Vale Brian Collis QC and Brian Bourke AM
The Bar lost two legends this week—Brian Bourke AM and Brian Collis QC.
Brian Collis QC (Bar Roll number 839) died on Thursday 29 March at the age of 74, 50 years and eight days after signing the Bar Roll on 21 March 1968. It is a mark of the deep affection with which Brian is held that, when the Bar’s gift to mark the 50th anniversary of his having signed the Bar Roll arrived at his chambers in his absence, a colleague offered to deliver it in person to Brian at his home in Shoreham, together with some baby clothes for Brian’s new grandchild. Greens List’s moving tribute to Brian emphasises his “personal qualities of unwavering honesty, high integrity and sharp intelligence and his succinct, incisive style of advocacy”. The Bar’s obituary for Brian includes details as to the funeral service which will be held on Thursday 12 April.
Brian Bourke AM (Bar Roll number 612) died last Monday at the age of 88. At the time he retired in October last year, he had practised continuously for more than 57 years, likely the all-time record for a member of our Bar. Brian represented everything that is great about the Victorian Bar—public service, client service, commitment and fearlessness. For Brian, being a barrister was a vocation and a passion. An outstanding criminal barrister and an advocate for social justice, Brian was the founder of the Australian chapter of Amnesty International and the DOXA Youth Foundation. Brian was an inaugural Bar Legend in 1988. The Bar’s obituary may be read here. The funeral service is being held today at 1pm, but members may still have time to attend the wake at Richmond Football Club (Brunton Avenue entrance).
Vale the two Brians—each a connection to a time when our Bar was much smaller than it is today; a time when it was possible for everyone to know everyone. The Bar may be much bigger today—with more than 2,000 practising members—but our sense of collegiality and shared values are enduring.
2018 Bar Dinner
If you have not done so already, please mark the evening of 25 May in your diary for this year’s Bar Dinner. We have secured the ballroom at the Regent Theatre on Collins Street for the occasion—the ballroom last hosted our annual dinner in the millennium year. I am delighted to announce that our guest speakers will be the Honourable Chief Justice Susan Kiefel AC, Chief Justice of Australia, and our own Anne Hassan. Places are sure to sell quickly, so keep an eye out for invitations, which will be sent to members in the near future.
Good news stories for the Bar
It was a big week for the Victorian Bar in the broader community with prominent stories in The Australian, the Australian Financial Review and Lawyers Weekly highlighting aspects of our report on The State of the Victorian Bar, which was released last week. Lawyers Weekly also published a tribute to the late Brian Bourke.