In Brief Issue #902


Lawyer X

The High Court and the Victorian Court of Appeal have this afternoon lifted suppression orders precluding disclosure of the name of Lawyer X, also known as EF and Informer 3838.

The Bar has released a media statement, which includes information we have not been able to share with our members or the public before today.

I have also sent an email to every member of the Bar this afternoon with further information. I will continue to keep members informed of developments.

I remind members and their families who may be experiencing distress as a result of these matters that the Bar funds an independently-run crisis counselling service that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, on (03) 9650 5540. For guidance in relation to ethical matters, members of the Ethics Committee are always available. Do not forget, either, to seek out support if you need it from the strength of our college, our formal and informal mentoring relationships, and our open-door policy, which of course starts with me and the other members of the Bar Council.

Welcome to our new Readers

The March 2019 Readers’ Course commenced yesterday. The latest cohort comprises 48 local readers—20 women and 28 men, with dates of admission to practice ranging from 1996 to last month. They come from a range of backgrounds including 14 former Judges’ Associates. Congratulations to them all on their superb judgment in deciding to pursue the next stage of their careers at the Victorian Bar.  

Thanks, in advance, to the 140-odd members of the Bench and Bar who will be involved in training our latest advocates over the next 9 weeks or so, and to all of the mentors who have generously agreed to take on a reader for the next nine months and, of course, beyond.

Please make all of our new readers welcome as you see them around chambers.

Welcome to our Indigenous Clerkship Program participants

Four law students have commenced paid clerkship positions this week as part of the Victorian Indigenous Clerkship Program.

Teina Te Hemara from Melbourne Law School, Carly Mohamed from Monash Law School, Hayden Walker from Deakin Law School and Katelyn Jones from La Trobe Law School will have a unique opportunity to observe at close quarters life at the Bar, from our perspective as well as the view from the Bench.

Over three weeks, each clerk spends one week with a Judge of the Supreme Court, one week with a Judge of the Federal Court and one week with a practising barrister in chambers.

In the ‘Barrister week’ of the program, our clerks gain a real insight into the diversity of work at the Bar, get to know some of our members, and have the opportunity to develop enduring contacts and friendships. Of course, we hope that the clerks will, like our 48 newest readers, conclude that the Victorian Bar is the best place for them to build their careers, but the program is really about demonstrating to our clerks that they can aspire to make a difference through the practice of law.

We are delighted to have the support of the Federal Court and the Supreme Court in delivering the program.  Thanks to Tim Goodwin and Neil Howard at the Bar for coordinating the program and Anne Sheehan, the Chair of the Indigenous Justice Committee, for all her work. 

New Protocol to raise concerns about judicial conduct in the Children’s Court

This week, a new protocol was agreed for members of the Bar to raise concerns about judicial conduct in the Children’s Court. The Protocol is modelled on that reached with the Supreme Court of Victoria, which was an Australian first in October 2018, and the County Court of Victoria in November 2018. I expect to be able to announce corresponding Protocols with the Federal Court, the Family Court, the Federal Circuit Court and the Magistrates’ Court in coming weeks.

The Protocols provide a mechanism enabling members to raise with the President of the Bar concerns about judicial conduct they have experienced or witnessed, as an alternative to making a formal complaint to the Judicial Commission of Victoria. The Protocols reflect a shared view of the judiciary and the Bar that judicial bullying of members of counsel is unacceptable.

The options available to members of the Bar who have experienced or witnessed inappropriate judicial conduct are outlined in the Bar’s Judicial Conduct Policy. That policy, together with the Court Protocols and the appointment of two Judicial Conduct Advisers are important parts of our response to the findings in last year’s Wellbeing at the Victorian Bar report

I am grateful to the heads of jurisdiction for their willingness to engage in an open, frank and constructive dialogue with the Bar about these difficult issues.

A busy week

This week I had the pleasure of opening the Readers’ Course and speaking at the celebration of the 2019 Indigenous Clerkship Program.

Behind the scenes, I met with His Honour Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen and the Shadow Victorian Attorney-General, the Hon Edward O’Donohue MP; chaired a special briefing session for the whole of the Bar Council; met with other members of the Executive; and continued the process of providing feedback to last year’s silk candidates.

