In Brief Issue #937

Dr Matt Collins AM QC

Finest traditions

I was pleased, but not surprised, to learn this week that at least 11 barristers from our Bar have accepted instructions to act pro bono for the families of the Bourke Street victims at the inquest which is scheduled to commence on 18 November 2019 and expected to run for 8 weeks—one of the biggest inquests in Victorian history. The team comprises Áine Magee QC, Sue McNicol QC, Nick Papas QC, Barbara Myers, Marko Cvjeticanin, Fiona Spencer, Fiona Ryan, Kylie Weston-Scheuber, Liz Ruddle, Maria Pilipasidis and Mathew Kenneally. Much work has already been done on a pro bono basis in responding to various issues and in preparation. Needless to say, this is very much in the finest traditions of the Victorian Bar, providing access to justice for those most in need. 

Annual Report

The Bar’s Annual Report 2019 is available for reading, having been approved at the AGM of the Victorian Bar, Inc on Monday night. I commend it to members. It is the official record of the activities of the whole of the Victorian Bar for the year to 30 June 2019, and includes my President’s report, the CEO’s report, reports of all of our Bar Associations and standing committees, financial statements and reports, details of judicial and other appointments, and the annual report of the Barristers’ Benevolent Association.


Bar Council elections

Voting is open for the Bar Council election. Please take the time to review the candidate list and select the members you want to manage your interests for the next year.  More information in the notice below, and in the email that was sent to all eligible members on Tuesday afternoon.


Sam Hay SC

Completing my series honouring the support and contribution of the current Bar Council Executive, this week I recognise the work of the Bar’s Treasurer, Sam Hay SC. Sam has been a superb Treasurer for the last two years—astute, diligent and proactive.

Sam is a former Assistant Honorary Secretary and Honorary Secretary of the Bar Council, positions that are key to the operation of the Bar Council and the smooth operation of the Bar itself. He has been elected to Bar Council in each year since 2014, and has served on the Counsel Committee continuously over that period. He was the Assistant Treasurer in 2017, before joining the Executive as Treasurer in November 2017.

During Sam’s tenure, the role of Treasurer has expanded to encompass risk as well as finance, with the Audit & Finance Committee, of which the Treasurer is ex officio chair, becoming the Audit, Finance & Risk Committee. The Committee oversees a system of internal controls to safeguard the Bar’s assets and ensures that we have policies in place to mitigate foreseen risks.

As a result of the work of the Audit, Finance & Risk Committee, we can be confident in the integrity of the Bar’s financial statements, that the Bar’s internal controls concerning financial reporting are appropriately set and audited, and that the Bar is compliant with legal and regulatory requirements.

Another quiet achievement this year has been a complete governance reform of the Barristers’ Benevolent Fund. With me, Sam is one of the Fund’s two trustees. As the report in the Bar’s Annual Report demonstrates, Sam’s work has secured the effective governance and health of the trust into the future.

Sam has also chaired two of the working groups appointed by the Bar Council to review our governance and has served as a member of the constitutional reform working group chaired by Simon Marks QC. He is a member of the Legal Costs Committee which has functions under the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014.

Throughout my term as President, I have relied on Sam’s wise assistance and counsel in relation to these important (some might uncharitably say not-so-glamorous) activities of the Bar Council. I was delighted when Sam took silk last week.


New County Court appointments

Congratulations to her Honour Judge Anne Hassan and his Honour Judge Kevin Doyle, who have been appointed to the County Court of Victoria.  The profession will extend a welcome to the new judges in Court 3-3 of the County Court at 9.15am on Tuesday 12 November (for Judge Hassan) and Tuesday 19 November (for Judge Doyle). 


Victorian Bar Entrance Exam 2020

After careful deliberation, the Victorian Bar has resolved to hold only one Bar entrance exam next year.  It will be held in October or November 2020, with the final date still to be determined. 

