The Chief Justice, the Hon Anne Ferguson, this week released details of the silk appointment process for 2018. Suitably experienced lawyers who are officers of the Supreme Court of Victoria are eligible to apply to the Chief Justice to be appointed to the office of Senior Counsel.
The process is different in some respects from that which has applied in recent years. The principal differences are that, this year:
The detailed process for the appointment of Senior Counsel in 2018 can be found here. The Chief Justice has published an important message for intending applicants, which can be found here. The application form is materially unchanged from last year and can be found here.
All members who are considering applying for silk this year, or in future years, are encouraged to attend a CPD Seminar on Tuesday 12 June at 5.15pm. The Hon Stephen Charles AO QC will join me to discuss the revised process and answer questions. More details in ‘Upcoming CPDs & Events’, below.
Applications will close on Thursday 5 July 2018 at 5pm.
Our ‘Wellbeing at the Victorian Bar’ survey is now live. Please take 8–10 minutes and complete the survey (you must be logged in to the Bar website to access the survey).
Your support is important. We aim to get at least 1,000 responses—we need comprehensive and meaningful data to help inform us about overall health at the Bar, and how to best direct our limited resources to support the health and wellbeing of our members. At last count, since ‘going live’ on Monday, nearly 400 members have completed the survey which is a great start, but we would like everyone to participate
Participation is entirely voluntary, your responses are completely anonymous and you cannot be identified in any way via the link. The survey is open until 2 July, but I urge you to complete it now.
The Bar issued two media releases this week.
In the first media release, I expressed concern, on behalf of the Bar, at recent media reports undermining the integrity of judges of the Family and Federal Circuit Courts in coverage concerning the federal government’s proposed restructure of those courts.
In the second media release, I criticised recent inaccurate media reports concerning decisions of the AAT reviewing administrative decisions cancelling or refusing visas on character grounds.
As I said in both media releases, scrutiny of courts and tribunals is healthy—indeed vital—in a robust democracy, but there is no place for ill-founded criticism of judges or tribunal members. As members would expect, the Victorian Bar remains steadfast in its commitment to defending the independence of the judiciary and upholding the rule of law.
The Barristers’ Consortium—a collaboration with the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts—hosted a “mini preview” of a work the Festival hopes to bring to Melbourne. Flight, based on Caroline Brothers’ 2012 novel Hinterland, tells the epic journey of two orphaned brothers who flee Afghanistan with their small inheritance stitched into their clothes. Our goal for the Consortium is to facilitate, via philanthropic support, the presentation of art works that challenge, provoke and inspire, and that have the potential to drive a change in public discourse in areas about which members of the Bar are passionate. Members interested in joining the Barristers’ Consortium and contributing to that objective can find more information here. Support from members of the Bar to date has been remarkable, but if you have not done so yet, it is not too late to sign up and become part of this innovative fusion of the arts and law.
The profession will extend a Welcome to Michael Cahill SC in a ceremonial sitting of the County Court on Friday 15 June at 9.15am, and to Magistrate Tara Hartnett at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 28 June 2018.
The profession will extend farewell to the Hon Justice Robert Osborn at a ceremonial sitting of the Supreme Court on Thursday 21 June at 5pm, and to the Hon Justice Lasry at a ceremonial sitting of the Supreme Court on Friday 22 June 2018 at 5:00 pm.
It is with deep regret that the Bar Council informs members of the death of Michael Kevin Connolly, retired Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Michael was 73 years old. The Bar’s Obituary for Michael Connolly may be read here.