It was a week of appointments and welcomes for members of our Bar. On behalf of all members, I extend to each of them my congratulations and wish them every personal and professional satisfaction in their new roles.
On Wednesday, the Governor in Council appointed His Honour Magistrate Philip Ginnane a Judge of the County Court of Victoria.
The welcome ceremony was held this morning, so there was only a limited time after the announcement of the appointment for members to spot the notice in the lifts or on our website in order to attend the ceremony.
I thank Senior Vice-President Wendy Harris QC for representing the Bar at the welcome. Wendy’s speech can be read here.
On Wednesday, the profession extended a ceremonial welcome to Magistrate Nahrain Warda. Her Honour was appointed a magistrate on 31 July and was sworn in privately by Chief Justice Ferguson on 6 August 2018. My speech on behalf of the Bar can be read here.
Paul Glass has been appointed a magistrate of the Family Court of Western Australia, effective 1 October 2018. He will relocate to Perth to take up the position.
Paul came to the Bar in 2011 and practised in family law after previously working as a Senior Family Lawyer at Victoria Legal Aid. He was also a part-time member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Congratulations also go to current and former Victorian Bar members Stephen Ballek, Letizia Torres and Randall Kune, who were appointed as Magistrates earlier this week, together with solicitor Jacqui Billings. Further details are available on our website.
We were unable to publish the farewell speeches for Justice North that were given by Tony Neal QC and Herman Borenstein QC. The Federal Court has published the transcript for the farewell that was extended to Justice North last week on its website. All of the speeches are worth reading, but I highlight in particular those by Tony Neal QC and Herman Borenstein QC, who represented the Bar.
Last Friday, I called for an investigation into a serious breach of the privacy of a member of the Victorian Bar, after the personal financial and medical details of one of our members was tabled in State Parliament and uploaded to the internet. I also requested an explanation as to how it occurred and an assurance that that steps have been taken to prevent it from happening in the future.
The breach occurred when the State government tabled 80,000 documents in Parliament relating to a Phillip Island rezoning dispute, which were then uploaded to the Parliament of Victoria website for about three days, before being taken down on the orders of the Speaker.
I hope to have the opportunity of seeing many of you next week at the VicBar / CommBar International Commercial Law Conference in Hong Kong. The program and invited guests are very impressive and the venue looks magnificent.
Many senior Victorian Bar staff have been dedicating a great deal of time to the project and a number will be managing the event in person next week. Please take this into account if there are any delays in response times from VicBar staff next week.
Behind the scenes this week, among other matters, Wendy Harris QC, Sarah Fregon and I met with the Chief Justice; I attended a Diversity and Inclusion Working Group meeting; the Bar Council met on Thursday evening; and further steps were taken towards engaging the Bar’s next CEO.
At the Bar Council meeting on Thursday evening, councillors were (among other matters) given an early look at the results of the health and wellbeing survey that ‘took the pulse’ of the Victorian Bar earlier this year. The survey results will be finalised in the next few weeks by the Quality of Working Life research group at the University of Portsmouth, before being released to all members.