On Tuesday, I introduced a fascinating all-day CPD session delivered by Professor James Raymond on written advocacy. Throughout the week, I participated in a number of media interviews in relation to the conviction of Cardinal George Pell, in response to queries from media outlets about how the appeal process works, suppression orders in Victoria, and how defence counsel are able to make submissions in respect of sentencing while their clients maintain their innocence and have announced their intention to appeal their guilty verdicts—all matters that may be second nature to us, but have been the subject of intense media scrutiny, and in some cases uninformed commentary, in the course of the week.

Welcomes and appointments

The Governor-General in Council has appointed Angus Stewart SC, Michael O’Bryan QC and John Snaden Judges of the Federal Court of Australia.

  • Justice Stewart commenced in the Sydney Registry of the Court on Monday 25 February 2019.
  • Justice O’Bryan commenced in the Melbourne Registry of the Court on Tuesday 26 February 2019.
  • John Snaden will commence in the Melbourne Registry of the Court on Monday 29 April 2019.

Details of the Melbourne ceremonial sitting welcomes will be advised when they become known.

This week, the profession welcomed Justice Jillian Williams as a judge of the Family Court of Australia.

Minal Vohra SC addressed the Court on behalf of the Victorian Bar, the Australian Bar Association and the Law Council of Australia.

Vicbar News & Events
Save the Date - Victorian Bar Dinner

This year's Bar Dinner will be held at the Plaza Ballroom on Friday 17 May.

The Honourable Chief Justice Anne Ferguson, of the Supreme Court of Victoria, is the guest of honour and keynote speaker.

Be sure to keep the date free in your diary.

Owen Dixon Chambers East entrance revitalisation

A new entrance experience is currently under construction in Owen Dixon Chambers East – the original home of the bar.

Led by Peter Jopling AM QC, Chair of the Art & Collections Committee, in collaboration with Barristers’ Chambers Limited and Carr Design, the concept is complete with the revitalisation of a welcoming entrance and extension of the Art Gallery in one of our busiest and historical chambers.

After an extensive program of research, design, care and consideration the design has been complete with works having commenced in the middle of January, 2019 and include:-

  • Extension of the gallery and available hanging area with the removal of the central control room,
  • Relocation and a new modern design meeting and concierge area,
  • Modern way finding and signage,
  • A memorial wall to honour members that have served for our country.

A memorable unveiling is planned and we look forward to sharing more in further communications from BCL and the Victorian Bar, and included in, In Brief.

The program of work will take approximately 6-8 weeks to complete from 14 January, 2019.  BCL will communicate directly with all tenants with regards to any planned disruptions (if any) during this time.

Peter Jopling AM QC & Barristers’ Chamber Limited

Lawyer’s Mediation Certification Course

The Victorian Bar is proud to present the 2019 Lawyer's Mediation Certification Course.  The course runs over 6 days in early May as an intensive and interactive educational experience.  The participants will learn negotiation strategies, participate in a number of role-playing simulations, and receive personalised feedback from highly skilled mediation practitioners.

COST:  $3075 (inc GST) for Members*

            $3590 (inc GST) for Non-members

A discount of 10% is available to participants in the March 2019 or September 2018 Reader's Courses.

DATE:  3, 4, 5 and 10, 11, 12 May 2019, 8.30 – 18.00

WHERE:  Owen Dixon Chambers East, Level 1, 205 William Street, Melbourne

CPD POINTS:  8 CPD points are available in the Ethics & Professional Responsibility; and Barrister Skills categories.

The Victorian Bar is proud to have amongst its members some of the most experienced lawyer mediation practitioners in the country. If you would like more information please click here, or register for the course please fill out the online form.

The Victorian Bar is to Conduct a Review of the Bar’s entrance exam – Call for Submissions Extended

The Bar Readers Course Committee has established a Panel to conduct a review of the Victorian Bar’s entrance exam. The Review Panel is chaired by Dr Sue McNicol QC and comprises various members of the Bar and a judicial representative. 

The Review Panel is considering: 

  1. The existence and/or retention of the exam
  2. What refinements/improvements should be made to the entrance exam's content
  3. Whether any changes should be made to the entrance exam's form and manner of conducting the exam (including whether it should be administered electronically, or wholly open book, or partially open book)
  4. The appropriate mechanism to address the ‘overhang’ of candidates in years where the number of successful candidates exceeds the number of Readers Course places available.

The Review Panel intends to report to the Readers Course Committee and ultimately the Victorian Bar Council by mid-2019. After considering the written submissions received, the Review Panel may invite authors to make oral submissions to the Panel.

