In Brief Issue #942

Katherine Lorenz

What do government solicitors need from barristers?

When schedules get busy, time is precious and budgets are tight, it is important to focus on what matters most to clients. This week, Wendy Harris QC and the Bar hosted more than 30 solicitors from the VGSO at a networking event to help the government solicitors get to know more barristers, and for the Bar to gain a deeper insight into how the VGSO works and what the VGSO and its clients need from those they instruct.

Matt Hocking, Assistant Victorian Government Solicitor, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, made it clear that the Bar’s legal advice should be succinct, timely and commercial, and that barristers should be open to accepting e-briefs. It was an informative session and a reminder of how barristers can provide valuable service to the VGSO and its internal clients. Matt Hocking, addressing the gathering, is pictured below.

Matt Hocking of the VGSO discussing the needs of government lawyers with members of the Bar


A quick and efficient way of finding case law

When an unexpected research task crosses your desk and the deadline looms large, you need to know where to look and how to efficiently find what you need. Do you have the latest tools to find the relevant case law? Join representatives of the Victorian Bar Library Committee and the Law Library of Victoria on Wednesday 11 December for ‘Beyond AustLII: Finding Cases Online’. You’ll hear from the experts about the latest tools and techniques to ensure your research skills are current, comprehensive and targeted to your purpose. Visit the Events Calendar on the Vic Bar website to register and for more information about upcoming CPD seminars.


Join your colleagues up north in 2020

Our Queensland colleagues are gearing up to host the 2020 Bar Association of Queensland and Australian Bar Association Annual Conference. Attending is a great opportunity to discuss emerging issues in the law and best legal practice with local and international experts. The keynote address is by the Honourable Malcolm Wallis of the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa. The conference will be held from 5 to 7 March 2020 at the W Hotel in Brisbane.  Booking and price details are here and the preliminary program is here. Register now to take advantage of early bird rates.


Bar and Bench end of year drinks tonight

The Victorian Bar Council has invited members of the Victorian Bar and Bench to join them for a drink this afternoon (Friday) from 5pm in the Peter O’Callaghan QC Gallery.  We look forward to seeing you there to celebrate the end of another busy year.


Welcome to Judge John Cain

On Thursday this week, the profession welcomed his Honour Judge John Cain to the County Court and to the position of State Coroner of Victoria. Wendy Harris QC’s speech on behalf of the Victorian Bar can be read here.


Update on Bar Council Committees

The selection process for Bar Council Committees is underway. Members who expressed interest can expect to receive news of their application on 13 December.


If you have any ideas, questions or concerns about membership matters, please send them to me at

Vicbar News & Events
Tonight - Victorian Bar End of Year Drinks

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


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 office closure dates

The Victorian Bar office and Victorian Bar Mediation Centre will close for the Christmas-New Year holidays at 5pm on Friday 20 December, 2019. The office and Mediation Centre will reopen at 9am on Monday 6 January, 2020.

We wish all members a safe, happy and relaxing festive season.

Opening of the Legal Year 2020

Tuesday 28 January in Melbourne

Synagogue Service

9am at the East Melbourne Hebrew Congregation, 488 Albert Street East Melbourne, followed by morning tea. Judges and counsel are asked to robe (but not wig).

Red Mass

9am at St Patrick’s Cathedral, 1 Cathedral Place Melbourne. Followed by morning tea with His Grace, Archbishop Peter Comensoli. RSVP by 14 January to or 9602 5440 for the morning tea. Judges and counsel robe and medals are worn.

Eastern Orthodox Service

9am at St Eustathios Greek Orthodox Church, 221 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne, followed by morning tea with His Grace Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis and Father Evmenios Vasilopoulos. Judges and counsel robe and medals are worn.

Wednesday 5 February in Melbourne

Victoria Law Foundation Legal Laneway Breakfast

8am in Hardware Lane, bookings essential. Robes are not worn.


Details to be announced soon for the Opening of the Legal Year - Geelong (29 January), Ecumenical service (3 February) and the International Commission of Jurists Community Opening (3 February).


Vicbar Life
Member Benefits Australia - December exclusive member offers

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

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.

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's Wishing Tree Appeal

The Essoign Club are proud to be supporting the Oz Child Organisation this year with our Wishing Tree Appeal for 2019.

All gifts to be delivered to the Club no later than Wednesday the 11th of December.

See attached flyer for details.

Fitted for work - taking donations

Are you looking to clear out your wardrobe in advance of Christmas? WBA is conducting a clothing drive for donations to Fitted for Work - an organisation that helps women experiencing disadvantage enter the workplace, including by providing them with work-appropriate attire. Donations of good-quality workwear, including suits, blouses, skirts and pants, as well as shoes in good condition are welcome. Some of the donations (vintage and designer clothing) are sold to raise funds for the organisation.

In addition, Fitted for Work also provides a number of women with good-quality second-hand handbags filled with toiletries as a gift. So donations of handbags in good condition, and unused toiletries and makeup would also be very welcome. 

Items needed as a matter of priority currently are:

Clothing size 12 onwards
Black shoes size 9 onward
Natural eyeshadow

If you have any of the above that you would like to donate, please deliver them to the following people (please call first, to make sure we are in chambers!) by Friday 13 December. 

Sandra Karabidian - 1016 Owen Dixon West (9225 6493) 

Emma Peppler - Level 24 Owen Dixon West (9225 7865)

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

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

Rethinking Sentencing for Young Adult Offenders in Victoria – Report Released

3 December 2019

The Sentencing Advisory Council today released a report on the sentencing of offenders aged 18 to 25.

