Last Friday, the Victorian Bar Foundation Student Achievement Award winners for 2022 were announced alongside our partners Hume City Council. The Patron of the Foundation, the Honourable Justice Gordon AC congratulated the students and spoke of the opportunities available in the law to young people of all backgrounds who study hard, Darryl Burnett represented Bar Council on the evening. It was a happy occasion with many proud family members in attendance to enjoy the success of the students.
On the same evening, the Honourable Justice Middleton AM and I were honoured guests of the West Brighton Club at their annual Law Night, the first held in three years. The night was well attended by members of the judiciary from the Federal, Supreme and County Courts, many barristers and solicitors. It was a great celebration.
On Tuesday evening, I had the great privilege of being a guest of the Governor of Victoria, the Honourable Linda Dessau, AC and Anthony Howard AM QC at Government House for a community dinner. The purpose was to bring together Victorians from different backgrounds, professions, communities, religions and industries. It was a most entertaining and interesting evening.
On Wednesday evening, the Victorian Bar hosted the 2022 Asian Australian Lawyers Association William Ah Ket Scholarship launch event. The Hon. Michael Black AC QC delivered a very entertaining speech about William Ah Ket’s life as a barrister. The scholarship is awarded annually to the applicant who produces the most outstanding research paper on a topic relating to equality, diversity and the legal profession or the law. I encourage all eligible members to consider entering the competition. I extend my thanks to William Lye OAM QC, Chair of the William Ah Ket Scholarship Committee and committee member Michelle Sharpe for their work in organising and promoting the scholarship.
This week I received an update from the Victorian Bar’s appointed director to the Law Council board, Lachlan Molesworth, following the most recent quarterly board meeting in Darwin. The Law Council has, after much debate, appointed a new CEO, Dr James Popple, who has a distinguished career in the law and public service. As a constituent body, we were involved in these discussions and are very pleased with the outcome. Separately, the Victorian Bar has pushed for better reporting by the Law Council and renewing the previous practice of publishing an annual report for members on its activities and finances. I am pleased that an in-principle agreement has been reached for improved reporting, and I look forward to hopefully the first annual report in over eight years being published next year. I commend the current president and executive of the Law Council for this important governance work. The Law Council has also approved a budget for the coming financial year; unfortunately, there will be a modest raising of capitation fees by $7 for the 2022/23 year, which will be passed through to members. I thank Lachlan Molesworth for his continued outstanding representation of the Victorian Bar on Law Council.
The next Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards Ceremony is scheduled for March 2023, and nominations for the 2023 awards are open until November 2022. If you would like to nominate yourself or a colleague, click here.
Róisín Annesley QC