The reasons for this decision include ensuring that the exam is connected as proximately as possible to the Readers’ Course in which successful candidates will be offered a place. If an exam were held in May 2020, based on the current waiting list, successful candidates would not be able to commence the Readers’ Course until 2021. By holding the next exam in late 2020, most successful candidates should be able to be accommodated in the March 2021 and September 2021 courses.

Following the recent review which I highlighted in August, the Victorian Bar is investigating the feasibility of recommended changes for the exam.  We expect these will be rolled out for the 2020 examination.  Further details will be communicated as they are confirmed.


Call for Expressions of Interest

There are two calls for expressions of interest in the notices section below.  One is for the position of Assistant Honorary Secretary to Bar Council, and the other is for membership of the Supreme Court Library Committee.

On behalf of the Bar, I would like to thank Andrew Bell, who is running for election to Bar Council and plans to step down as Honorary Secretary after the election.


Chris Farrington

Members have been distressed to hear that one of our colleagues, Chris Farrington, is fighting for his life with an aggressive form of cancer. His friend and colleague Glenn Casement has started a go-fund-me campaign which provides an opportunity for members to support Chris and his family. Glenn says “Chris is a fearless criminal lawyer has seen him stand up for many without a voice. With that work now having ceased, we all have an opportunity to stand up and support him as he and his young family endure these heartbreaking times, with bills, medical expenses, and financial commitments continuing to add up.”

Members who know Chris are also invited to show their support for the Farrington family by attending an event at Johnny's Emporium in Yarraville on Saturday 9 November 2019 from 7:30pm. Tickets to ‘A Night for Chris Farrington’ can be booked here. Dress code:  colourful boardshorts on the bottom, and the sporting team colours on the top that you most associate with Chris (for example Williamstown Cannons, Newport Power, Newport Raiders, or the Essendon Football Club).


In other news

I have been in court this week (really). The highlight of the week was otherwise the celebratory drinks with our newest silks last night. 


Vicbar News & Events
Voting open for Bar Council Election 2019/2020

Voting for the 2019/2020 Bar Council Election is now open. Eligible members must be logged into the Bar website to vote. For information about the nominees and access to the voting portal, click here.

Voting instructions can be downloaded here. Voting can only be conducted online.

Voting closes on Wednesday 13 November 2019 at 5pm.

For assistance, please call the Bar Office on 9225 7111.

Notice of a General Meeting of the Barristers' Benevolent Association of Victoria

A General Meeting of the Barristers' Benevolent Association of Victoria will be held on Thursday, 14 November 2019 at 4:45pm in the Bar Council Chamber, Level 1, Owen Dixon Chambers East, 205 William Street, Melbourne VIC 3000.

The purpose of the meeting is to confirm a resolution which was passed at the Annual General Meeting held on 28 October 2019 which amended the BBA’s current rules.

An explanatory memorandum about the changes to the rules is available on the Victorian Bar website or at Victorian Bar Reception.

Call for Expressions of Interest for the position of Assistant Honorary Secretary to Bar Council

Expressions of interest are hereby called for the position of Assistant Honorary Secretary to the 2019/2020 Bar Council.

The roles of the Honorary and Assistant Honorary Secretaries are vital to the smooth functioning of the Victorian Bar. They attend Bar Council meetings and have responsibility for membership matters, including addressing and making recommendations to Bar Council in relation to readers, new members, transferring members and disclosure matters. They also assist the Counsel Committee in relation to disclosures and investigations, and are a frequent port of call in relation to matters arising under the Bar’s Constitution, rules and policies.

Please email with your expression of interest by 4pm, Thursday 14 November.

New Strategic Plan for the Bar

At the 10 October 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.

Dr Matt Collins AM QC


Ceremonial Sittings for 2019 Silks

Ceremonial sittings to receive the announcements of the appointment of Senior Counsel for Victoria will be held on:

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Supreme Court of Victoria – 9:15 am

A Full Court of the Supreme Court of Victoria will sit in the Banco Court, 210 William Street, Melbourne at 9:15 am. 

Federal Court of Australia – 10:30 am

A Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia will sit in Court 1, Level 8 of the Owen Dixon Commonwealth Law Courts Building, 305 William Street, Melbourne at 10:30 am.

