In Brief Issue #1145

Georgina Schoff KC

On Monday, Anthony Strahan KC, members of the Bar Office, and I met with the VLSB Commissioner, Fiona McLeay, and VLSB policy manager, Michelle Marfurt, to discuss the changes to the Bar Exam and Readers’ Course. While the Victorian Bar has the necessary delegated power to make the changes, the VLSB+C takes a keen interest in how we exercise that delegation. We discussed the proposal to shorten the Readers’ Course and deliver some of the current course content later during the reading period when readers have commenced practice as barristers. We are very grateful to Ms McLeay and the VLSB for their careful consideration of the changes that we are making. 

On Tuesday morning, members of the executive and I attended a morning tea hosted by the Equality & Diversity Committee to celebrate the end of Ramadan. It was lovely to catch up over a coffee and a baclava with our colleagues.

Prescribed Sexual Harassment & Bullying Awareness training was held on Wednesday evening and was, I hope, an engaging experience for all who attended. The next training session will be held on Tuesday, 25 June 2024. You can register here.

Last night, Bar Council made a number of decisions that were necessary to implement the changes to the Bar Exam. We formally appointed the members of the Exam Committee and approved its charter. We are grateful to those who have agreed to serve, particularly given the work that will be required to oversee the very substantial changes to the exam format and content. The Committee is chaired by Christopher Archibald KC, and the judicial member is the Honourable Justice Kristen Walker. A full list of committee members and a copy of the charter can be seen here. Bar Council also approved protocols to govern applications by those who have failed an Exam paper on more than three occasions, applications by those who require assistance or flexibility with respect to payment of the Readers’ Course fee and applications to defer a place in the Readers’ Course.

Bar Council will consider the necessary changes to the Readers’ Course and reading rules at its next meeting on 21 May 2024, by which time we will have received comprehensive advice from the Readers’ Course Committee. Last night, however, we considered the feedback that we have received to date about the 5-Year Panel Report suggestions for tightening up the reading requirements.

Last night, we also discussed at length the feedback that we have received from a number of more junior members of our Bar about how the changes that we have resolved to make to the Exam might impact upon them, particularly if we were to move to three Readers’ Courses per year.

We do not yet know what effect the changes to the Exam will have on demand for places in the Readers’ Course. And whilst we have determined to increase the capacity of the two shorter courses that will be offered, we do not intend to run a third course next year. Rather, the changes we are making will allow the Bar to offer a third course from time to time. This will address the ‘overhang’ issues that have troubled Bar Councils for some years now.

Finally, last evening we decided to conform with the Australian Guide to Legal Citation, authorised by the High Court of Australia and issued by the University of Melbourne, to drop the stops in the postnominals ‘S.C.’. This change in style means that we will also now conform to the Australian Government Style Manual and will bring Victoria into line with NSW. The change is timely, given the current rebuild of the Bar’s website. If you have recently purchased new stationery, do not be overly concerned - a search of the Bar’s current website demonstrates that there are already varied styles adopted by our SCs.

Our committees and associations continue to do impressive work. The Law Council of Australia was particularly grateful for the Victorian Bar’s response to the Federal Government’s Migration Amendment (Removal and Other Measures) Bill 2024, which was the work of the Criminal Bar Association and the Migration Law Bar Association.  A copy of the LCA submission can be found here.


Members will have been delighted to learn this week of the appointment of the Honourable Justice Rowena Orr as a Judge of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria. I will advise you when the details of the welcome ceremony are available.

The Governor in Council has appointed Alistair Pound SC as the next Solicitor-General of Victoria, commencing on 23 April 2024. On behalf of the Bar, I congratulate them both.

Flu Shots

A reminder to book your annual flu vaccinations that will be administered in Owen Dixon Chambers East (ODCE) on Wednesday, 29 May, and Thursday, 30 May 2024. Bookings must be made online via the iMedical website. Instructions on how to book are here. You must be logged into the VicBar website to download the instructions.

