In Brief Issue #954

Wendy Harris QC

Reducing the spread of COVID-19

I have had a number of emails from members expressing their concerns about the spread of COVID-19. We are facing an uncertain time, and I wanted to reassure members that we are closely following developments and the most-recent government guidelines. We are also in communication with the courts about their protocols, which reflect our own.

We are working closely with Barristers’ Chambers Limited (BCL) to assist our members to take steps to prevent transmission and prepare for any potential disruption to business. The best way to prevent the spread of any virus is handwashing.  BCL has provided freestanding hand sanitiser units in all ground floor lobbies together with individual sanitising hand pump bottles in all bathrooms in all buildings. We urge you to use these. BCL is reviewing additional hygiene measures that they can take. If you need assistance with working remotely, please contact the BCL service desk on 9225 8888.

The latest advice for Victorians is to go about your business and continue healthy habits. While there is no reason to limit your movement in the community, you should isolate yourself at home if you feel sick. Travellers returning from Iran, South Korea, Italy and China, or those close contact with a proven case of COVID-19, must isolate themselves at home for 14 days.  If you develop any symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath) you should see a doctor for urgent assessment.


Vale Peter O’Callaghan QC

With familiarity, we can become numb to some of the greatness that surrounds us – the magnificence of the Supreme Court dome, the modernism of the County Court, the talent at the Bar and on the Bench, and the tenacity and humbleness of the community that we serve.

One of the great attributes of the Bar is our collegiality, and that is built in no small measure on the environment in which we work – the close nestle of buildings that are our chambers; chambers which are available to us on terms that provide the lowest barriers to entry of any Bar. This week we lost one of the architects of that environment, and a truly great son of our Bar.

Many of us walk between Owen Dixon East and West with only a passing thought for the inspiration that made these two buildings part of our home. Peter O’Callaghan QC had that inspiration and – as a director of Barristers’ Chambers Limited and Chairman of the Building Committee – was instrumental in bringing that vision to reality. That’s why the Gallery holds his name. That’s why we honour him as epitomising the values of collegiality, compassion and decency, which we like to think of as the hallmarks of our Bar.

Peter passed away early this week. He will be mourned among his family at home and here at the Bar. If you would like to read his obituary, it is here. You can also remember his contribution to the Bar at the unveiling of his own portrait by the Honourable Sue Crennan AC QC here.

Many of you may have seen the funeral notice published in The Age this morning. The family have now decided to hold a private funeral. There will be a future opportunity for members to celebrate the life of Peter and his great contribution.


Congratulations to the 2020 Indigenous Clerks

One of the areas on which the Bar is particularly focused is ensuring that the path to the Bar is open for all – an endeavour close to the heart of Peter O’Callaghan. Part of the Bar’s commitment to that pathway is demonstrated in the Indigenous Clerkship program, now in its 13th year. This year, the Indigenous Justice Committee of the Bar and the Justices of the Supreme Court and Federal Court welcomed four Indigenous law students to the program: Tyson Holloway-Clarke and Art Pitchford (both from Melbourne University), Emma Simpson (Deakin University) and James Kerr (Monash University). Each clerk is paired with a barrister-buddy to help them navigate the Bar and the Courts, and give them an in-depth glimpse of the real life of barrister. Thank you to everyone involved, especially Justice Kaye of the Supreme Court and Justice Bromberg of the Federal Court, for making this a rewarding experience.


Ethical Governance – where the Bar can take a leadership position

Tying the threads between governance, the law and ethical behaviour can be tricky for many of our clients and, indeed, for many lawyers. In celebration of International Women’s Day, I spoke to Melbourne University Law School Alumni about how, as barristers and legal professionals, we can help clients navigate to safe, ethical practices. I met a number of bright and inspiring law students at the event, which was reported by the Law Institute of Victoria here.


Farewell to the Hon Justice Kevin Bell

Yesterday, Senior Vice-President Simon Marks QC represented the Bar at the ceremonial farewell for the Honourable Justice Kevin Bell.  You can read the speech here

Vicbar News & Events
Silks Information Session - 15 April 2020 at 5:30pm in the Bar Council Chamber

The Hon Stephen Charles AO QC and Wendy Harris QC will discuss the process of applying for, and the appointing of, silk for members of the Bar. All interested members are welcome to attend. The seminar is not only open to those members who are considering applying for appointment as silk this year, but for any member who wants to know more about the process.

Nominations for appointment to the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria Civil Practice Committee

The Bar Council is calling for expressions of interest for the position of a Victorian Bar representative on the Magistrates’ Court Civil Practice Committee.

The Civil Practice Committee meets on a monthly basis to review and discuss matters affecting the civil jurisdiction of the Court.

The next meeting will take place on 20 April 2020.

The Bar’s protocol for nomination and appointment of members to external bodies can be found here. Your Expression of Interest should include a copy of your CV and identify any relevant areas of experience or expertise. 

