Although it has been a short week, there is much to report.
Our newly appointed silks took their bows on Wednesday before the Supreme Court of Victoria, the Federal Court of Australia, and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. It was a significant day for them and for their families and friends who were able to attend. I wish them every success and trust that they will continue to celebrate well into the new year.
As members will know, voting in the Bar Council Election closed on Wednesday. The Poll was declared last night at the final meeting of the 2022/23 Bar Council. On behalf of the Bar, I give heartfelt thanks to the following members who are departing, all of whom have given dedicated service to the Bar over the last 12 months, and some of whom have served for much longer: Suzanne McNicol AM KC, Alistair Pound S.C., Catherine Boston S.C., Dr Michelle Sharpe, Ashlee Cannon, and Nawaar Hassan.
Sam Hay KC is, of course, also stepping down from Bar Council. It has been my privilege to work closely with Sam this year and I have been well placed to observe his exceptional leadership both within Bar Council and in all the other duties that have fallen to him. I think I can safely say that his collaborative and sensible approach to every issue has earned him the respect of all members. On behalf of the Bar, I thank Sam for all that he has done – and continues to do. He is in Perth for the next couple of days, representing our Bar at the WA Bar Association’s annual dinner, and will attend the ABA meeting tomorrow.
Last night was also the first meeting of the Bar Council for its 2023/24 term. The main business of the meeting was to elect the office bearers. I was honoured to be elected President. Colin Mandy S.C. and Elizabeth Bennett S.C. were elected as Vice Presidents, Sarah Keating as Honorary Treasurer and Raini Zambelli as Assistant Honorary Treasurer. I welcome all the new and returning members of Bar Council, I feel certain that we will have a productive year. The full list of Bar Councillors and office holders can be seen here.
On behalf of the Bar, I would also like to acknowledge and to thank Mark Robins KC, who – although re-elected to Bar Council – has stepped down as Honorary Treasurer. Mark has occupied that onerous role for two years with a fierce eye to keeping member subscriptions low. As Honorary Treasurer, he has also served on the board of the Barristers’ Benevolent Foundation of Victoria, bringing a considered and compassionate approach to those difficult duties.
An EOI process for membership of the Bar Committees in 2023-2024 opens today. The deadline for receipt of expressions of interest is 5:00pm on Thursday, 23 November 2023. I encourage all interested members to submit an expression of interest. When doing so, it would be helpful if you could provide brief reasons for your interest in the Committee(s) on which you are keen to serve.
La Trobe University recently joined fellow institutions in establishing a mentoring program for students to experience what life is like as a barrister. The program allows La Trobe Law students to shadow a member of the Victorian Bar as part of their Civil Dispute Resolution core subject. 18 Bar members provided guidance to three La Trobe law students as part of the Bar Mentoring Program; my thanks go to each of them for taking on this important initiative. You can read more about the program here.
Georgina Schoff KC