Happy New (Legal) Year to all members! I hope that, as I did, you managed to get a break, recharge and reconnect with family and friends. I wish all members of the Victorian Bar the very best in professional success and personal satisfaction in 2019.
Thank you to our Vice-Presidents Wendy Harris QC and Simon Marks QC who stepped in as Acting President while I was on leave.
The Bar Council has a busy agenda for the year ahead, with a focus on expanding market share, improving services to members, fostering excellence in the performance of Victorian barristers, and being a strong and independent authoritative voice on issues of importance to the administration of justice and the rule of law.
Bumper crop of Australia Day Honours
Congratulations to members of the Victorian Bar who received Australia Day Honours. They are:
We also congratulate the Honourable Justice Jennifer Coate AO, a Judge of the Family Court of Australia; her Honour Judge Sylvia Emmett AM, a Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia; Professor Emeritus Harold Luntz AO, former Dean and long-time George Paton Professor at the Melbourne Law School; Professor Richard Krever AM, long-time Reader in Law at Monash, Professor of Law at Deakin and now Professor at the University of WA; Reynah Tang AM, former President of the Law Institute of Victoria; Christopher Dale OAM, former President of the Law Institute of Victoria; David Grace AM QC, for significant service to criminal law, and to the community through pro-bono contributions to sporting bodies; and Barbara Rozenes OAM, former President of and long-time Volunteer at the Court Network.
Opening of the Legal Year
The opening of the legal year was marked by well-attended ceremonies in Melbourne and Geelong. I thank those who hosted and spoke at ceremonies in the Geelong Court, the Melbourne County Court and at places of worship.
Next Wednesday, 6 February, the Victoria Law Foundation will mark the opening of the legal year with the 16th Annual Legal Laneway Breakfast. The event is sold out, but for those who have tickets, I look forward to seeing you there next week.
Call for Expressions of Interest – County Court Criminal Procedure Rules sub-committee representative
The Victorian Bar has been invited to nominate a representative to serve on a new committee to review the County Court Criminal Procedure Rules. The Bar is calling for expressions of interest from currently practising members who have extensive knowledge of the criminal procedure rules. See the notice below for details – and please note the closing date, which is one week from today.
Review of the Victorian Bar website – Expressions of Interest
The Bar Council is also calling for expressions of interest from members to help review the Victorian Bar website for content and useability. Key selection criteria include: anyone who has ever complained about the website. See the notice below for further details.
Behind the scenes
On Wednesday, VicBar CEO Katherine Lorenz and I met with the new Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy MP to discuss a range of issues that will command attention in the course of the year, including the Royal Commission into Management of Informants, the reviews of committal hearings and contempt orders, and the further implementation of the recommendations of the access to justice review. I also took the opportunity to brief the Attorney on the Bar Council’s priorities for 2019
Welcomes and appointments
This afternoon at 4.30pm the Profession will welcome a former President of the Bar and Chair of BCL, Paul Anastassiou QC, as a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia at the Commonwealth Law Courts building, 305 William Street, Melbourne. On behalf of the Bar, Senior Vice-President Wendy Harris QC will pay tribute to Paul’s personal and professional qualities and his extraordinary contribution to the Victorian Bar. All members of Counsel who are able to do so are urged to robe (without wigs) and attend to pay respect to Paul as he commences the next phase in his remarkable career.
The profession will extend a welcome to his Honour Judge Karl Blake as a Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia on Wednesday 6 February at 9.15am. His Honour commenced as a Judge of the Federal Circuit Court yesterday.