In Brief Issue #917

Dr Matt Collins AM QC

Democracy triumphs – thank you for voting

Some terrific advocacy and plenty of good humour was on display at the Special General Meeting (SGM) of the Victorian Bar held on Wednesday evening. Members debated, for and against, the most comprehensive package of proposed reforms to the Constitution of the Bar in many years.

Fourteen of the 16 special resolutions put by the Bar Council for the consideration of members passed (special resolutions 2, 3 and 5–16). The successful resolutions were supported by strong majorities of 85% and above. In total, more than 100 provisions of the Constitution were amended or added.

The successful resolutions have effected significant changes to the Constitution. Among other reforms:

  • the purposes clause of the Constitution has been modernised;
  • the Bar has acquired greater flexibility in relation to the conduct of investigations into member conduct;
  • we have implemented a ‘count-back’ system to fill casual vacancies on the Bar Council and a mechanism for resolving ties in the annual election;
  • the Audit, Finance & Risk Committee, which is central to good governance and the setting of the budget, has been given Constitutional recognition; and
  • the provisions of the Constitution governing the powers and operations of the Ethics and Counsel Committees have been improved.

The two special resolutions which did not reach the 75% threshold required (1 and 4), each had majority support. They concerned the introduction of a biennial election for Bar Council and the introduction of a 2-year term limit for the President; and an amendment in relation to the disciplining of members for certain conduct.

I was delighted by the level of engagement by members of the Bar in this ambitious process of reform and the spirit of the broader debate on Wednesday.

Thanks to Bar Council and all those involved in the long history of these reforms.

Thanks too to the many people who took the time to write to me to commend the Bar Council on its prosecution of the proposed reforms. As one member put it to me, in terms I could not improve upon: “We have shown we can manage our affairs in accordance with rules and do so with decorum. We can achieve difficult, even somewhat painful, reform. We respect and aspire to having at all times good governance. We do not agree on everything but we find a way through.”

Gongs galore

The 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours List recognised a number of members and former members of the Victorian Bar.

Congratulations to former Victorian Bar Chairmen and practising members James Peters AM QC and Michael Shand AM QC (Order of Australia, Member in the General Division). Also honoured were members Dr Annabelle Bennett AC SC (Companion in the General Division) and Justice Paul Coghlan AO (Officer in the General Division).

Former members of the Bar who received gongs were Dennis Cowdroy AO QC and Nicholas Cowdery AO QC (Officers in the General Division); and Suzan Cox OAM QC and Clement Newton-Brown OAM (Medal in the General Division).


Last chance – ABA commercial law conference in Singapore

Singapore will be the venue for a two-day commercial law and litigation conference organised by the Australian Bar Association next month (11–12 July).

The Chief Justice of Australia, the Hon Susan Kiefel AC, and the Chief Justice of Singapore, the Hon Sundaresh Menon will deliver a joint keynote address to kick off the conference, Convergence: the world-class conference for litigators.

The speaker line-up for the conference is a who’s who of the profession.

I’m certainly not in that category, but on day two, I am looking forward to moderating another of my Hypotheticals with an expert panel discussing ethical issues in domestic and international litigation. In my spare time I have been working on the scenario for the Hypothetical, which will involve a twisted and amusing take on some recent events, transposed to a different context (obscure enough for you?).

The closing date for registrations to attend the conference is this Sunday, 16 June. Singapore is a great destination in itself for those wanting a break from Melbourne’s winter, or the ideal launching spot for a trip further afield. The conference is an opportunity to take a break from the grind of daily practice and reflect upon important issues affecting the law and the legal profession (not to mention a painless way to earn a full year’s complement of CPD points).


Coroners Court Pro Bono Referral Scheme

Last night I formally launched the Coroners Court of Victoria Direct Pro Bono Referral Scheme, which is the culmination of more than a year’s collaboration between the Court and the Victorian Bar.

The scheme enables members of the Bar with experience or an interest in coronial matters to register their preparedness to accept pro bono referrals from the Court to assist in providing urgent advice to Victorians at an incredibly difficult and vulnerable time in their lives. The Court has produced a Guide for the scheme that provides members with information and resources, including links to the relevant legislative provisions and leading cases.

The scheme is a fine example of collaboration between Bench and Bar. My thanks and congratulations go to all involved, including Richard Wilson, Meredith Schilling and other members of the Bar’s Pro Bono Committee, the Coroners and staff of the Coroners Court of Victoria, led by Coroner Simon McGregor, and the hard-working staff in the Bar Office.

