In Brief Issue #1140

Georgina Schoff KC

I hope that members and their families managed to keep cool and enjoyed a restful Labour Day weekend. On Saturday, happily by Zoom, I attended an Australian Bar Association Directors meeting to discuss the ABA’s budget for 2024-25. The ABA is fortunate to have healthy capital reserves which are earning good income.  It was determined that it was undesirable to fund operations, including a number of planned special projects, from capital and the Board accordingly resolved to increase capitation fees by 4%, or about $4.00 per member.

On Tuesday, the Honourable Pamela Tate AM KC and I hosted the Silks Information Session. I thank those who attended and hope that the many questions that you had were answered adequately. The session was recorded and can be viewed here. All relevant information about the criteria and process for appointment will be available via the Supreme Court website this Monday, 18 March 2024, when applications open.

Applicants must have completed sexual harassment and bullying awareness training within the two previous years before they may be appointed as Senior Counsel. Any member of at least 10 years’ call, will have the opportunity to attend such training on Monday, 25 March and Wednesday, 17 April 2024. A further course will be offered towards the end of June. This year, we also hope to provide discrete bullying awareness training for members who completed sexual harassment awareness training last year. 

On Thursday morning, I attended the launch of the Health & Wellbeing committee’s short film Bar None. It was good to see so many members there, and I am particularly grateful to the Honourable Chief Judge Kidd, who was also in attendance. The connection between health and wellbeing and good conduct and practise at the Bar is now well documented, and this film can assist us all to understand those connections. It may even change behaviour. Once again, I extend my congratulations to all involved. Members can view the film here.

On Thursday, Liz Bennett S.C. and I met with Rachel Walsh to discuss delays in the listing of matters at VCAT, particularly in the Review and Regulation List. I encourage members who may be having similar experiences to contact either Liz or me.

Some members may be aware of an email circulated last week about correspondence the Bar Council has had with the Chief Justice regarding the silks’ fund. While it is premature and inappropriate to discuss the Chief Justice’s correspondence, I do need to correct inaccuracies in the email with respect to the proposal to establish a childcare facility in the space previously occupied by Dominos in Owen Dixon Chambers West.

There has been no decision by Bar Council to allocate any part of the silks’ fund. Bar Council has resolved to only proceed in that regard after proper consultation with members, which will occur when the criteria for the use of the fund is better understood. 

A childcare facility for use by barristers was first proposed and explored by Bar Council in 2009. In 2022, when the Dominos space became available, the Bar Council established a Creche Feasibility Working Group and commissioned an expert feasibility report funded by BCL, which concluded that the space was viable as a childcare facility. The report recommended that specialist architects be engaged to determine how many children could be accommodated in the space. In June 2023, in accordance with that recommendation, the Bar Council approved the expenditure of $3,700 (plus GST) to obtain a ‘concept design’. In addition, ‘ballpark’ quotes from builders for the capital works that would be required to make the space fit for purpose have been obtained, and there have been informal discussions between the Bar, BCL, and a commercial operator. Further, in March last year, BCL conducted a survey of members about their preferred use of the Dominos space. Over 40% of respondents to that survey indicated a preference for a childcare facility.

Based on the above and acknowledging that there is still much work to be done, we are confident that the project is feasible. Whether it can be achieved will ultimately be a matter for BCL. The project needs to be commercially viable because there is no intention for the childcare services to be subsidised by members.

Victorian Bar Dinner

All members should have received their email invitations for the Bar Dinner at the National Gallery of Victoria on Saturday, 18 May 2024. This is a reminder that tickets sell fast, and you have the option to purchase a single ticket or for a table of up to eight people. Our keynote speaker is the Honourable Justice Robert Beech-Jones. Click here to purchase tickets.

Victoria Legal Aid’s Equity and Diversity List

Next week, on Wednesday, 20 March, Victoria Legal Aid will conduct an information session for members about its Equitable Briefing Strategy and its pilot Equality and Diversity List. Members can register here to attend in person or online and will find the Equitable Briefing Strategy here.