Family Court of Australia – 10:45 am

A Full Court of the Family Court of Australia will sit in Court 4A, Level 4 of the Owen Dixon Commonwealth Law Courts Building, 305 William Street, Melbourne at 10:45 am.

All counsel who are able to do so are encouraged to attend, robed (without wigs), in honour of the new Silks.

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.

Call for Expressions of Interest - Nomination for appointment to the Supreme Court Library Committee

The Victorian Bar has been invited to nominate two local legal practitioners for appointment to the Supreme Court Library Committee. In accordance with the Supreme Court Library Rules (Rule 7 of Supreme Court Library Rules 2019), these appointees must be confirmed by the Council of Judges in December each year.

Interested members should submit their expression of interest, together with a copy of their CV and details of any relevant experience or expertise.

Link to position description.

The Bar’s protocol for nomination and appointment of Vic Bar members to external bodies can be viewed here.

Please direct any enquiries or Expressions of Interest to Denise Bennett at

The closing date for Expressions of Interest is Thursday, 7 November 2019.

Emotional Wellbeing for Barristers Series Session 5: Why so serious?

REGISTRATION ESSENTIAL Click here to register

This is the fifth 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.

These workshops are experiential and interactive by nature.  Whilst the participants will explore concepts and information on the current research and ancient philosophy, they will mostly learn through:

     1. reflective discussions;

     2. mindful contemplation and specially designed guided meditation;

     3. unique play exercises and laughter yoga practices.

Lawyers are a “serious” bunch! But are we a bit “too” serious? Do we have to always be so serious in order to be a competent lawyer? According to research, sometimes a smile, shared laughter and even playfulness may just be the element you need to increase your creativity and productivity.

For more details please click on the link below.

Workshop Date: Thursday 7 November 2019:  Why So Serious Workshop

Speaker: Elva Zhang

When: Thursday, November 7, 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
Experience elegance with Karen Gee

Sydney-based designer, Karen Gee is coming to The Langham, Melbourne for an exclusive trunk show, showcasing the latest additions to the summer collection.

Featuring elegant designs for the corporate wardrobe, evening wear or everyday luxury, the brand offers ready-to-wear and made-to-measure garments, so you’ll finally have the perfect fit, guaranteed.

Receive $300 off your order when you book your private appointment.*

When: Friday 8 November

Where: The Langham, Melbourne

Contact: to secure your booking

*Offer valid for 8 November showcase appointments only. Please reference VIC BAR at booking.

Visit us at

Member Benefits Australia - Sennheiser Special Offer

Click here to view a special offer from Sennheiser and save $150 off RRP!

Calcutta Trackside After Party

The Essoign invites you to the Calcutta Trackside After Party in the Club on Friday the 1st of November from 5.00pm.

Register your interest in the Club or at  

See attached flyer for details

Practice & Profession News
The Judicial College of Victoria wants to hear from you

The Judicial College of Victoria has embarked on a project that aims to place our audiences at the heart of everything we do. Its purpose is to ensure we are delivering the best value and service possible to the Victorian judiciary and wider legal community.

This project is currently gathering insights to form a deeper understanding of our users’ preferences, particularly for accessing College resources and programs, and about what is needed to improve our services. All answers are confidential and will not be shared outside the College.

The project is dependent on the feedback we receive. We would therefore appreciate two minutes of your time to fill out this short survey.


Profession CPD & Events
La Trobe Law School Seminar - Exploring Avenues of Liability for Data Breaches

Presenters: Professor David Watts and Dr Laura Griffin

Date/Time: 11am-12noon on Wednesday 6 November 2019

Venue: Room SS232 (Moot Court), Level 2, Social Sciences Building, Bundoora Campus, La Trobe University

Click here for registration and further details

Switch On… Bills, Explanatory Memoranda, and Hansard

Thursday 7 November 2019, 1.15pm-1.45pm

The Law Library of Victoria invites you to attend our Switch On… information sessions.
The last session of 2019 will demonstrate how to locate current and historical bills, second reading speeches, and explanatory memoranda online using free resources. It will also look at subscription resources accessible via the Law Library of Victoria. The session is designed to provide a clear understanding of what is available online and the easiest way to access it; it also works as a refresher for experienced users.