Members interested in participating in the scheme must complete and send an Expression of Interest (EoI) form to

Picture (L-R): Dr Matt Collins AM QC, Coroner Darren Bracken, Meredith Schilling, Coroner Simon McGregor and Richard Wilson


On the road from Ballarat

In the wake of the success of the SGM, I took a bit of a road trip yesterday to Ballarat to sub for Senior Vice-President Wendy Harris QC at a leaders’ lunch hosted by the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). The event was a chance to connect with regional directors and board members and highlight the central role they play in good decision-making and holding management to account.

My talk discussed the implications of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, with a focus on the intersection between governance and culture. I was joined by Marnie Baker, the Managing Director of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, who shared her experience as the manager of a financial services institution while her industry was in the spotlight of the Hayne Royal Commission.

The senior leadership of the Bar frequently participates in events of these kinds, which is about raising the profile, and showcasing the expertise, of the Victorian Bar. We want all members of the community to look to the Bar when they need a trusted legal adviser, and to think of the Bar as we do—as a centre for unrivalled legal excellence.

Next week Bar Council member Katherine Brazenor will represent the Bar at a similar event for the AICD in Albury Wodonga.


These charities need your support this EOFY

A reminder to please consider an end of financial year donation to one the three Bar charities that rely on your support.

By now you will have received your members’ annual Bar Subscription packs, which include letters respectfully asking for donations to one of the charities below. They are listed below for your reference. More information can be found in the notice below.

Victorian Bar Foundation – letter and donation form 

Barristers’ Benevolent Foundation – letter and donation form

The Peter O’Callaghan QC Gallery – letter and donation form


Building and Construction Practitioners – call for EoIs

EoIs are sought from members interested in assisting the County Court of Victoria in forming a Building Cases List Users’ Group.

His Honour Judge Woodward, who has been appointed Chair of the list, has requested that the Bar nominate up to four barristers with experience in building and construction disputes (including in the County Court) to represent the Bar at an initial meeting.

Please forward your expression of interest to Denise Bennett at The closing date for EoIs is Friday 21 June 2019 at 5pm.


A busy week

As well as the SGM and AICD event in Ballarat, this week I also attended a quarterly meeting between the Bar and the Law Institute of Victoria.

Behind the scenes, I attended the two meetings of the Chief Justice’s preliminary evaluation committee for 2019 to evaluate applications for silk, chaired a meeting of the media law section of CommBar, and hosted a meeting of the Bar Council’s diversity and inclusion working group.

Vicbar News & Events
Bar subscriptions and Bar charities

Members should have received their annual Bar Subscription packs last week. Subscription fees are due by 1 July 2019. Each pack includes 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.

Victorian Bar Foundation – letter and donation form

Barristers’ Benevolent Foundation – letter and donation form

The Peter O’Callaghan QC Gallery – letter and donation form

2019 Junior Bar Conference - Register now

Join us for the Junior Bar Conference 2019 where will be exploring how to incorporate health and wellbeing into both your professional and personal lives, with workshops discussing resilience, technology & practice management, and superannuation.

The program is headlined by Commissioner Fiona McLeay, who will be discussing the future of the profession, alongside sessions on ethics, evidence, legal professional privilege and more. Full program coming shortly.

The day begins with breakfast with the Bar Council and ends with drinks with the Junior Bar. There are prizes, surprises, great food and the chance to spend some quality time with your peers.


DATE Friday 21 June 2019

TIME 8:15am - 5:00pm. Drinks from 5:00pm
VENUE Level 1, Owen Dixon Chambers East, 205 William Street, Melbourne
Registrations close Wednesday 19 June, 5pm
Includes full-day of workshops & seminars, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, post-conference drinks, gift bag, automatic entry into the prize draw, and 6 CPD points across all categories.

Rental increases

Chamber & Car Park Rental Increase – Effective 1 July 2019

The Board of Barristers' Chambers Limited has decided to increase chamber and car park rents by 3.75% from 1 July 2019.

Rents are reviewed annually after considering the costs of continuing to provide services across all our buildings and the need to fund our current and future projects.

Ninian Stephen Chambers Rental Increase – Effective 1 May 2019

Rent for Ninian Stephen Chambers will increase by 4.25% from 1 May 2019, reflecting the annual rental increase from the building’s owner under the lease.
The increase for May and June will be reflected in your June invoice.

BCL’s purpose is to provide cost-effective accommodation and technology services to the Bar. Throughout FY19 we have significantly reduced our costs,  improved our responsiveness and increased the reliability of our technology services. There is still a significant amount of work to be completed, including developing a longer term property strategy to cater for the future needs of the Bar and ensure its continued financial strength.

