In Brief Issue #1135

Georgina Schoff KC

On Monday, I appeared on behalf of the Victorian Bar to present our new silks to the High Court. The ceremony, held at the commencement of every new legal year, is significant. The new silks from each State and Territory stand in turn to take their bows, the Victorians wigless but wearing their rosettes and those from the northern States dressed up in their long ceremonial wigs. The Chief Justice remarked on what he described as the ‘subtle’ differences between the Bars on display in the courtroom and expressed the Court’s gratitude for the courtesy that the new silks showed the Court by their attendance. At the afternoon tea following the ceremony, the Victorian members of the High Court were especially generous with the time they spent meeting the silks and their families and friends. The silks were also supported by the presence of the Honourable Chief Justice William Alstergren AO and the Honourable Justice Simon Whelan, who attended as the representative of the Chief Justice of our Supreme Court. The ceremony was followed by a gala dinner held at the National Gallery.

Whilst in Canberra, I also attended the Australian Bar Association’s first quarterly meeting for 2024. Sam Hay KC, the new Chair of Conferences, is busily planning the Joint ABA and New Zealand Bar Association conference to be held in New Zealand in August this year. I will publish the details as soon as I have them.

On Wednesday morning, I and others from the Executive, the Bar Office, and many of you attended the Legal Laneway Breakfast hosted by the Victorian Law Foundation. The laneway was overflowing with lawyers, all eager to catch up with each other after the break, and I thank the members of our Bar Office who assisted with the service. The Attorney-General, Jaclyn Symes MP, spoke of the State Government’s legislative agenda (particularly its determination to improve our anti-vilification laws) and acknowledged the dedication of the Victorian legal profession to the administration of justice in this State. The speakers also included the Honourable Justice Greg Garde AO RFD, who is the Chair of the Victorian Law Foundation and Fiona McLeay, the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner. Ms McLeay announced the publication of cybersecurity resources for the legal profession. The resources include Minimum Cybersecurity Expectations, a list of Cybersecurity Red Flags and a guide to Good Practices. To view the resources, click here.

Last year, with support from the VLSB, the Health & Wellbeing Committee commissioned a short film to help our members deal with the stress that our work often causes. The film entitled “Bar None”, was written and directed by Abi Richardson and stars a number of familiar faces. I congratulate Ms Richardson and the Health & Wellbeing Committee on this exceptional production, especially Dr Michelle Sharpe, former Chair of the Committee, who also appears in a short cameo and Darren Mort, who was instrumental in the production and writing of the film. Members can view the film here, it deserves a proper launch, and details will follow.

On Thursday, the Honourable Peter Riordan KC (Chair of the 5-Year Exam Review Panel), Anthony Strahan KC (Chair of the Readers’ Course Committee), Ben Ihle KC (Deputy Chair of the RCC), Chris Archibald KC (Chair of the Standing Exam Review Panel), Elizabeth Bennett S.C. and I, met with the Honourable Chief Justices Mortimer and Ferguson and other members of the judiciary to hear their concerns about the Bar Exam. We are grateful to Chief Justice Ferguson for organising the meeting and know that the concerns expressed are shared by many of you. A ‘town hall’ meeting will be held in the Neil McPhee Room on Monday, 12 February, from 4:30pm to 5:30pm to allow members to share their thoughts and suggestions about the Bar Exam and Readers’ Course with the 5-Year Readers’ Course Exam Review Panel. If you have a view, I encourage you to attend. 

On Thursday morning, Colin Mandy S.C. spoke on behalf of the Victorian Bar at a welcome ceremony held by the County Court to mark the appointment of her Honour Judge Liberty Sanger OAM. Her Honour was a principal of Maurice Blackburn and the head of its National Personal Injury Division before her appointment and has been a member of many Government and community Boards and organisations. I wish her Honour a long and distinguished career on the bench.