All are welcome and entry is free. Bookings through Eventbrite.

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.

Seabrook Chambers lecture 2019

This year's Seabrook Chambers lecture, entitled "Asia’s First Same Sex Marriage Legislation: the interplay of President, court and society", will be presented by Professor Jiunn-rong Yeh, National Taiwan University Chair Professor on Thursday 14 November from 6.15-7.15pm in the G08 Theatre, Ground Floor, Melbourne Law School.

The lecture will discuss how controversy surrounding Asia's first same sex marriage law was resolved by the dynamics between the President, court and a vigilant social society, highlighting how these interactions may lead to better constitutional governance.

Jiunn-rong Yeh is University Chair Professor and Professor of Law at the College of Law, National Taiwan University, Taiwan, where he teaches constitutional law, administrative law and environmental law.

Seabrook Chambers lecture 2019

Title                       Asia’s First Same Sex Marriage Legislation: the Interplay of President, Court and Society

Date                       Thursday 14 November 2019

Time                       6.15 to 7.15pm

Lecture                  G08 Theatre, Ground Floor, Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham St, Carlton, 3053


Did the Crime, Not Quite Done the Time?

Monday 18 November 2019

6 – 8pm

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

What happens when prisoners reach the end of the non-parole period of their sentence?

What happens to those who have been placed on post sentence supervision or detention orders?

Come and hear from His Honour Peter Couzens, Chairperson of the Adult Parole Board and Michele Williams QC, Chair of the Post Sentence Authority, as they address these and other important issues relevant to the post-prison pathways of offenders. After outlining the roles of the Adult Parole Board and the Post Sentencing Authority, they will illustrate the new pathways that have been introduced in recent years by chronicling the journey of a fictitious violent offender as they progress through the criminal justice system. The presentation will be chaired by Professor Marilyn McMahon, Deputy Dean of Deakin Law School.

Further information and to register see the Deakin Law School newsroom.

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
EOI - Head Clerk for 12th Floor Wentworth Selborne Chambers in Sydney

12th Floor Wentworth Selborne Chambers in Sydney is seeking expressions of interest for the position of Head Clerk.

One of the leading sets of barristers’ chambers in New South Wales, with over 55 members including 16 Senior Counsel, its barristers practise nationally and internationally in a broad range of areas and jurisdictions.

For further information, see The commencement date for the position would be within the first six months of 2020.

Applicants should have significant clerking experience and should address their applications, setting out relevant experience and suitability for the role, to

The Secretary

12th Floor Wentworth Selborne Chambers

180 Phillip Street

Sydney NSW 2000


Closing date for applications is 22 November 2019.

Northern Territory - Principal Crown Prosecutor (Sexual Assault)


Executive Contract Officer 2 (Remuneration Package $237,573)
Director of Public Prosecutions
An executive contract of up to 4 years may be offered

The Territory is a vibrant and beautiful place that continues to offer great work opportunities and a tropical lifestyle, framed by the uniqueness of vast distances, remote locations, bush characters and fantastic landscapes.

An exciting and challenging career opportunity exists for an outstanding, dynamic and suitably qualified and experienced criminal lawyer. The successful applicant will have extensive experience in the provision of high level expert advice and legal opinion relating to the prosecution of highly complex criminal cases with a particular focus on sexual assault matters.

The successful applicant will work as part of a motivated and committed team in a challenging and rewarding environment.

For further enquiries about this vacancy please contact Matthew Nathan SC, Deputy Director on 08 8935 7500.

To find out more about living and working in the Northern Territory visit

Quote vacancy number: 24048 Closing date: 11 November 2019

Applications should address the Selection Criteria. For a copy of the Job Description and to apply
online please visit

InBrief Submissions - please email to: 
Deadline for the next issue:5pm, 7th November 2019