In Brief Issue #943

Wendy Harris QC

Reflecting on 2019

2019 has been a year of great achievement at the Bar. We’ve welcomed 125 new colleagues and celebrated the appointment of 19 of our members to the bench. But it’s also been a year of reflection for many of us.

The conduct of a former barrister is being examined in the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants and is playing out in the media.

Our members are all bound by a strict code of ethics under which their paramount obligation is to the administration of justice. The Royal Commission will, I hope, help to ensure that the public has confidence in the integrity of the state’s barristers. 

The Bar can stand proud in the knowledge that barristers take their professional obligations seriously and all are subject to a robust and rigorous regulatory framework. 

Our commitment to the highest standards plays out every day, from our extraordinary record of pro bono work to our members’ authoritative voices in commissions of inquiry and the courts, and on law reform and anti-corruption measures. I’d personally like to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of our members to their profession and to the administration of justice in our community.

As you reflect back on the year that was, I also hope that you recall the collegiate traditions of the Bar, and take extra care to look out for each other – through your friendships, our formal and informal mentoring programs, and the Bar’s open-door tradition.  Please also take a moment to review the range of services, policies and activities available to support our members’ health and wellbeing. 


Enjoy your summer break

This is my final message in In Brief before I take my summer break. You will hear from our CEO, Katherine Lorenz, next Friday. I wish everyone a refreshing break, with plenty of sunshine (or snow if that’s your preference!), friends and family, and a good book to read.


Develop your unique advocacy style

There are two final places available in the civil stream of the forthcoming Advanced Trial Advocacy Intensive on 20-24 January in Melbourne.  The intensive is an opportunity for experienced advocates to try new advocacy techniques in a realistic court setting, to refine their personal style and expertise.  There will be individual coaching from senior members of the legal profession as well as professional voice, movement and impact coaches.  If you missed out, you should make a note to attend next year.

Vicbar News & Events
Bar Committees

At its meeting last night, the Bar Council approved the membership of the 2020 Bar Committees. Those who expressed interest in joining or remaining on one or more of the Bar Committees will be advised of the Bar Council’s decision on Monday 16 December.

Victorian Bar News Summer 2019 Edition

Victorian Bar News Summer 2019 edition is available now.

Click here to view the online version.

BCL Annual Report 2019

Click here to view the BCL Annual Report 2019.

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.

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.

Click here to view the flyer for more information.

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.

Click here to view the flyer for more information.


Wednesday 29 January in Geelong

9.30am, Deakin University, Waterfront Campus, Geelong. Followed by morning tea. To register your interest, contact the Secretary of the Geelong Law Association at

Click here to view the flyer for more information.


Monday 3 February in Melbourne

International Commission of Jurists Community Opening

Waldron Hall, County Court of Victoria at 9 am followed by morning tea. RSVP to Robes are not worn.

Click here to view the flyer for more information.

Ecumenical service

10am at St Paul’s Cathedral, Flinders St Melbourne. RSVPs to (Further details TBC) Judges and counsel robe and medals are worn.


Wednesday 5 February in Melbourne

Victoria Law Foundation Legal Laneway Breakfast

8am in Hardware Lane between Lt Bourke & Lonsdale Streets. Bookings essential. Robes are not worn.


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.

Victorian Bar Member CPD Events
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.

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.

Thursday the 19th December from 5.00pm at the Club.

See flyer attached.

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)

Essoign Club New Year's Closure Dates

The Essoign Club last day of trading 2019 with be on Friday 20th December

First Trading Day 2020 Monday 13th – Friday 17th January

Café to open: 7am – Midday for Coffee, drinks, fresh pastries and toasted sandwiches

Trading As Per Usual on Monday 20th January 2020 

Practice & Profession News
Notice of termination of appointment of Manager to Patrick W Dwyer

I refer to our letter to your Office dated 6 August 2019, advising of the Victorian Legal Services Board’s (‘the Board’) resolution to appoint Mr Robert Stary as Manager of the sole practitioner law practice Patrick W Dwyer (‘the Law Practice’) pursuant to section 334 of the Uniform Law.

Please accept this letter as confirmation that Mr Stary’s appointment as Manager of the Law Practice ceased on 11 December 2019 because the term of the appointment ended and the Law Practice has ceased to operate.

If you wish to discuss this matter further, please contact Chantalle Toussaint on 03 9679 8165 or via email on

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

LSC and Commissioner Annual Reports 2018-2019

We are pleased to present the Annual Reports of the LSC and Commissioner for Uniform Legal Services Regulation for 2018-19.

The Reports detail:

  • Highlights of our activities throughout the year
  • Progress against our Strategic Plan
  • Our financial statements
  • The national legal profession snapshot, and
  • A comprehensive analysis of complaints data for the Uniform Law states.

Our Annual Reports are also available on the Legal Services Council’s website.

Justice Zammit / Incerti

All members are requested to note that from 28 January 2020 (which is the start of the legal year) the Hon. Justice Rita Zammit will revert to her maiden name.

In her judicial capacity, her Honour will then be known as the Hon. Justice Rita Incerti.

The Court has informed the Bar of the change and has requested that we make any necessary notifications to our members.

Profession CPD & Events
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
Deputy Public Interest Monitor

The Victorian Government is seeking applications for the position of Deputy Public Interest Monitor under the Public Interest Monitor Act 2011.

Public Interest Monitors have monitoring functions under the Major Crime (Investigative Powers) Act 2004, the Surveillance Devices Act 1999, the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (Cth), the Terrorism (Community Protection) Act 2003 and the Witness Protection Act 1991.

These functions include providing additional safeguards in relation to applications for warrants, orders or approvals to use certain covert or coercive investigative powers, such as surveillance devices and telecommunication intercepts, by:     

  • appearing at hearings of applications to test the content and sufficiency of information relied upon;
  • questioning any person giving information in relation to the application; and
  • making submissions as to the appropriateness of granting the application.

The successful candidate must be an Australian lawyer within the meaning of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014.

The successful candidate will be required to undertake relevant security clearances and may be appointed on a full-time basis for up to three years. Appointment at 0.8 FTE will be considered.

To apply online and obtain a copy of the position description visit: and refer to position number 1437336.

The closing date for applications is midnight on 29 December 2019.

Applications and enquiries should be made to Mr Michael Strong, Principal Public Interest Monitor on (03) 9032 0666.

InBrief Submissions - please email to: 
Deadline for the next issue:5pm, 19th December 2019