Members of the Bar, Judiciary and the legal profession are invited to provide written submissions to the Review Panel on the above issues.


The submission time has been extended.  Submissions can continue to be made until COB on 4 March 2019.  

Expressions of Interest for VicBar website review

Expressions of interest are sought for a small team of members interested in reviewing the Victorian Bar Website with a view to making recommendations as to content, navigation and ease of use.

EOIs and enquiries to Liz Ingham at the Bar Office: / 9225 6947.

Calling all barristers - inspire a student!

The Student Engagement Committee needs more barristers to offer shadowing opportunities to tertiary students and host secondary students for work experience. The SEC aims to provide students with a better understanding of barristers’ work and the pathways to a career at the Bar. Work experience and shadowing opportunities are invaluable for students and often very rewarding for barristers as well, as previous volunteers will attest. If you are able to assist, please email our Student Matching Coordinator Danielle Hagan at

Pro Bono Video – call for stories

The Bar is looking for a pro bono story to feature in a short video showcasing the Bar’s commitment to pro bono work and the difference it can make in the lives of clients or the broader community.  Ideally, the story should be one where pro bono work had a lasting beneficial impact, with a former client who is willing to participate, either to be filmed or to speak. Contact Amanda Utt, General Manager, Corporate Services on

Vicbar Life
Essoign Kitchen Night Menu Launch

The Essoign is having a launch night for their new “Kitchen Night Menu” at the Essoign Club.

Thursday 7th of March From 5.00pm

Complimentary Sparkling on arrival & Drink Specials

Complimentary Menu Tasting

Click here to view flyer.

Personal Injury Social Drinks

Supporting Spinal Cord Injuries Australia.

Join us from 5pm on Friday 15 March at The Essoign Club.

See flyer for more details.

The Essoign Members March 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.

Art Exhibition - STUDIO 11

Image Sharyn Madder
Millionaire’s Leap
Soft Pastel

You are warmly invited to view the current Art Exhibition at Studio 11, located on Level 11 Owen Dixon Chambers East, Conversations, featuring 73 works by local artists, Wendy Roche and Sharyn Madder.

The body of work comprises mixed media, conte, felting, eco-dyeing, watercolour, pastel, charcoal and pencil work. The exhibition offers the community of the Victorian Bar, family, friends and colleagues an opportunity to take a break and explore the work at leisure. All works are for sale, directly from the artists, commission free.

Work sheets together with artist biographies are available on Level 11. The Studio 11 initiative is run on a voluntary basis.

The exhibition runs until 4 April 2019.

Member Benefits Australia - Special offer from Freedom
Absolute Running Assessment Package - Discount for VicBar Members

Designed to cater for all abilities, our 3-stage running assessment is the most comprehensive product in Melbourne.

Vic Bar Member price $299 until end of April 2019.

Email and mention this advertisement to redeem.

Practice & Profession News
New Report released on Animal Cruelty

19 February 2019

The Council today released a report called Animal Cruelty Offences in Victoria. The report is the first ever review of how animal cruelty offences are sentenced in Victoria.

It identifies the animal cruelty offences people and corporations were sentenced for between 2008 and 2017, the sentences imposed for those offences, and other offences sentenced alongside animal cruelty. It also examines prior and subsequent offending committed by animal cruelty offenders, and the number of animal cruelty cases flagged as occurring in the context of family violence.

The report and a 2-page factsheet are available to read or download from the Council’s website:

Legal Services Council Annual Reports 2017-2018

Following tabling in both the New South Wales and Victorian Parliaments, our 2017-2018 Annual Reports for the Legal Services Council and the Commissioner for Uniform Legal Services Regulation are now available on our Publications page.

For more information, please see our news story.

New Laws: Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018 (Vic)

The Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018 (Vic) commences on 1 March 2019, updating laws in relation to oaths, affirmations, affidavits, statutory declarations, and document certification processes. Any oaths, affirmations, affidavits and statutory declarations made under the current Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958 (Vic) between 1 March 2019 and 1 January 2020 will remain valid, however any made under that Act after 1 January 2020 will cease to be valid.

The Department of Justice and Community Safety has prepared guidance materials and template forms on the Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018, which will be uploaded to the Department’s website on 1 March 2019. Further information may be accessed via the website

Guidance materials:

ABA Arbitration Inquiry Submission: New Deadline 15 March 2019

The Australian Bar Association (ABA) has asked the Hon Roger Gyles AO QC to inquire into and report on actions that the ABA can take to enhance opportunities for Australian Barristers to practice in International Disputes, with a focus on Arbitration in the Asia - Pacific region.

