On 17 April 1958—60 years ago next Tuesday—a young, talented and principled advocate signed the Bar Roll as member number 576. Thus began the career of the Hon George Hampel AM QC, who went on, among many other things, to be a judge of the Supreme Court from 1983 to 2000, the Chairman and Founder of the Australian Advocacy Institute, and an adjunct professor at Monash Law School.
Today, however, I want to reflect upon George’s contribution to the teaching of advocacy at the Victorian Bar, which dates back to before the introduction of our readers’ course in March 1980. The readers’ course was the first of its kind in Australia and its introduction was controversial—there was a view at the time that advocacy could not be taught. George has dispelled that myth, not only here but throughout the common law world and further afield. George has taught more than 89% of our currently practising members. His contribution was honoured by the Bar last year with the establishment of the George Hampel Gallery—the area outside the Neil McPhee room on level 1 of Owen Dixon East where our readers and members more broadly congregate on a daily basis. A fitting tribute to an extraordinary contribution. Happy 60th anniversary for next Tuesday, George.
My presidential responsibilities this week were particularly onerous. On Tuesday it was my solemn duty to sample the proposed food and wine for the 2018 Bar Dinner, which will be held on 25 May at the Plaza Ballroom on Collins St. Rest assured, it was all delicious. While in the Plaza Ballroom, my mind naturally wandered back to the last time the dinner was held at the venue, on Saturday 2 June 2001. On that occasion, my predecessor as President of the Bar, Jennifer Batrouney QC, was Madam Junior Silk. À propos of nothing, here is a photo from the winter 2001 edition of the Victorian Bar News. Invitations for this year’s dinner will be sent out this week—don’t miss out.
Among other engagements this week, I met with the President of the Law Institute of Victoria, the Chair of the Wellbeing and the Law Foundation and others to discuss wellbeing in the judiciary and in the profession more broadly, and ways in which we might be able better to coordinate information and responses to the serious issues posed by stress in the practice of the law.
It was also a pleasure yesterday to attend the inaugural meeting of the Bar’s LGBTI working group, which has an ambitious agenda to develop resources and improve support for our LGBTI members.
I encourage our early-career members to showcase the Bar’s excellence in research by applying for the LCA Business Law Section scholarships and the Baxt Prize. Three $5,000 scholarships are available: the Gaire Blunt Scholarship for papers in the field of competition law, the Forsyth Pose Scholarship for papers in the field of taxation law, and the Santow Scholarship for papers in the field of corporations law. The $7,500 Baxt Prize is for the best paper based on the topic of penalties in corporate and commercial regulation. See the notices (below) for details.