Georgina Schoff KC

Vicbar News & Events
Appointment — The Honourable Justice Rowena Orr

Supreme Court of Victoria
Court of Appeal

The Honourable Chief Justice Anne Ferguson has advised that the Executive Council has appointed Rowena Jane Orr KC as a Judge of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria, effective 18 April 2024.

Details of the welcome ceremony will be advised when they are known.

Appointment — Alistair Pound SC

Solicitor-General of Victoria

The Governor in Council has today appointed Alistair Pound SC as the next Solicitor-General of Victoria, commencing on 23 April 2024.

Mr Pound signed the Bar Roll in May 2005 and read with the Honourable Justice Stephen McLeish. Prior to that, he was associate to the Honourable Justice Ken Hayne of the High Court of Australia and a solicitor and senior associate in the litigation and dispute resolution group at Mallesons Stephen Jaques (now King & Wood Mallesons) from 1998 to 2005.

Mr Pound took silk in 2020. He is a former Bar Council member and has served on numerous committees, including as Chair of the Human Rights Committee.

Obituary — Arthur William Adams KC

Bar Roll No.: 750

It is with deep regret that the Bar informs members of the death of Arthur William Adams KC. Arthur attended Xavier College and then Melbourne University before signing the Bar Roll on 22 April 1965 and reading with the Honourable Kenneth Joseph Jenkinson.  He had five Readers, Timothy Doherty, William Calanchini, Reginald Egan, Grant Fraser and Kerry Clancy, and was appointed silk on 05 December 1995.

Arthur, who was affectionately known as the "Towering Inferno" had an extensive practise in Plaintiff's personal injuries, particularly on circuit.  He appeared in the County and Supreme Courts on the Geelong circuit for over 50 years.  For much of this time, he led Philip Misso (later Judge Misso of the County Court).  At his Honour's Welcome, when Arthur was asked for some humorous anecdotes about his Honour, he responded ".. there are none, he wasn't allowed to be funny - that was my role".

Named the "Towering Inferno" in part because of his significant physical stature and in part because of his at times robust and passionate form of advocacy, he was one of the Bar's leading jury advocates for decades.

In 2015 he was named a Bar Legend which was a fitting recognition of his contribution to the Bar.  He was one of the great characters of the Bar, the likes of whom we are unlikely to see again.

He had  a life-long passion for rowing.  He was a member of the Mercantile Rowing Club for over 60 years and also a member of the Melbourne University Boat Club for a similar period.  He rowed Masters until the mid-2000's.

Arthur was also an enthusiastic cross-country skier and trout fisherman.

He will be dearly missed by his wife Alison (née Bennett); children Alice, Lilly and Arthur; and eight grandchildren. 

Practising Certificate & Professional Indemnity Insurance Renewal – 2024/25

The LPLC portal went live in early April 2024 for LPLC Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) renewal. PII premiums are required to be paid by Friday 31 May 2024, members are now encouraged to renew online on the LPLC website and the  LSB Online Portal to complete your PC renewal. Please note: You must complete both your PII insurance and your LSB Online application for your PC to renew and issue.

Information on renewing practising certificates can be found on the VicBar website here.

Links for online lodgement are available at LSB Online and for the LPLC.

Please log in to LSB Online and the LPLC renewal portal using your Practitioner Number as the username (your Practitioner Number will be included in the email sent to you by the VLSB+C). LSB Online deals with all PC administrative matters, and there is no printed PC renewal form. If you have forgotten your password, you can reset this on the LSB Online login screen by selecting ‘forgot password’. You will receive an email to reset your password.

If you experience technical difficulties with LSB Online, please contact the VLSB+C via their lawyer enquiry form. Frequently asked questions and LSB Online user guides can also be found here.

Should you require assistance renewing your PC, the Victorian Bar office can help you, and members who need assistance should email or contact Daphne Ioannidis on (03) 9225 8326 or Mark Bryant on (03) 9225 7105.

