In Brief Issue #928

Dr Matt Collins AM QC

Welcome to our newest readers

Yesterday marked the first day of the September 2019 readers’ course. We have 48 new readers—26 women and 22 men, including two readers from Papua New Guinea, Rebecca Koralyo and Amanda Ila, who are reading with Anna Robertson and Maya Rozner. We also have an International Commission of Jurists-sponsored visitor from Malaysia, Collin Andrew, who will be in Melbourne for a month observing elements of our readers’ course and visiting the courts as an observer.

As you see members of the cohort around chambers, please make them feel welcome. They have been promised that our Bar is an open and inclusive place with a genuine open door policy.

In the opening session yesterday, I sat in on part of Susan Brennan SC’s marvellous address on the role of the barrister. Towards the end of her session, she asked readers to stand up if certain statements were true of them. Did they have a second passport? (Susie assured them that there are no constitutional impediments to dual citizenship for advocates.) Did they ever harbour ambitions of being actors in the theatre? Were they fans of Game of Thrones? And so on. It was all great fun, but there was a particularly insightful moment, when Susie asked the readers to stand up if they were the first person in their family to graduate with a law degree. Only a few remained seated.

This is not unusual for our cohorts of readers, and may not surprise many of us, but I would bet that it runs counter to the public perception of our branch of the profession. If they ever existed—which I think doubtful—the days of young barristers finding their feet with the assistance of family contacts are well and truly over.

As Susie had taken care of the 11 key things the readers needed to know (summary: enjoy this time of learning, use only yellow highlighter, and staple on the diagonal—I got there late, so I assume that earlier she may have also mentioned the cab rank rule, getting involved in Bar Associations and committees and so on), I was left to indulge one of my favourite pastimes of listing for the rapt readers the reasons why the Victorian Bar is so much better than any other Bar in the common law world and beyond—excellence, growth, diversity, wellbeing measures, our tradition of civility towards one another, and many more. 

I also mentioned low barriers to entry, much of which is to be credited to the wise decision, in 1959, to establish Barristers’ Chambers Ltd. Today, BCL owns Owen Dixon Chambers East and West and Douglas Menzies Chambers, and rents space in other buildings for lease to barristers. Our unique model of being able to rent chambers as monthly tenants means we do not have to save or borrow to pay ‘key money’, which can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars at some Bars. It has also enabled the Victorian Bar to develop innovative policies, such as our parental leave and Indigenous barristers chambers subsidies. They, in turn, have helped to drive the strides we have made towards the composition of our Bar better reflecting the composition of the community we exist to serve. BCL is actively working on plans to secure the future of our property holdings for future generations of members—I am very much looking forward to being able to share information about that with you in the not-too-distant future.

Our new readers have the luxury of nine weeks to think about nothing but advocacy, including the opportunity to try things out and make mistakes while they find their own voice.  I have encouraged them to use their time well and deploy the skills they learn throughout long and happy careers at the Bar.

It is always a thrill to see the readers on their first morning, knowing that they will remember the colleagues they sat with in that room for the rest of their careers, as we all did in our day.  Lifelong friendships commenced yesterday.


“QC declares bar open for cheaper counsel”

Senior Vice-President Wendy Harris QC took aim at some outdated stereotypes about barristers in the legal pages of today’s Australian Financial Review (subscription required). As Wendy pointed out, corporate Australia has not fully capitalised on the fact that barristers not only provide outstanding legal services, but also do so at exceptionally competitive value for money because of our independence and low overheads. Wendy also took the opportunity to explain to the influential readership of the AFR the Bar’s Corporate Counsel Engagement project. The project is part of the Bar Council’s strategy for expanding market share by raising awareness of our distinctive competencies among clients and the community and positioning members of the Victorian Bar as leading experts in the provision of legal services.  


National Press Club address

Next week I will be in Canberra, joining Law Council of Australia president Arthur Moses SC to speak at the National Press Club. We will be speaking about how eroding freedoms impact people and the press. If you are interested in the subject matter, ABC TV will be carrying it live on Wednesday 4 September at 12.30pm.


A busy week

On Monday we held a ‘Town Hall’ style meeting to which the last five intakes of readers were invited, to canvass their views about the options for managing the fact that our readers’ course is oversubscribed, meaning that we cannot accommodate everyone in the course of their preference. I won’t reveal the size of the turnout, other than to say that I think we will call such consultations ‘focus groups’ from now on.