Please forward your expression of interest to Denise Bennett at The closing date for EOIs is 5pm, Friday 27 March 2020.

Appointments - Four new Magistrates

Magistrates’ Court of Victoria

The Governor in Council has appointed three members of our Bar as Magistrates.

Her Honour Magistrate Victoria Campbell
His Honour Magistrate Andrew Halse
Her Honour Magistrate Helen Murphy

The Governor in Council has also appointed:

Her Honour Magistrate Amina Bhai

Forthcoming welcomes - Magistrates' Court of Victoria

Magistrates’ Court of Victoria

The profession will extend a welcome for:

Her Honour Magistrate Elizabeth Langdon and Her Honour Magistrate Kristen Rose on Thursday 19 March 2020 at 9:00am.

His Honour Magistrate Andrew Halse and Her Honour Magistrate Bhai on Wednesday 25 March at 9:00am.

Her Honour Magistrate Victoria Campbell and Her Honour Magistrate Helen Murphy on Friday 27 March at 9:00am.

All welcome ceremonies are in Court 1 of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria.

Nominations for Law Council Advisory Committee: Futures Committee

The Bar Council is calling for expressions of interest for the position of a Victorian Bar nominee to the Law Council of Australia Futures Committee. The committee has been established to advise the Law Council on key issues and policy responses to the challenges and opportunities presented by social, technological and regulatory changes, that impact on the future Australian legal profession, and future consumers of legal services.

The proposed Terms of Reference for the new Futures Committee is at Attachment A.

The Committee will meet as required to perform its functions. The Committee will normally meet via teleconference but may hold face-to-face meetings when appropriate.

It is proposed that the first meeting will take place in approximately late May 2020.

The Bar’s protocol for nomination and appointment of members to external bodies can be found here. Your Expression of Interest should include a copy of your CV and identify any relevant areas of experience or expertise. 

Please forward your expression of interest to Denise Bennett at The closing date for EOIs is Friday 13 March 2020 at 5:00pm.

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
RACV Club special offer for VicBar members

A special introductory offer for Vic Bar members wanting to join the RACV Club ends on 31 March 2020.

If you join before 31 March 2020, the RACV Club will waive its joining fee, so the annual membership fee of $910 will be reduced to $520, as well as a discount on the annual membership fee each year.

Membership includes exclusive access to the RACV City Club in Melbourne’s CBD, the Healesville Country Club in the Yarra Valley, and over 160 reciprocal clubs globally.

By joining RACV Club, you gain access to a range of social, leisure and business facilities and services. You will receive a 50% discount on accommodation at RACV Resorts, as well as discounted dining and day spa packages through the club rewards program. Members also receive unlimited golf with their stay at the Healesville Country Club, which boasts one of the best golf courses in Australia. Other exclusive offerings for RACV Club members are access to the fully equipped business centre and discounted parking rates at the Melbourne CBD venue.

An optional subscription to the RACV Club fitness facilities in Bourke Street (valued at $595) is also available to members.

Victorian Bar sporting calendar

The Health and Well-being Committee is putting together a sporting calendar for the Bar. The calendar will be a place where organisers of sporting teams and events can register their upcoming events and invite other members of the Bar to participate.

At present, the Committee is inviting team and event organisers to contact Matthew Meng (ext 7828; to register their team and event details for the 2020 calendar year.

Member Benefits Australia - March exclusive member offers

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

Essoign Trivia Night

The Essoign’s next Trivia Night at the Club is on Tuesday the 17th of March.

Register your team in the Club or at

See attached flyer for details.

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 6:00pm

Location             RACV City Club 501 Bourke St Melbourne

MC                        Paul Grant

Guest Speaker  The Hon Michael Kirby AO CMG

Click here to register.


The award is a monetary amount awarded annually to a person who, has by their efforts, 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 is to recognise, reward and thereby encourage the work and achievements of the recipient, and inspire them to continue this important work

Criteria for selection

Demonstrated outstanding commitment to, and an advocate for, the aims of this 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

Calling all francophones

Plans are underway to start a VicBar French Conversation Club. Members will gather at a central location to practise their French over some Brie and Beaujolais. If you are interested, please email Hadi Mazloum by clicking here.

Australian War Crimes Trials Breakfast Seminar - 25 March

At 8:00am on Wednesday 25 March, come to the Essoign Club for a breakfast seminar on Australian War Crimes Trials Post World War II with guest Speaker Adam Wakeling.

Tickets: $10 at the door. RSVP to

Click here to view the flyer for more information.

Tigers@Law - Dustin off the boots for 2020

Season Opening Breakfast with Neil Balme,
Senior Club Advisor, Richmond Football Club.