There are two aspects to be considered by Mr Gyles in his inquiry and report:

  1. How to retain international work in, and bring such work to, Australia;
  2. How to facilitate the briefing of Australian barristers in work overseas, particularly in the region.

Mr Gyles is due to report on 1 May 2019. Practitioners are encouraged to provide their views to Mr Gyles by 15 March 2019. 
For details of the Terms of Reference and submission details, see

Changes introduced by Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 5) Bill 2018 (Cth)

Please click here for a Law Council memo on changes introduced by Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 5) Bill 2018 (Cth).

Profession CPD & Events
ABA Singapore Conference—11-12 July 2019

The Australian Bar Association (ABA) will host its biennial international conference in Singapore: Convergence 2019, 11 - 12 July. More information is available here.

Early bird tickets are on sale now!

  • Sponsored by Singapore Airlines: 9-20%* off best available Economy, Premium Economy, Business and First-Class fares for delegates and their families
  • Staying and conferencing at the Andaz Singapore (Hyatt)
  • Gala dinner: Fullerton Bay Hotel’s Clifford Pier
  • There will be excellent Partner and half-day Family Programmes available
  • Return flights to Singapore and beyond: Europe, America, Asia
  • The first 100 passengers flying on Singapore Airlines will receive a status match for eligible Gold Frequent Flyer delegates who can become KrisFlyer Elite Gold members.
  • Lower fare levels already booking out!

Accommodation and airfare bookings now available!  Email to take advantage of these exclusive offers.

*depending on the class of travel and booking class available at the time of booking

Cyngler Consulting Courses

2019 Courses

  • Do you ever find yourself in difficult conversations? Come and join one our programs.
  • Do you need mediation accreditation or reaccreditation? Enrol in our next course.
  • Are you wanting to extend and enlarge your mediation skills? Come and take one of our Mediation Masterclasses.
  • Do you need training or support in conflict management, decision making or listening skills? Get in touch with us.

This year’s scheduled programs are listed below. We look forward to assisting you in 2019.

March 18-20 and 25-27 
National Mediator Accreditation - 6 Days

March 4, 5 and 6 *New*
Facilitated Conversations - 3 Days

Visit our website for more information and to register.

Judges: Angry? Biased? Burned out?

The National Judicial College of Australia and the Australian National University will present their annual conference on 2nd & 3rd March, 2019 at the Australian National University campus in Canberra.

This conference brings together members of the Judiciary, academics, policy makers and experts in fields such as psychology to consider current issues and challenges in the Australian justice system. The program will examine the experience of emotion and bias in the court room, including the way in which judges engage emotionally with their work; the impact that this can have and what measures may be taken to alleviate these impacts.

Click here for more information and to register.

AAFS Plenary Presentation - 6 March 2019, 5pm

The Victorian Chapter of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences extends an invitation to members of the Victorian Bar that might be interested in attending the plenary presentation outlined below.

The meeting will be chaired by the Hon. Justice John Champion S.C. and attended by professionals from the fields of forensic science, forensic medicine and law.


Title:               The transnational exchange of DNA profiles in Europe as a model for other countries

Presenter:         Dr Jan De Kinder, Chief Forensic Scientist of the Forensic Services at the Victoria Police.

Date:                Wednesday 6 March 2019 from 5pm

Where:             Victoria University, Che Sir Zelman Cowen Centre, Phillips Room, Room 2.10, Level 2, 295 Queen Street, Melbourne

Cost:                 Free event

RSVP:              Victorian Chapter, Secretary Ms Eva Bruenisholz, by 1 March

The attached flyer has more information about the presentation.

Switch On… Law Library of Victoria essential skills

Thursday 7 March, 1.15pm-1.45pm

The Law Library of Victoria website has been completely redesigned to make it easier to discover and access Library resources and services. The new site also includes registered user access for members of the legal profession, with exclusive content and resources once registered and logged in. The Library subscribes to an extensive collection of digital resources accessible via public access computers onsite at the Supreme Court Library and Victorian Bar Richard Griffith Library. Attending this essential skills session will save you time in the future by finding what you need through the Law Library's fully searchable catalogue of resources.