Last night, I attended the Commercial Bar Association Annual Drinks at the Commonwealth Law Courts. This annual event, hosted jointly by the Chief Justices of the Federal and Supreme Courts and CommBar, has become one of the most popular events on the calendar. This year, the Chief Justice of the Federal Circuit and Family Court joined the party as a host, and I congratulate the Chief Justices and the committee for pulling off yet another fabulous event.

The Federal Attorney-General, the Honourable Mark Dreyfus KC MP, has appointed the Honourable Justice Penelope Neskovcin and the Honourable Justice Craig Dowling to the Victorian registry of the Federal Court. I congratulate their Honours and look forward to welcoming them formally. We will publish details of their welcomes as soon as we have them. 

Save the date

The High Court has recently revised the process for the consideration of applications for special leave to appeal, applications for leave to appeal and applications for removal so that they will be considered on the papers and will rarely be given an oral hearing. On Wednesday, 21 February, the Honourable Justice Michelle Gordon AC will present a seminar on the new process with the Victorian Solicitor-General, Rowena Orr KC. The seminar will address written advocacy in civil and criminal applications. The registration link will be circulated once it is available.

On Wednesday, 28 February, the Victorian Bar will host a Conversation with Arnold Dix in the Peter O'Callaghan QC Gallery. Members may have read of Arnold’s pivotal role in the heroic rescue of 41 trapped miners from a collapsed mine in the Himalayas late last year.  Arnold will be introduced by the Honourable Justice Robert Osborn, with whom he read. The ABC will also be in attendance to film the event for an episode of Australian Story. I hope to see many of you there. Registration is essential, please do so via the link here.

Law Week will run from May 20-26 this year and will be hosted by the Victoria Law Foundation. It is a series of community events and activities designed to make it easier for members of the public to learn about the law. Event submissions are now open. Committees and associations wishing to represent the Bar are encouraged to contact The Bar hosts multiple events yearly during Law Week, and we hope to be well-represented again in 2024. Find out more here.

Until next week, pens down.

Georgina Schoff KC

Vicbar News & Events
Appointments — Federal Court of Australia

The Attorney-General of Australia has announced the appointments of the Honourable Justice Penelope Neskovcin and the Honourable Justice Craig Dowling as judges of the Federal Court of Australia.

Details of the welcome ceremonies will be advised when they become known.

Expressions of Interest — Standing Exam Review Panel

The Bar Council calls for expressions of interest from members who wish to be considered for appointment to the Standing Exam Review Panel.  

The purpose of the Exam Panel is to confer with the Chief Examiner, review the content, form, and complexity of each Exam, and ensure that it remains consistent with its original purpose.

The minimum term of service on the Panel is three (3) years.

Expressions of interest are sought from senior members, to complement the panel membership. If you are interested in joining the panel, we encourage you to provide a detailed expression of interest, which should identify any relevant areas of experience or expertise. 

Nominations close at 5:00pm, Thursday, 22 February 2024, and should be emailed to

Expressions of Interest — Victorian Bar Foundation Director

The Bar Council calls for expressions of interest from members who wish to be considered for appointment as a Director of the Victorian Bar Foundation.  

The Victorian Bar Foundation was established to progress the interests of justice in Victoria and further legal education and training in our community. The Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which enables the Bar and Bench to contribute to the community and causes outside the Bar itself.

Nominations close at 5:00pm, Thursday, 15 February 2024, and should be emailed to

Notice of Town Hall Meeting — 5-Year Readers’ Course Exam Review Panel

Members of the Bar are invited to attend a “town hall” meeting and share with the 5-Year Readers’ Course Exam Review Panel their thoughts and suggestions about the Bar Exam and Readers’ Course.    

The 5-Year Readers’ Course Exam Review Panel was established by Bar Council in August 2023 with Peter Riordan KC as Chair.

The Panel is conducting a review of the Exam and Readers’ Course and will make recommendations to the Bar Council, including any changes to the Exam and the steps the Bar might need to take to allow the number of places available in the Readers’ Course each year to increase in future.  Interested members are encouraged to attend this in-person meeting and share their thoughts and suggestions with the Panel.


