Town Hall-style meeting on proposed reforms to the Constitution of the Victorian Bar
Yesterday we held a ‘town hall’ meeting to discuss proposed reforms to the Bar’s Constitution.
The proposed reforms will be put to a Special General Meeting of the Victorian Bar Inc at 5pm on 12 June 2019 in the Neil McPhee room.
There is more information in the notice below.
Together with the Australian Intercultural Society, on Monday the Bar co-hosted its first ever Iftar dinner—a dinner to mark the end of the daily fasting period during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Azmeena Hussain delivered the evening’s keynote address. Ms Hussain, the first Muslim woman to be appointed a principal of a law firm (at Maurice Blackburn), spoke about the pursuit of social justice and the legal profession. I spoke on behalf of the Victorian Bar.
Other speakers included Ahmet Keskin from the Australian Intercultural Society and, in a series of ‘reflections’ from the floor, President Maxwell, Associate Justice Randall, Magistrate Masood, Jennifer Batrouney QC and Gabi Crafti. Imam Aslam Muhammad gave the call to prayer and a recitation from the Quran. The evening was hosted with panache by Donald Betts Jr.
Picture: The Hon Justice Jacinta Forbes, Azmeena Hussain, Dr Matt Collins QC
Bar subscriptions and Bar charities
Members will receive their annual Bar Subscription packs next week. Each pack will include letters respectfully asking for end-of-financial year donations to the three crucial Bar charities that rely on your generosity in order to perform their important work.
The Victorian Bar Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation progressing the interests of justice in Victoria, particularly through legal education. In recent years the Foundation has contributed financially to the Sir Ninian Stephen Menzies Scholarship in International Law, the John Gibson Scholarship, which provides for a student from a refugee background to attend Trinity College, the James Merralls Visiting Fellowship in Law, the Monash University Refugee Scholarship Program, and the Victorian Bar Foundation Student Achievement Award and Mentoring Program, which last year supported 48 student prize winners from 15 outer north western suburban high schools who have shown an interest in and aptitude for the study of law. As well as a $1,500 prize, the students were partnered with a mentor from the junior ranks of the Bar and encouraged to view the Bar as a career path open to all on merit, irrespective of socio-economic circumstances, ethnic background, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.
For nearly a century, the Barristers’ Benevolent Association has been providing financial assistance in the form of gifts and loans to barristers and close family members facing difficult circumstances. One of the aims is to help our fellow members through challenging health or family circumstances so they can remain at the Bar. Thanks to the generosity of members, since 2000, the Association has granted gifts totalling over $600,000 and made loans totalling over $690,000.
The gallery has been extended, linking the foyers of Owen Dixon West and East with stunning portraits and historic installations, incorporating the new Hartog Berkeley QC gallery room. Many new commissions and gifts were unveiled at the opening of the new gallery in March and, with your contribution, the Gallery hopes to commission portraits to pay tribute to several more members whose contributions to the law and broader community have made Victoria and Australia better places.
Federal Court Users Group
The Federal Court of Australia wishes to engage with the legal profession on an ongoing and structured basis by establishing User Groups for the Commercial & Corporations National Practice Areas (NPAs), in order to discuss significant developments in the law as well as practice issues which may arise in respect of the Court’s practice and procedure at a state and national level.
The Court proposes to commence with a:
The user groups will be convened by the National Coordinating Judges for the relevant NPAs.
The Hon Justice Middleton has written to request the Bar nominate 20 practitioners for those committees. Justice Middleton’s letter contains further information.
The Bar’s protocol for nomination and appointment of members to external bodies can be found here. Your Expression of Interest should include a copy of your CV and identify any relevant areas of experience or expertise.
Please forward your expression of interest to Denise Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org. The closing date for EoIs is Monday 17 June 2019 at 5pm.
A busy week
As well as the Iftar event and the town hall meeting, this week I attended a General Counsel lunch as part of the General Counsel engagement project, the Human Rights Law Centre Annual Dinner and an outstanding CPD on diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.
Behind the scenes, I caught up with the Chair and CEO of BCL to discuss future chambers investment plans and attended meetings with the Executive and the media law section of CommBar.