On Wednesday I hosted an informal drinks event with a number of our Bar Conciliators to thank them for their work in advising members and conciliating complaints under the Bar’s discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying policies. 

Behind the scenes this week, I met with, among others, the Bar’s CEO, Executive, communications consultant, and the chair of the Ethics Committee, Róisín Annesley QC.


Vicbar News & Events
Advanced Trial Advocacy Intensive

Advanced Trial Advocacy Intensive

The Advocacy Training Council will hold its renowned Advanced Trial Advocacy Intensive from Monday 20 January to Friday 24 January 2020 in Melbourne.

The philosophy underlying the intensive is that the skills of a barrister are best learned in an environment that is as close to the real experience as possible. This involves providing realistic briefs in sufficient time for counsel to prepare the matter for hearing, giving them the opportunity to perform in real court settings, then playing back and reviewing the performance. This gives barristers a rare opportunity to experiment with a number of styles of performance to see which is the most effective for that advocate on that occasion, together with individual and small group coaching by senior Australian judges, international and Australian senior practitioners and professional performance coaches accredited by the ABA. Click here for more details including the registration form.

The Australian Bar Association sponsors one Indigenous barrister to participate in the intensive. To nominate, send a brief outline of your work history to the Secretariat at before 30 September 2019.

Places are limited, so be sure to secure your spot as soon as possible.

International Mooting Competition - January 2020 in Singapore

The members of Essex Court Chambers and the Singapore Academy of Law are organizing the ECC - SAL International Mooting Competition.   Now in its ninth year, this contest is open to young barristers from Australia.  While entrants pit their advocacy skills against each other, this competition also offers a valuable platform to interact and foster working relationships with counterparts from other jurisdictions in the region.

The competition will take place on 4, 6 and 8 January 2020 at the Supreme Court of Singapore. The winning team will be offered an all-expenses paid, 2 week internship at Essex Court Chambers in London—a leading set of barristers’ chambers specialising in commercial and financial litigation, arbitration, public law and public international law. Awards will be given for the best orator and best memorandum submitted in the competition, as well as to the best competing team from outside Singapore.

Two team slots have been reserved for Victorian barristers’ participation. A copy of the publicity flyer is available here.  Members interested in being part of a Victorian Bar team should contact Liz Ingham on

International Internship Pilot Program Breakfast

The Victorian Bar is pleased to announce its International Internship Pilot Program conducted in conjunction with the International Commission of Jurists.  This pilot program is designed to provide an in-depth appreciation of the Victorian litigation system and the rule of law by providing exposure to the Victorian Bar, the Federal Court, the County Court and barristers involved in the litigation process.

The successful applicant, Mr Collin Andrew from Malaysia, will be participating in the program from 29 August until 2 October.  Collin graduated from the Multimedia University in Selangor with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) in 2010 and was admitted to practise as an Advocate & Solicitor in the High Court of Malaya in 2011. He completed a Masters of Criminal Justice degree at the University of Malaya in 2015. He is a barrister practicing in human rights and immigration law and hopes to extend his knowledge and practical experience in Melbourne so he can return to Malaysia a stronger advocate for human rights and the rule of law.

The Victorian Bar is hosting a welcome breakfast for Collin on 3 September from 7.45am in the Richard Griffith Library.  If you would like to attend, please register via the link below.  Cost is $20 per person and places are strictly limited.

Click to Register. 

Are you a VU alumnus? We need you!

VicBar's Student Engagement Committee is joining with Victoria University to pilot a shadowing program for CALD students who may not otherwise consider a career at the Bar. Would any member of counsel who has studied or worked at Victoria University and would like to contribute to this program please email for more information.

Ethics Committee Bulletin No. 2 of 2018 - Barristers not to undertake solicitor’s work

The Ethics Committee reminds members of Ethics Committee Bulletin 2 of 2018. Click here to download the bulletin

Victorian Bar Member CPD Events

Upcoming CPD events:

You must be a member of the Victorian Bar and logged into the VicBar website to view the following events.

Vicbar Life
Oscar Hunt Tailors pop-up at the Peter O'Callaghan QC Gallery

Immerse yourself in the luxury of tailored suits with the Oscar Hunt Tailors pop-up at the Peter O'Callaghan QC Gallery, Owen Dixon Chambers West from Tuesday, 3rd September to Thursday, 5th September.