The Hon. Peter Riordan KC (Chair), Georgina Costello KC, Justin Graham KC, Ashlee Cannon, James McComish, Laura Johnston, Felicity Fox and Yusur Al-Azzawi


Monday, 12 February 2024

4:30 – 5:30pm


Neil McPhee Room, Level 1 Owen Dixon Chambers East, 205 William Street, Melbourne

End of CPD Year

The VicBar CPD Committee would like to remind members that the last day to complete your CPD requirements is Sunday, 31 March 2024.

If you haven’t completed your requirements yet, don’t worry — log in to the VicBar website, and an extensive list of recordings is available for viewing on our CPD catalogue.

If you have extenuating circumstances and are unable to complete it in time, please ensure you notify the CPD Committee ASAP by emailing

CommBar 2024 International Commercial Law Conference

Registration is now open for the CommBar 2024 International Commercial Law Conference to be held on July 3 and 4, 2024, at the Inner Temple, London.

The CommBar 2024 ICLC in London will feature leading counsel and jurists from Melbourne and London speaking on a wide variety of commercial law topics. Attendees will be able to earn 10 CPD points across all required areas. Speakers will be announced in the coming weeks. The conference will also stage a black tie gala dinner in the Middle Temple Hall and an end-of-conference drinks reception in the Inns of Court.

In addition to the main conference taking place in London on 3 and 4 July 2024, CommBar, in conjunction with the Tax Bar Association, is convening an option ‘add-on’ seminar in Oxford on the afternoon of 1 July 2024 at Magdelen College, with a dinner to follow the seminar at the Ashmolean Museum.

Discounted early bird registration for the CommBar 2024 ICLC in London is available until 29 February 2024 at a price of $1,800 (standard registration for counsel over 5 years call - $1,980, incl. GST) and $1,500 (registration for junior barristers under 5 years call - $1,650, incl. GST). Registration includes attendance at all conference sessions on 3 and 4 July 2024, morning and afternoon teas, lunches, admission to the gala dinner on 3 July, and the end-of-conference drinks reception on 4 July. In addition to the CommBar 2024 ICLC registration, there is also the opportunity for attendees to purchase additional related subscriptions: Attendance at the Oxford seminar and dinner on 1 July ($595, incl. GST); and Accompanying person registration ($550, incl. GST – which permits a person accompanying a conference attendee to attend the gala dinner on 3 July and the end-of-conference drinks on 4 July).

Full details of the CommBar 2024 ICLC and registration are available at the conference website, which is now ‘live’:

The CommBar 2024 ICLC is not to be missed. Numbers are limited, so register now!

BCL Updates
  • Why Take Chambers with BCL? As a wholly owned subsidiary of the Victorian Bar, BCL provides a flexible and unique solution of chamber and technology support only available to members of the Bar. Click here to view our current vacancies.
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.

  • What can go wrong with family law mediations? is on Wednesday, 28 February 2024, from 5:15pm to 6:15pm. This seminar will look at common barriers to resolution in Family Law Mediations from the perspective of experienced counsel and mediators. There will be discussion about recent updates in case law as it relates to absence of capacity, absence of relevant disclosure, and contextual issues. This is an in-person event and will also be available online via livestream. Click here to RSVP.
Vicbar Life
Bar Dads Coffee Catch Up

The first Bar Dads coffee catch-up for 2024 will be in the Essoign at 10:00am on Thursday, 22 February. Come along to find out about our plans for the coming year. Please save the date. All Dads welcome!

To join the Bar Dads WhatsApp group, please email:

Fitted For Work — taking donations

In recognition of International Women’s Day, WBA is conducting a clothing drive for donations to Fitted for Work - an organisation that helps women, Non-Binary, and Gender Diverse jobseekers experiencing disadvantage secure employment.