Please contact BCL CEO Paul Clark on 9225 7962 or if you require any additional information.

John Karkar QC
Barristers’ Chambers Limited

Federal Court User Groups EOIs

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:

  • general user group for the Commercial and Corporations NPA;
  • a user group for insolvency (bankruptcy and corporate insolvency); and
  • a Victorian state user group.

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 The closing date for EoIs is Friday 21 June 2019 at 5pm.

Victorian Bar Member CPD Events
Vicbar Life
Studio 11 Art Exhibition

Ship of Fools, stoneware, by Alexandra Copeland 36cm x 36cm

Studio 11, located on level 11 Owen Dixon Chambers East, is delighted to share its current exhibition with you, Eclectic Themes, featuring original art work and ceramics by Alexandra Copeland as well as jewellery, by Jenny Brennan. You are welcome to view the exhibition during business hours. As you may know, the Studio 11 initiative started in 2015 and is run on voluntary basis. The idea is to vary and enliven the work space and offer all members of the Victorian Bar community an opportunity to view and enjoy original art in a convenient setting, as part of the everyday. As usual, all works are for sale. There is no commission payable. Work sheets are available on level 11 Owen Dixon Chambers East.  

The Essoign – New Wine Offer

We have an EOFY Wine offer. Please find the attached order form for details on the exquisite boutique wines.

Download order form and email Antonio at

Don’t miss out.

Craiglee Wine Dinner at The Essoign

Join us on Wednesday 19th June along with wine maker Pat Carmody for a three course dinner with matching Craiglee wines.

Craiglee is a local family run winery who have cemented itself as one of the finest producers of Shiraz and Chardonnay in Australia with its world class wines. 

Limited spaces available and bookings are essential.

Book at

See attached for more information or to make a booking. For any enquiries please contact Marijana on 9225 6748.

Lyrical Lunchtimes Concert - Thursday 20 June 1.15pm

BottledSnail Productions is pleased to present its third Lyrical Lunchtimes Concert for the year. The concert will be on Thursday 20 June at 1.15pm in the Law Library, 210 William Street. Featuring performances by fingerstyle guitarist Rose de La Montaña, pianist Chloe Lee and vocalists Carolyn Baker and Carolyn John accompanied by Kylie Weston-Scheuber. Entry is free and there is no need to book. Visit or contact for more details.

HRAFF Cocktail party featuring Gillian Triggs 21 June 2019 7pm at King & Wood Mallesons

In the current climate where journalists and media offices are being raided, it’s never been a more urgent time to talk about the path forward for human rights in Australia with former President of the Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs.  Featuring a live fine art auction, including Archibald finalists/winners, Loribelle Spirovski, Wendy Sharpe, Jason Phu and Amber Boardman, a HRAFFle, canapés and cocktails. More information about the event, including tickets is available here and all money raised goes to help us running HRAFF's 2020 festival.  

RACV Club special offer for VicBar members

Claim your RACV Club benefits today

The Victorian Bar has secured RACV Club benefits for its members in Melbourne City and Healesville.

A special introductory offer for Vic Bar members wanting to join the RACV Club ends on 30 June, 2019. If you join before 30 June 2019, the RACV will waive its joining fee, so the annual membership fee of $910 will be reduced to $520.  Membership includes exclusive access to the RACV City Club in Melbourne’s CBD, the Healesville Country Club in the Yarra Valley, and over 160 reciprocal clubs globally.

By joining RACV Club, you gain access to a range of social, leisure and business facilities and services. You will receive a 50% discount on accommodation at RACV Resorts, as well as discounted dining and day spa packages through the club rewards program. Members also receive unlimited golf with their stay at the Healesville Country Club, which boasts one of the best golf courses in Australia.

Other exclusive offerings for RACV Club members includes access to the fully equipped business centre and discounted parking rates at the Melbourne CBD venue. An optional subscription to the RACV Club fitness facilities in Bourke Street (valued at $595) is also available to members.

Melbourne Lawyers' Orchestra and Habeas Chorus concert - March of the Women

The Melbourne Lawyers' Orchestra and Habeas Chorus present March of the Women, a concert celebrating diversity through the music of female composers. The concert features works from the 1800's through to the modern era by women of diverse cultural backgrounds. Though this concert, we draw a connection with the ongoing work being done to promote diversity in the legal industry. Saturday 6 July 2019, 7pm, Werner Brodbeck Hall (Scots' Church), 156 Collins St. Tickets available now at

Member Benefits Australia - June exclusive member offers
Practice & Profession News
VLRC- Contempt of Court - Release of Consultation Paper

I am pleased to advise that the Commission's consultation paper on contempt of court was published online yesterday on the Commission's website (link below) together with a summary document.

