In Brief Issue #934

Dr Matt Collins AM QC

Equitable briefing improving but more to be done

It was encouraging to read this morning that when barristers made briefing recommendations to law firms and clients in 2017–18, they recommended women barristers in 61 per cent of current matters and 60 per cent of new matters, according to the Law Council of Australia’s Equitable Briefing Policy Annual Report released today.

The LCA report found that, nationally, junior women barristers received 30 per cent of junior briefs, meeting the equitable briefing target. However women barristers received only a quarter of reported briefs overall and 17 per cent of total reported fees.

We have made substantial progress and have real momentum but there is clearly more work to do, particularly in understanding why recommendations that women be briefed are not translating into paid work. I encourage all members who have not done so already to sign up to the LCA’s Gender Equitable Briefing Policy.


New Strategic Plan for the Bar

At last night’s Bar Council meeting, a new Strategic Plan 2020-2024 was approved for the Victorian Bar.

The new Strategic Plan continues the vision of “Independence, excellence, leadership and growth” that was first articulated in the 2017–20 plan. It identifies as our purpose, “To ensure the Bar and its members thrive, now and into the future” and sets out four primary objectives: to maintain and expand market share; to provide services to members to support and enhance their practices; to foster excellence and enhance the performance of Victorian barristers; and to provide leadership and a strong, authoritative voice. Strategies for furthering each of those objectives are identified, as are the standards by which we will measure our success.

Every matter that comes before Bar Council is assessed against the Strategic Plan, as a means of ensuring that the direction of the Bar remains on track, matters are appropriately prioritised against our objectives, and that we are not diverted by distractions and thought bubbles.

I commend the plan to all members, and extend particular thanks to Claire Noone and Ned Lis-Clark of NOUS Group and the members of the Strategic Plan Steering Committee.


Nominations for Bar Council election open on Monday

On Monday, nominations will open for the next Bar Council election.  All members who are eligible to vote will receive an email on Monday outlining how to nominate, with links to the relevant form.  You have two weeks to submit your nominations— here is the full timetable.


3% increase in scale of costs for counsel

At its most recent meeting, the Legal Costs Committee (which has functions under the Legal Profession Uniform Law) recommended to the Council of Judges that the fees payable to counsel pursuant to the Scales of Costs should be increased by 3.3 percent.

The recommended increase was calculated by reference to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ publication of Average Weekly Earnings for May 2019 (AWE). Last year, with the assistance of Price Waterhouse Coopers, the Bar Council asked the Costs Committee to increase the fees payable to counsel based on AWE increases rather than on increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). AWE was seen by the Bar Council as the most appropriate measure given that fees payable to counsel are predominately referable to time and effort expended by counsel, rather than on other elements of potential expense (which influence CPI much more directly).

I am pleased to report that the Costs Committee adopted an AWE approach last year in respect of fees payable to counsel and it did so again this year. In respect of all of the items in the Scales of Cost (which are referable to solicitors' work), the Committee recommended that increases should be based upon CPI which for the relevant period was only 1.3 percent.

Particular thanks go to the Bar’s Treasurer, Sam Hay, for championing this cause and achieving this pleasing outcome.


UN Day Lecture 2019

Hiding in the notices below is the annual United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNICTRAL) UN Day Lecture 2019.  The lecture is an annual event coordinated across the country, with an event in the Federal Court of Australia in each capital city on 23 or 24 October 2019. 

This year, the lecture is on 25 years of cross-border insolvency reform.  Speakers are drawn from the judiciary, the bar, the profession and the academy.

The Melbourne event on Wednesday 23 October will be chaired by the Hon Justice David O’Callaghan with our own Stewart Maiden QC as the speaker and comment by Dr Neil Hannan of Thomson Geer.  There will also be drinks sponsored by ARITA, the peak body for insolvency professionals. More details including bookings in the notice below.


Vale Peter Fox QC, Patsy O’Hara and Professor Louis Waller AO

The legal community suffered three losses this week.

Peter Fox QC was a current practising member, so his passing was a shock to many and the cause of profound sorrow to his many friends and colleagues. The Bar’s obituary has been posted in the usual places and is accessible from this link.

Patricia (Patsy) O’Hara was the 26th woman ever to sign the Bar Roll, yet her career has been almost completely undocumented. The Bar’s obituary is the first biographical piece, to the best of my knowledge, that the Bar has produced. The description of her character, which was contributed by a friend and colleague, makes me wish I had known Patsy and worked with her.