At Oscar Hunt, the team have created an environment to make tailoring a business suit easy and enjoyable altogether – crafted from their collection of beautiful cloths including the iconic Dormeuil, Loro Piana, and Dugdale fabric houses. 

Oscar Hunt prides themselves on the fit of their garments, made uniquely according to your measurements with leading made-to-measure construction technology and in-house fittings – a balance between precision and impeccable craftsmanship. 

RSVP to the pop-up or book a fitting here and receive a complimentary second pair of trousers with your suit purchase.

Bar contributions sought for Pinnacle Foundation scholarship to honour the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG

The Pinnacle Foundation awards scholarships for study in Year 12, University and TAFE to marginalised and disadvantaged LGBTIQ+ youth between the ages of 18 and 26.  To date, the Foundation has awarded 209 scholarships to 135 scholars, many of whom study law.  

 To mark the Foundation's ten year anniversary, it is establishing a scholarship to honour its inaugural Patron, long term Human Rights Campaigner, the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG.  The scholarship will be open to law students across the country with the first scholarship awarded in December this year. The scholarships are multi-year, with scholars receiving $7,000 in their first year of study and $5,000 in subsequent years. In addition, each scholar is matched with a mentor of the same field of study and sexual identity. The Foundation is a national, registered charity with DGR status.

Results of a recent study of Foundation alumni showed the following;

  • 9 per cent of scholars said they would not have achieved their academic goals in a timely way without Pinnacle support  
  • 95 per cent of scholars said that the scholarship helped them academically by allowing them to give more time and attention to their studies
  • 93 per cent  said they now feel more valued as a person 
  • 95 per cent said their confidence improved 

Each year, Michael Kirby presents scholars with their certificates commemorating their scholarships. For many years, Michael has been a gay icon, a humanitarian lawyer and a judge who has contributed significantly to transforming the society into which scholars will grow.  

The Foundation is looking to raise sufficient funds for the scholarship to be perpetual. In keeping with Michael's own principles of equality, all donations, regardless of size, will be treated equally i.e. there will be no tiering. 

The Foundation is seeking commitments from barristers, with a minimum contribution to be acknowledged of $500, with payments to be made prior to September 30th. Donations can be made here (please insert in the comment that you are a member of the Victorian Bar, contributing to the Michael Kirby scholarship fund).

New Coffee at The Essoign

The Essoign Club continues to make efforts to improve your daily grind and we have teamed up with our friends at Cisco to offer a Single-Origin Roast for the coffee connoisseurs (or just curious) members amongst us.

As well as our Arabica Blend which we are still pouring, we are now offering the Cuba Roast.

This is a Medium-Dark Roast with a Rich Chocolate flavour and a smooth Caramel Finish. A great pour for the many who enjoy a darker style of coffee.


Member Benefits Australia - August exclusive member offers
OSTEOPATHY at Absolute – 15% discount for VicBar Members

Do you suffer from headaches, neck & back pain, stress or any other aches and pains? 

Until the end of September 2019 we are offering all VicBar Members a 15% discount on Osteopathy with Ashley Gudgeon. To book your appointment email, phone 03 8547 4830, or pay us a visit at 199 William St.

Essendon fans - Join the LawDons

Are you a fan of the Mighty Bombers?

Are you interested in getting together with fellow Bomber lawyers in a fun and relaxed environment?

Then the LawDons is for you!

The LawDons is a supporter group associated with Essendon Football Club.  Our primary aims are:

  • to provide networking experiences with like-minded judicial officers, solicitors, barristers, law enforcement, corporate counsel, academics, law students and others connected with the law;
  • to provide access to the club for LawDons (via “inner sanctum” experiences); and
  • to provide benefits for the club (where possible) for instance establishing a pool of volunteers willing to provide advice and support to board, club, past players, etc.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the formation of the LawDons and we are looking to add to our membership numbers in 2020 with a view to putting together some exciting and fun events next season.

We will be holding some informal drinks in the heart of the legal precinct on an evening in November, so if you are interested in joining the LawDons and also attending that function, please email by no later than 30 September 2019 for further information, or feel free to call any of our Bomber-barristers: Simon Pitt, Jeremy Whelen or Luke Stanistreet.

Go Bombers!