Georgina Schoff KC

Vicbar News & Events
Victorian Bar Dinner

All members of the Bar and Judiciary are warmly invited to the Dinner on Saturday, 18 May 2024, 7:00pm at the National Gallery of Victoria. The event is black tie and will feature guest speaker The Honourable Justice Robert Beech-Jones, High Court of Australia.

Tickets for the event are now available. You can book individually, as a guest on an organised table, or as a table organiser.

Event: 2024 Victorian Bar Dinner

Date: Saturday, 18 May 2024
Time: 7:00pm for 7:30pm start

Venue: National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3006
Dress: Black Tie

Click here to purchase your ticket.

If you did not receive an invitation, please contact

Bar Library Survey

The Bar's Library Committee are seeking members feedback regarding the existing arrangements with the Law Library of Victoria. Members are encouraged to respond to the survey so the Bar can make an informed decision regarding its library collections, new acquisition practices, and funding allocation.

Click here to complete the survey.

Open Justice Project Survey

You are invited to participate in a survey regarding the Victorian Bar/Monash University Open Justice Project. The purpose of the survey is to review the demand for the Project and assess its awareness amongst barristers. The survey will also help identify steps that can be taken to increase the requests for assistance from barristers.

The survey will take approximately five minutes to complete and will be open until 5:00pm on Monday, 25 March 2024. Your participation in the survey would be greatly appreciated.

Please click here to complete the survey.


Reform of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights: what needs to change?

PRESENTED BY: The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and the Victorian Bar

Charter enthusiasts, Charter sceptics and regular users of the Charter are invited to an evening of Charter trivia, discussion of the Charter’s flaws and what should be done about them.

Your hosts will be Rob Hulls, the Attorney General who introduced the Charter in 2006, and the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner – Ro Allen – along with Quizmaster Elizabeth Bennett SC and Charter specialist Sarala Fitzgerald.

We will be joined by Charter academics Dr Julie Debeljak and Dr Bruce Chen and the Honourable Pamela Tate AM KC, who was Solicitor-General for the State of Victoria when the Charter was introduced. The event will be fully interactive and will draw on the knowledge and experience of all attendees.

Reform of the Charter is a major item on the VEOHRC’s agenda. This evening will provide attendees with direct input into the changes that the Commission will be advocating for in order to have a more effective Charter.

The night is also an opportunity for the VEOHRC to gain firsthand insights from users of the Charter and to understand the problems faced when litigating Charter rights using the current mechanisms.
Complain about the Charter no longer! Come along and contribute to Charter reform.

Places are limited, so register ASAP. The cost covers drinks and nibbles.

SPEAKERS: Rob Hulls, former Attorney-General Ro Allen, Commissioner Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission Elizabeth Bennett SC (Quizmaster)

DATE AND TIME: Thursday, 21 March 2024, 5:15pm – 7:15pm

VENUE: The Essoign Club Level 1, Owen Dixon Chambers East


Click here to register.

Expression of Interest – Victorian Legal Admissions Board

The Victorian Bar has been invited to nominate a representative to the Victorian Legal Admissions Board. The Victorian Legal Admissions Board is a statutory body which performs functions associated with the admission of lawyers in Victoria in accordance with the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014.

Members of VLAB serve for a period of three years. The next three-year term commences Thursday, 1 July 2024. A position description can be viewed here.

The Bar is calling for Expressions of Interest from members who wish to be nominated as the Bar’s representative on the Board. The Bar’s protocol for nomination and appointment of Vic Bar members to external bodies can be viewed here.

To assist the Bar Council in selecting the best candidate for the position, your expression of interest should identify any relevant areas of experience or expertise.  Please also include a copy of your current curriculum vitae.

Please direct any enquiries or expressions of interest to Sharni Doherty at

The closing date for Expressions of Interest is 5:00pm, Thursday 21 March 2023.