Part of their pre and post-employment services includes providing jobseekers with work-appropriate attire.

Donations of good-quality workwear, including suits, blouses, skirts, pants, as well as shoes in good condition are welcome.

Some of the donations (vintage and designer clothing) are sold to raise funds for the organisation.

In addition, Fitted for Work also provides a number of women with good-quality second-hand handbags filled with toiletries as a gift. So donations of handbags in good condition and unused toiletries and makeup would also be very welcome. 

Items needed as a matter of priority currently are:

Pants – tapered/slim fit, black and navy blue, sizes 12+ in particular
Blouses – contemporary cuts and styles, sleeves preferred, sizes 12+ in particular
Flat shoes – all sizes
Make up – new, packaged, including mascara and foundation

If you have any donations, please deliver them to the following people (call first to make sure we are in chambers!) by Friday, 8 March 2024. 

Sandra Karabidian - 1016 Owen Dixon West (9225 6493) 

Kylie Evans SC – L15 Castan Chambers (9225 8881)

Chapman’s List Barristers – Marked attention: Sandra Karabidian, LG Owen Dixon West (9225 7666)

Studio 11 Exhibitiion — Philip Adams

Studio 11 is delighted to invite you to come to Level 11 ODC East to view a solo landscape exhibition by Philip Adams comprising some 29 works, all of which are for sale, with all proceeds going directly to the artist.

Adams ably captures the excitement of exploring a landscape, including well known vistas such as Teddy’s Lookout at Lorne. Studying the detailed works brings rich rewards. The viewer’s senses are sharpened as the beauty of minute mosses, fungi, wildflowers, and insects to panoramic views of forests, cliffs, and mountains are absorbed. Vertical divisions are used in the larger works to combine imagery. Colours harmonise, contrast and change constantly from time of day to the time of year. It is these combinations that are often the start of a work, along with the textures and patterns. The collages are explorations. Paper is prepared with washes, resist impasto, and glazes to capture aspects of the landscape. These are then cut and assembled on a landscape ground either watercolour paper, or on canvas. From these arrangements, further images are suggested, which are developed by over painting, until some sort of balance between form and suggestion is achieved.

The exhibition runs from 22 January to 29 March 2024.

The Essoign Club

We are open daily from 7.30am – till late

Breakfast – for dine-in or takeaway.

Lunch – Daily Café Menu dine-in or takeaway.

Lunch Dine-In – A La Carte from midday.

Bar – EVERY EVENING   $5 Beer & Wine from 4.30pm – 5.30pm

Catering & Events – Special lunches, working lunches, private dinners, or something special you may have in mind. Email us at

Our new Spring Summer Menu is available here

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!

Practice & Profession News
LCA Memorandum: New ways to complete a Commonwealth statutory declaration in 2024

Please find here the Law Council of Australia’s Memorandum: New ways to complete a Commonwealth statutory declaration in 2024, as well as the attachment referred to therein.

Law Library website

Victorian legal professionals can enjoy improved access to authoritative legal resources with the revamped Law Library Victoria website.

The new Law Library website makes it easier for Victorian lawyers, judicial officers, and Court Services Victoria staff to access the Library’s comprehensive legal collection.

It includes:

  • a more secure 24/7 connection to expert legal content,
  • specialised area of law collections, and
  • My List, a personalised collection for faster access to frequently-used resources.

Explore the new Law Library Victoria website at

Profession CPD & Events
Missed Opportunities in Arbitration

Featuring Neil Kaplan CBE KC SBS

Tuesday, 13 February 2024 | 5:00pm – 6:30pm AEDT | MinterEllison Collins Arch | Face-to-face event | (Registration and light refreshments from 5:00pm to 5:30pm and seminar to run from 5:30pm to 6:30pm)

Victorian Determinative Committee Seminar 

It is a common feature of Arbitration that parties, in-house lawyers, and legal advisors blame the Tribunal for delay and cost involved in the process. In many cases, the parties only have themselves to blame for cost and delay. The way they conduct themselves in the arbitration can often be the driver for delay and cost. There is also another stage of the process where the parties traditionally fail to take advantage of the only opportunity to agree with the counterparty on a series of measures that can greatly impact time and expense. It is also an area where the parties are traditionally let down by their legal advisors. These and other issues and solutions will be the subject of the presentation.

