In Brief Issue #965

Katherine Lorenz

It won’t happen to me

Cyber horror stories. We share them regularly. The unsuspecting victim receives a “phishing” email. It looks like it’s from a company that already has their data and wants the victim to verify his or her details. The victim visits the verification link contained in the email. He/she is prompted to enter his or her login information into a fake verification form. After obtaining the victim’s ID and password, all hell breaks loose. Other horror stories are less sinister but no less damaging. The PhD student whose thesis is “lost” because it’s not backed up properly and the hard drive dies.

All these stories are the same – about how it went wrong for someone else. When we hear these stories, a part of us believes that those calamities won’t touch us. This confidence is called optimism bias and it is usually a good thing. Despite the possibility of a visit from Murphy, we forge ahead and thrive. Sometimes, this bias is counter-productive – it prevents us from managing risk. The “it won’t happen to me” syndrome can stop us from looking after our own safety.

Unfortunately, these horror stories can also become real for us. Recently, a barrister lost all his data. Thousands of files were eventually recovered, but the file names were not restored. It took nearly three months to manually rename all files. Another barrister lost 14 years of emails due to an operating system that broke down.

These stories are distressing to the individuals concerned. I share them not for shock value, but to turn your attention to cyber security. BCL helped these, and many other barristers, affected by failures of IT hardware and software, those caught in cyber security scams, and those who have made genuine mistakes in clicking on dodgy links or downloading suspect applications, but it sees these issues too often. The restrictions we face during COVID-19 has increased our dependency on technology and there is no better time to manage the risks that such dependence brings. So, BCL has developed a policy that outlines the Bar’s Technology Minimum Standards, so you can review and update your cyber security infrastructure. If you need assistance, please contact the BCL Service Desk on 9225 8888.

If you are uncertain about cyber security, the LPLC and Law & Cyber offer a free one-hour online course which teaches you how to protect yourself from cyber-crime. The LPLC has also produced a Cyber Security Guide for Lawyers, which is a step-by-step guide on how to be cybersafe.

As horror stories go, coronavirus was a little different – in that it happened to everyone. And we fought the villain together. The solidarity of the judiciary, barristers and legal practitioners saved the justice system from grinding to a halt, as we forged a new path through technology. The first four webinars of the Bar’s “In Conversation” series has featured the judiciary discussing how the courts have responded to coronavirus. The Children's Court has also held a webinar, with the President of the Court, Judge Amanda Chambers, and the Chair of the Children's Court Bar Association, Melissa Stead, to discuss the Court’s response. You can view the webinar here with the password CPD1OF2020. The overarching theme of these webinars is that technology formed a solid foundation upon which courts could readjust, innovate and pivot to remote hearings, at least until such time that the world returns to normal.

Many of you have shared some your experiences with remote hearings; they range from seamless to glitchy. However, technology is not a universal remedy and the courts are keen to get back to working as normally as possible, understanding that some restrictions will continue in the foreseeable future. This was reiterated in an ABC report featuring the Chief Magistrate and Sally Flynn QC, and our “In conversation” webinar with the Chief Judge of the County Court covered by Lawyers Weekly. Your stories regarding remote hearings, whether the stuff of ‘horror’ or not, are invaluable to learning from the lessons of the pandemic in the future. A central collection point has been set up by Monash Law and Otago Law where you can anonymously share your story at

As restrictions ease, it is wonderful to see many of you returning to chambers. In addition to ramping up your cyber security, it also important you maintain your physical safety. It is crucial we all do our part to minimise the spread of COVID-19. To that end, BCL has devised best practice considerations for returning to chambers, which are available here.

I wish everyone a great weekend, and best wishes for planning that first dinner out, haircut, or weekend away, which the Premier has announced will be possible from 1 June.

Vicbar News & Events
The Peace Lab Webinar: Reset through Covid-19: A Changing Brain for a Changing World – starts noon today!

Join Elva Zhang from Peace Lab for a free webinar today on how you can rest, reflect and reset for a new normal following COVID-19. This seminar will empower you to direct your thoughts to what gives you peace and positivity.

You will learn:

  • core concepts in neuroplasticity and its relevance in uncertain times such as now
  • the notion of impermanence in Eastern philosophy
  • practical tools to change your mind for cultivating a more beneficial and positive mindset, and
  • a guided LIVE meditation designed for embracing uncertainty.

