In Brief Issue #941

Wendy Harris QC

Silks bows

Earlier this week, eighteen newly appointed senior counsel for the state of Victoria took their bows in the Supreme Court of Victoria, Federal Court of Australia and Family Court of Australia. These ceremonies are a wonderful rite of passage for new silks, and an opportunity for their family and friends to join in the profession’s acknowledgement of their appointment.

The Honourable Chief Justice Ferguson addressed the new silks in a ceremony held in the Banco Court of the Supreme Court of Victoria. Her Honour reflected on the new appointees’ skill, integrity, independence and standing in the profession, and that they had all demonstrated the ability to lead with distinction. Her Honour encouraged the new silks to embrace the opportunities offered by their appointment, to give back to the profession, and to be mindful of their own wellbeing and that of others.  A video recording of the ceremony in the Supreme Court can be viewed here.


Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards

Congratulations to this year’s finalists and winners of the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards.  Professor Caron Beaton-Wells of Melbourne University, a former member of the Victorian Bar, was the winner in the category of Academic of the Year. Four members of the Victorian Bar were finalists. Fiona McLeod SC and Sharon Kermath were finalists in the Barrister of the Year category. Laura Keily was a finalist in the Innovator of the Year category.  Nicki Mollard was a finalist in the Academic of the Year category. Congratulations to each of them.  It is extremely pleasing to see the fine work of our members recognised and honoured in this way.


News of Dr Matt Collins AM QC

After two years as President of the Victorian Bar, Dr Matt Collins has surely earned at least a small break from leadership roles.  However, far from taking a breather, Matt has once again stepped up, this time as Vice President of the Australian Bar Association. I am confident that Matt will bring the same dedication, professionalism and enthusiasm to the ABA as he brought to his role as President of the Victorian Bar over the past two years. We wish him well.

The ABA has recently adopted a new Strategic Plan that will guide the ABA Council’s decision-making and vision over the next five years.


Association of Corporate Counsel panel – ‘Should we, even if we can?’

This week I chaired a panel on ethical corporate decision-making and the heightened role of in-house counsel following the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. Other panel members were pioneer female NED Cathy Walter, experience management consultant Carolyn Grant (who offered a fascinating perspective on the importance of ‘psychological safety’ in the boardroom), and our own Kat Brazenor.  The panel discussion attracted a large turnout of in-house counsel and members of the Bar, and explored issues around organisational culture, and the role of corporate counsel in driving organisational change.


Upcoming CPD seminars

The CPD ‘season’ is drawing to an end.  However, an important seminar hosted by the Criminal Bar Association on the topic of ‘DNA 2019 and Beyond’ will be held next week on Tuesday 3 December. The seminar will explore the changes, challenges and future directions of the use of DNA evidence in Australian courts to secure convictions.

Details of Vic Bar’s upcoming program of CPD seminars can be accessed through the Events Calendar of the Vic Bar website and for members through the Upcoming CPD section of the website.


Bar Council committees 2020

Expressions of interest for Bar Council committees in 2020 have now closed. Thank you to everyone who expressed their interest in remaining on a committee or joining a committee. This year we received 208 applications—a very pleasing show of support for the important work these groups contribute to the Bar and the wider community. All the applications are now being considered. Applicants will be notified of the results on 13 December 2019, after the next Bar Council meeting. 

Vicbar News & Events
Save the Date - 2020 Victorian Bar Dinner

The 2020 Victorian Bar Dinner will be held at the Plaza Ballroom on Friday 22 May 2020.

The Honourable William Alstergren, Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, is the guest of honour and keynote speaker.

Be sure to keep the date free in your diary.

WBA/Slater and Gordon Class Actions Conference

Women Barristers Association (WBA) is partnering with Slater and Gordon for a conference on class actions, Class Actions 2020.  
The conference, to be held on 11 March 2020 from 11 am at the Arts Centre, will bring together leading practitioners from major plaintiff and defendant firms, litigation funders and regulators for an afternoon of informative sessions.  It is not only a legal conference, but also a fund raiser for St Kilda Legal Service. The conference is around the time of International Women’s Day and will also promote women practising in the class actions sphere.
WBA is seeking around nine women barristers who are willing to attend the conference and speak as part of a panel of 4 practitioners for a one-hour break-out session.  The topics to be covered at each of the break-out sessions are:
-          Crisis in insurance?
-          Consumer Class Actions Product Liability;
-          Employment class actions;
-          Mass torts;
-          Ethics;
-          Market causation theory;
-          Discrimination class actions/Women in class actions;
-          Technology and New Frontiers;
-          Common Fund.
This is a great opportunity for women barristers who are looking to expand their practice in, or move into, class actions work.

