In Brief Issue #888


ABA Conference—now featuring an evening with Malcolm Turnbull

The ABA has secured the presence of former Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull, as Guest of Honour at the dinner to be held on Friday 16 November as part of its forthcoming national conference, rise2018, to be held in Sydney from 16–17 November. The former Prime Minister will not only give the after-dinner speech, but also subject himself to a Q&A session in a room full of advocates.

That prospect is enough, in my view, to warrant committing to the conference, but for those who want more, the conference program is fascinating and varied, including, among many other highlights:

  • an opening address by the Hon Susan Kiefel AC, Chief Justice of the High Court, on change and the legal profession;
  • a keynote address by Professor Hilary Charlesworth on the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights;
  • sessions on international commercial arbitration, multilateral treaties, managing civil litigation in the 21st century, class actions, the fate of old-time advocacy skills in modern commercial litigation, transparency and accountability in government, national security, rethinking the refugee response, indigenous incarceration, the value of oral advocacy, and retrials after acquittal;
  • star-studded panels drawn from the judiciary, politics, the independent bars, the academy, the fourth estate and beyond;
  • one of my Hypotheticals on a controversial subject to be revealed closer to the date, but designed to strike fear and inspire creativity in equal measure in panellists; and
  • a closing Q&A hosted by none other than Tony Jones himself.

The Victorian Bar is an active constituent member of the ABA, the voice of the independent referral bars of Australia, and the national conference is a rare opportunity to get together with our interstate colleagues.

More information is below, but if you have been procrastinating, now is the time to commit and register.

Advanced Trial Advocacy Intensive 2019 – Applications close 31 October

The ABA Advocacy Training Council will hold its renowned Advanced Trial Advocacy Intensive from Monday 21 January to Friday 25 January 2019 in Melbourne.

Participants prepare from a realistic brief, and present in real court settings before senior Australian judges. Performances are recorded and reviewed. 

The intensive gives barristers a rare opportunity to experiment with different styles of advocacy, to see which is the most effective for them in different contexts, together with individual and small group coaching by Federal and Supreme Court judges, Australian and international senior practitioners and professional performance coaches accredited by the ABA. 

The intensive has developed an international reputation for excellence, and is open to all members of counsel. It is highly recommended. Click here for more details including the registration form.

Each year, the ABA sponsors one barrister with indigenous heritage to participate in the intensive. To nominate, eligible members should send a brief outline of their work history to the Secretariat at

Bar Council voting opens on Monday

Voting for the 2018/2019 Bar Council Election opens at 9 am this coming Monday 29 October 2018.

As in recent years, voting will be conducted wholly online. The electronic voting portal will be accessible from the Member homepage of the Victorian Bar website via your member login and password.  Voting closes at 5 pm on Wednesday 14 November 2018.  A ‘hot desk’ is available in the Bar office to complete online voting, if required.

Commercial Bar Association annual cocktail party

Congratulations to Wendy Harris QC, President of the Commercial Bar Association, and all those involved in organising the very successful annual cocktail party for the judiciary and the commercial bar on Wednesday evening. The evening was co-hosted by Chief Justices Ferguson and Allsop and held in the grand ground floor foyer of the Commonwealth Courts building. Chief Justice Ferguson, in her address, emphasised the importance of a collegiate and collaborative relationship between the bench and bar in discharging our shared responsibilities for the efficient administration of justice, and foreshadowed a multi-jurisdictional collaboration towards managing conflicting class action proceedings.

Welcome to our newest members

Last night, our ranks swelled in number, when the September 2018 readers signed the Roll of Counsel in a ceremonial occasion held in the Banco court. All 44 readers in the September course—22 women and 22 men—passed both the bar entrance exam and our intensive 9 week course with flying colours. Thanks to Chief Justice Ferguson, the Council of Supreme Court Judges and staff of the Court for making the Banco court available to us for what is always one of the highlights for me on the calendar.

Our newest members range in experience, from being admitted to practice in December 1998 through to August this year. More than half have honours degrees or higher, and more than 40% have served as judicial associates. They bring a wide range of experience to their new vocations, from the expected (long service as solicitors) to the unexpected (journalists, DJs, professional ballet dancers) to the outright weird (beekeepers and taxidermists). Following last night’s ceremony, there are now 2,077 practising counsel at the Victorian Bar. The last to sign the Bar Roll has Bar Roll number 5,092. By way of comparison, when I signed the Bar Roll in May 1999, I was number 3,312 and we had 1,067 practising members. It is an enormous credit to our institution that, despite that growth, we remain such a tight-knit college.