The closing date for written submissions is 28 June 2019.

For ease of reference, click here for a copy of the consultation paper.

We look forward to discussing the reference further with you at our meeting on 18 July 2019.

Please note that a meeting agenda and papers will be circulated closer to the meeting date.

In the interim, should you have any queries, please do not hesitate in contacting either myself or Anna Beesley, the reference team leader.

Kind regards

Bruce Gardner PSM
Acting Chair

Victorian Law Reform Commission
Executive Assistant:
Tel:  +61 3 8608 7800
Fax: +61 3 8608 7888
Level 3 / 333 Queen St

Indexed Notice 2019-2020

With new Indexation Rule r 111A of the Uniform General Rules commencing from 1 July 2019 in Uniform Law States, the Legal Services Council has released the Indexed Amounts Notice advising the indexed amounts that will apply to $10,000 ($10,685), $100,000 ($106,835) and $25,000 ($26,710) referred to in the Uniform Law from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.

The calculation of the indexed amounts is based on the latest CPI number published by the Australian Statistician and in accordance with r 111A of the Uniform General Rules.

More information is available from the Legal Services Council website.

Profession CPD & Events


Registration closes on Sunday 16 June at 11.59pm.  Don’t miss your opportunity to join the delegation in Singapore.

For information on the program and events, please visit the website:



Wednesday 10 July: Arrival Drinks

Mr Stork

Nestled at the rooftop on Level 39 of the Andaz, Mr Stork is a destination bar providing 360-degree views of the city. Named after the white and long-legged birds, which are often viewed as a good omen, Mr Stork houses ten teepee huts and relaxed seating set amid lush tropical landscaping to best enjoy the breathtaking views.

Dress: smart casual                       


Thursday 11 July: Welcome Party 

Aura, National Gallery of Singapore

Spanning across two floors of National Gallery Singapore, Aura is an elegant and modern multi-concept dining destination by Michelin star chef-restaurateur Beppe de Vito.  Join delegates at the former Supreme Court of Singapore as we celebrate the conclusion of day 1 with spectacular views of Singapore.

Dress: smart 


Friday 12 July: Gala Dinner

The Clifford Pier, Fullerton Bay Hotel

The Fullerton Bay Hotel is a modern hotel that pays tribute to a bygone era. Infused with a sense of refinement and a style that is both contemporary and international, its iconic dining destination is The Clifford Pier.  Join colleagues under the white vaulted ceiling at this fabulous destination as we celebrate the close of the conference.

Dress: black-tie                

For more information on the excellent program, speakers and sponsors of Convergence, please visit the website:  


Camilla Gray

ABA Event Manager


T: 02 9229 1720

M: 0411 323 873

*Junior Bar under 7 years at the bar - first 30 registrants

Free Public Lecture: The Future of the International Criminal Court: Recent Developments in Jurisprudence

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is under attack in many quarters. Some critics claim that it has focused too much on African states; others charge that its jurisprudence has failed to respond to the occurrence of serious crimes. This lecture will outline the legal contribution of some recent controversial cases decided by the Court, in particular the Ntaganda, Bemba and Al-Bashir cases.

About the presenter:

Ms. Sellers is an international criminal lawyer and Special Advisor for Gender for the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. She is also Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College of the University of Oxford, a Practicing Professor at London School of Economics and a Senior Research Fellow at the Human Rights Center of the University of California, Berkeley. Ms. Sellers advises governments and international institutions, such as the UN and OSCE, on international criminal law and humanitarian law. Her expertise focuses on the strategic investigation and prosecution of sexual violence. As such, she has been a Special Legal Consultant to UNWomen, to the Gender and Women’s Rights Division of the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights and to the Secretary’s General’s Special Representative to Children in Armed Conflict.

Interested parties can register here. Please see the flyer attached.