The webinar is Friday 29 May, 12:00-1:30pm. Register for free here.

Formerly an international student from China, Elva is an Australian-qualified lawyer with a Master of Laws (LLM in International Economic Law) from Geneva, Switzerland.  She currently works as Corporate Counsel for a Melbourne-based global shipping line directly with the senior management team as well as colleagues from other jurisdictions such as France, Singapore and China.  

Apart from being a shipping lawyer, Elva is the founder of Peace Lab, which curates and facilitates experiential and fun workshops that synthesise ancient Eastern philosophies and contemporary Western science as a unique agent for cultivating wellbeing and positive mindset shift.


Practising Certificates - renew your PII insurance before 31 May

The practising certificate (PC) renewals cycle for 2020/21 has been extended to 30 June for renewal of your PC without incurring a surcharge from the Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner. However, your PC will not be issued until you have taken out compulsory professional indemnity insurance (PII) with the LPLC.

The LPLC requires that you renew your PII premium by 31 May 2020 and practitioners are encouraged to renew online.

Information regarding PII was distributed to members several weeks ago and included notification that you have the option of deferring payment of your premium until 30 November.

Links for online lodgement of your renewal are available through your member home page here, or you may go directly to LSB Online and LPLC website. Login to both portals using your Practitioner Number as the username (your Practitioner Number is published in the email sent to you by the VLSB+C or you can contact the Victorian Bar office for assistance).

Should you require assistance renewing your PC or PII, please email or leave a message with Susan Lawrence on 9225 7105 or Daphne Ioannidis on 9225 8326.

Further information on renewing practising certificates can be found on the VicBar website here.

New Court Security Clearing Protocols – Please take your VicBar ID card or (if you don’t have one) a printed copy of your ID letter

Court Security Officers (CSO) have been directed of the following condition with respect to exemptions for legal practitioners from security entrance requirements:

  • Legal practitioners will be asked to display their identification card to the CSO at the entry to security screening point of court venues.
  • CSOs must not touch the identification card(s). 
  • The identification must be displayed in such a way that the CSO can be satisfied that the identity of the legal practitioner displaying the identification is the same as the identification card.
  • In the event that the legal practitioner is unable to produce an identification card, a hard copy identification letter including a photo of the person will be accepted.
  • The CSO may ask the legal practitioner for additional identification (that includes a name and photograph) so the CSO can be satisfied that the identity of the legal practitioner displaying the identification card or identification letter is the same as the identification card or ID Letter (face to ID check).

Court Services Victoria has asked all members who are using the Victorian Bar identity letter to fast-track through court security clearance to please take a printed copy of the letter, and not rely on an electronic version on your phone or device. This is to avoid security staff coming close to individuals and handling phones and devices. Members will be soon issued with Victorian Bar identity cards to facilitate security clearance.

Women Barristers Association (WBA) – Notice of Annual General Meeting (AGM)

WBA’S AGM will be held on Tuesday 9 June 2020 at 1:00pm via Zoom. A Zoom invitation will be sent to all members.

Attached to this notice are:

  1. draft agenda for this meeting
  2. committee nomination form, and
  3. proxy form.

At the meeting, members will have the opportunity to:

  1. discuss WBA activities for the past year
  2. discuss WBA finances for the past year
  3. nominate for a committee position
  4. vote on any resolutions proposed, and
  5. discuss any general business arising.

At the meeting, members will be asked to vote in respect of the following:

  1. accept the minutes of the last annual general meeting
  2. accept the Convener’s annual report
  3. accept the Treasurer’s annual report and presentation of financial statement from the previous year
  4. accept other office bearers reports
  5. election of the following committee positions:
    1. Convener
    2. Assistant Conveners (x2)
    3. Treasurer
    4. Secretary
    5. Assistant Secretary, and
    6. Ordinary members of the Committee.

Please note, copies of the Convener’s annual report, Treasurer’s annual report and minutes, and any other office bearers’ reports will be disseminated by email to WBA members by 4:00pm, Friday 5 June 2020.

If any member wishes to add an item to the agenda for discussion at the AGM, please email Louise Martin ( or Veronica Holt ( by 4:00pm Tuesday 26 May 2020.