Victorian Law Week 2024 – Interested in hosting an event?

Law Week is scheduled for Monday, 20 May, to Sunday, 26 May 2024.

The Victoria Law Foundation is now accepting proposals for events.

The Victorian Bar is a sponsor of Law Week, and we are seeking members and committees interested in hosting an event.

If you have a great idea for an event that will improve the Victorian community’s understanding of the law or the legal system, let us know by emailing the Victorian Bar team at

Lawyers Mediation Certificate Course

Mediation is an essential part of the justice system, with a great many litigated matters being referred to mediation. Barristers and law professionals wishing to become an accredited mediator under the National Mediator Accreditation System can register for the Lawyers Mediation Certificate (LMC) six-day course (on 17-19 May & 24-26 May 2024) here. Places are limited.

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

BCL Updates
  • Access Pass Reader Upgrades: Over the past seven months, BCL has been upgrading access pass readers across all buildings, with final upgrades to take place at Owen Dixon Chambers East, Owen Dixon Chambers West, and Douglas Menzies Chambers by 15 March 2024, see below for what barristers need to do:
    • Barristers in BCL chambers: You will have already received an updated blue Salto 'fob' or White Salto 'dot' for these locations. If you already have a pre-existing 'fob' or 'dot' this will be programmed by BCL automatically.
    • Barristers without BCL chambers: As your current access passes will no longer work, click here to submit a request for a new access pass, which can be picked up from the BCL Service Desk (8:30am to 5:30pm) or delivered to your clerk.
  • Direct Debit Payments: As previously communicated, Victorian Bar members who do not have chambers with BCL are required to pay via direct debit for technology services. Click here to register for direct debit.
  • 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.

  • Ethics Update is on Monday, 18 March 2024, from 5:15pm to 6:15pm. In this seminar, the speakers will address a variety of topics, including: the duty not to mislead the Court by omission; junior counsel's independent duty to the Court; devilling; Family Law Act s 102NA retainers; when confidential information may be disclosed without the client's consent; the position of barristers who are former Judges' associates; and when a brief may be returned for non-payment of fees. This is an online only event. Click here to RSVP.
  • New Commercial Court Practice Note is on Monday, 18 March 2024, from 5:00pm to 6:00pm. The new Commercial Court Practice Note introduces significant reforms for pre-trial and trial management. This seminar will focus on the key changes and the role of barristers in discharging their duties and obligations to the court and clients in light of those changes. This is an in-person event only. Click here to RSVP.
  • CBA CPD and Networking Event is on Thursday, 21 March 2024 from 2:15pm to 6:00pm. The Criminal Bar Association is pleased to invite you to a CPD and Networking Afternoon on 21 March 2024 and the topics discussed will be Cyber Security, Sentence Indications, and the Amendments to the Bail Act 1977. For more information, please see the flyer. Click here to RSVP.
  • Risky Business: Isles & Nelissen & considerations in parenting cases involving allegations of unacceptable risk is on Tuesday, 26 March 2024, from 5:15pm to 6:15pm. This CPD will review the decision in Isles & Nelissen [2022] FedCFam1A 97 and subsequent decisions which apply the law arising while discussing practical ways to approach unacceptable risk cases. This is an online only event. Click here to RSVP.

For more upcoming CPD events, please visit our listings here.

Vicbar Life
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
Celebrating excellence in judicial administration

On Friday, 1 March 2024, the Judicial College of Victoria’s Judicial Information Advisor, Matthew Weatherson, was presented with the 2023 Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration (AIJA) Award for Excellence in Judicial Administration.

In a ceremony held at the Judicial College of Victoria, AIJA President Justice Murray Aldridge presented Matthew with the award, celebrating his work in developing judicial precedent builders, a digital resource that streamlines the preparation of jury directions.

Read more

Mediator Standards Board | Update on the NMAS Review Process

The Board has released an update on the NMAS Review Process. Please click here for more information.