The third loss was Professor Louis Waller AO, the father of Ian Waller QC, who died on Wednesday. Professor Waller was a respected academic who taught many members of our Bar.  His distinguished career included terms as Dean of Monash Law School and Chairman of the Victorian Law Reform Commission. Professor Waller was an expert in the legal issues relating to the practice of medicine, including forensics and legal issues in medicine. As Chairman of the IVF Committee appointed by the Victorian Government in 1982, then as Chairman of the statutory Standing Review and Advisory Committee on Infertility, Professor Waller led the development of the first legal model for IVF in Victoria. The Bar extends its condolences to Ian and his family. 


A busy week

This week I spent a great deal of time trying to put myself out of a job; specifically, this one. I had two meetings with the CEO and members of the Executive and Bar staff in order to plan an orderly transition for the election of the next Bar Council and its officeholders. Last night I chaired a meeting of the Bar Council, at which apart from approval of the Strategic Plan (see above) and many other issues, the Bar’s audited annual accounts were approved.

Behind the scenes, I also attended a meeting about next year’s proposed CommBar conference and a meeting with the Legal Services Board + Commissioner about the forthcoming regulators’ conference, at which I will be moderating a panel discussion on wellbeing in the legal profession.

Vicbar News & Events
2019 Annual General Meetings of the Victorian Bar Inc. and the Barristers' Benevolent Association of Victoria

Notice is hereby given of the 2019 Annual General Meeting of the Victorian Bar Inc. and Barristers' Benevolent Association of Victoria to be held on Monday 28 October 2019 at 4.30 pm (Victorian Bar Inc. AGM), and at approx. 4.40pm (Barristers' Benevolent Association) in the Bar Council Chamber, Level 1, Owen Dixon Chambers East, 205 William Street, Melbourne.


PDF icon Notice of 2019 Victorian Bar AGM 28 October 2019

PDF icon VicBar Inc AGM 28 October 2019 Form of Proxy for prescription by Bar Council

PDF icon Minutes of VBI AGM 22 October 2018

PDF icon Notice of 2019 Barristers Benevolent Association AGM 28 October 2019

PDF icon Explanatory Memorandum BBAV Restructure

PDF icon Minutes of BBA AGM 22 October 2018

Timetable for 2019-2020 Bar Council Election

The 2019/2020 Victorian Bar Council election will be conducted on-line.  Instructions for on-line voting will be provided to members prior to the voting period.  A ‘hot desk’ will be available in the Bar office for those members without access to the website.

The timetable for this year’s election is as follows:

Opening of nomination period  9 am, Monday 14 October 2019
Close of nomination period 5 pm, Monday 28 October 2019
Voting opens 9 am, Wednesday 30 October 2019
Close of Voting 5 pm, Wednesday 13 November 2019
Declaration of the Poll 4:45 pm, Thursday 14 November 2019

Nomination forms will be emailed to members eligible to nominate or be nominated. Nomination forms will also be available for download on the website and via In Brief

  • Information regarding the election process will be published on the website and in In Brief and emailed along with the nomination forms. Conditions of eligibility to nominate and to be nominated are prescribed by clauses 45 and 48 of the Constitution of the Victorian Bar Inc.
Penang 2020 ICLC Expressions of Interest

Following on from CommBar’s very successful International Commercial Law Conferences (London 2016 & Hong Kong 2018), CommBar and the Victorian Bar will be holding the 2020 International Commercial Law Conference (‘ICLC’) at the Eastern and Oriental Hotel in Penang, Malaysia on Friday the 18th and Saturday the 19th of September 2020. As was the case with the Hong Kong 2018 ICLC, the timing of the Penang 2020 ICLC coincides with the first weekend of the September school holidays and is an event not to be missed!

The conference will feature speakers from the Victorian, English, Hong Kong, Malaysian and Singapore bars and judiciary and will address a range of current commercial litigation and arbitration topics. Solicitors and Corporate Counsel from the region are also expected to attend and, as ever, the conference will feature an exciting and memorable social program.

Penang is easily accessible via Kuala Lumpur or Singapore on Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Virgin Australia, Emirates, Silk Air, Air Asia or Scoot in addition to direct flights to Penang from Melbourne, twice weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) on Jetstar. In addition to the conference hotel (The Eastern and Oriental Hotel), Penang offers a broad range of accommodation suitable to all budgets. Also, the conference registration fee will be competitively priced as it has been with previous CommBar ICLCs.

