In Brief Issue #947

Katherine Lorenz

As the summer break draws to a close, we know that many of you have had a less than relaxing time over the past few weeks. Many of you have been working through the break with clients or helping with some of the work here at the Bar. I also know that some of you are CFA members or have volunteered in other ways, helping with firefighting and with relief efforts. Unfortunately, a number of our members have experienced the devasting impact of the fires, and just one of the stories that have been retold is this extraordinary account by Daniel Cash of helping to save a family property.

Victorian Bar members have responded well to the call for pro bono legal assistance for people affected by the bushfires, through Disaster Legal Help Victoria. More than 100 of our members have now registered their interest and registrations are still open.  Disaster Legal Help is especially keen to hear from members with experience or expertise in insurance, debt, tenancy and/or other disaster-related legal issues, especially those who are based in (or can travel to) the affected areas of Gippsland and North East Victoria.

If you are affected by the fires or any other incident, the Bar’s crisis support and counselling services are available to you and your family. 

The Hon Chief Justice Allsop has also written to the Bars to offer the Federal Court’s support to legal practitioners impacted by the bushfire disaster, including special arrangements for adjournments, variations to timetables or preparation for hearings. Please see notice below for further information.

We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back next week.

Katherine Lorenz


Vicbar News & Events
Free legal support available for those affected by the Victorian bushfires

Disaster Legal Help Victoria is a collaboration between Victoria Legal Aid, the Federation of Community Legal Centres, the Law Institute of Victoria, the Victorian Bar and Justice Connect. It was originally formed in response to the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

The legal profession stands ready to help Victorian communities with their bushfire-related legal issues.

People can call the Disaster Legal Help Victoria phone line on 1800 113 432, available Monday to Friday, 8 am to 6 pm for free legal information, advice, and referrals, or visit the website at

Acting Executive Director of Civil Justice, Access and Equity at Victoria Legal Aid, Joel Townsend, said legal problems people commonly face after a bushfire include the rejection of insurance claims, disputes with landlords about termination of leases and outstanding rent, and debt and other financial problems stemming from the loss of casual employment and the cost of dealing with the aftermath of disaster.

'Recovering from a bushfire can be an incredibly emotional and stressful time, and on top of these legal problems can surface and escalate quickly,’ Mr Townsend said.

‘The impact of these fires has been devastating and we understand it will take some time for people to work through the aftermath, with many fires still active and bushfire season continuing. Disaster Legal Help will be available over the coming weeks and months to help people get back on their feet.’

‘We will co-ordinate with the State Government’s Bushfire Response and Recovery Taskforce to provide in-person assistance at recovery centres and community meetings where needed.

Disaster Legal Help can assist with issues including:
• dealing with insurance claims
• replacing lost or destroyed documents, including wills and title documents
• tenancy and accommodation issues
• managing debt and financial hardship

‘If you’ve been affected by the Victorian fires and need help with a legal problem or are unsure about your next steps, please get in touch with Disaster Legal Help,’ Mr Townsend said.

Our lawyers can also refer you to specialist support services and pro bono services if we are not able to help in your situation.’

Joel Townsend, Acting Executive Director of Civil Justice, Access and Equity, Victoria Legal Aid is available to be interviewed as a spokesperson for Disaster Legal Help Victoria.

Media contact: Amanda Bennett, Communications Advisor, Victoria Legal Aid tel: (03) 9280 3949 or 0400 845 148, email:

Revised dates and details for the Opening of the Legal Year

Choral Evensong Sunday 2 February 2020 at 6pm (replaces the previously advertised Ecumenical Service on Monday 3 Feb)

Due to the State Memorial Service for the Hon John Cain which is scheduled for 11am on Monday 3 February, the Ecumenical Service for the Opening of the Legal Year will not be held that morning as planned. 

Instead, prayers for members of the legal profession, readings and a sermon reflecting on the theme of justice will be included at Choral Evensong on Sunday 2 February 2020 at 6pm.

Members of the legal profession are invited to robe and take their seats in reserved front pews prior to the service. 

Geelong Opening of the Legal Year – Wednesday 29 January

Further details are now available for the Geelong Opening of the Legal Year, including a new RSVP address, details of the venue location, a request to robe, a list of speakers, and a map of the venue.