Interviewed by Michael Green


Essoign Club, Level 1,
205 William Street Melbourne

Date and Time: 

Tuesday 17 March 2020 at 7:15am - 9:00am


$60 (EFT details will be provided upon RSVP)

All Tiger Supporting Barristers and Support Staff are welcome.

If you have not already, please

Practice & Profession News
Second edition of the Federal Sentencing Guide now available on the CDPP website

The CDPP is pleased to announce the release of the 2nd Edition of the Federal Sentencing Guide, which is now available on the CDPP website.

The 2nd Edition contains updates to most chapters and some completely new sections. The revisions were prepared by counsel Desmond Lane, with assistance from counsel Michael Wilson, both from the Victorian Bar.

A list of what is new is contained within the new edition of the Guide.

It is anticipated that a further, shorter update will follow in the coming months.

This new edition of the Guide is intended as a comprehensive resource not only for CDPP lawyers, but for all legal practitioners, judicial officers, and others who deal with the sentencing of Federal offenders.

Notice of termination of Mr Alan Splatt as Manager of Alexander Whitehouse & Co

Regarding the Victorian Legal Services Board’s (‘Board’) appointment of Mr Alan Splatt as Manager of Alexander Whitehouse & Co (‘Law Practice’), pursuant to section 334 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria).

Please accept this letter as notice that Mr Splatt’s appointment as Manager of the Law Practice terminated on 2 March 2020, because the term of the appointment came to an end and the Law Practice has been wound up.

If you wish to discuss this matter further with the Board, please contact Chantelle Toussaint on 03 9679 8165 or at

Profession CPD & Events
Modernisation of Resolution Institute Arbitration Rules: What you need to know?

The session will be presented by Toby Shnookal QC, arbitrator and a director of Resolution Institute and a key participant in the drafting of the new Rules. Toby will explain how the rules were developed, how they operate both contractually and within the domestic and international arbitration Acts. He will take you through some of the major changes and advantages of using the new Rules.

The Resolution Institute Arbitration Rules are the successors to the IAMA Arbitration Rules and are the most widely used arbitration rules in Australia. For contracts entered on or after 1 January 2020 the new Rules apply where the parties agree to submit a dispute to arbitration in accordance with Resolution Institute Arbitration Rules or any of the previous IAMA Arbitration Rules.

The Resolution Institute Arbitration Rules 2020 mark a significant modernisation of the Rules they replace while still being modelled on the UNCITRAL Rules. The Resolution Institute Arbitration Rules 2020 work without amendment whether the arbitrator has been agreed or is appointed by a nominating body, and they work in both domestic and international arbitrations. They provide new streamline processes for agreeing the arbitrator, his or her fees and all aspects of arbitration procedure including commencement, consolidation or expansion of the arbitration, recoverable legal fees and so on.

This session will be beneficial for solicitors drafting clauses, litigating barristers, and parties especially in construction.

Event details

Date and time

Monday 16 March 2020


Baker McKenzie
Level 19
181 William Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000

Members: AU$25
Non-members: AU$45
Free for Resolution Institute student members
Free for Professional Development subscribers
Payment by credit card only

This event will contribute 1 hour of CPD under National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS) and Resolution Institute accreditation schemes.

Click here for more information and to register

Switch On… Victorian Sentencing Manual

Thursday 2 April, 1.15pm-1.45pm

The Law Library of Victoria invites you to attend our Switch On... information sessions.

The Victorian Sentencing Manual has been substantially revised. This session, presented by David Tedhams, Senior Research Manager at the Judicial College of Victoria, will provide an overview and introduction to the 4th edition of the Victorian Sentencing Manual and explain why it is a valuable tool for legal research. 

Bookings via Eventbrite

Careers & Opportunities
Casual Employment Opportunity – Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria - casual conciliator panel recruitment

DBDRV is currently expanding its casual conciliator panel.  If you are a nationally accredited mediator and are interested in learning more about this opportunity please follow this link.

Applications close on 16 March 2020.

Judicial Registrar Appointments

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, the Honourable Anne Ferguson, seeks expressions of interest from qualified persons for appointment as a judicial registrar of the Supreme Court.


Judicial registrars are members of the Court, appointed by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Attorney-General. There are currently two judicial registrar positions vacant at the Supreme Court of Victoria.

View the position descriptions on the Legal Careers website:

Judicial Registrar – Criminal Division

Judicial Registrar - Commercial


All expressions of interest must be received by no later than close of Business on Monday 23 March 2020.

The positions are located in Melbourne. All expressions of interest are treated confidentially. Enquiries can be made to Viv MacGillivray on (03) 8600 2403.

Expressions of interest marked ‘Private and Confidential’ should be addressed to:

The Honourable Chief Justice Anne Ferguson

Supreme Court of Victoria

210 William Street

Melbourne VIC 3000

Alternatively, they can be sent by email to Ms Viv MacGillivray, Executive Associate to the Chief Justice,

Deadline for the next issue:5pm, 19th March 2020