If you are interested in speaking on a panel, please email Louise Martin ( or Gayann Walker ( no later than Friday, 29 November 2019, indicating your top 3 preferences of topic, your experience in class actions work and/or the subject matter of your chosen topic/s, and why you are interested in these particular topics.

Victorian Bar End of Year Drinks – Friday 6 December

The Victorian Bar Council is delighted to invite members of the Bar and Bench to the Victorian Bar End of Year Drinks on Friday 6 December in the Peter O’Callaghan QC Gallery from 5pm.


Vicbar Life
Member Benefits Australia - November exclusive member offers
Studio 11 - Oliver Ashworth-Martin and Robert Rae Exhibition

STUDIO 11, always worth a look, is currently exhibiting Contemporary Botanicals by Oliver Ashworth-Martin (19 works including bronze sculpture) and Drawn Things by Robert Rae (29 works – pigment pen on cotton paper). You are welcome to visit to check out the exhibition at your leisure to have a break and enjoy the works. As usual, there are red dots next to pieces which have sold, with all proceeds going directly to the artists. There are still beautifully executed works available for purchase, in case you’re on the lookout for something original and special to mark an important occasion, for yourself or for a significant other. The exhibition finishes 13 December 2019.

6th edition of Brooking on Building Contracts - by Dr Damien Cremean, Michael Whitten QC and Michael Sharkey

The 6th edition of Brooking on Building Contracts was formally launched on 13 Nov by his Honour Justice Riordan of the Supreme Court at a meeting of the MTECC group.

The book is published by LexisNexis and is the work of three barristers of the Victorian Bar: Dr Damien Cremean, Michael Whitten QC and Michael Sharkey. Michael Whitten QC is now Lord Chief Justice of Tonga.

The book takes its name from the Hon Mr Robert Brooking QC who wrote the 1st edition and was a learned Justice of the Victorian Supreme Court for many years. A 2nd edition was done by Mr David Bennett QC also of the Victorian Bar.

Saints in Law Function

St Kilda supporters are invited to drinks, canapes and the opportunity to hear about the season ahead, on Tuesday 10 December 2019. Brett Ratten, Matt Finnis, Simon Lethlean, Brad Hill, and Paddy Ryder will also be there for a chat, as well as to discuss the Club’s new Indigenous Program.

Click here to view the flyer.

The Essoign members Christmas party

The Essoign committee and management are delighted to invite all Essoign Members to The Essoign's Christmas Party Drinks and Canapes.

Wednesday the 11th December from 5.00pm at the Club.

See flyer attached.

Practice & Profession News
ACICA launch Australian Arbitration Survey

ACICA has launched the Australian Arbitration Survey to gather empirical evidence from practitioners as what works in arbitration and what can be improved on. The survey will assist by, contributing to a more meaningful conversation with corporate and government decision makers to drive further investment in the area; informing collective efforts to promote international commercial arbitration in Australia and Australian cities as arbitral venues; providing a baseline against which changes in usage and perceptions in this area can be assessed and enhancing the practice of arbitration in Australia. To take the survey it is necessary to first obtain a respondent number from ACICA. Details can be found here

New Report Asks, Can an Offender’s Deportation Affect Sentencing?

19 November 2019

The Council has today released a report reviewing how Victorian courts take deportation into account in sentencing.

In 2014, the federal government amended the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) so that anyone sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment or more must have their visa cancelled. As a result, the number of visas across Australia that are cancelled each year under these ‘character test’ provisions has increased from about 100 to 1,000.

Australian courts are increasingly grappling with whether an offender’s future deportation should affect the sentence imposed, and if so, to what extent.