Who will benefit by attending

All those involved in arbitration, whether as a party, representing a party, in-house lawyers, solicitors, barristers who represent parties, as well as those interested in techniques to advance efficiency in arbitration.

Registrations close Tuesday, 13 February 2024, at 10:00am or until sold out.

Register now.

Wellness for Law Forum 2024

The Wellness for Law Forum will gather academia, practising lawyers, and students for a two-day conversation about the state of the law sector in Australia, hosted by Melbourne Law School and Monash University Faculty of Law.

In 2009, the landmark report Courting the Blues: Attitudes towards depression in law students and legal practitioners was published by the Brain & Mind Research Institute. This report confirmed that Australian law students and legal professionals shared similar mental health and wellness issues to their equivalents internationally.

International keynote speakers include Professor Caroline Strevens from the University of Portsmouth, Professor Nathalie Cadieux from the University of Sherbrooke, and Dr Emma J. Jones from the University of Sheffield, as well as the Hon. Justice Peter Gray (Supreme Court of Victoria), His Honour Judge Frank Gucciardo (County Court of Victoria, Australia), The Hon. Andrea Coote (Former Member of Victorian Parliament, Australia).


  • Day 1: Thursday, 15 February, at Melbourne Law School, with a gala dinner at the State Library Of Victoria
  • Day 2: Friday, 16 February at Monash, Faculty of Law

Hosted by Melbourne Law School and Monash University, Faculty of Law. Generously supported by Victoria Legal Services Board + Commissioner and Law Institute Victoria.

Tickets can be purchased here. For a full list of speakers and conference programs, visit the Wellness for Law Forum program page.

Navigating the Intersection of Canon Law and Civil Law in Practice

Date:  Tuesday, 20 February 2024, 5.15pm to 6.15pm
Venue:  Neil McPhee Room, Owen Dixon Chambers
Speaker:  Fr Richard Waddell JCL

At law, the Catholic Church is a voluntary association, and canon law is its book of rules.  Practitioners and courts can thus be called on to interpret canon law in the same way as they might interpret a company’s constitution or the terms of a trust.

Fr Richard Waddell practised at the Victorian Bar for 22 years and is now a Catholic priest working in Sydney.  He will focus on two recent cases in which priests have taken action against Archbishops through the courts - in one case to prevent a land sale, in the other claiming a denial of natural justice in a disciplinary proceeding.

For further details, please visit here

Unravelling Corporate Fraud Conference 2024

Date: 22 February 2024 (all day)

Venue: Remote or in-person in Perth.

Follow this link for a detailed program and information on registration.

2024 ACT Bar CPD Conference — Saturday, 16 March 2024

Details for the much anticipated ACT Bar CPD Conference have been finalised and tickets are now available.

The CPD Committee has coordinated a fantastic day which includes seven presentations with a total of 11 presenters.

The Conference will provide you with 7 CPD points.

Where: Australian Academy of Science, The Shine Dome, 15 Gordon St, Acton. In the beautifully appointed Ian Wark Theatre
Time: 8:00am to 5:00pm
RSVP: Monday, 11 March, 5:00pm

Read the Conference itinerary here
(be sure to click on the presenter's name to read their bio and the article for Dr Chin and Dr Cullen's presentation)

Purchase your ticket/s here.

As this event will be fully catered, please ensure you contact Tim Kapustin regarding any dietary requirements.