The signing ceremony was followed by the traditional dinner in the Essoign, with the after dinner speech given by Ross Gillies QC.

Please make our newest colleagues welcome as you see them around the traps.

Thank you for your support re Health & Wellbeing Report

As last week’s In Brief was sent to members, I was presenting the results of the Health & Wellbeing report at the Judicial College to a room of about 50 judges and magistrates, with the seminar streamed to judicial officers in all State jurisdictions. 

This was the final formal event in an intense few days dealing with some difficult issues, which the Bar and the Courts have faced in a frank, open and constructive manner. 

I have had a very large number of emails and other contact from members of the Bar congratulating us on our important work on health and wellbeing. I am grateful for your support.

Michele Williams QC

Congratulations to Michele Williams QC on her appointment as Deputy Chair of the Post Sentence Authority for a period of five years commencing on 17 October 2018. I wish her every success in her new role. 

A busy week

Apart from the matters covered above, my week as President started with the Victorian Bar AGM on Monday, at which the tradition of pulling members from the Essoign into the meeting in order to achieve a quorum was upheld. On Tuesday I spoke on the refreshingly light topic of defamation at a Melbourne Law School alumni breakfast, then met with the Judicial Commissioner.  On Thursday we had the last regular Bar Council meeting before the annual election. This morning I represented the Bar at the ceremonial welcome to the Honourable Justice Wheelahan in the Federal Court (we will link to the transcript next week). At lunchtime I have to sing for my supper by delivering another speech about defamation law, this time at the launch of The Australian’s latest Legal Review supplement. Look out for a comment piece by me in the media pages of Monday’s The Australian.

Vicbar News & Events
Candidates for the 2018/2019 Bar Council

Nominations for the 2018/2019 Bar Council closed at 5pm on Monday 15 October 2018. Fifty-one members of the Bar nominated including 24 in Category A (Queen’s Counsel, Senior Counsel or junior counsel who are of not less than 15 years’ standing), 13 in Category B (junior counsel who are of not less than 6 years’ standing and not of 15 or more years’ standing and 14 in Category C (junior counsel who are of less than 6 years’ standing). 

A list of the candidates is available by clicking here (you must be logged in to the VicBar website to view the list of candidates).

The electronic voting portal will be accessible from the Member Homepage of our website. Voting will open on Monday 29 October 2018 at 9:00am. 

Celebration of a Life His Honour Judge Kevin Patrick O’Connor AM

Drinks to celebrate the life of Kevin O’Connor – TODAY in The Essoign from 5 to 6:30 pm.

It is with deep regret that the Bar Council informs members of the death on Sunday 30 September 2018 of His Honour Judge Kevin Patrick O’Connor AM – an Acting Judge of the District Court of New South Wales and a Deputy President of the New South Wales Civil & Administrative Tribunal (“NCAT”). Kevin was 72 years of age (born 20 June 1946).

Click here to read the full obituary notice.

Call out to Barristers - Advocacy Instructor Training Workshop

The Victorian Bar will be holding a complimentary workshop for barristers who are interested in teaching advocacy skills.  Being an advocacy instructor is an important contribution to the profession and to the education program of the bar. The personal benefit of instructing is the improvement in ones’ own advocacy and the satisfaction of teaching others. The practical workshop is the first step in a Program of instructor training.

All barristers with a reasonable amount of experience in witness handling, in whatever jurisdiction, are encouraged to participate.

Introductory Session: Friday 9 November 2018, 5.00pm – 7.00pm
Workshop: Saturday 10 November 2018, 9.00am – 5.00pm

Level 1, Owen Dixon Chambers East, 205 Williams Street

This workshop is a component of the Victorian Bar CPD Program and will carry 10 CPD points in Barrister Skills    

Please note that numbers in this workshop are limited, so register early to secure your place.

Click here to Register


“The Changing Face of the Bar” - Purchase your prints

Just a reminder for all of those who participated in “The Changing Face of the Bar”, you can go online and view 

Some of the photographs taken and purchase digital or print options.

Please go to with the code that with the code that was emailed to you.