Richard Griffith Library – onsite librarians

Law Library Victoria librarians Nadine and Alissa are onsite at the Richard Griffith Library weekly. They can introduce you to expert commentary, guide you to practical resources, and connect you to the right information.

Three onsite computers in the library provide you with access to the same online legal resources as the judiciary.

Staffed hours at the Richard Griffith Library are:

Wednesdays, 9:00am - 11:00am

Thursdays, 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Contact the Library anytime during business hours on 8600 2009 or with queries about access or resources.

Profession CPD & Events
Mechanisms in the ART Bill to thwart Robodebt-type Maladministration

Date: Monday, 18 March 2024

Time: 5:00pm – 6:15pm AEDT

Place: Online and at Court No 1, Level 8, Federal Court, 305 William Street, Melbourne – this is a free event and a link will be provided prior

On 7 December 2023, the Commonwealth Attorney-General introduced into the Federal Parliament the Administrative Review Tribunal Bill 2023 and the Administrative Review Tribunal (Consequential and Transitional Provisions No. 1) Bill 2023. When enacted, the Bills will abolish the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and replace it with the Administrative Review Tribunal.

Click here for more information and to register.

Information session for VicBar members about Victoria Legal Aid’s Equity and Diversity List

Victoria Legal Aid invites VicBar members to attend an information session about their pilot Equity and Diversity List, which will be launching on Tuesday, 26 March.

As part of VLA’s Equitable Briefing Strategy, the pilot Equity and Diversity List will assist lawyers in finding and prioritising diverse counsel for legally aided matters.

VicBar members are invited to hear more about the list ahead of its public launch, including how the list will work and who can opt-in.

Information session details:

Date: 5:00pm, Wednesday, 20 March

Location: Neil McPhee Room, Level 1, Owen Dixon Chambers East and online via Microsoft Teams

Presenters: VLA Chief Counsel, Julia Munster and a Representative from the Victoria Bar Council

Registration: Register to attend the session in person or online

For further information contact

United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – 21 March 2023

Sharing stories: Culturally diverse experiences in the legal system.

The Filipino Australian Lawyers Association (FALAW) in collaboration with the Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) invite you to attend a panel discussion hosted by Jayr Teng, barrister, Vice President of FALAW, and committee member of AALA.

The event marks the United Nation International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Join us for an enlightening and thought-provoking event, "Sharing Stories" where we will celebrate cultural diversity and explore the lived experiences of individuals within the justice system. Through a dynamic panel discussion, our esteemed speakers will share their personal stories, challenges, and triumphs, offering valuable insights into the complexities of navigating the legal landscape from diverse perspectives.

Click here for more information and to register.

Expert Determination Accreditation Course | 21-22 March 2024 | Online

Learn about expert determination, mastering the entire process from appointment to publication.

This course is designed for individuals seeking a deeper understanding of expert determination, including those considering becoming expert determiners & those already practicing who wish to refine their skills.

  • This course aims to:
    Advance the knowledge and understanding of the practice of expert determination in the dispute resolution and wider community.
  • Provide participants with a practical understanding of the process and legal requirements for the conduct of the expert determination.
  • Assess participants on the practice of expert determination and the writing of a reasoned determination.
  • Provide a pathway for Resolution Institute members to be listed on Resolution Institute’s Register of Practicing Expert Determiners.

Click here for more information and to register.