Expressions of Interest sought for LawAid Trustees

The Victorian Bar has been invited to nominate a trustee to the Law Aid Trust, a charitable trust managed by the Law Institute of Victoria and the Victorian Bar to support the funding of civil disbursements in civil litigation matters undertaken by law firms on a pro bono and “no-win, no-fee” basis. 

The Bar is calling for Expressions of Interest from members who may wish to contribute as one of the Bar’s nominated Trustees. The appointment will be for a term of two years.

A position description for the role may be viewed here. The Bar’s protocol for nomination and appointment of Vic Bar members to external bodies can be viewed here.

To assist the Bar Council in selecting the best candidate for the position, your Expression of Interest should identify any relevant areas of experience or expertise, including:

  • experience or expertise in the matter/claim types referred to in the Position Description
  • previous contribution to or involvement with the Trust, and
  • contribution as a trustee or in a similar capacity with other bodies.

Please direct any enquiries or Expressions of Interest to Denise Bennett at the Victorian Bar office at

The closing date for Expressions of Interest is 4:00pm, Wednesday 10 June 2020.

COVID-19 Resources Weekly Update

We understand that members are worried about the risks of COVID-19. Please see the new section on our member website designed to answer some questions you may have, point you to government information websites, and let you know what VicBar and BCL are doing to assist members. Below is a summary of recent updates and resources:

  • On 21 May 2020, the Honourable Judge Lisa Hannan, Chief Magistrate of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, confirmed that the Court intends to convert non-sitting days of Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 July 2020 to sitting days to address the backlog that has arisen in the context of COVID-19.
  • The Building Appeals Board recently published a Bulletin notifying stakeholders and practitioners about the Board’s present operations including the conduct of its hearings during the COVID-19 restrictions. The Bulletin is available here.
  • In a letter dated 22 May 2020, the Honourable James Allsop, Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, advised that the Court is hearing 80-85% of all matters filed and the regularity of hearings is approaching business as usual. As restrictions relating to COVID-19 begin to ease, the Court has established a working group to develop a transition plan, which includes following government health advice. As part of this planning, Amtek Disaster Recovery has been engaged to conduct a physical assessment of court buildings to ensure social distancing measures can be implemented. Its recommendations, including installing signs and floor markings, will be put in place between 25 May 2020 and late June. The letter is available here.
  • The latest edition of FLOURISH, a health and wellbeing eMagazine from Converge, features articles on the positivity pandemic, tips for home schooling and staying active at home during COVID-19. The eMagazine also has a special free download of a children’s coronavirus storybook called Iris and the Virus. You can download the eMagazine here.
Ethics Committee Bulletin No. 1 of 2020 - ss. 71 & 72 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic)

The Ethics Committee publishes this bulletin for the assistance of counsel who are briefed to act for litigants pursuant to ss.71 and 72 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic). This bulletin seeks to address the difficulties that counsel may encounter when briefed by Victoria Legal Aid or one of its external firms on a limited retainer solely to cross-examine a protected witness. The bulletin is available here.

VicBar Social Groups

Sally Flynn QC, Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Committee, has had many encouraging responses about floors and practice groups that have organised get-togethers over Zoom and in private Facebook groups, as part of the initiative to remain socially connected and check on the emotional well-being of our colleagues when we are not working from chambers. 

Groups you may wish to join:

We want to make sure no barrister is left behind, so please contact Sally at to let her know what your group is doing, or if you need a hand starting a new group or finding one to join.

Microsoft Office 365 migration of remaining @vicbar email accounts – book now

Over the past 12 months, 1,200 barristers' email addresses (half of Victorian Bar email users) have moved from the BCL on-premise email option to the Microsoft Office 365 option.

Given it is a superior solution that is more cost-effective for barristers (with an initial cost saving of 15%), the Victorian Bar has supported the initiative (at no cost to you) to move all remaining email services to this new option over the coming months. For more information and to book your email’s migration, please click here.

BCL Property & Technology Services: COVID-19 restrictions updated services

To ensure the safety and security of all chambers during this challenging time, BCL Property and Technology Services will update their service delivery as of Friday 17 April 2020 until further notice. For information about this update, please see here or contact the BCL Service Desk on 9225 8888.