Annual flu shots for Bar Members

The Victorian Bar is offering members the annual flu vaccination in Owen Dixon Chambers East on Wednesday, 29 May, and Thursday, 30 May 2024.

Bookings must be made online via the iMedical website. Instructions on how to book are here. You must be logged into the VicBar website to download the instructions.

There are a limited number of appointments available to Bar members from iMedical, and they will be allocated on a first-in, first-served basis.

For those individuals aged 65 years and over, an enhanced version of the flu vaccine is available. Please make a booking with your GP or chemist.

Victorian Bar Dinner

All members of the Bar and Judiciary are warmly invited to the Dinner on Saturday, 18 May 2024, at 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 library’s existing facilities and resources, as well as 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.

The survey will close on Tuesday, 30 April 2024.

Click here to complete the survey.

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.

Law Week 2024

Cross Examining a Barrister – Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Hosted by the Student Engagement Committee and Indigenous Justice Committee of the Victorian Bar, this event gives students the opportunity to have their questions on the path to becoming a barrister and what barristers do answered by a live panel of members of the Victorian Bar. It is an opportunity for students to discover the ethical considerations of being a barrister and gain insight into the profession’s nuances and responsibilities. Learn about the path to becoming a barrister, what a barrister does, and more.

The panel will take place at 1:00pm in the Neil McPhee Room, Owen Dixon Chambers East, to register to attend click here.

Lawyers on Film – Thursday, 23 May 2024

The Victorian Bar presents a Panel + Q & A session: “Lawyers on Film”. The panel comprises documentary film director Daryl Dellora and barrister John Ribbands. Daryl is the writer and director of law related documentaries including ‘Mr. Neal Is Entitled To Be An Agitator’, ‘The Highest Court’, ‘Michael Kirby - Don't Forget The Justice Bit’ and ’ The Search For The Palace Letters’. His work has given him unusual access to legal personalities and the courts, including the High Court of Australia. John Ribbands was counsel in the Brett Whiteley art fraud trial in the Victorian Supreme Court and is featured in the two-part documentary, The Whiteley Art Scandal.

The panel will take place at 5:30pm in the Peter O’Callaghan QC Gallery, to register to attend click here.

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.

  • Mediators Discussion Group is on Tuesday, 23 April 2024, from 1:00pm to 2:00pm. This seminar will focus on pre-mediation intake sessions and will explore topics such as what types of issues may arise? How to approach these sessions? What can be done if one party does not wish to participate in an intake session. This is an in-person event for barristers and will also be available online via Zoom. Click here to RSVP.
  • Family Law Amendment Act Changes is on Wednesday, 1 May 2024, from 5:15pm to 6:15pm. The seminar will involve a discussion of the upcoming changes, how counsel might make submissions in line with the legislative amendments, and also how counsel might deal with cases that commenced prior to the changes. This is an in-person event and will also be available online via livestream. Click here to RSVP.
  • Drug and Alcohol Treatment Court Pilot: Learnings and Reflections is on Monday, 6 May 2024, from 5:15pm to 6:30pm. The Criminal Bar Association is pleased to host DATC judicial officers, lawyers and members of the treatment team to share learnings and reflections from the County Court of Victoria Drug and Alcohol pilot, and assist members to better understand this unique sentencing option. This session is also open to criminal law solicitors. This is an in-person event and will also be available online via livestream. Click here to RSVP.

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

Vicbar Life
Bar Dads' Billiards Night

Bar Dads is hosting its inaugural Billiards Night.

When: Wednesday, 24 April
When: 5:00pm -7:00pm
Where: RACV City Club Billiards Room (501 Bourke St on the Chancery Level)

Please register here by 4:00pm on Tuesday, 23 April.

Food and drinks can be purchased at the adjacent Carbine Bar on the night.

RACV City Club Dress Code applies.