Co-hosted with the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law

Date: 6:00-7:00pm, Monday 17 June, 2019

Location: Theatre G08, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton

How will your arbitration agreement be interpreted? The High Court decides - 25 June 2019

The Resolution Institute, in conjunction with King & Wood Mallesons, will be holding a lunchtime seminar on Tuesday 25 June at King & Wood Mallesons’ offices, Level 50 Bourke Place, 600 Bourke Street. Presented by Albert Monichino QC and Monique Carroll, the session will analyse the High Court decision in Rinehart v Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd [2019] HCA 13. The presenters will discuss the implications of this decision for the interpretation of arbitration agreements in Australia and arbitration more broadly. For further information and to register, visit

Inaugural John Emerson AM Oration delivered by Robert Fitzgerald AM - Legal Practice Section - Law Council of Australia

The Charities and Not for Profits Committee of the Legal Practice Section will host the inaugural John Emerson AM Oration on 7 August 2019.

The oration will be delivered by Robert Fitzgerald AM in relation to ‘Lawyers and their influence under the public spotlight’  - Will  Royal Commissions  and community expectations change legal practice?

You are invited to register by using the this link

For any inquiries please do not hesitate to contact Travis Kotzur.

Sentencing Theory & Practice Masterclass

Chair of the Victorian and Tasmanian Sentencing Advisory Council

19 & 20 September 9:30am to 5pm

Sir Zelman Cowen Centre
Level 2, 295 Queen Street, Melbourne


Click here to view the flyer for more information

IBA Annual Conference Seoul 2019

The IBA's Annual Conference 2019 is taking place in Seoul, South Korea between the dates of 22-27 September 2019.

More information on the Conference is available on the IBA website and in the live programme.

Careers & Opportunities
Banking and Financial Services Law Association - Annual Scholarship and Research Essay Prize



The Banking and Financial Services Law Association is the leading professional organisation for banking and financial services law in Australia and New Zealand. The BFSLA’s objects include the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge of banking and financial services law and practice in Australia and New Zealand, including by encouraging research.

To that end, each year the BFSLA invites citizens and permanent residents of Australia and New Zealand to submit research essays on important matters in banking and financial services law and/or practice (including insolvency) that are currently topical in Australia or New Zealand, in competition for a prize pool.

The prize pool in 2019 is A$12,000.

Entries must be submitted by 5pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time) on Friday, 5 July 2019. The winner or winners, if any, will be announced at or around the BFSLA’s annual conference, which this year will be held from Thursday, 29 August 2019 to Saturday, 31 August 2019 at the Sheraton Mirage resort on the Gold Coast.

To be eligible, entries need to display a high degree of legal scholarship and original thinking, and to be of a standard, as regards both content and presentation, that is suitable for publication in a refereed law journal.

For a full list of conditions, more information about the prize and an explanation of how to enter, go to the Association’s website,

If you have any other questions about the prize, please email Julia Clancy at

Australian Academy of Law: Annual Essay Prize 2019

The Australian Academy of Law is pleased to announce the offering of its Annual Essay Prize for 2019.

The Prize is open to anyone, wherever resident, who is studying or has studied legal subjects at a tertiary level, or who is working or has worked in a law based occupation. There is no limit by reference to the age or seniority or experience of, or position held by, a person who may submit an entry. Accordingly, judicial officers, legal practitioners, legal academics and law students are all eligible to submit an essay.

The amount of the Prize is $10,000.

The essay topic for the Prize in 2019 is as follows:

How do private law and public law interact in Australia?  What are, and what should be, the available remedies (public or private or both) where they interact?

The deadline for the submission of an essay is 31 August 2019. This time limit is strictly observed, as the Rules Governing the Annual Essay Prize make clear.

Those Rules can be accessed on the Academy’s website:

Refer to the Academy’s website also for further information about the actual submission of an entry as well as information on previous winners.

Appointments to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal

The Attorney-General seeks expressions of interest for appointment as full-time or sessional members of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), for the Planning and Environment, Building and Property, Guardianship, Human Rights, and Review and Regulation Lists.

VCAT members are appointed for a period of seven years by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Attorney-General. Qualifications and conditions of employment are set out in Part 2 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998.

The Victorian Government is committed to ensuring that Victoria’s courts and tribunals reflect the rich diversity of the Victorian community. Applications are welcome from people of all ages, genders and sexual orientations, people with a disability (adjustments to the recruitment process will be provided upon request), Aboriginal Australians and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Appointment is subject to probity checks, including a National Police Check.

To apply, please go to the Victorian Government’s ‘Get on Board’ website. Expressions of interest must be received no later than midnight on 30 June 2019.

Please note: Applicants who submitted an expression of interest in appointment as a VCAT member before 1 January 2019 must resubmit an application if they wish to be considered for appointment.

InBrief Submissions - please email to: 
Deadline for the next issue:5pm, 20th June 2019