Practice & Profession News
High Court Practice Direction 1 of 2019

The High Court has recently issued a new practice direction, which applies to matters set down after 1 October 2019.

High Court (2020) Sittings Rules 2019

The High Court has provided the Bar with a copy of the Rule of Court appointing the High Court sittings for 2020.

The Rule of Court appoints the Full Court sittings to be held in Canberra throughout the year and the days on which special leave applications will be heard.

Sittings of the Court will continue to be held in Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart and Perth as required. Additional sittings may also be held on other days as required, for example in matters requiring expedition. These sittings will be appointed by the Chief Justice pursuant to Rule 6.04.2 of the High Court Rules 2004.

Profession CPD & Events
Promoting efficiency in the conduct of Arbitrations with The Honourable Peter Vickery QC

Click here for more information


14 November 2019

5:30 PM to 7:00 PM


HFW Australia
Level 39, Bourke Place
600 Bourke Street, 
Melbourne VIC 3000


$25.00 Members
$45.00 Guests
Free for RI student members
Free for Professional Development subscribers

Payment by credit card only


This event will contribute 1 hour of CPD under National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS) and Resolution Institute accreditation schemes.

Women, Leadership and Health - In Conversation with Helen Clark

On 9 September 2019, the Sandro Demaio Foundation and Federation Square are hosting former New Zealand Prime Minister and former Head of the United Nations Development Programme, Helen Clark, at Melbourne's Deakin Edge at an ‘in conversation' event focussed on ‘Women, Leadership and Health’.

Tickets are now on sale: General Admission: $30.00; Concession: $20.00.

For more information contact Daniel Briggs ( Tickets are available here.

La Trobe Law School Seminar - Legislating Alternative Dispute Resolution

La Trobe Law School Seminar

Topic: Legislating Alternative Dispute Resolution

Presenter: Dr Lola Akin Ojelabi

Time/Venue: 11am-12 noon on Wednesday 18 September 2019 in Room MAR-241, Level 2, Martin Building, Bundoora campus, La Trobe University

Click here for registration and further details.

Careers & Opportunities
Common Law Trial Listings Coordinator - Supreme Court of Victoria

 The Supreme Court of Victoria seeks a suitably qualified administrator to coordinate the listing and allocation of trials in its Common Law Division and provide divisional management support to the Common Law Judicial Registrar

Operations focus – ongoing full-time – VPS Grade 3 – CBD location

Experience in court administration desirable but not essential.


An opportunity exists in the Supreme Court of Victoria for a suitably qualified person to provide high-level administrative support to the Common Law Judicial Registrar in relation to the listing and allocation of trials and other divisional management duties including case transfers to/from other jurisdictions.

This VPS3 position has an operations focus and is being offered on an ongoing basis.

Experience in court administration is desirable although not essential.

The Supreme Court of Victoria is the highest court in the State and comprises the Court of Appeal and the Trial Division. The Court deals with major criminal and civil matters, plus appeals against decisions of lower courts

As the Common Law Trial Listings Coordinator you will be part of a team of legally and non-legally qualified staff providing case management support to the Common Law Judicial Registrar and other judicial officers of the Common Law Division. You will work closely with the Judicial Registrar’s Associate and may be required to provide in-court support in their absence. You will also work with the deputy registrars of the Division and other registry staff to develop and implement process improvements.

To be successful in this role, you will have excellent communication, computer and time management skills and the ability to work collaboratively with other members of a team to plan and prioritise tasks required for the management of a high volume caseload and be able to contribute to the development, implementation and refinement of best practice and procedure. Good interpersonal skills, an inquiring mind, an eye for detail and a keen interest in the administration of justice will also stand you in good stead to excel in this role.

The Court recognises that its people are integral to its ability to meet and exceed community expectations and to achieve its goal of being an outstanding superior court. We strive to create a high performance workplace characterised by creativity, innovation, flexibility and quality delivery. The Court provides the opportunity to participate in professional growth and development and is an equal opportunity employer that fosters diversity in the workplace.

Applications close 08/09/2019. For more information on this position please click here.

Judicial Registrar Criminal Division - County Court of Victoria

The Chief Judge of the County Court seeks expressions of interest from suitably qualified persons for appointment as a Judicial Registrar of the County Court.