9.30am, Level 2 Gallery, Deakin University Waterfront Campus, Geelong. Followed by morning tea for a 10.30am finish. RSVP to   Judges and counsel robe.

Full details of all events are available on our website, and in the notices section below. 

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, Level 2 Gallery, Deakin University Waterfront Campus, Geelong. Followed by morning tea for a 10.30am finish. RSVP to  

Enter via Joyn Hay Courtyard or Waterfront Kitchen (see map).

Click here to view the flyer for more information.  Click here for more details, including the list of speakers and a map of the venue.

Judges and counsel robe.


Sunday 2 February in Melbourne

Ecumenical service replaced by Choral Evensong - please note the new date, time and details

Prayers for members of the legal profession, readings and a sermon reflecting on the theme of justice will be included at Choral Evensong on Sunday 2 February 2020 at 6pm. Members of the legal profession are invited to robe and take their seats in reserved front pews prior to the service. 

6pm at St Paul’s Cathedral, Flinders St Melbourne. RSVPs to  Judges and counsel robe and medals are worn.


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.


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

Upcoming CPD events:

You must be a member of the Victorian Bar and logged into the VicBar website to view the following events.

VicBar Life
Member Benefits Australia - exclusive member offers

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

Essoign Members - Welcome Back 2020

Happy New Year. Hope you have all had a very happy and safe festive season.

The Club is back in full swing open daily from 7am and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Wishing you all a good and prosperous year ahead.

Victorian Bar Community Choir Term 1 Dates

Join fellow barristers and members of the VicBar community for an hour of relaxation and fun. Experience and obvious talent not required. All welcome.

Click here to view the flyer

Click here for the registration form

Summer Studio 11 Art Exhibition

Studio 11, always worth a look, is delighted to host its Summer 2020 exhibition featuring bold, expressive paintings by Shani Alexander as well as sensual photographic works by Renee Tsironis. Glass artists, Grant Donaldson and Eileen Gordon, offer works which are elegant and striking. The exhibition comprising over 50 works, is designed to provide you with an opportunity to ease into the new year, take a break and check out the body of work.  Work sheets and artist biographies are found on Level 11, Owen Dixon Chambers East. All works are for sale, commission free, directly from the artists.  

Practice & Profession News
Federal Court of Australia – Support available to those impacted by bushfires

The Court recognises the devastating impact of the bushfires on communities and families across Australia and extends its sympathies to those affected. 

Support is available to those who have been affected by the disaster and require assistance in relation to a current or prospective matter before the Court. The Court has appointed a Judicial Registrar to act as the Court's national bushfires relief coordinator. 

Any requests for urgent assistance in particular by any necessary adjournment or variations to timetables or preparation for hearings should be made to the relevant duty judge, details of which can be found on the Court's website at: 

All non-urgent requests should be directed to Judicial Registrar Van Le, whose contact details are as follows: 

Tel: 03 8600 3343 

Federal Court Revised Class Actions Practice Notice

A revised Class Actions Practice Note was issued on 20 December 2019, following the decision in BMW Australia Ltd v Brewster; Webster Banking Corporation v Lenthall [2019] HCA 45. 

Click here for a copy of this notice. 

The changes are as follows:

  1. paragraph 7.8(e) - (by deleting the reference to a common fund order and instead stating that at the first case management hearing the parties should be in a position to inform the Court as to “the financial basis upon which the class action is to be conducted and/or funded by the applicant and what, if any, orders are likely to be sought relating to these matters, which would impose any obligation on class members”);
  2. paragraph 7.10 - (by deleting the paragraph which referred to a judge making orders for a common fund at an early stage in the proceeding);
  3. paragraph 15.2(h) -  (by deleting the reference to "information as to any common fund order or funding equalisation payment" and amending it to refer to "information as to any order sought relating to the conduct and/or funding of the class action which would impose any obligation on group members”);
  4. paragraph 15.4 – which relates to the settlement approval stage:

Particularly in an open class action, the parties, class members, litigation funders and lawyers may expect that unless a judge indicates to the contrary the Court will, if application is made and if in all the circumstances it is fair, just, equitable, and in accordance with principle, make an appropriately framed order to prevent unjust enrichment and equitably and fairly to distribute the burden of reasonable legal costs, fees and other expenses, including reasonable litigation funding charges or commission, amongst all persons who have benefited from the action.  The notices provided to class members should bring this to their attention as early in the proceeding as practicable.