The report finds that, in Victoria, an offender’s potential deportation could be taken into account in sentencing in four ways:

  1. it could be considered an extra-curial form of punishment
  2. the prospect of deportation may cause anxiety, making the offender’s time in prison more burdensome
  3. it may result in reduced prospects of parole eligibility (though legislation in Victoria prohibits sentencing courts from taking this into account)
  4. the reduced prospects of parole eligibility may cause anxiety, making the offender’s time in prison more burdensome.

The report also identifies three key issues that may benefit from further judicial guidance:

  1. the test that sentencing courts should apply in determining the likelihood of an offender’s deportation if the sentence will trigger mandatory visa cancellation
  2. the steps in the visa review process that can permissibly constitute ‘fresh evidence’ on which to base a sentence appeal
  3. whether an offender’s anxiety about reduced prospects of parole is a permissible consideration.

The full report, Deportation and Sentencing: An Emerging Area of Jurisprudence, is available from our website.

Judicial College launches new website

The Judicial College of Victoria’s new website is now live.

The site has been developed to make it easier to users to access College publications and resources, which have been categorised by area of law to assist and speed up user searches.

If you encounter issues, please don’t hesitate to get in touch using the contact us tab at the top of the page.

Check out the new site.

Appointment of Manager to SW Legal Pty Ltd (trading as 'Shamrock Woodland Lawyers')

On 22 November 2019, the Victorian Legal Services Board (‘the Board’) resolved to appoint Mr Alan Alpass as Manager of SW Legal Pty Ltd trading as 'Shamrock Woodland Lawyers' (‘the Law Practice’), pursuant to section 334 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (‘Uniform Law’). The appointment is for a period of six months and expires on 22 May 2020, unless the Board determines to extend the appointment or the appointment otherwise ceases in accordance with section 340 of the Uniform Law.

Members of the Victorian Bar who have recently been briefed and/or undertaken work for the Law Practice may be impacted by this appointment. Please ensure that this information is made available to all Bar members and ask that they contact Mr Alpass on (03) 9725 0377 or at if they have any concerns about payment of their fees.

You will be notified upon the termination of the management. If you wish to discuss this matter further with the Board, please contact Ms Chantalle Toussaint on (03) 9679 8165 or via email at

Profession CPD & Events
James Merralls Fellowship in Law lecture – Monday 2 December 2019

Melbourne Law School and the Victorian Bar are delighted to present Professor Arun Thiruvengadam as the recipient of the James Merralls Fellowship in Law for 2019.  The 2019 lecture will focus on constitutional law in India.  On January 26, 2020, the Constitution of India will complete 70 years of existence.  This lecture focuses on one critical institution that it created: the Supreme Court of India, which sits atop the unitary judiciary that was conceived to be the guardian of the text of the Constitution and its ‘Fundamental Liberties’ chapter in particular.


COAT Vic Twilight Seminar - Monday 2 December 2019

COAT Victoria warmly invites you to an evening of conversation and self-care at our 2019 Spring Twilight Seminar commencing at 5:00pm on Monday 2 December at the AAT, 15 William Street, Melbourne.

Sally Ryan, Judicial Wellbeing Advisor with the Judicial College of Victoria will lead a discussion about how to keep ourselves steady and resilient in the face of our stress and the distress of others. We will have this discussion together at tables, while sharing a drink and a light bite to eat.  Sally is a psychologist with expertise in building the capacity of systems and individuals in environments where trauma is a feature of the work. She is an experienced facilitator who is keen to share great strategies for maintaining wellbeing.

We’d love you to join us for this twilight, which we hope will be encouraging and sustaining. To register:

La Trobe Law School Seminar - “Explainable AI” and Reasons for Judicial Decisions

Presenters: Jacquelyn Burkell and Jane Bailey

Date/Time: 2pm-3pm on Wednesday 4 December 2019

Venue: Room MAR241, Level 2, Martin Building, Bundoora Campus, La Trobe University

Click here for registration and further details

Regional Arbitral Institutes Forum (RAIF) Conference 2019

The Regional Arbitral Institutes Forum (RAIF) Conference 2019 will be held at The Rizqun International Hotel, Brunei Darussalam on 6 December 2019.

Click here for the AABD-RAIF Conference program and registration.

The future of freedom of speech and religion

Saturday 7 December 2019

9am – 5pm

Law Institute of Victoria


Israel Folau is one of Australia’s most prominent rugby players, known for sharing provocative content on social media. His sacking by Rugby Australia has been highly controversial, with some suggesting it influenced the outcome of the 2019 federal election.