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

Cabrini Foundation “People Seeking Asylum” – 14 March, Brunswick

Cabrini Outreach and the Cabrini Foundation welcomes you to “People Seeking Asylum”, a Cabrini Asylum Seeker Health Event

Join us as we explore the challenges faced by people seeking asylum in our community without access to medical or health related support or assistance, and understand the work of the Cabrini Asylum Seeker Health services in an effort to bridge this health care gap.


  • Dr Gillian Triggs, Former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Dr Tram Nguyen, Medical Director of Mental Health Service, Cabrini
  • Biong Deng Biong, Edmund Rice Community and Refugee Manager, Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub

503 Sydney Road Brunswick

Thursday 14th March at 6:00pm

Please RSVP with guest names and any dietary requirements by 7th March to or for further information call Cabrini Foundation on 03 9508 1380.

A number of members and former members of our Bar are active supporters of the Cabrini Foundation.

If you are unable to attend but would like to support the foundation’s work, donations can be made at

Tigers@Law – Kicking off the 2019 AFL Season

Are you a Tiger tragic counting down to the start of the AFL season?

Friday 15 March 2019 from 7.15-8.45am

Breakfast at the Essoign, Owen Dixon Chambers, Level 1, 205 William Street, Melbourne with a welcome by the Patron of the Tigers@Law, the Honourable Chief Justice Ferguson, and Guest Speaker Peggy O’Neal, President of the Richmond Football Club in conversation with Age journalist Konrad Marshall.

All Tiger supporting legal representatives and support staff are welcome.  $60 per head including GST.

Register at or contact Simon Rubenstein on 9225 7432

Saints in Law Function

St Kilda supporters are invited to drinks, canapes and an exclusive behind the scenes tour of RSEA Park, Moorabbin, on Tuesday 19 March 2019. CEO Matt Finnis and Head of Football Simon Lethlean will also be there for a chat. 

Click here to download the event flyer. 

Transparency International Australia – Tackling Corruption Together: Rebuilding Trust in Australian Business and Regulators

Transparency International Australia’s 2019 national conference – Tackling Corruption Together: Rebuilding Trust in Australian Business and Regulators – will set the stage for public officials and business leaders to learn from each other, demonstrate good practice and champion a path towards better governance and corporate social responsibility.

Join us for the one-day conference on April 4 to focus on solutions for the private sector to tackle corruption and strengthen integrity across the financial, property and mining sectors.

For more information, visit the conference website:

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.  

Careers & Opportunities
Senior Registry Lawyer, Supreme Court of Victoria

About the role

A Senior Registry Lawyer oversees legal staff responsible for end to end case management of civil appeals and applications, and to manage complex, urgent and/or sensitive matters within the Court of Appeal. This includes regularly liaising with judges to support their efficient preparation of matters for hearing, formulating and implementing best case management practices and procedures, analysing legal issues in particularly complex, urgent or sensitive matters, and providing the Judicial Registrar, Deputy Registrar (Legal) and the Court with appropriate information and advice.

About you

To be successful in the role you should be able to demonstrate high level written communication, leadership, stakeholder management, interpersonal and organising/planning skills. Tertiary qualifications in law and admitted to practice, along with substantial post admission experience in civil litigation, in a court and/or tribunal environment is highly desirable.

For more information please visit Applications close 6 March 2019.

Deputy Registrar, Common Law, Supreme Court of Victoria

Senior leadership role in the Common Law Division of the Supreme Court of Victoria – fixed term to March 2020.

Victoria’s highest Court is seeking a legally qualified individual as Deputy Registrar in its Common Law Division. The successful candidate will lead a small team of lawyers and administrative staff managing proceedings in specialist lists in the Common Law Division including the Judicial Review and Appeals List and the Trusts, Equity and Probate List. As a senior legal officer, the Deputy Registrar also provides strategic and legal support to the Judicial Registrar and other judicial officers and senior Court administrators.

The successful candidate will have significant demonstrated experience in litigation in one or more areas of the Common Law Division’s jurisdiction and have a keen interest in the administration of justice

While the successful candidate will be offered a fixed term contract to March 2020, there is the possibility of ongoing employment.

Applications close 11 March 2019. For more information on this position please visit:

Have you considered being on a Victorian building or plumbing board?

Upcoming opportunities exist for a range of building and plumbing boards through the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

From March, Expressions of Interest open to join one of these boards.

Click here to view the flyer with more information.

InBrief Submissions - please email to: 
Deadline for the next issue:5pm, 7th March 2019