Victorian Bar Member CPD Events

The following are highlights of upcoming CPD events for Victorian Bar members. You must be a member of the Victorian Bar and logged into the VicBar website to view these events.

  • Join Elva Zhang from Peace Lab at noon today for a free webinar on how you can rest, reflect and reset for a new normal following COVID-19. This webinar will empower you to direct your thoughts to what gives you peace and positivity. Click here to register.
  • On 2 June 2020, during National Reconciliation Week, the Indigenous Justice Committee presents a CPD event on legal developments impacting Aboriginal clients and bail, community justice reports and COVID-19. Hear from solicitors and barristers working directly with Aboriginal legal services and Aboriginal clients in Victoria on the latest case law and the intersection between legal and cultural matters. Click here to register.
  • Barristers wishing to become an accredited mediator under the National Mediator Accreditation System can register for the Lawyers Mediation Certificate (LMC) six-day course here.

For more upcoming CPD events, please visit our listings here.

Vicbar Life
The Essoign welcomes diners back on Monday 1 June 2020

As of Monday, 1 of June 2020, the Essoign is pleased to welcome diners back to its Club to sit down and enjoy their meal. Bookings and walk-ins are both welcome.

The Club will also continue with takeaway and delivery to chambers and other offers - see the attached flyer for more information.  

To comply with government restrictions, there will be a limit of 20 patrons in the Club. Patrons will need to adhere to COVID-19 Club Guidelines.

In addition, all Essoign staff have completed the COVID-19 Best Practice Training Course for its industry and are following the Best Practice Guide designed specifically for the Essoign Club.

As we all experience history in the making, the team at Essoign would like to assure you that they will be ready to cater for your events in due course.

The Essoign appreciates your understanding and cooperation at this time as the Club prioritises everyone's health and safety.

Thank you for your support in these challenging times.

Email if you have any questions.

Studio 11 Melbourne Art Exhibition – The Mad Old Bag and The Colourist

Studio 11 is delighted to host The Mad Old Bag and The Colourist Art Exhibition (18 May 2020 – 26 June 2020). The exhibition features 17 exquisite hand-crafted purses by Amanda Graham and 16 strong, colour abstract paintings by Jason Graham. The Mad Old Bag and The Colourist are sister and brother.

Artists‘ statements and works sheets are found on Level 11 East. Click here for The Colourist price list and here for The Mad Old Bag price list.

You are encouraged to visit the exhibition at your leisure, following the requirements of social distancing at all times.  

The works, as always, are worth a look and are for sale. There are red dots about already! All proceeds go directly to the artistsFor purchases please email, or contact Amanda Graham on 0411 885 528 or Laura Colla on 0401 718 908.

Purchases may be collected at the end of the exhibition on 26 June 2020. 

Member Benefits Australia - May exclusive member offers

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

Practice & Profession News
Digital Bar Library

The Law Library of Victoria improves access to justice by providing legal information to all eligible Victorian legal practitioners online. Barristers also have access to a range of legal resources on their own computers and devices, via the Digital Bar Library on the Law Library website. You must be a registered user to access this page which provides:

  • Guides to improve your research skills (finding information, using research tools and on specific topics)
  • Subscriber-only publications and databases, and
  • Current and authorised Victorian legislation sets used in Victorian jurisdictions.

All Barristers are eligible to register for access. If you have not already registered, the Library will be in touch with you shortly by email.

The Law Library of Victoria Bulletin is produced fortnightly and summarises the latest legislation and cases for the Victorian jurisdiction, as well as High Court of Australia cases. The bulletin also includes the latest new books added to the Library collection and a selected index of articles from journals received in the Library. To subscribe visit here.

If you are on twitter, follow the library on @lawlibraryvic to be alerted to recent decisions of the Court of Appeal.

Profession CPD & Events
Cyngler Consulting

We at Cyngler Consulting hope that you and your families have been able to stay healthy in these very difficult times.

Some of you, your family or friends may not only be restricted to home for work and social distancing reasons but may also have a much reduced workload.

This can create a challenge as to how best to utilise your time and manage your budget.

In recognition of these challenges we have commenced online learning platforms in National Mediator Accreditation courses, Mediation Masterclasses and tailored programs for groups and individuals wanting to enhance skills in mediation, conflict management and listening.