Federal Circuit Court Discrete Property List - 28 January, 2020 Commencement

From 28 January, 2020 there will be a new process adopted in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in Melbourne for case management of financial applications.

From that date, applications which seek financial orders only, will be listed before a Registrar on the First Court Date and managed by a Registrar until the conclusion of the dispute resolution process. The process is based on the model successfully implemented in the Newcastle Registry. Referral to a Judge on the First Court Date will only be permitted in circumstances of genuine urgency requiring judicial determination.

Please also note confirmation of opening hours for the Melbourne Registry during the Christmas and New Year period. The Dandenong Registry will close on Wednesday 25 December and reopen on Tuesday 7, January 2020.

High Court Amendment (Electronic Filing and Others Matters) Rules 2019

The High Court Amendment (Electronic Filing and Other Matters) Rules 2019 were registered on 20 December 2020 and are available at  A copy of the Explanatory Statement can be found here.

The Amendment Rules amend the High Court Rules 2004 to make provision for the electronic lodgment of documents in cases started on or after 1 January 2020.

The Amendment Rules also increase by 2.1% the amounts allowed in Schedule 2 of the Rules on the taxation of a bill of costs.  The 2.1% increase will apply in respect of all work done and services performed by solicitors after 31 December 2019.

Profession CPD & Events
2020 BAQ ABA Conference – Early Bird closes 31 January 2020

The Bar Association of Queensland (BAQ) and Australian Bar Association (ABA) invite you to register for our 2020 Conference, to be held 5-7 March this year.

The two-day Conference will address key issues for modern litigation practice and contemporary developments in relation to the law and regulation.  The program features specialist sessions in several areas, including commercial, criminal, family, administrative and property law, as well as sessions focusing on ethics, practice management and advocacy.

Early Bird pricing will be available until 31 January 2020.  A Conference designed for the whole of profession, hosting a range of local, interstate and international speakers, the 2020 Bar Association of Queensland and Australian Bar Association Conference promises to be an event not to be missed.

View the preliminary program

The 2020 Conference promises some surprises with events featuring two special guest speakers. Join fellow legal professionals 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.

We invite you and your colleagues to register today to secure your place at this world-class Conference.

Law Mental Health Charity Ball

The Law Mental Health Committee proudly presents the inaugural Law Mental Health Charity Ball on 28 February 2020.

The Law Mental Health Committee was formed to raise awareness of, and promote positive mental health practice, within the legal profession in Victoria. The Ball will be an annual event which brings together the judiciary and members of the legal profession for an enjoyable evening to raise funds for our chosen charity partner.  This year, that charity partner is Beyond Blue.


Date :28 February 2020

Location :Grand Ballroom – The Hotel Windsor 111 Spring Street Melbourne

Time: 6:30pm – 11:00pm

Keynote speaker: Judge Jennifer Coate

Tickets: $150pp or $1500 for a table of 10

Dress code: Formal / Cocktail

Contact: Michelle Lothian

The ticket price includes entrée, dinner, entertainment & drinks (beer, wine and soft drink).

Fundraising is included in the ticket price. However, please bring along an additional $10pp on the night for mystery fundraising.

Click Here to Register

We look forward to seeing you there!

Arbitration for the Family Lawyer

This half day workshop will cover the practical steps in conducting an Arbitration as a solicitor for a party.

Covering all basic procedures, as well as:

  • Practical preparation for you before an Arbitration.
  • Practical preparation for your client before an Arbitration.
  • The process on the day.
  • After the event, what happens next.
  • Draft documents

With electronic take home material and the AIFLAM Arbitration Standards.

Friday, 07 February 2020
- 2.00pm to 5.00pm Seminar
- 5.00pm to 7.00pm Networking

Where: RACV City Club 501 Bourke Street Melbourne VIC 3000.

