Voting for this year’s Victorian Bar Council election is currently open and closes next Wednesday, 8 November at 5:00pm. The result will be declared next Thursday evening at the final meeting of the current Bar Council. Consequently, this will be my final edition of In Detail.
Without a doubt, performing the role of President has been the highlight of my career. I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to serve the Bar in this way. I have very much enjoyed the challenge.
There are too many people to thank here, but I would like to mention a few. First, I would like to thank each member of Bar Council for their efforts during the year. We have had some difficult issues to grapple with and I have been assisted by our debates.
Second, I sincerely thank Amanda Utt and each member of the Bar Office team. We are very lucky to have such excellent and loyal support. Their efforts allow us as an organisation to punch well above our weight year after year.
Third, I would like to thank the Bar Council Executive: Gina Schoff KC, Liz Bennett S.C., Mark Robins KC, and Cat Boston S.C.. We have worked together exceptionally well, and I am very grateful for the sound advice and willing assistance each of them has given me.
Finally, thank you to all the members who have devoted time, energy, and skill to our committees, working groups, education programs, and events. It has been a successful year because of your efforts.
A lot of this week has been taken up with preparations to hand over to the new Bar Council next week.
On Tuesday, it was announced that the Hon. Justice Kevin Lyons had been appointed to the Court of Appeal and that Claire Harris S.C. had been appointed to the trial division of the Supreme Court of Victoria. Mr Andrew Watson (formerly of Maurice Blackburn) was also appointed to the trial division of the Court, as was Ms Caroline Goulden (formerly of ABL) as an Associate Justice. On behalf of the Bar, I congratulate each of them. We will publish details of the welcome ceremonies as soon as they are available.
This morning, I attended the welcome ceremony for her Honour Magistrate Carolyn Howe and her Honour Magistrate Allison Vaughan this morning. I wish them both well as they start out in their new roles.
I should mention the very sad news of the death of Ms Deborah Chemeke, wife of the Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP. Deborah passed away on Tuesday night after a long illness. On behalf of the Bar, I extend my deepest sympathies to Mark, their children Joe, Tom and Laura, and their grandchildren.
On Sunday, I’m heading to Canberra to attend the Hon. Chief Justice Gageler’s swearing in ceremony at the High Court of Australia on Monday morning, followed by the Hon. Justice Beech-Jones’s swearing in that afternoon.
On Wednesday, I’ll attend the ceremonies for our new silks in the Supreme Court, the Federal Court and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.
On Thursday, the declaration of the poll for the Bar Council election will cap off my last day as President.
The use of Artificial Intelligence in legal practice is something that is gaining more attention. I thought I might take this opportunity to remind members that the Innovation and Technology Committee put out two very useful CPD sessions earlier this year which dealt with AI technology and legal ethics. You can find them in our CPD Catalogue.
The Open Justice Project has recently taken on a new group of later year undergraduate students from Monash’s law faculty onto its panel; they’re ready, willing, and able to participate in the program. Given its universally positive reception since being launched, I’d encourage members from across the Bar to make the most of the program. It is a valuable resource. Find out more here.
If you are taking a long weekend, I hope you enjoy it.
Sam Hay KC