If you need your code to register please email Garth at or

Cultural & Linguistic Diversity Working Group

The Cultural & Linguistic Working Group is working to inform members of the Bar about the breadth of diversity at the Bar.  To do that the group is calling for members to contribute short vignettes which capture their experience as a member of the Bar from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.  The Working Group wishes to hear how members have felt challenged or excluded by reason of their background so that we can all begin to contemplate what it means to belong to the Bar.  Others may also wish to contribute stories that highlight their acceptance or appreciation of their background at the Bar.

Set out below is a suggested format for submissions of your vignette:



How it made me feel:  

You can forward your story, anonymously if you wish to

Vicbar Life
Formed on the Plains - Studio 11 Art Exhibition

Date: 8 October - 21 December 

The exhibition comprises a series of works by local artists, Drydan, McEachern and Manifold including sculpture. 

It’s a must see exhibition, particularly if you are someone connected to the Victorian plains, someone who enjoys art or someone who is just curious to see and experience a wonderful exhibition. Stay as long as you like. 

As always, the work is for sale, commission free, direct from the artists. Catalogue sheets and biographies are located on level 11 ODC East. The initiative is run on a voluntary basis. 

Click here to download the exhibition flyer. 

Hockey Players Required - VicBar vs LIV

Date: Thursday 1 November 2018, 7.00pm
Venue: Hawthorn Hockey Centre

Looking for players of any age and ability for the annual Hockey match between VicBar and Law Institute Victoria.

Please email Trish with your availability:

Twilight Songs under the Dome 2018

BottledSnail Productions and the Law Library of Victoria are pleased to announce their annual Twilight Songs under the Dome for 2018. The concert will be on Wed 14 November 2018 at 6pm (doors open 5.45pm) in the Supreme Court library.

Featuring an hour of wonderful instrumental and vocal performances by members of the legal profession including barrister John Tesarsch on cello. Tickets are $20 and all profits will go the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Tickets are available at: or contact We hope to see you there!

The Essoign Members October wine offer

The Essoign Members October wine offer. 

Don’t miss out on these exquisite boutique wines on offer now!

These prices will not be repeated.

Download order form or email 

Cheers from the Essoign team.

Irvine Wines - 15% off

Irvine Wines are offering VicBar members 15% off site-wide. Visit and enter the code vicbarhk at checkout to redeem.

Click here to download the promo flyer. 

Member Benefits Australia - October exclusive member offers

Don't miss out on these exclusive member deals for October from Mercedes, David Jones, Volvo and more!

Practice & Profession News
High Court Amendment (Constitutional Writs and Other Matters) Rules 2018

These Rules were registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments on 17 October 2018 and commence on 1 November 2018. 

Click here to download the Amendment.

Click here to download the Explanatory Statement.

Report released on offender-paid compensation in Victoria

The Sentencing Advisory Council has released a report examining whether restitution and compensation orders should become sentencing orders, and other ways to improve offender-paid compensation in Victoria

The report follows a request for advice from the Attorney-General, arising from a recommendation of the Victorian Law Reform Commission.

After identifying insurmountable problems, including serious risks to equality before the law, the Council recommends that restitution and compensation orders should remain orders made in addition to an offender’s sentence, and does not recommend that they become sentencing orders.

The Council has instead recommended a strengthened ‘hybrid’ model for victims’ compensation that incorporates elements of both criminal and civil law.

The Council also recommends a range of reforms to improve the system for victims’ financial reparation, including:
• improving the consistency and timeliness of information provided to victims on their compensation options
• measures to ensure consistent use of powers to restrain offenders’ assets, so that the assets can be used to pay restitution or compensation
• waiving fees (where possible) to assist victims of crime to enforce their orders independently
• consideration of state enforcement of orders for restitution and compensation through civil mechanisms
• consideration of the establishment of a specialist legal service for victims of crime.

Restitution and Compensation Orders: Report is available from the following link:

Profession CPD & Events
rise2018 - 2018 ABA & NSWBA National Conference

The Australian Bar Association and the NSW Bar Association are looking forward to co-hosting the 2018 National Conference on 15 - 17 November in Sydney. 

The preeminent legal conference of 2018 – rise2018 relevant/resilient/respected is a prestigious two-day conference that boasts an impressive speaker line-up which will highlight and profile the excellence of the Australian legal profession.

For all the details and to register please visit

Hellenic Australian Lawyers Annual Oration by His Honour Justice Maxwell AC President of the Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal

Date: Wednesday 31 October 2018, From 6:00pm to 7:00pm followed by drinks & canapés reception at 7:15pm.
Venue: Monash University Law Chambers, 555 Lonsdale Street Melbourne.