- Members : $330pp
- Non-Member: $370pp
- Networking only: $50pp

CPD Points: 3

Click Here to Register

LAWASIA conferences and events in 2020

LAWASIA has announced an exciting program of conferences and events in 2020:

  • 2nd Human Rights Conference (Kathmandu, Nepal | 7-8 March 2020)
  • Environmental Law in the Pacific (Denarau, Fiji | 3-4 April 2020)
  • 8th Family Law & Children’s Rights Conference (Singapore | 19-22 July 2020)
  • 33rd LAWASIA Conference (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia | 7-10 September 2020)

For information and bookings, see the LAWASIA website.

Switch On in the Law Library… Back to Basics

Switch On in the Law Library… Back to Basics

Thursday 6 February, 1.15pm-1.45pm

The first Switch On session for 2020 presents an overview on how to identify authoritative resources for case law and legislation. This session will: demonstrate how to identify court authorities when looking at parallel citations; provide an understanding of abbreviations; instruct on how to locate report series using abbreviations; and highlight authoritative websites for legislation. Learn what the best free resources are the resources that are available through the Library’s collection. This is a great session to kick off the new year and be reminded of some of the important legal research basics.

Bookings through Eventbrite:

Join the first CLARS Commercial Law Discussion Forum with Professor Susan Watson

The dominant conception of the company since the 1980s is that it is a private and contractual mechanism for solving agency problems between managers and shareholders. In this Commercial Law Discussion Forum, Professor Watson examines the development of the corporate entity from an historical perspective, offering an alternative paradigm to the dominant theory of the company.

Event Details:

Date: Thursday 30 January 2020

Time: 12.45pm – 2.00pm

Venue: Monash Law Chambers 555 Lonsdale St, Melbourne

Cost: Free

Register Here

Click Here to view the full flyer

Class Actions 2020: Conference registration and booklet of women barristers

The WBA is partnering with Slater & Gordon in organising Class Actions 2020. The conference will take place at the Arts Centre from noon on Wednesday 11 March 2020.  The conference will bring together leading practitioners from plaintiff and defendant firms, litigation funders and regulators. Women barristers will be appearing as panellists and speakers at the event. 

Conference registration

General registration for the conference has opened and tickets can be purchased through this link: If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact David Barda at Slater & Gordon on 9949 8788 or

Proceeds of ticket sales are going to the St Kilda Legal Service Family Violence Outreach Program.  


Booklet of women barristers

In addition, Slater & Gordon have offered to produce and circulate at the conference a booklet of women barristers who either already appear in this area or who would like to do more class actions work. If you would like to be included in this booklet, can you please send an email to Louise Martin or Gayann Walker Once the WBA knows the numbers of barristers who would like to be included, you will be asked for further information (bios and photos etc).

ALRC Seminar Series Corporate Criminal Responsibility

26 February 2020 Melbourne

Join fellow stakeholders to deep dive into the inquiry of Australia’s corporate criminal responsibility regime prior to the completion of the ALRC’s Final Report.

The ALRC is holding a series of seminars in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to provide an update and to encourage additional feedback into the current inquiry. Presentations will focus on the Discussion Paper, released in November, which sought input from stakeholders about Commonwealth corporate criminal law.

The seminars will be led by a panel of judges, academics and practitioners focusing on the ALRC’s proposed model of corporate regulation, the attribution of criminal responsibility to corporations and individual liability for corporate fault, while also discussing other aspects of the proposals.

The interactive seminars present the opportunity to highlight key issues identified in submissions received, indicate the ALRC’s potential direction following those submissions and to seek further feedback on the position the ALRC may adopt in its Final Report.

Click Here to Register

Careers & Opportunities
Expressions of Interest - NT Pro Bono Relief Scheme

The NT Pro Bono Relief Scheme is a new pilot program which is being coordinated by the Law Council of Australia and the Law Society Northern Territory.  It will offer a unique opportunity for lawyers around Australia to work in the Northern Territory assisting or relieving local lawyers in the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission and the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency for periods of between 1-2 weeks. Northern Territorian lawyers in these agencies do some of the most important legal work in Australia, representing some of our society’s most vulnerable people. The profession does an exceptional job in the face of extraordinary challenges, including a substantial and difficult caseload, significant under-resourcing and underfunding.  You can help.    

The Law Council of Australia and the Northern Territory Law Society are currently seeking expressions of interest for lawyers to work pro bono for 1-2 weeks assisting the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission and the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency in relation to Court matters which are listed in Darwin and Alice Springs.    