The Council’s report reviews scientific evidence and current law on the sentencing of young adults in Victoria. It presents an analysis of current sentencing trends, and an overview of options that could be used to supplement current approaches to sentencing this age group.

The report reviews research into those aspects of the psychological development of young adults which can contribute to offending. The report notes that there are currently only limited specialist sentencing options for young adults, and canvasses options to provide a more tailored criminal justice response for this age group.

Rethinking Sentencing For Young Adult Offenders and a 2-page summary factsheet are available for download from our website.

Public Submissions invited: Review of MIS Consultation Paper UGR 91A-91D

The LSC is inviting submissions on the Draft Consultation Paper for the Review of Managed Investment Schemes Uniform General Rules 91A-91D.

This information is now available on the LSC website.

Submissions are open until Friday 31 January 2020.

New Australian Legal Register will Safeguard Consumers

The Legal Services Council (LSC) is pleased to announce the launch of a new Register that consumers can use to easily check the details of legal practitioners in NSW and Victoria. The Australian Legal Profession Register is now available via the Legal Services Council website.

The Australian Legal Profession Register is a first contact point for information on solicitors or barristers in the Uniform Law States of Victoria and New South Wales and from 2020, Western Australia. Other States and Territories will be added as they join the Uniform Law scheme.

Chair of the LSC, Michael Black, said that the development of the Australian Legal Profession Register is of great benefit to the legal profession and also provides greater protection to consumers. “We are pleased to be able to provide an easy search function for consumers so they can check that a legal practitioner holds a valid practising certificate and is lawfully able to provide legal services,” he said.

The Australian Legal Profession Register brings together information that is currently held by the legal regulators in NSW and Victoria and allows it to be accessed from one location. This information is updated weekly. The Register webpage also contains links to the NSW and Victorian Legal Services Commissioners’ Registers of Disciplinary Action that list legal practitioners against whom disciplinary action has been taken by the State regulators.

“The Register allows searches for legal practitioners by name and State or Territory and, for further details such as phone number and address, the consumer is guided to the appropriate local regulators website which holds more detailed information. As more States and Territories join the Uniform Law scheme, they will also be added to the Register,” Mr Black said.

The LSC acknowledges the valuable input of the Law Society of NSW which developed the database and provides on-going technical assistance and support, and the NSW Department of Communities and Justice for its IT oversight. The LSC is also grateful to the Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner, the NSW Bar Association and the Law Society of NSW for providing and updating the data for the Register on an on-going basis.

To search the Australian Legal Profession Register:

Further information

Megan Pitt - CEO, Legal Services Council. Ph: 02 9692 1300

Profession CPD & Events
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.

2020 BAQ ABA Conference Registrations now open

Members of the profession are invited to attend the 2020 Bar Association of Queensland and Australian Bar Association Conference, commencing with welcome drinks on Thursday 5 March and running across two days, Friday 6 March and Saturday 7 March at the W Hotel in Brisbane. 

Catering to members of the profession at all stages of their career, the conference promises future-focused sessions that examine emerging issues, developments and best legal practice. View the preliminary Program.

Following on from the success of 2019, the conference boasts an unparalleled panel of expert speakers across a diverse range of topics, including:

  • The Honourable Justice Patrick Keane AC, High Court of Australia
  • The Honourable Justice James Edelman, High Court of Australia
  • The Honourable Catherine Holmes, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Queensland
  • The Honourable Thomas Bathurst AC, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of New South Wales
  • The Honourable William Alstergren, Chief Justice, Family Court of Australia 
  • The Honourable Justice Martin Daubney, Supreme Court of Queensland
  • The Honourable Justice Sue Brown, Supreme Court of Queensland
  • Her Honour Judge Judith Gibson, District Court of New South Wales
  • Professor Bryan Horrigan, Dean of Law, Monash University
  • Professor David Rolph, The University of Sydney Law School
  • Dr Mark O'Brien, Medical Director, Cognitive Institute

Along with barristers:

  • Rebecca Treston QC
  • Matthew Howard S.C. (WA Bar)  
  • James Bell QC
  • Sandy Thompson QC S-G  
  • John McKenna QC 
  • Lindsay Ellison S.C. (NSW Bar)
  • Peter Dunning QC 
  • Ian Robertson S.C. (SA Bar)
  • Kylie Downes QC   
  • Jeffrey Hunter QC
  • Matt Collins AM QC (Vic Bar)
  • Philip Looney QC
  • Saul Holt QC
  • Cate Heyworth-Smith QC
  • Dominique Hogan-Doran S.C. (NSW Bar)
  • Robert Anderson QC 
  • Damien Atkinson OAM QC
  • Nicholas Ferrett QC   
  • Patrick McCafferty QC
  • Caite Brewer
  • Dan Piggott
  • Dr Benjamin Kremer (NSW Bar)   
  • Kylie Evans (Vic Bar) 

Join us at the welcome on Thursday evening to hear renowned Australian artist and human rights campaigner, Ben Quilty, as he discusses his experiences as a war artist in Afghanistan and his reflections on society and the law. At the optional gala dinner on Friday listen to guest speaker Dr Munjed Al Muderis, Associate Professor and Orthopaedic Surgeon, a former refugee who is now an internationally acclaimed surgeon. 

Places are limited, with the conference open to all legal professionals, so I encourage you to register early to secure your place.

Register to attend.

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, 12th December 2019