This Folau affair implicates numerous areas of law and raises fundamental questions for the future of public debate in Australia, and has potentially significant implications for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.


Deakin Law School is hosting a conference to investigate the major aspects of the Folau matter and its implications for Australian law and society.


Join Deakin Law School as we welcome the following leading experts from around Australia:

  • Professor Patrick Parkinson (University of Queensland) – freedom of religion
  • Mark Sneddon (Monash University, Institute for Civil Society) – freedom of religion
  • Dr Harry Hobbs (University of Technology Sydney) – Israel Folau and the Legal Protection of Human Rights in Australia
  • Anja Hilkemeijer (University of Tasmania) – The Flip Side of Folau: The Dismissal of Employees by Religious Organisations for Breaches of Codes of Conduct – A Human Rights Balancing Act
  • Professor Jack Anderson (University of Melbourne) – Folau v Rugby Australia – The Instagram Post That Made it All the Way to the Federal Court 
  • Professor Anthony Forsyth (RMIT University) – employment law
  • Professor Beth Gaze (University of Melbourne) – discrimination law 
  • Professor Paul Redmond (University of Technology Sydney) – Israel Folau and the Idea of Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Dr Patrick Emerton (Monash University) – Israel Folau, Religious Freedom and the Limits of Toleration 
  • Professor Matthew Groves (Deakin Law School) – From Netball to Football – The Principles and Problems of Decision-Making by Sports Tribunals 
  • Dr John McLean (Christ College) – More Than ‘Do Unto Others’: Jesus’ Surprising Relevance to Freedom of Religion
  • Dr Ben Saunders (Deakin Law School) – Free Exercise of Religion and the Constitution: Time for a Rethink?

This conference will make an important contribution to the public debate on religious freedom and the proposed Religious Discrimination legislation, providing a forum to facilitate informed discussion.

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

2019 Aust & NZ Law and History Conference, Melbourne 11-14 December

The Australian & New Zealand Law & History Society Conference kicks off on Wednesday 11 December, with a key note lecture from Professor John Hudson on “Common Law, Civil Law, and English Identity”, followed by a Reception and Welcome by The Honourable Justice Chris Maxwell, QC, Victorian Court of Appeal, both sponsored by Deakin University and to be held at the Law Institute Building, 140 William St, Level 13.

Other highlights include plenaries on Journalists Whistleblowers Sedition and Rights, featuring Professor George Williams on Thursday 4pm and “From Encounter to Treaty” with Joanna Cruickshank, Julie Evans, Ann Genovese, Crystal McKinnon, Mark McMillan and Shaun McVeigh on Saturday 14th at 11:30am, both at VU’s City Campus on Little Lonsdale Street.

The full program and details can be viewed here. Registrations, including day registrations are still welcome and necessary for catering purposes.

Careers & Opportunities
Human Rights Advisory Panel - Call for Expressions of Interest

The Queensland Parliament is seeking to appoint a small number of legal advisers to constitute an advisory panel, members of which will provide expert advice in areas of human rights law to assist the portfolio committees of the Parliament in their consideration of:

  1. The compatibility of legislation (particular Bills and/or subordinate legislation) with the human rights protected in the Human Rights Act 2019 (the Act);
  2. Whether limits on human rights in legislation have been sufficiently justified;
  3. The 'human rights certificate' introduced with subordinate legislation;
  4. Supreme Court 'Declarations of Incompatibility' referred to a committee by the House;
  5. Non-Queensland laws, referred by the House, to determine the compatibility of those laws with the human rights set out in the Act.

Appointment will be under contract as required. It is anticipated that the successful appointees will have demonstrated expertise in human rights law broadly or specialised knowledge of particular areas of human rights law.

Panel members will be required to provide written and, on occasion, verbal briefings to committees and will be required to be available for briefing committees on Mondays of parliamentary sitting weeks from 9am-12 noon (approx. 12 weeks per year). The initial appointment will be from mid-February 2020 until the end of the current Parliament in October 2020.

Interested members are invited to forward a brief current resume outlining their relevant expertise and experience to by Friday, 6 December 2019. Applicants are also requested to nominate a rate per hour, not inclusive of GST, for their written advice and verbal briefings.

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