In Brief Issue #950

Wendy Harris QC

Helping lawyers swim between the flags

From regulatory approaches, through ethical pressures, to harassment in the profession and helping the lawyers face the competitive and perfectionist pressures we’re under: the LIV’s “State of the Profession: Essential Briefing 2020” brought together members from across the legal sector to raise and debate the macro issues affecting the profession, allowing us the opportunity stop, reflect and consider what our focus should be in 2020.

Speakers included The Hon. Jill Hennessy MP, Victorian Attorney-General and Minister for Workplace Safety; the Hon. Chief Justice Alstergren, Chief Justice, Family Court of Australia and Chief Judge, Federal Circuit Court; Sam Pandya, President of the Law Institute of Victoria and a number of law firm managing partners. The discussion – both during the formal sessions and the networking opportunities – was stimulating and left those in the room with plenty of food for thought as we embark on the new year in earnest.


“We are leaders – we must be visionaries”

Last week, I attended a ceremonial sitting of the High Court marking the appointment of new Senior Counsel, including fifteen of our new silks. The speech at the gala dinner which followed by Shane Drumgold SC, ACT Director of Public Prosecutions and newly appointed Senior Counsel, was a true highlight of the day. Shane took us on a personal journey from his own humble beginnings on “Struggle Street” in Mt Druitt to the rarefied air in which we all found ourselves sitting in the soaring surrounds of our apex court.  Along the way, he reminded us that integrity, honesty, independence and humility are the key virtues of Senior Counsel, urging us to “build a profession that not only embraces but celebrates diversity in all its forms. A profession that prides itself on its ability to not just represent the disadvantaged and socially marginalised, but one that builds bridges for their inclusion within the profession itself.” It was a wonderful and moving speech which was rewarded with a standing ovation by those present.  You can read Shane’s speech here.

Photograph of members of the Victorian Bar who attended the High Court ceremony to mark the appointment of new senior counsel


More amazing stories of bushfire assistance

As the weeks have passed, I’ve continued to hear some remarkable stories of the contribution that many of our members have made in the bushfire response – fighting the fires, assisting in response and recovery efforts, volunteering time for pro bono help, and giving money to recovery efforts.

Douglas Laidlaw CSC is one of our members who has helped enormously in the bushfire response. Douglas is a Brigadier in the ADF Reserve and, at the beginning of the year, commanded the Joint Taskforce that responded to the bushfires in East Gippsland, including evacuating people trapped in Mallacoota. You can watch a video here of Douglas telling the media about the evacuation. In the 2006 Australia Day Honours, Douglas was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) for service in Malaysia during the 2005 Tsunami and he is one of a large number of our members who has served the community through their participation in the Army Reserve. I’d like to acknowledge and thank them for their service on behalf of the Victorian Bar and all of its members.

The bushfire season has not yet finished, and we can anticipate a lengthy period of reflection, investigation and, inevitably, litigation to follow. While the link between climate change and the bushfires is being hotly debated in the media, the potential for climate change litigation is extremely topical and was the subject of a recent speech by the former Chief Justice of the High Court, the Honourable Robert French AC. At a lecture at the University of Western Australia to raise funds for bushfire relief through the Australian Red Cross, he described some of the risks, and the potential for climate change litigation to influence public policy and the private sector. The former Chief Justice’s speech is available at this link.

Please continue your efforts to support those who need help and also be mindful of your own wellbeing. 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.

Vicbar News & Events
Cancellation of Penang 2020 International Commercial Law Conference

The biennial international commercial law conference (‘Penang 2020 ICLC’) that was scheduled to take place at the Eastern and Oriental Hotel in Penang on 18-19 September 2020 has been cancelled due to the recent and rapid escalation of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), declared by the World Health Organisation as a public health emergency on 30 January 2020.  The Penang 2020 ICLC was scheduled to open for registration on 1 March 2020.  Due to the considerable uncertainty over the impact of the virus and its potential future pattern of spread, the Commercial Bar Association has decided that the most prudent course of action is to cancel the event now, before speakers and delegates are committed to the conference. The Commercial Bar Association apologises for any inconvenience caused by the cancellation, but trusts you will understand this decision in these unforeseen circumstances.