To join the Bar Dads WhatsApp group, please contact:

Studio 11 — Dr Lucila Zentner Exhibition

Surrender, a solo exhibition by artist Dr Lucila Zentner, comprises 28 rich, colourful, generous, joyous works – all of which are for sale with all proceeds going to the artist.  Dr Zentner, based in Sydney, is an award winning painter and has been a finalist in many competitions with her signature oil paintings. Studio 11 is delighted to show and share her works to the vicbar audience and friends until 28 June at Level 11 ODCEast. Make a plan to visit and enjoy the body of work. 

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 Catering & Events Package 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
Change in Referral Process for Alcohol and Other Drug Assessments

Court Support Services (CISP and ARC) have advised of changes to the referral process for alcohol and other drug (AoD) services. 

From Wednesday, 10 April 2024, referrals to the Australian Community Support Organisation (ACSO) for AoD assessments will be placed on hold until 30 June 2024. This step is being taken because ACSO’s 2023/24 funding envelope has now been fully allocated for this financial year.  

CISP and ARC participants will still receive:

  • Case management by CISP or ARC case managers.  Case managers meet with participants regularly and use motivational interviewing and other tools and strategies to support participants to gain control of substance use and build their readiness to engage with the right treatment.
  • Referrals to community AoD services.  Case managers will make referrals directly to AoD services in the community.
  • Funded support in certain circumstances.  In some cases where funding is required for additional or more urgent treatment, Court Support Services has some brokerage funding that can be used.

There will be no impact on the ability of CISP and ARC to provide support to address all other identified needs, including homelessness, mental health, specialist assessment and all other support provided by case managers.  

If you have any questions, please reach out to Amelia Howard at


Richard Griffith Library

This is a friendly reminder that the library is a valuable legal resource for all barristers. We offer a wide variety of materials for your use, but there are a few important points to keep in mind:

  • Books for in-library use: Our collection of books is available for browsing and reading within the library. To ensure everyone has access, please remember that books cannot be taken outside the library.
  • Free photocopying: Need a copy of something? We offer free photocopying services.

Missing Books

Unfortunately, we've noticed a number of books missing from the shelves, including some key titles. We kindly ask that you return any library materials you may have borrowed as soon as possible. This ensures everyone has access to the information they need.

Thank you for your cooperation and continued support of the library.

Profession CPD & Events
Melbourne Law School — Upcoming Events

Melbourne Law School is pleased to present the following free public law lectures in May 2024:

Melbourne University Law Review Annual Lecture, Hosted by MLS
‘Punishment and Responsibility: An Assessment of Moral Culpability in Sentencing’

Presented by The Hon. Justice Karin Emerton, President of the Court of Appeal

Sentencing is based on a conception of people as rational, autonomous actors. However, day to day, judges are tasked with sentencing offenders whose capacity to exercise appropriate judgment and make calm and rational choices is compromised - even though they are considered criminally responsible. The notion of a rational and responsible agent as the touchstone for assessing culpability often leads to a heavy reliance on expert psychological evidence. However, this arguably reductive analysis of culpability through the lens of psychologism is not necessarily well adapted to dealing with the reality of structural disadvantage in the criminal justice system.

The lecture will examine two ways the courts have sought to manage these difficulties consistently with the principle of individualised justice: principles for the mitigation of moral culpability (R v Verdins) and the principles articulated in Bugmy v The Queen.

Date & time: Thursday, 2 May 2024 from 6:00pm – 7:00pm. Welcome refreshments and networking from 5:00pm in the ground foyer.
Location: Theatre G08, Ground floor - Melbourne Law School.
Information and registration: Please click here


Jim Carlton Integrity Lecture 2024
‘The Urgency of Ethical Challenges Facing the World’
Presented by Professor Raimond Gaita

Introduction by The Hon. Barry Jones AC:
Raimond Gaita (1946- ) is an outstanding, but controversial, moral philosopher who agonises over the state of the world. Born in Germany, son of Romulus Gaita, a Romanian metal worker, and Christine Dorr, a German teacher, his family migrated to Australia in 1950, and he grew up in central Victoria. Educated in Ballarat and Melbourne, he held chairs in moral philosophy at the Australian Catholic University and King’s College, London. His memoir Romulus, My Father (1998) won many awards and became an internationally admired film in 2007. Justice and Hope (2023) is an important collection of his writings.