Click here for more information and registration. 



Switch On… Social media use and the Legal Profession

Switch On… Social media use and the Legal Profession

Thursday 1 November, 1.15pm-1.45pm

The Law Library of Victoria invites you to attend our Switch On... information sessions. These twenty-five minute sessions are suited to judicial officers, court staff, legal professionals, law students, and anyone with an interest in law. 

The final Switch On for 2018 is social media use by those in the legal profession, with guest presenter Nevena Spirovska, Manager Public Affairs and Community Engagement for the County Court of Victoria. 

Nevena will provide an overview of how to manage a Twitter account as well as a guide to staying informed and aware of legal trends online. A must for anyone with an interest in the intersections of media, the judiciary and technology. 

All are welcome and entry is free. To register please email 

Annual Australasian Jury Conference

Date: Friday 2 November 2018

Registrations for the Australasian Jury Research and Practice Conference on Friday 2 November 2018 are now open.

To purchase your ticket to attend the conference, please follow this link here

To view the speakers and program for the conference, click here.

Technological Innovation in Corporate Financing: Regulatory Challenges for the Fintech Era

Date: Monday 12 November 2018
Venue: Monash Law Chambers, 555 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

The Centre for Commercial Law and Regulatory Studies (CLARS) at Monash University Faculty of Law is hosting a symposium - Technological Innovation in Corporate Financing: Regulatory Challenges for the Fintech Era – at 9AM on Monday 12 November 2018 at Monash Law Chambers, 555 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. 

Click here to download the event flyer. 

La Trobe Law School Seminar - From Dole Bludger to Mutual Obligation: Activation with an Antipodean Accent

Date: Wednesday 14 November 2018, 12noon-1pm
Venue: La Trobe University, Bundoora campus, Social Sciences Building, Level 2, room SS232 (Moot Court)
Speaker: Anthony O'Donnell

Registration and further details: 

Arbitration in Sport

Date: 14 November 2018
Venue: Madgwicks Lawyers, Level 6/140 William Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000

Join the Victorian arbitration and determinative Special Interest Group for this event, where a panel will discuss:

  • Issues about appointment of arbitrators, independence, natural justice, and access to the courts
  • Whether sports arbitration should fit within the Domestic and International Arbitration Acts
  • The proposed National Sports Tribunal, and overseas experience
  • Should each sport control its members destiny?
  • What really happens in practice?
  • A growth area of practice in sport.

This event will contribute 1 CPD point under the relevant Resolution Institute accreditation and grading schemes.

Click here for more information and registration.

End of Year Celebration

Date: Thursday 15 November 2018, 5:30-7:30pm
Venue: Ms Collins (The Ballroom), 425 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD 

The Victorian Committee invites you to join them for the ALA's End of Year Celebration. Together, let's reflect on what we have learned and celebrate all we have achieved.

With exclusive use of The Ballroom at Ms Collins, you will be greeted with the ALA special Appletini and toast to the new year. Enjoy a gourmet selection of canapés and drinks, on us!

Attendance is FREE for members but online registration is essential. Non-members are welcome to join the celebration for small fee of $45.

What better way to send off the year? Register now to avoid missing out as places are limited.

Click here for more information and registration. 

Ethics Lunch & Learn Seminar : The 3 Cs of ethics – confidentiality, conflict, and duty to the court

Date: Wednesday 21 November 2018, 12:30-1:30pm
Venue: College of Law Victoria, Level 10, 459 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

This one hour lunch and learn seminar will enhance your understanding of a lawyer’s professional conduct obligations and give practical tips on how to deal with the common ethical dilemmas faced by members of the legal profession.

Click here for more information and registration. 

La Trobe Law School/International Legal Studies Research Group Seminar

Topic: Deportation of Rohingya People & the International Criminal Court's Jurisdiction over Myanmar
Presenter: Professor Ridwanul Hoque
Date/Time: Monday 26 November 2018, 1-2pm
Venue: La Trobe University, Bundoora Campus, Social Sciences Building, Level 2, Room SS232 (Moot Court)

Registration and further information:

Upcoming Family Law conferences

Havana Cuba

There will be a family law conference held in Havana Cuba from 7 to 12 April 2019. The conference will take place at the Grand Hotel Kempinski, it will include  papers from various barristers, solicitors and others who deal with family law. There will be time to see the city and partake in cultural activities”

Click here to download the conference flyer.  