Criminal Bar CPD Conference

The inaugural Criminal Bar Association CPD conference will be held in Lorne on 20-22 March 2020. Sessions will cover The Eastman Trial, Prasad & the Close of the Crown case, Miscarriages of justice, Challenges to forensic science, Ethics in criminal practice, Mental health and sentencing, Standard sentencing and vicarious trauma in practice. Further details and Registration available here.

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 - February exclusive member offers

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

Essoign Trivia Night

The Essoign is kicking off the first Trivia Night at the Club on Tuesday the 18th of February.

Register your interest in the Club or at

See attached flyer for details.

Finalists in the Lawyers Weekly Corporate Counsel Awards

For those of you who work closely with in-house counsel, the finalists in the forthcoming Lawyers Weekly Corporate Counsel Summit have been announced. If you’d like to congratulate a colleague, the finalists are published here:

Save the Date - Steve Myall Award Inaugural dinner

Steve Myall 17/6/58- 14/3/18

Steve Myall was a well loved and well respected serving Magistrate at the time of his unfortunate death on 14 March 2018.

Both during his time on the bench and his many years as a legal practitioner, he was passionate advocate for social justice.

His contribution to the judiciary, the legal profession and the community was as extensive as it was outstanding.


The Victorian Magistrates Association and the Law Institute of Victoria have determined to recognise Steve’s work on prison and sentence reform issues with an award bearing his name.

The inaugural award will be celebrated with a dinner and award presentation.


Steve Myall Award Inaugural dinner            

Date                    Wednesday 15th April 2020 6pm

Location             RACV City Club 501 Bourke St Melbourne

MC                        Paul Grant

Guest Speaker  The Hon Michael Kirby AO CMG


The award is a monetary amount awarded annually to a person who, has by their efforts, have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to social justice issues in particular, prison and sentence reform being an issue very close to Steve’s heart.

The purpose of the award  to recognise, reward and thereby encourage the work and achievements of the recipient and others and inspire them to continue this important work

Criteria for selection

Demonstrated outstanding commitment to and an advocate for the aims of the award

Award Administration

The award will be administered by the LIV and a committee comprising a nominee from the LIV Criminal Law Section and the VMA

The principal purpose of the committee is to call for nominations and to review and select the winner.

Contributions: Initial Contributions have already been pledged from the VMA and the Australian Association of Magistrates.

Contributions/donations to the award fund can be made via the LIV

Name: Wellbeing And The Law Foundation

BSB: 033002

Account No: 737269

Description Steve Myall Award

Practice & Profession News
Assistance for parties and representatives impacted by recent bushfires

The Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia acknowledges the catastrophic impact caused by the recent bushfires and extends its sympathies to those affected.

To assist those impacted, the Courts have established a contact point for legal representatives and parties requiring support in relation to a current or prospective matter.

All enquiries for assistance such as necessary adjournments, variation to timetables or preparation for hearings should be directed to the chambers of the presiding Judge.

Alternatively, you may contact our liaison for bushfire related enquiries, Mr Michael Raine, whose details are as follows:

Michael Raine
Legal Assistant (Paralegal)
Phone: 08 8219 1641

Consultation Paper - Proposed Amendments to the Legal Profession Uniform Law

The Legal Services Council has published a consultation paper on proposed amendments to the Legal Profession Uniform Law.

The proposals aim to:

  • clarify the effect and operation of certain provisions
  • enhance protection of consumers of legal services
  • empower clients to make informed choices about costs
  • expand the category of people who can make consumer complaints
  • remove the potential for unintended consequences and perverse outcomes to arise
  • improve administrative efficiencies, and
  • resolve inconsistencies and drafting anomalies.