For now, we are seeking expressions of interest in the Penang 2020 ICLC from CommBar members. If you are interested in attending and consider it likely you will attend the Penang 2020 ICLC, please register your interest by emailing and we shall keep you informed of future developments.

In the meantime, should you have any queries, please feel free to contact Paul Hayes QC at

Expressions of interest for profile photo shoot – Thursday 21 November

The Victorian Bar is now taking expressions of interest for those members looking to refresh their profile photo. We are holding a photoshoot on Thursday 21 November.

If you are interested in having your photo taken on the day, please click here and register your interest.

Cost: $60.00 incl GST


Seminar on Singapore Mediation Convention

In conjunction with the Resolution Institute and VADR, we are very pleased to invite you to a CPD session on the Singapore Mediation Convention to be followed by drinks at the offices of Pitcher Partners at 5:30 pm on 31 October 2019.

In December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, now known as the Singapore Mediation Convention.

On 7 August 2019, in Singapore, 46 countries, including the USA, China, Singapore, India, Malaysia, the Philippines & South Korea – but not Australia; signed the Convention.

The Convention will facilitate the enforcement of mediated settlement agreements in cross-border disputes in much the same way as the New York Convention does for arbitral awards. It is intended that the Convention will promote the use of mediation and remove the need to involve courts or arbitral tribunals to achieve enforceable dispute resolution in disputes arising from cross-border transactions. This provides greater certainty to the parties, particularly where the terms of settlement contemplate future performance and enforcement remains an ongoing concern.

Australia’s failure to sign the Convention is disappointing given the extensive amount of international trade in which the country’s corporations engage.  It is hoped that this failure will be addressed by the Federal Government in the near future.

The speakers at this event have and will provide a unique insight into the Convention and its intended operation.  Professor Khory McCormick was the Australian Government Rapporteur at the UNCITRAL Working Group which drafted and settled the Convention.  Professor Rajesh Sharma was present at the signing of the Convention in Singapore.

If you want to learn more, find out what is really happening, make your own contribution, and perhaps hear from an international speaker on this very current topic, then this is a session not to be missed.

Singapore Mediation Convention CPD seminar

Date:            Thursday 31 October 2019
Time:            5:30pm - 7:30pm
Location:      Pitcher Partners 
                     Level 13/664 Collins St
                     Docklands VIC 3008

CPD points: 1.5 hour of CPD under NMAS and Resolution Institute accreditation schemes

Entry is free for Victorian Bar members - click here to register

Emotional Wellbeing for Barristers Series Session 2: How to become self-aware - Are you a human being or a human doing?

REGISTRATION ESSENTIAL Click here to register

Are you a human being or a human doing?

In today's fast paced world, somehow, we seem to find comfort in always being "busy" instead of finding time to truly relax, or just be. The ability to stop, pause and reflect could be the first step to potentially re-wire the negative bias of our trained legal minds for a more positive mindset, as self awareness is the foundation of emotional regulation.

This is the second session in a series of 6 workshops designed for the members of the legal profession, especially those who are curious and interested in finding more balance in work and life, and those who are keen to find an alternative path to achieve success. The sessions will teach practical skills that are essential to create and maintain positive mindset and emotional well-being. 

Attendees are encouraged to attend all 6 events but can register for individual events.

This workshop develops a particular skill on growing the “self” - such as cultivating self-awareness and self-compassion.

For more details please click on the link below.

Workshop Date: Thursday 17 October 2019:  How to Become Self-Aware: Non-Doing Workshop

Speaker: Elva Zhang

When: Thursday, October 17, 2019 - 17:00 to 19:00

Where: Richard Griffith Library, Owen Dixon Chambers East, Level 1, 205 William Street

These sessions are not eligible for CPD points.

Vicbar Life
RACV Club special offer for VicBar members

A special introductory offer for Vic Bar members wanting to join the RACV Club ends on 31 October, 2019.

If you join before 31 October 2019, the RACV Club will waive its joining fee, so the annual membership fee of $910 will be reduced to $520, as well as a discount on the annual membership fee each year.

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 are 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.

Get your Trivia game on at the Essoign Club

Get your Trivia game on at the Essoign Club and register your group for our November Trivia Night being held on Monday the 11th of November.

Register your interest in the Club or at

See attached flyer for details.

Member Benefits Australia - October exclusive member offers

Don't miss out on these exclusive member deals for October with some great offers and gift ideas.