Successful applicants will have:  

  •  a current practising certificate; 
  •  excellent communication and interpersonal skills;
  •  cultural competency;
  •  a proven ability to exercise initiative and take direction, work independently and in a small team;
  •  a demonstrated ability to work under pressure, prioritise work and meet deadlines in high pressure environments.  

Barristers and solicitors undertaking this work will be unpaid. Solicitors and barristers with at least 5 years PQE are encouraged to apply. Experience in child protection, domestic family violence or criminal law is necessary.  

To apply, please send the following to Jaclyn Symons at

  1. Curriculum Vitae, including contact details of two professional referees;
  2. A Personal Statement outlining your relevant experience (500 words or less) and why you would like to participate (500 words or less).  Please also address the selection criteria listed above; and
  3. Indication of your availability to participate in the scheme in 2019 and 2020.

The Law Council has requested that the Bar ensure candidates do not have any disciplinary or character concerns or complaints. For this purpose, candidates are requested to complete a certificate of Good Standing Consent Form and return it to Jaclyn Symons with their application.

If you would like any further information, please contact  Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application to assist.

Melbourne University Law Review – Symposium Call for Submissions

The Editors of the Melbourne University Law Review (‘Review’) are calling for submissions for the third issue of volume 44 of the Review; a symposium issue on the topic of ‘Institutions and Regulation in the Modern State’.

Submissions are now open and close on 31 August 2020.

Click here for more details of the types of submissions that are requested.

Chief Municipal Inspector

The Victorian Government is seeking applications for the position of Chief Municipal Inspector which plays a key role in ensuring an accountable local government sector in Victoria.

As head of the Local Government Inspectorate, the Chief Municipal Inspector investigates and prosecutes possible breaches of the Local Government Act 1989 (the Act), and provides high level expert advice on local government governance and conduct matters.

Key functions of the role include:

  • Leading senior investigators in the investigation and prosecution of possible offences under the Act and examination of breaches of the Act.
  • Developing policies, procedures and guidelines on the governance arrangements under the Act.
  • Promoting integrity across the local government sector.
  • Investigating public interest (whistleblower) complaints referred by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.

The successful candidate will possess professional qualifications in a relevant field and/or extensive senior management level experience within regulatory or integrity bodies, and have the capacity to conduct and manage complex investigations.

The successful candidate will be appointed full time for a term of up to five years.

To obtain a copy of the position description and apply visit and refer to position number 1443976 or CLICK HERE.

Applications close at midnight on Sunday 16 February 2020.

Enquiries should be made to Mr Toby Hemming (General Counsel, Department of Premier and Cabinet) on (03) 9651 2180.


Applications sought for Heritage Council of Victoria membership

The Heritage Council of Victoria has contacted the Victorian Bar to seek expressions of interest from members with skills or expertise in heritage law, planning or property law.

The Heritage Council of Victoria is an expert statutory and advisory body made up of ten (10) members and up to ten (10) alternate members from a range of specified, heritage-related disciplines.

The Heritage Council is seeking applications from individuals who wish to serve on the Council.

On this occasion applications are sought for the following appointments, the positions they consider most relevant for the Bar are in bold:

  • One member with recognised skills or expertise in financial management;
  • One member with recognised skills or expertise in urban or regional planning;
  • One alternate member with recognised skills or expertise in engineering or building construction;
  • One alternate member with recognised skills or expertise in heritage law, planning law or property law;
  • One alternate member with recognised skills or expertise in financial management

These appointments will be from 1 July 2020 for a period of three (3) years.

Full members are expected to attend meetings of the Heritage Council. Alternate members are expected to attend if the full member is unavailable. Full members and alternate members are both expected to participate in one or more of the Heritage Council’s Committees or Advisory Committees, including Registration and Review Hearings.

Applications can be made via Get on Board If you need further information, please contact the Heritage Council Secretariat on (03) 9194 0868 or

Candidates will be required to complete standard application forms including a declaration of interests and will be required to provide a current CV. Women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with a disability, young persons and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

The deadline for applications is 5:00pm, Friday 14 February 2020.

Deadline for the next issue:5pm, 30th January 2020