1-Day Dispute Resolution Conference & Cocktail Reception — The Mint, Sydney on 21 March 2024

Conveniently at the historic Mint in the heart of Sydney’s legal district, the conference theme is‘Pure Gold: The Minting of Australian Dispute Resolution’. A golden line-up of speakers, including Her Excellency, Governor Margaret Beazley, The Hon. Deputy Chief Robert McClelland, former Chief Justices The Hon. Tom Bathurst AC KC FRSN and Wayne Martin AC KC, and more. A dynamic programme of debates, conversations, panels, and workshops. Enhance your practice and network with Australia’s leading jurists and dispute resolution specialists. CPD Points apply. See full details and Early-Bird Registration here.


World Bar Conference 2024

Independent Referral Bars - Responding to Global Challenges

15 - 17 May 2024 | Belfast & Dublin
Royal Courts of Justice | Titanic Hotel | Dublin Castle | Christchurch Cathedral


View the full agenda and the social programme, and book your place at

Every two years, the International Council of Barristers and Advocates & Barristers organises an international legal conference in different cities worldwide. The World Bar Conference is the only event that brings together members of the independent referral Bar from around the world for three days of debate and discussion on issues and topics of relevance.

Jointly hosted by The Bar of Northern Ireland and The Bar of Ireland.

Click here to view the flyer for more information.

Human Rights Law Trans-Tasman Conference

The Human Rights Law Trans-Tasman Conference that will be held in Queenstown, NZ, on 12-13 August 2024. 

Conference chairs:
Andrew Butler KC (New Zealand)
Kylie Evans SC (Australia)

Keynote speakers:
The Rt Hon Helen Winkelmann (GNZM), Chief Justice of New Zealand
The Hon Justice Kristen Walker, Judge of Appeal, Supreme Court of Victoria

Click here for more information.

Forensicare and Swinburne Forensic Mental Health Professional Development Program 2024 Calendar

Please click here for the Forensic Mental Health Professional Development Program workshop calendar for 2024.

Careers & Opportunities
Expression of Interest now open — Casual Sessional Teaching

Monash Law is one of the largest and most dynamic law schools in Australia.

We invite Expressions of Interest in working with our team of experienced educators and leading academics.

As a casual (sessional) academic staff member, you are an important part of the Faculty’s teaching program. You will assist the Law Faculty to maintain our high quality in teaching and learning, addressing students’ learning requirements for core units, and increase flexibility in subject offerings.

You are encouraged to submit an Expression of Interest application if you have obtained an Australian law degree with excellent results, have relevant experience, and have the capability to work within our teaching teams at either Clayton and the City Chambers, daytime or evening classes. Casual work may be available in lecturing, tutoring, and marking in private and public law units and clinical offerings.

Please contact us via the Expression of Interest portal here.

Ormond College — casual tutors for JD subjects

Ormond College is currently searching for casual tutors for students currently enrolled in the University of Melbourne’s Jurisdoctor program.

At the moment, we are looking for tutors for the following subjects:

Administrative Law LAWS50032

Property LAWS50030

Evidence & Proof LAWS50037

These are all second year JD subjects. You will be running at least one small group tutorial (only two to five students in each class) for current JD students at the University of Melbourne who are also residing at Ormond college. The students have stated that they are interested in tutors who are capable of helping students with legal writing and, in particular, coming up with sample questions that address the kind of problems that will be set as examinations for these subjects. The ideal candidate will therefore have knowledge of the relevant field of law but also be able to facilitate the student’s acquisition of skills in the kinds of legal writing and problem-solving that are pertinent to the subjects that you will be tutoring.

If you have any further inquiries about this role or are interested in running classes for one or more of these subjects, please e-mail Bryan Cooke, Leading Tutor in Humanities at Ormond college at:

If you would like to apply for the position, do please include a c.v., an academic transcript, a short cover letter as well as a statement indicating which subject or subjects you are hoping to tutor.

Casual tutor rates at Ormond are $58.15 per hour, but every one hour tutorial at Ormond is counted is paid as if it involves two hours of work i.e. $116.30 per hour.

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, 15th February 2024