Lyrical Lunchtimes Concert Series - Final Concert for 2019

BottledSnail's final lunchtime concert for the year will be held on Thursday 17 October. The concert will feature performances from talented members of the legal profession. Come to the Law Library, 210 William Street, at 1.15pm for this free concert and enjoy some relaxing classical music in this beautiful setting. Entry is free and there is no need to book. For more details contact Kylie Weston-Scheuber on

Studio 11 - Oliver Ashworth-Martin and Robert Rae Exhibition

Studio 11 - located on level 11 ODC East and always worth a look, is proud to exhibit drawings and sculpture by Oliver Ashworth-Martin and Robert Rae. The body of work comprises 30 pieces including wood, copper, bronze sculpture as well as botanicals and drawn things on cotton paper. If you respect detail and have an interest in nature, mechanics, bike riding, photography, la cucina and beautiful things, then this exhibition is for you. As always, all works are for sale directly via the artist with no commission payable. Work sheets and artists’ statements are found on level 11 East. The exhibition runs until 13 December. Enjoy!

Expressions of Interest for Purchase of Library Items

Expressions of Interest for purchase of library items of former Victorian barrister (practiced 1964 to circa 2004). Please forward EOI by close of business 18/10/19 to

Practice & Profession News
New Mortgage Recovery List in the Commercial Court

A new Mortgage Recovery List was established in the Commercial Court on 30 September 2019. From this date, there will also be some changes to the way court users file some new proceedings in the Commercial Court on RedCrest. For more information please refer to the Supreme Court’s website.

Profession CPD & Events
Recent Developments in Misleading and Unconscionable Conduct

The expert panel will discuss recent appellate authorities on misleading or deceptive conduct and statutory unconscionable conduct, including ASIC v Kobelt (High Court) and ACCC v Medibank (Full Federal Court). This seminar will provide an insight into the presenters’ differing perspectives – academic, corporate lawyer and regulatory lawyer.

Date: Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Time: 5.15pm – 6.15pm

Venue: Court 8A, Federal Court of Australia, Owen Dixon Commonwealth Law Courts, Building 305 William Street, Melbourne

RSVP: Click here by Monday 14 October 2019

Click here to view the flyer for more information

Child Rights: Camps, Cages, Walls and Wire

Wednesday 16 October 2019

5.30pm – 7.30pm

Deakin Downtown, Tower 2, Level 12, 727 Collins Street, Melbourne


30 years after the launching of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, children are being held in appalling conditions in military detention in Palestine, behind wire in Mexico, on Manus and Nauru as part of Australia’s offshore processing policy and in a prison condemned for adult occupation in the NT of Australia. Children with mental disabilities suffer doubly in custody and in institutional care. 

This panel session by the International Commission of Jurists Victoria in conjunction with Deakin Law School brings together global experts in person, online and by video to highlight the growing concern that the rights of children have been lost in the miasma of political rhetoric. Our panel will answer questions on their experience of the practical and legal issues in their roles attempting to find dignity and respect for children subjected to the harshest of treatment.

Panellists will be:

Professor Felicity Gerry QC

Dr Paul McDonough

Gerard Horton

Matthew Albert

John Lawrence QC

Dr Oliver Lewis

Julie Gilbert Rosicky

Cassandra Seery

Nicki Lee

See the Deakin Law School newsroom for further information and registration details.

UN Day Lecture 2019 - 25 Years of Cross Border Insolvency Law Reform 1994-2019

Since 1994, UNCITRAL has been developing model laws on Cross Border Insolvency (CBI), which have been adopted in Australia and most leading economies. These laws support globalisation of world trade by providing for cooperation in international insolvencies, through a process of mutual recognition by courts of foreign insolvency regimes and representatives. This year’s UN Day Lecture series will outline how the CBI framework operates, and examine the contribution made by Australian courts and practitioners to many of the developments in this field over the past quarter-century.

The UN Day Lecture series is an annual initiative of the UNCITRAL National Coordination Committee for Australia (UNCCA) to highlight the work of UNCITRAL for practitioners and students. A Lecture will be held in each Australian capital city, with a local speaking panel. Light refreshments will be available afterwards, sponsored by the Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA). Your city’s details are set out below.

Registration is required, with a fee for non-members of $25 and students of $5. There is no charge for members of UNCCA, ARITA, the Judiciary, court staff or the APS. Application will be made, where required, for CPD accreditation.

Wednesday 23rd October 2019: 5.00pm – 6.15 pm

Venue: Federal Court of Australia, Court 1
Chair: Justice David O’Callaghan
Speaker: Stewart Maiden QC, Victorian Bar
Commentator: Dr Neil Hannan, Thomson Geer

Click here for more information and to register.