All programs until the COVID-19 crisis is resolved will be at 40% off our scheduled rates.

If it’s been some time since your last training consider joining one of our programs to refresh and enhance your skills and capacity.

If you are working for an organisation or government, talk to us about a tailored program we can develop to support you and your team.

Please click here for details of our 6 day National Mediator Accreditation course scheduled in late July / early August which will be conducted as online learning.

Send us an email on or give Jim a call on 0412 108 390 to discuss your training needs.

LAWASIA Webinar: Access to Justice during the COVID-19 Pandemic

On Tuesday 2 June 2020, LAWASIA is hosting the first of its Human Rights Webinar Series. In this free webinar you will hear from LAWASIA members across different jurisdictions on how the shutdown has impacted access to justice in their jurisdictions, how lawyers and bar associations are adapting to these changes, and what COVID-19 entails for the future of the legal profession. For information about panel members and webinar times in your jurisdiction, please see the flyer here.

Careers & Opportunities
Job Vacancy: Judicial Registrar – Federal Criminal Jurisdiction

An opportunity exists for appointment as Judicial Registrar – Federal Criminal Jurisdiction at the Federal Court of Australia. The position will play a key role in supporting the Senior National Judicial Registrar – Federal Criminal Jurisdiction to implement and manage the ongoing operation of the Court’s expanded corporate crime jurisdiction and the Federal Crime National Practice Area. A position description is available here.

To apply for this position, please click on the “apply now” button on the Federal Court website. To be considered you will need to: enter a statement of claims against the selection criteria, upload an up-to-date resume` and upload relevant qualifications by 11:55pm AEDT on 8 June 2020. For more information, you may contact Andrea Jarratt on (03) 8600 3504.

Have you acted in an online or phone hearing? Please share your story

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen our civil courts and tribunals rapidly shift online. There is an urgent need for evidence about how new approaches involving phone and online hearings are working.

The Australian Centre for Justice Innovation (Monash Law) and the Legal Issues Centre (Otago Law) are keen to hear from practitioners who have participated in remote hearings about their experiences.

You can anonymously share your story at With your consent, your story can be posted online. You can also choose to participate in an interview. Sharing your experiences will help shape an understanding of the use of remote hearings, including in post-pandemic times.

If you have any queries, please contact A/Prof Genevieve Grant (

BFSLA 2020 Research Essay Competition

Entries for the Banking & Financial Services Law Association’s 2020 Research Essay prize are now open.

The BFSLA is the leading professional organisation for banking and financial services law in Australia and New Zealand. The BFSLA’s objectives include the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge of banking and financial services law and practice in Australia and New Zealand, including by encouraging research.

To that end, each year the BFSLA invites citizens and permanent residents of Australia and New Zealand to submit research essays on important matters in banking and financial services law and/or practice (including insolvency) that are currently topical in Australia or New Zealand, in competition for a prize pool. This year’s prize pool is $5,000.

Entries must be submitted by 5:00pm (AEST) on Friday, 31 July 2020. The winner or winners, if any, will be announced by publication on the Association’s website on Friday, 4 September 2020.

More information about the competition is available here, and terms and conditions are available here.

The Australian Academy of Law Annual Essay Prize

The Australian Academy of Law is pleased to announce its Annual Essay Prize for 2020The essay topic for the Prize is “The impact of a new and widespread contagious disease on pre-existing contractual obligations.” Note that previous ‘new’ outbreaks of infectious diseases may be taken into account. The Prize amount is $10,000 and the submission deadline is strictly 31 August 2020.  Rules for eligibility and submission can be found here.

Job Vacancy: Deputy Director, Centre for Legal Studies at the University of Tasmania

An opportunity exists for appointment as the Deputy Director of the Centre for Legal Studies. The Centre operates the Tasmanian Legal Practice Course which provides practical legal training to law graduates who wish to seek admission to the legal profession. This is a part-time position which offers the opportunity to run a contemporaneous legal practice at the Centre.

Applications close on 3 June 2020.

Please contact the Course Director, Centre for Legal Studies on (03) 6226 4396 or for a position description and selection criteria.

Deadline for the next issue:5pm, 4th June 2020