Submissions can be sent to the Council at on or before Friday, 28 February 2020

New Institutional Liability List

The Supreme Court of Victoria will begin a specialised Institutional Liability List from 10 February 2020 to handle civil claims related to institutional abuse.

The new list will include claims for damages which have arisen from or following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and/or the State Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations.

More information about the types of claims that will be managed in the list are set out in the Notice to the Profession.

The Judges in Charge of the new list will be the Honourable Justices Rita Incerti (formerly Justice Zammit) and Andrew Keogh and the list will be managed by Judicial Registrar Julie Clayton.

New Report – Time Served Prison Sentences in Victoria

The Sentencing Advisory Council has released a new report: Time Served Prison Sentences in Victoria.

The report finds that Victoria’s growing remand population has indirectly affected sentencing outcomes. Although there are thousands more people receiving prison sentences each year, there are comparatively few additional people serving a prison sentence at any given time. Instead, most of the additional people in Victoria’s prisons in recent years are people in custody awaiting trial.

Part of the explanation for this increase in prison sentences without many additional people serving a prison sentence is the significant increase in time served prison sentences, where an offender receives a prison sentence identical to the amount of time they spent on remand awaiting trial and are immediately released. Time served prison sentences now account for 20% of all prison sentences imposed in Victoria, compared with 5% six years earlier.

The Council’s report, Time Served Prison Sentences in Victoria, is available from the Council’s website:

Martin Keith appointed as a Judicial Registrar

On 4 February 2020, Martin Keith was appointed by the Governor in Council as a Judicial Registrar of the Supreme Court of Victoria, effective 5 February 2020.

Mr Keith, will work alongside Judicial Registrar Julie Clayton in the Common Law Division, will be responsible for early case management and hearing and determining interlocutory applications primarily in the Court’s Trusts, Equity and Probate List and Judicial Review and Appeals List.

Read more on the Supreme Court’s website.

Appointment of Manager to Rose Mary Brondolino & Co

On 12 February 2020, the Victorian Legal Services Board (‘the Board’) resolved to appoint Mr Damian Neylon as Manager of the sole practitioner law practice of Ms Rose Mary Brondolino trading as ‘Rose Mary Brondolino & Co’ (‘the Law Practice’), pursuant to section 334 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (‘Uniform Law’). The appointment is for a period of 6 months and expires on 12 August 2020, unless the Board determines to extend the appointment or the appointment otherwise ceases in accordance with section 340 of the Uniform Law.

The Board determined to appoint a Manager because the Board is satisfied that there is a need for an independent person to be appointed to take over professional and operational responsibility for the Law Practice.

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 Neylon on (03) 9993 0490 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 Chantalle Toussaint on (03) 9679 8165 or via email at

Profession CPD & Events
Melbourne Catholic Lawyers' Association breakfast

The MCLA is hosting a breakfast on Wednesday 4 March with Paul Santamaria QC speaking on “Failing our Most Vulnerable”.

The breakfast will take place at 7.30 at the Essoign Club.  The cost is $35 and is due on Wednesday 26 February.  All welcome - please see for details.

La Trobe Law School seminar - A Framework for Understanding the Regulation of Discretion

Presenter: Tobias Barkley

Time/Date: 12noon-1pm on Thursday 27 February 2020

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

Click here for registration and further details.

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).

Cyngler Consulting 2020 Courses
  • Do you ever find yourself in difficult conversations? Come and join one our programs.
  • Do you need mediation accreditation or reaccreditation? Enrol in our next course.
  • Are you wanting to extend and enlarge your mediation skills? Come and take one of our Mediation Masterclasses.
  • Do you need training or support in conflict management, decision making or listening skills? Get in touch with us.

Our scheduled programs for the next 6 months are listed below. Don’t miss out on our Early Bird discounts!

National Mediator Accreditation

16-18, 23-25 March 2020

27-29 July and 3-5 August 2020

Mediation Masterclass

9-11 March 2020

20-22 July 2020

Visit our website for more information and to register.

Careers & Opportunities
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.

