each piece is accomplished, complex, evocative and generous. Works sheets (with lots of Italian references) and statements are available on Level 11 East. For enquiries contact

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

The Essoign team would like to thank you for your support in 2021

We wish you all a very happy and safe festive season and look forward to a good and prosperous year with you in 2022.

Please note the following dates:

Thursday 16 December 2021 – Members Christmas Drinks in the club from 5:00pm

Wednesday 22 December 2021 – final day of trade 2021 club will close at 3:00pm (after lunch service)

Monday 10 January 2022 – open café for coffee, drinks, light meal options 7:00am – 1:30pm 

Monday 17 January 2022 – return to normal trade from 7:00am daily

See you at The Essoign Christmas Party for Drinks and Canapes.

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.
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 –

County Court of Victoria CISP Pilot Update

Dear Practitioners

As you may be aware the CISP Pilot at the County Court of Victoria went live on 11 January 2021.

Please see below information concerning CISP operations for your attention:

CISP Assessment Timeframes:

Please be advised that with the last Court sitting date (17 December 2021) and Christmas period approaching, CISP will have very limited operations during the Court’s non-sitting period (17 December 2021 to 17 January 2022).

In those circumstances, CISP will be conducting assessments from Monday, 10 January 2022 and the indicative turnaround period for the CISP report is one week from the date of assessment.

We kindly request that the matters seeking a CISP component be listed to a date from the week commencing Monday, 24 January 2022 which will allow the CISP assessment and report process to take place for eligible persons.

CISP Pilot Participants:

All CISP staff will be unavailable from Friday, 24 December 2021 with administration staff returning Tuesday, 4 January 2022.

CISP operations such as case management for accepted participants only will recommence in the week commencing 10 January 2022.

Unfortunately, CISP are unable to provide crisis support during the closure period. However, as required accepted participants will be provided with details of services to contact over the Christmas period.


For completeness, please see below general information with respect to the CISP Pilot at the County Court for your perusal.


Referred persons are assessed for risk of re-offending and provided clear information about how CISP can support their needs and access to treatment. The assessment process is designed to meet the needs of both the participant and the Court. In order to be eligible for CISP, referred persons must:

  • not currently be sentenced to a parole or community corrections order
  • be eligible for bail or a relevant deferral of sentencing
  • have substantive matters committed to the Melbourne County Court
  • reside, or intend to reside, in the greater Melbourne metropolitan catchment
  • consent to be involved with CISP
  • be experiencing one or more of the following:
    • mental health issues
    • disability, acquired brain injury or cognitive impairment
    • substance dependence or otherwise harmful use
    • family violence
    • inadequate social, family and economic support that contributes to the frequency or severity of their offending
    • homelessness
    • other relevant clinical support needs.


People accused of sex offences are ineligible for County Court CISP.
If a person's support needs are so significant that they may reasonably be unable to comply with the program requirements, then a recommendation is made to the Court around the most appropriate treatment and support pathway.

Referrer Guide
A copy of our new referrer guide can be accessed via our website here.

The document outlines elements of the CISP Pilot for people who are self-referring or referring another person to the program. This includes requirements for accessing the program, reports, pathways for referrals, review hearings, and program staff.

General Overview of CISP process

  1. Eligibility triage
    A brief check of the referral information against eligibility criteria is conducted by CISP staff. Anyone considering making a referral is encouraged to contact us for an eligibility triage at the earliest opportunity.
  2. CISP Assessment
    An assessment is scheduled for eligible persons and that arrangement is communicated to the Court and to defence by email from the CCV CISP inbox.
  3. CISP Suitability Report
    The assessment is conducted by CISP staff and a report on the suitability of the referred person for the program is written by the assessing CISP staff member. The indicative turnaround period of the CISP report is one week from the date of assessment. That report is made available to all parties by email via CCV CISP inbox. The Court expects these reports to be submitted 24 hours prior to the next Court hearing.
  4. Acceptance onto CISP Pilot
    A decision is made by the Judge at the next Court hearing to offer, postpone offering, or decline the referred person entry into the CISP program.
  5. CISP Review Hearings
    Where the referred person takes up an offer to engage the CISP program, the presiding Judicial Officer will take carriage of ongoing CISP review hearings and determine the frequency of those hearings. These generally occur monthly. CISP case management commences from this point onwards.

Associates take carriage of ongoing communication and notices of listings to all parties.

How a referral can be made:

  • Legal Practitioners: wishing to make a referral to CCV CISP must submit a CISP referral form together with all supporting documentation via the County Court of Victoria eLodgment Platform here.
    Important note: all documents must be filed under “CCV CISP Application Form" and “ CCV CISP Supporting Documents
  • For self-referrals: please contact: or (03) 8636 6820

Examples of CISP supporting documents we require are as follows:

  • Priors, summaries and charges (including any interstate police records if applicable).
  • LEAP records.
  • Police Informant details.
  • Document relating to Mental Health e.g. psychiatric reports or assessments (if relevant).
  • Copies of current Intervention Orders.

Examples of useful information to include in the CISP referral form:

  • Client’s intended bail address; and
  • Details about why this referral has been made
    For example:
    • Does the individual have any formal supports currently in place (i.e. mental health, AOD, NDIS, DHHS Disability Justice, family). Please list contact details.
    • Has the individual ever been charged with sex offences?
    • Does the individual have any sex offence charges pending?
    • Are there any concerns related to individual, worker, or community safety? Please explain.

A copy of our CISP referral form can be found via our website here.

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
Celebrate the new legal year at the Virtual Legal Laneway Breakfast

Join Victoria Law Foundation to celebrate the start of the legal year at the 19th annual Legal Laneway Breakfast.

Hear from Attorney General, Jaclyn Symes, and Victorian Legal Services Board CEO and Commissioner Fiona McLeay, about the important issues for the legal profession in the year ahead.

Special guest speaker is former Socceroo, human rights activist, and recent law graduate Craig Foster AM. Craig works tirelessly to tackle the big issues of our time – from indigenous rights and refugee advocacy to homelessness, domestic violence, and the climate crisis. Drawing on his personal experience, Craig will explore why giving back is so important and how we can all make a difference using our own skills and strengths.

The event will be held online on Wednesday, 2 February 2022, from 8.00am.

Everyone working in Victoria’s legal sector is invited to attend from wherever they may be, to mark the opening of the legal year.

Register today.


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 December 2021.

Melbourne Law School - Academic research project - judicial bias/recusal

The study is conducted with the support of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), as part of its current Review of Judicial Impartiality, and is likely to inform the ALRC’s final report. It is a part of a wider research project in Australia and the UK comparing the views of judicial officers with those of practitioners and members of the public on matters of recusal.  This study is examining people’s attitudes as to when they think judges should, or should not, be disqualified from hearing a case on the grounds of possible bias. The questionnaire is completely anonymous; you will not be asked to provide any identifying details. We are only interested in your views.    

The study includes a few case scenarios. The case scenarios are fictional, as is the law set out in the scenarios. The case scenarios may bear some resemblance to real cases, and the legal test may be similar to the law in your country. However, we are only interested in your opinion about whether the judge in the case scenarios should be disqualified based on the legal test we ask you to apply.  

We would be very grateful for your participation. The results of the study may be used to inform policy changes on this important topic and your input would be extremely valuable.   

The survey is of course completely anonymous, we do not collect any identifying details.  

The survey is based on our previous work on the topic, available here.

Click here to participate in the survey.

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 December 2021