The successful candidate will be assigned to the County Court’s Criminal Division. This Division deals with a broad range of criminal matters under both Victorian and Commonwealth legislation, including serious theft, armed robbery, aggravated burglary, drug trafficking, sexual offences, fraud and dishonesty offences, culpable driving and serious assaults.

The Criminal Division’s workload is made up of a range of hearings including trials, plea hearings, appeals from the Magistrates’ Court and the Children’s Court, and some post-sentence supervision hearings such as contraventions of Community Correction Orders and judicial monitoring.

The Judicial Registrar will play an important role in managing the significant pre-trial work of the Criminal Division, and supervising the work of Criminal Division Lawyers. The Judicial Registrar will also play a key role in shaping the future of the Criminal Division, by assisting with the Court’s program of active case management reform.

Judicial Registrars are assigned duties by the Chief Judge pursuant to the County Court Act 1958. They are appointed by the Governor-in-Council on the recommendation of the Attorney-General. The position is located in Melbourne.

The successful candidate will be legally qualified (admitted for not less than five years) and have extensive experience in the practice of criminal law as well as an in-depth demonstrated understanding of court processes and procedures. They will also possess superior communication skills and an ability to make timely decisions according to law.

Expressions of interest, to be marked ‘Private and Confidential’, should include a resume as well as details of appropriate professional and personal referees, and posted to:

Ms Winnie Wang

Senior Administrator of the Criminal Division

250 William Street

Melbourne VIC 3000

Alternatively, email expressions of interest to

All expressions of interest must be received by no later than close of business on 20 September 2019. Any queries should be directed to Ms Wang on 03 8636 6288.

Expressions of Interest - Appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

The Government is inviting suitably qualified members of the public to submit an expression of interest to be considered for appointment to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). I would be grateful if you could circulate this information to interested persons within your organisation.

Appointments are for one or more of the categories below:

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • Deputy President

Deputy Presidents may exercise a designated leadership role as the head of a division or divisions. Deputy Presidents or Senior Members may also be assigned as a Deputy Division Head. Suitably qualified individuals who are interested in a Division Head or Deputy Division Head role are invited to submit an expression of interest accordingly.

The minimum requirements for appointment to the AAT are outlined in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (AAT Act). The AAT Act provides that a person must:

  • be enrolled as a legal practitioner of the High Court or the Supreme Court of a state or territory for at least five years, or
  • in the opinion of the Governor-General, possess special knowledge or skills relevant to the position.

The AAT is an independent statutory body that reviews a broad range of administrative decisions made by Australian Government ministers, officers, and authorities. More information about the AAT can be found at

Further information about how to submit an expression of interest can be found on the Attorney-General Department’s website at Expressions of interest must be submitted by 8 September 2019

An advertisement has been placed on the APS Employment Gazette at and was also published in national, state and territory newspapers on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 August 2019. 

This expression of interest process will create a register of candidates from which recommendations for appointment may be drawn. The register will be valid for up to 12 months.

Please contact with any questions about the expression of interest process.

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.

Calls for the Italian Lawyers Essay Competition 2019

A $1,500 prize is up for grabs in an essay competition being run by the Australian Italian Lawyers Association (AILA).

Entries are invited from students studying a Bachelor, Juris Doctor or Masters level law degree at the date the entry is submitted.

The judging criteria will focus on originality, quality of the analysis, quality and depth of research, as well as quality of structure and writing.

The essay prize will be presented to the winner at the at the AILA Annual Dinner in October 2019. The essay will also be published on AILA’s website.


When refusing Lawyer X’s s special leave application to prevent disclosure of her identity, the High Court of Australia stated:
“[Lawyer X's] actions in purporting to act as counsel for the Convicted Persons while covertly informing against them were fundamental and appalling breaches of [Lawyer X's] obligations as counsel to her clients and of [her] duties to the court”.

  1. Discuss how the criminal justice system is undermined when a lawyer acts as a police informant whilst simultaneously representing those whom they inform  against.
  2. Which obligations as counsel and duties to the court are breached by such conduct?

The word limit is 2,500 words (excluding footnotes).
All entries should be typed in a Word document clearly identifying the author’s name, contact details and university. Referencing should follow the 4th edition of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation. A bibliography is not required.
The closing date for entries is 5pm on Friday, 30 August 2019
Each entry should be sent by email to Joseph Carbone, AILA Secretary at
Anonymised versions of the essays will be blind marked by a panel of three judges.

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