General Counsel - Court Services Victoria
  • Lead in-house legal counsel
  • Identify and respond to legal issues of broad organisational and strategic importance
  • Lead and manage the operations of the Legal and Governance team.

About Us

Court Services Victoria (CSV) was established on 1 July 2014 as an independent statutory body corporate that provides corporate and administrative services that support judicial independence in the administration of justice in Victoria. CSV provides support services to the Supreme Court; the County Court; the Magistrates' Court; the Children's Court; and the Coroners Court, as well as the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), the Judicial College of Victoria and the Judicial Commission of Victoria.

About the Role

As the General Counsel, you will be the lead in-house legal counsel to the CSV CEO, CSV Executives and, on occasion, Courts Council.  The role is responsible for ensuring that accurate and timely expert legal advice is provided across the organisation, supporting good governance of CSV and ensuring key compliance obligations are met.

As a member of the executive leadership team you advise on and assist with the management of high level strategic and legal matters, strengthening CSV's strategic organisational capability. 

Leading the Legal and Governance team, you will oversee the efficient management of legal and governance operations.

About You

Legally qualified, you have significant experience leading wide-ranging and complex legal matters in private and/or government legal practice. You will have demonstrated commitment to excellent service delivery with a focus on continuous improvement.

Applications close 17/02/2020. For more information on this position please visit:

Department of Justice and Community Safety Opportunities

The Department of Justice and Community Safety is currently recruiting a Deputy Chairperson and multiple Sessional Divisional Chairpersons for the Adult Parole Board. 

The Adult Parole Board of Victoria (the Board) is an independent statutory body established under the Corrections Act 1986, with jurisdiction over the appropriate release of offenders on parole.

The Board is mandated to make decisions, under a statutory framework, about the reintegration of eligible prisoners into the community in a way that protects community safety. The Adult Parole Board's functions include making decisions about whether to grant, deny, defer or cancel a prisoner's parole.

The Board is now seeking to appoint a full-time Deputy Chairperson and several Sessional Divisional Chairpersons to preside over meetings and participate in the deliberations of the Board. Applicants for these roles must be retired judicial officers or legal practitioners of more than 10 years' experience.

If you’re interested in finding out more information or applying for these vacancies, please head to

Applications close on Friday 28 February 2020.

VCAT Panel Mediators
  • Serve the community by resolving disputes in the largest Tribunal in Australia.
  • Be appointed as a VCAT Panel Mediator to conduct VCAT mediations in the Building and Property, Human Rights, Owners Corporations or Civil Claims Lists.
  • 5 Year appointment, flexible working, predominantly Melbourne CBD location with some regional travel.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) hears and determines civil and administrative legal cases. Established in 1998, it is the largest tribunal in Australia. VCAT finalises more than 86,000 cases a year at over 46 venues across Victoria. VCAT serves the community by resolving disputes and making decisions in a timely, cost effective and efficient way.

VCAT is seeking to appoint independent contract mediators to their panel. Depending on your qualifications and expertise, you will conduct mediations from four of VCAT’s jurisdictions:

  • Building and Property List
  • Human Rights List
  • Owners Corporations List
  • Civil Claims List

VCAT Panel Mediators are appointed by the VCAT President and have the same protection and immunity as a member of the tribunal, when conducting VCAT mediations.

On average, panel mediators will be allocated one mediation per calendar month, with opportunities to mediate on a more frequent basis if individual availability and workload permits.

Panel Mediators are currently paid at a rate of $1,217.00 per day or $608.50 per half day.

To apply, you must be accredited as a mediator in accordance with the National Mediation Accreditation System and have a minimum of 5 years professional, commercial, industry or public sector experience. Aside from Building Consultant Mediators, you must hold a tertiary legal qualification to mediate disputes.

For a candidate information pack, please contact the consultant assisting VCAT, Trish Mullen by emailing or by calling 03 9235 5120 for a confidential discussion.

Deadline for the next issue:5pm, 20th February 2020