Avid readers of In Brief (you know who you are) will recall that, last month, the Victorian Bar Foundation, partnering with the City of Hume, recognised the top performers in year 11 Legal Studies from 16 schools in the Hume City Council area, which spans a large sweep of northern Melbourne, including Broadmeadows, Craigieburn and Sunbury. Sixteen winners were awarded a cash prize of $1,500, and a total of 48 students have been offered a personal mentoring opportunity with members of counsel, to assist them in assessing a possible future career at the Victorian Bar. Tonight, all winners, and their mentors, will be attending an exclusive performance at the Melbourne Recital Centre where, in addition to the musical program, they will hear from the Foundation’s Patron, the Hon Justice Michelle Gordon.
This year’s winners are:
The winners represent a diverse cross-section of the community. Please make them welcome when you see them around chambers in coming weeks as they are mentored by our members
On Monday evening, my partner and I hosted the launch of the Barristers’ Consortium—an exciting initiative bringing together members of the Victorian Bar and the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts. The Festival’s Artistic Director, Jonathan Holloway, explained that the aim of the consortium is to provide a forum for barristers to contribute to civic discourse by supporting the Festival. In an inspiring speech, he showed how, with enough support, barristers could bring challenging and transformational works to Melbourne, and reinforce Melbourne’s position as one of the world’s most influential creative cities. The level of support from our members at the launch was, itself, inspiring. For more information and to join the consortium by making a tax-deductible donation, download this form or visit the Melbourne Festival site.
Congratulations go this week to Melinda Richards SC, Crown Counsel for the State of Victoria, on her appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria. The profession will extend a welcome at a ceremonial sitting of the Supreme Court on Thursday 10 May at 9.15am.
Congratulations also to the Honourable Justice Michelle Quigley, who has been appointed President of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Justice Quigley was appointed to the Supreme Court in December last year. Her Honour had practised as a barrister for nearly 30 years, including 15 years as Senior Counsel. Her Honour is the first woman to lead VCAT in its 21 year history.
I wish them both many years of satisfaction in service to the law in their new positions.
There are also two forthcoming farewells to add to your diaries: Justice Peter Vickery will be farewelled by the profession at 5pm on 8 May 2018; and Justice Mark Weinberg AO will be farewelled by the profession at 5pm on 9 May 2018. Both farewells will be in the Banco Court.
With Justice Richards’ appointment, there is a vacancy in the role of Crown Counsel for the State of Victoria. For those who may be interested in applying for the position, further information is available here.
One of the most rewarding aspects of being President is working together with others, pretty much every day, on projects to improve the standing of the Bar and opportunities for and the welfare of our members. All positions on Bar Council, its committees and working groups are voluntary, but such is the spirit of collegiality at the Bar that we are never short of members willing to lend their skills, experience and valuable time. The fact that 48 of our members have volunteered to be mentors to the winners of the Victorian Bar Foundation Student Achievement Awards is one example.
I was again reminded of the spirit of our members bright and early on Monday morning when, with some of my Bar Council colleagues, I reviewed the extraordinary number of exceptionally high quality expressions of interest received in response to the recent call for Bar Conciliators. Bar Conciliators will perform a vital role in providing advice to members and conciliating grievances under the Bar’s three new conduct policies. I thank all those who applied and regret that there can only be a limited number of opportunities. Appointments will be made by the Bar Council, likely at its meeting next Thursday.
The CPD event to introduce the new conduct policies, and report to members generally on issues of sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying, has been rescheduled for 7 May at 5.30pm
Time is running out to vote for the election of the barrister member of the Victorian Legal Services Board. There are three outstanding candidates: Jennifer Batrouney QC, Jason Harkess and Lisa Nichols QC. Statements by the candidates are available here. Voting closes on 9 May.