La Trobe Law School Seminar - Barristerly dissonance: ethics, myths and strategies in rape trials

La Trobe Law School Seminar

Topic: Barristerly dissonance: ethics, myths and strategies in rape trials

Speakers: Emma Henderson & Kirsty Duncanson

Time/Venue: 11am-12 noon on Wednesday 23 October 2019 in Room 232 (Moot Court), Level 2, Social Sciences Building, Bundoora Campus, La Trobe University

Click here for registration and further details.

Global Garden of Peace event with Lockhart River Artists – 25 October

Global Gardens of Peace is an Australian charity that produces gardens to support vulnerable communities around the world.  Several members of our Bar are active in the charity, with one member on the Board. 

They have invited all members to attend a fundraiser for the charity on 25 October at 7pm, featuring 36 artworks from four premier artists from the Lockhart River Aboriginal Arts Centre in Far North Queensland, Andrew McConnell's SUPERNORMAL and De Bortoli Family Winemakers. 

The artists will be present to talk with patrons at the event. These artists, Rosella Namok, Fiona Omeenya, Silas Hobson and Patrick Butcher are the backbone of Lockhart River's Art Gang, now in its 26th Year. Despite exhibition and representation in galleries nationally and internationally, they have never previously presented together in a single exhibition. 

The online catalogue is in production and will be released on Wednesday 16 October for viewing. Note that a select number of works are available for purchase prior to the auction, and you are encouraged to make an early enquiry to secure a work of your choice. 

A flyer for the event can be found here.

To receive updates for the event and notice of the release of the catalogue, please email 

Bookings – Please note that bookings to the event are essential as the venue can accommodate only a limited number of patrons. 

Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference


The Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference (APSACC) is the leading anti-corruption event in Australia, with its focus on preventing, exposing and responding to corrupt conduct and corruption risks in public institutions, including all levels of government, elected bodies, the judiciary, police and statutory bodies.

APSACC 2019 - ‘Identifying challenges, finding solutions’ will be held from Tuesday 29 to Thursday 31 October 2019 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. It will provide opportunities for anti-corruption and other agencies, academia, the private sector and other practitioners to discuss and share their experience and expertise. 

The conference will comprise plenary sessions, discussion panels and workshops that focus on research, trends, case studies and new methods for preventing, investigating and exposing corruption. The conference will also provide opportunities for developing professional networks across areas of expertise and jurisdictions.

APSACC 2019 will be hosted by Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), in partnership with:

  • Crime and Corruption Commission, Queensland
  • Independent Commission Against Corruption, New South Wales
  • Corruption and Crime Commission, Western Australia
  • Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, South Australia
  • Integrity Commission, Tasmania
  • Law Enforcement Conduct Commission, New South Wales
  • Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity.

Each organisation has its own charter to combat corruption and misconduct and to help strengthen public sector integrity.

Held biennially, APSACC was previously hosted in 2017 by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (NSW) and the Crime and Corruption Commission (QLD).


Registration is now open for APSACC 2019. Click here to register. Registrations close at AEST 5pm, Thursday 24 October (or when full venue capacity is reached).

CIPL Public Law Weekend - 'Technology, Public Law and Public Administration'

The ANU Centre for International & Public Law will be hosting its annual Public Law Weekend on Friday 1 November 2019. This year's theme is 'Technology, Public Law and Public Administration'. Registrations are now open.

2019 International Arbitration Conference

Date: 18 November 2019 

Venue: The Westin, Brisbane Australia 

Co-presented by the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration  and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Australia) the 2019 International Arbitration ConferenceBuilding Bridges: Resolving Disputes Through International Arbitration  is the pre-eminent event of the 2019 Australian Arbitration Week, which is being held in Brisbane. As international arbitration remains the preferred means for commercial and state entities to resolve disputes in the global economy, building bridges, and not walls, is key to maintaining good relationships to ensure growth, competitiveness and new opportunities.

Supported by local and international arbitral bodies and firms, the conference features distinguished speakers from across Australia and around the world who will be discussing the emerging trends and hot topics in international commercial arbitration. The conference will be opened by The Hon Justice Patrick Keane AC, High Court of Australia, who will deliver the keynote address.

Following the day’s proceedings, will be the Cocktail Networking Reception, featuring guest speaker, The Hon Yvette D’Ath MP, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice of the Queensland Government.

For further details about the program and early bird registration, please click here

Careers & Opportunities
InBrief Submissions - please email to: 
Deadline for the next issue:5pm, 17th October 2019