Arctic Conference

 Following on from our successful conference in Antarctica in January 2017 there will be a further family Law conference in the Arctic in July 2020. There will be time on board the new ship, the Greg Mortimer, to hold a conference and also partake in the activities on and off the ship.”

Click here to download the conference flyer.  

Bali Conference

The 9th annual Family Law conference in Bali is to be held from 8th to 11th  June at the Oberoi Hotel. This conference will include a session on negotiation which may be of interest to those who do not practice in family law, and attendees at this conference will be from the Northern Territory, New South Wales and Victoria.

Click here to download the conference flyer.  

Jam Boutique Conferences: Family Law Conference - 9 -12 June 2019

Join us in sunny Malta for a 3 day conference – registration fee includes:

  • Registration and Welcome evening
  • 3 night’s accommodation at the Palace Hotel, Sliema Malta (5 star)
  • Daily breakfast, morning tea & lunch
  • 8 professional development sessions
  • Australian and Maltese presenters

Flights not included (but lots of early bird specials about for 2019)

Registration fee

$2,000 conference attendee

$350 non-attendee (sharing room with attendee)


Email one of us and we will issue you with tax invoice $500 (per conference attendee) non-refundable deposit is payable with your book and the final payment due 1 April 2019.   

Marlene Ebejer: 0411 772 064

John Spender: 0409 147 646

Angela de Mel: 0411 611 171               

Careers & Opportunities
Australian Bar Association Advanced Trial Advocacy Intensive

Date: 21 - 25 January 2019

Are you 5 years or more at the Bar, looking to refresh or to ‘ramp up’ your advocacy skills? Considering applying for silk? Looking to stimulate your advocacy?

If so, the Advanced Advocacy Course is for you. A 5 day live-in intensive course, where you run a trial, with each aspect of your conduct of the trial being analysed and reviewed. 

Many members of the Bar have had the benefit of the training provided by the Course, sometimes as a precursor to talking silk, or generally to increase their trial skills.  

The instructors comprise highly experienced instructors, including silks, judges and international trainers.

Click here to download the brochure for more details.

Contact Carolyn Sparke QC ( or x 8492) for more information.

6 Day November Course – Last Chance to Become a Nationally Accredited Mediator in 2018

Registrations are now open for our November 6 day National Mediator Accreditation program scheduled in Melbourne. The program gives participants the opportunity to learn Conflict Transformation skills and receive their mediator training assessment as required by the National Mediator Accreditation System and upon successful assessment apply to become a Nationally Accredited Mediator.

Click on the below link for more information and to register.

National Mediator Accreditation Course
November 19, 20, 21 & 26, 27, 28

Visit our website for more information or join our mailing list to keep informed on courses that are coming up.

2019 John Koowarta Reconciliation Law Scholarship

The Koowarta Scholarship was established in 1994, with the aim of promoting the study and practice of the law by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and, commemorates John Koowarta as a member of the Winychanam community and a traditional owner of the Archer River region on the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland. John Koowarta is widely regarded as being at the forefront of Aboriginal land rights in Australia during the late 1970s and early 1980s. He is today revered as one of the most important figures in the progression of Native Title rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Koowarta Scholarship is available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in an Australian tertiary institution undertaking an approved course of study provided that may lead to admission as a legal practitioner in any Australian jurisdiction.

Click here to apply and view the Eligibility Criteria. 

Closing date for applications is 30 November 2018.

The Justice and Society Symposium

Date: 29 – 30 November
Venue: Cranlana House, Toorak
Cost: $3814 

Is Justice Possible?

Members of the Victorian Bar are warmly invited to attend this exclusive symposium to explore the conceptions of justice underpinning our society.

Open to up to 20 leading minds in the Justice Sector, participants will engage in moderated discussion looking at the pragmatic, aspirational, and actual aims of Justice in the social fabric. The clarification of the role of justice in society helps inform our role as practitioners of the Law – and sharpens our ethical and moral judgement of the decisions we must make in our position each day.

Over the course of the two days, we will discuss questions such as: Do we believe the rule of law to be good because it is just or is it just because we think it is good? To what degree is our understanding of justice determined by the laws under which we live? Are there certain universal requirements that any just law must full? Is it possible to have a just society without a base of guaranteed moral rights? If not, what are those guaranteed moral rights?

Visit or contact us on 03 9827 2660 to find out more.

Deadline for the next issue:5pm, 1st November 2018