Welcome to our newest 48 members!
Last night, the family and friends of our newest 48 members gathered to witness the March 2019 readers sign the Bar Roll in a ceremony held in the Banco Court.
Our newest colleagues are an impressive lot, diverse in their education, skills and backgrounds. After signing the Bar Roll, the readers attended the traditional dinner at the Essoign, where the guest speaker was the Hon Justice Richard Niall of the Court of Appeal.
The readers’ course teachers we thanked last night included her Honour Judge Elizabeth Brimer, who was in my own Readers’ Court intake late last century (the March 1999 course). Judge Brimer was appointed to the County Court during the course and welcomed to the Court on the very same day as the signing ceremony.
My thanks, on behalf of the whole Bar, to all those involved in the Readers’ Course, including Vice-President Simon Marks QC, who chairs the Readers’ Course Committee, the members of that Committee, the Bar’s Education Manager, Nina Massara, Education Coordinator, Christina Mavropoulos and the 140-odd members of the judiciary and Bar who generously donate their time to provide our readers with world-class training in oral and written advocacy, evidence and ethics.
Bar Dinner – last chance
This year’s annual Bar Dinner is now only two weeks away, on Friday 17 May. Our guest of honour will be the Hon Anne Ferguson, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, with after dinner entertainment by the Baker Boys Band. The dinner will be held at the Plaza Ballroom, an incredible venue, with great food and wine. It’s always a great night: a chance to catch up with colleagues from the Bar and Bench, to renew old friendships and to make new ones.
If you have been procrastinating, now is the time to book. There is no need to organise a complete table, although of course you can do that if you wish—if you reserve a single ticket, or a ticket with a friend or group of friends, we’ll do the rest. Get your tickets here.
Another last chance – early bird tickets for the ABA ‘Convergence’ Conference in Singapore
Now that the Easter and Anzac Day breaks are behind us, one’s mind naturally wanders to plans to escape the depths of Melbourne’s winter in July. This year there is an obvious choice: Australia’s world-class conference for litigators, the Australian Bar Association’s biennial conference, Convergence 2019.
Time is running out to purchase early bird tickets: you have only until next Wednesday, 8 May.
Featured speakers include the Hon Chief Justice Susan Kiefel AC of the High Court of Australia, and the Hon Chief Justice Sudaresh Menon of the Supreme Court of Singapore.
There are special delegate airfares with Singapore Airlines, including for families, to Singapore and beyond, with the specials extending to post-conference destinations.
This will be the conference highlight of the year—a unique opportunity to meet up with colleagues from the other independent referral Bars of Australia, obtain your annual quota of CPD points at sessions presented by pre-eminent members of the judiciary and the profession, and get some sun in the middle of Melbourne’s winter.
Position Vacant: Lord Chief Justice of the Kingdom of Tonga
Speaking of winter, as we consider Melbourne’s inconvenient commuter distance from the tropics, I draw members’ attention to the attached notice, inviting eminently qualified persons to express an interest in appointment to the role of Lord Chief Justice of the Kingdom of Tonga. The position is expected to become vacant in December 2019. The appointment will be made by the King in Privy Council on the recommendation of the Judicial Appointments and Discipline Panel established by the Constitution of the Kingdom of Tonga.
Bar Council By-Election nominations close Mon 6 May, voting commences Wed 8 May
Nominations close on Monday for the Bar Council by-election to fill the vacancy created by the appointment of Jacinta Forbes QC to the Supreme Court. Online voting will be open between 9am on Wednesday 8 May and 5pm Wednesday 15 May, with the poll being declared at a meeting of Bar Council the following day. More details in the notice below.
William Ah Ket Scholarship – launch on 22 May 2019
Members with no more than five years’ post-admission experience are eligible to apply for the 2019 William Ah Ket Scholarship, which is valued at $6,000. The scholarship is awarded for the best paper on a topic relating to equality, diversity and the legal profession or the law. There are two further prizes of $1,000 for short-listed entrants.
Expressions of interest to submit an essay are open until Friday 31 May 2019, with the deadline for essays being 9 August 2019. The scholarship will be launched on 22 May at the Chinese Museum, 22 Cohen Place, Melbourne, where celebrated Victorian Bar member William Ah Ket is included in the current exhibition, ‘One Million Stories’.
A busy week
This week, I represented the Bar at the welcome for the Honourable Justice John Snaden in the Federal Court on Monday. I thank Senior Vice-President Wendy Harris QC for representing the Bar at the welcome for the Hon Justice Tim McEvoy in the Family Court on Tuesday. I also thank Junior Vice-President Simon Marks QC for representing the Bar at the welcome for Her Honour Judge Elizabeth Brimer on Thursday. Click the links to read the speeches.
Behind the scenes, I met with Chief Judge Kidd of the County Court and the editors of the Bar News. The Executive of Bar Council met on Thursday.
Stewart Anderson QC will be both sworn in and welcomed as a judge of the Federal Court of Australia on Monday 6 May 2019 at 9.30am.
The profession will welcome the Hon Justice Jacinta Forbes as a judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria on Friday 10 May at 9.15am.
George Georgiou SC will be sworn in and welcomed in the County Court on Thursday 9 May at 9.15am.
The Bench Welcome for Magistrates’ Pillai and Dootjes has been confirmed for Tuesday 14 May at 9:15am in Court 1.