An English philosopher wrote of him:
“Those who are already familiar with Raimond Gaita’s work will not easily forget the seriousness with which he confronts his readers with stark examples of evil, and then with luminous examples of love and goodness – a confrontation that both elicits and challenges the real responses that give expression to our moral thinking, and a seriousness that exposes the shallowness of much moral theory and its remoteness from lived experience”

Prof. Gaita: The most important moral challenges facing humanity, I believe, are the climate crisis, war in which nuclear weapons may be used, and the increasing fragility of democratic forms of government. I wrote the following in the preface to Justice and Hope:
“We have now far more reason to fear for the world than we had when I expressed that fear almost twenty years ago in an essay “Justice and Hope”. That is why I have dedicated the book that carries the name of that essay to my grandchildren, which, implicitly, is to all young people”

Within the book, I wrote:
“More and more, I fear, knowledge of affliction and cruelty will test their understanding of what it means to share a common humanity with all the peoples of the earth, and to a degree almost too awful to imagine, their faith that the world is a good world despite the suffering and the evil in it. What can sustain that faith? I believe there are few questions more urgently in need of sober realism in their formulation and in the answers offered to them”

Those questions continue to haunt me. The epigraph of Justice and Hope (2023) is a quote from Albert Camus: “I chose justice to remain faithful to the world.”

In this lecture, I will try to explain why, of the many forms of justice, this is the deepest.

Date & time: Wednesday, 8 May 2024 from 6:30pm – 7:30pm.
Location: Theatre G08, Ground floor - Melbourne Law School
Information and registration: Please click here

Science and Medicine in the Courts: Learnings from the Wrongful Conviction of Kathleen Folbigg

Seminar hosted by: The Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences (Victorian Chapter), in partnership with Monash Law, Griffith University and the University of New South Wales.

Date: Friday, 10 May 2024.

Time: 12:30 – 6:00pm (Registration at 12:45pm).

Venue: Monash Law Chambers, 555 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne Vic, 3000.

Fee: No cost.

RSVP: Registration by 3 May 2024.  For registration, click here.

For program information, click here.

Melbourne Catholic Lawyers’ Association Breakfast with Guest Speaker

The Melbourne Catholic Lawyers’ Association invites members of the Bar to a breakfast at the Essoign on Tuesday, 14 May 2024.

Deacon George Piech Meat will be speaking on Navigating Justice: The Struggles of South Sudanese youth in the Victorian Justice System.

Since the 1980s, 30,000 South Sudanese people have migrated to Australia, with the largest number settling in Melbourne. Unfortunately, South Sudanese are now over represented in the criminal justice system, and tend to have worse outcomes. The shame of young offenders, and the distress of family and friends, is often exacerbated by hostile media coverage.

Deacon George Piech Meat is himself a South Sudanese refugee and has been working with the community for many years, especially in prison ministry.

All are welcome to join us for this breakfast. For more information and to book, click here.

Human Rights Law Trans-Tasman Conference

The Human Rights Law Trans-Tasman Conference is on 12-13 August 2024 in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Click here to view the flyer and click here to register.

Careers & Opportunities
Judicial Registrar Vacancy – Common Law – Expressions of Interest

Expressions of interest are sought for the Judicial Registrar - Common Law Division position at the Supreme Court of Victoria. Expressions of interest are sought for the Judicial Registrar - Common Law Division position at the Supreme Court of Victoria.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, the Honourable Anne Ferguson, seeks expressions of interest from qualified persons for appointment as a Judicial Registrar of the Supreme Court.

Judicial Registrars are members of the Court, appointed by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Attorney-General. All expressions of interest are treated confidentially.

The position is located in Melbourne. Read the position description for further information.

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, 24th April 2024