​​​​​​​Allen Hope Southey Memorial Public Lecture 2024

Allen Hope Southey Memorial Public Lecture 2024

Knowing Receipt, Fiduciary Duties, and Equitable Interests in Property

Presented by Prof. Charles Mitchell KC FBA, University College London

Liability for knowing receipt is incurred when defendants receive legal title to trust property with unconscionable knowledge that the trustee was not authorised to transfer it to them. Liability is also incurred when defendants receive property from other people who act beyond limits enforceable in equity that are placed on their powers to transfer legal title, e.g., company directors and administrators of a deceased person’s estate. It is often said that claimants must show that the property was transferred ‘in breach of fiduciary duty’. However, this is confusing because courts often use this term in two different senses – to denote either a duty to avoid conflicts of interest or a duty of due administration (meaning a duty to comply with the terms on which a power has been given to control and dispose of property). Confusion has also been caused by findings that a claimant must have had an ‘equitable interest’ in the relevant property that was not destroyed before, or at the time of, a defendant’s receipt. The problem with this is that the juridical content of the claimant’s ‘interest’ has not been clearly defined. The lecture will examine both sets of problems and suggest some solutions.

Date & Time:  Wednesday, 27 March, 6:00pm - 7:00pm AEDT
LocationTheatre G08, Ground floor, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham St, Carlton  

Registration: Here

Artificial Intelligence and the Courts – Master or Servant

The National Judicial College of Australia is hosting a Symposium in Canberra on Saturday, 6 - Sunday, 7 April 2024.

Join us for this important Symposium and hear from senior judges, barristers, lawyers, and experts in their field.

Click here for more information.

Careers & Opportunities
Expressions of Interest – Republic of Nauru

The Republic of Nauru (Republic) is seeking expressions of interest from qualified barristers to assist its Refugee Status Determination (RSD) team with the determination of applications made pursuant to Part 2 of the Refugees Convention Act 2012 (Nr).

The Republic wishes to enter into ‘Terms of Engagement’ with a pool of suitable candidates, who may then be called upon (‘engaged’) to perform the role of ‘RSD Assessment Officer’ on behalf of the Department of Multicultural Affairs of the Republic, in relation to an allocation of applications.  Counsel will only be engaged as their availability allows and will:

  • Conduct initial consideration of applications as allocated
  • Prepare for and conduct any necessary interviews, including RSD interviews, supported by relevant permanent RSD staff
  • Liaise with relevant permanent RSD staff in relation to any necessary follow-up communication or correspondence with applicants and/or their representatives
  • Draft written statements of determination in respect of applications as allocated for consideration by the Secretary for Multicultural Affairs (Secretary)
  • Liaise with relevant permanent RSD staff in relation to any alterations, amendments, or further work required by the Secretary in relation to a draft determination

Travel to Nauru will be required for the conduct of RSD interviews.  It is anticipated that counsel would travel to Nauru once per allocation, to conduct RSD interviews for all applications within that particular allocation.  The costs of travel to and accommodation in Nauru will be met by the Republic.

Counsel will receive a fixed amount for each completed determination.

The following matters will be viewed favourably:

  • Qualifications and/or experience drafting and/or making administrative decisions
  • Qualifications and/or experience in refugee and international law

Expressions of interest should be sent to Francine Audoa at no later than 22 March 2024.  Enquiries, including a request for a phone conversation, may be sent to the same address.

Recruitment of Specialist Registrars in VCAT’s Planning & Environment Division

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal is seeking two experienced legal or planning professionals to assist with the case management of applications in its Planning and Environment Division.

To see the roles, please click here and here.

Expressions of Interest – Examiner

The Attorney-General, the Hon Jaclyn Symes MP, and the Minister for Police, the Hon Anthony Carbines MP, seek expressions of interest from suitably qualified individuals for appointment as an Examiner.

Examiners are appointed under the Major Crime (Investigative Powers) Act 2004 (Vic) (the Act). The role of the Examiner is to prepare and conduct examinations of witnesses in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

Experience in criminal law, administrative law, an understanding of law enforcement investigative methodologies and previous experience dealing with information subject to stringent secrecy provisions is required. A demonstrated capacity to examine or cross-examine witnesses is also required. The position of Examiner also requires a high level of integrity, sound judgement, and exceptional interpersonal and communication skills. 

The salary range for this position is $279,239 to $401,091, inclusive of superannuation.

Applications close Sunday, 17 March 2024.

Click here for more information and to apply. 

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, 21st March 2024