In Brief Issue #967

Katherine Lorenz

The difference we can all make

Making a difference does not always mean undertaking grand gestures. Often, people make a difference to others through simple deeds that provide relief and hope. In Australia, there are many people in need of help – those disadvantaged because of poverty, social isolation, low literacy levels or discrimination. These factors often result in people being unable to exercise their fundamental human rights, including access to justice.

The Bar abides by the deeply held principle of equal access to justice for all, and this is demonstrated by our ongoing, formal commitment to supporting the pro bono work of our members. This commitment has helped thousands of Victorians fight for their rights, and it is encapsulated in this video depicting a moving and real account of a mother and daughter, Betty and Maria, who were battling in the courts to save their home, but did not have legal representation. This family’s experience is all too common – their financial limitations, language barriers and lack of legal knowledge resulted in unfair legal outcomes that were remedied when they received expert legal advice and representation. The barristers who provided their time and expertise pro bono made a big difference to Betty and Maria.

The Victorian Bar supports the strong pro bono culture within Victoria’s legal sector, including the formal networks with Victoria Legal Aid, the Courts and Justice Connect, and by recognising pro bono achievements through our biennial Pro Bono Awards. Many barristers contribute pro bono legal assistance to those whose access to justice would otherwise be hampered by social, economic and cultural barriers through the Victorian Bar Pro Bono Scheme and via other informal relationships. 

This week, we “turned on” the Victorian Bar’s new online pro bono platform—a hub for making, receiving and administering court-based pro bono referrals to barristers. This platform is the next iteration of our long and proud history of pro bono work and will hopefully encourage more support as it simplifies the referral process from Victorian courts. I would like to acknowledge the significant financial contribution of the Legal Services Board + Commissioner and the significant in-kind contribution from Icon Agency to the development of the platform. The Pro Bono Committee has also been invaluable in working closely with the Bar administration in designing, developing and testing the platform.

A key part of access to justice is the availability of timely hearings. In Wednesday’s “In Conversation” webinar, Her Honour Judge Lisa Hannan, Chief Magistrate of Victoria, and Daniel Gurvich QC, Barrister and Chair of the Criminal Bar Association, talked about how the Magistrates’ Court is tackling the impact of COVID-19. Her Honour listed as her key priority when the pandemic struck the understanding that the Court could never, and would never, close its doors, and talked about how the Court successfully managed the pandemic-induced relisting of 60,000 cases. The Chief Magistrate particularly acknowledged the cooperation and flexibility of members of the Bar, solicitors and members of the Law Institute of Victoria, staff at Court Services Victoria, Victoria Legal Aid, the Victoria Police and prosecutors – everyone’s willingness to be flexible and assist the Court in the common goal of finding solutions to unprecedented problems.

I’d like to thank all Victorian Bar members for their camaraderie and cooperation with others across the profession, and I am looking forward to sharing more stories involving barristers making a difference in the community.

Finally, we have just had news this afternoon that the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court are extending the face-to-face protocols currently in place to allow urgent trials and urgent hearings of applications that cannot be conducted by Microsoft Teams to be heard in face-to-face hearings commencing 15 June 2020. The announcement by His Honour Chief Justice Alstergren is here.

Vicbar News & Events
Practising Certificates - renew before 30 June 2020

The practising certificate (PC) renewals cycle for 2020/21 has been extended to 30 June 2020 for the renewal of your PC without incurring a surcharge from the Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner.

Links for online lodgement of your renewal are available through your member home page here, or you may go directly to LSB Online and login using your Practitioner Number as the username.

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

Your PC will not be issued until you have taken out compulsory professional indemnity insurance (PII) with the LPLC. The deadline for renewing your PII premium was 31 May 2020 and if you have not already done so, please renew online here using your Practitioner Number as the username.

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 2020.

This year’s Practising Certificate renewal includes optional questions on a practitioner's ethnic and cultural background. The Victorian Bar supports this initiative and has contributed to the LCA development of this proposal over many years. The Victorian Bar supports diversity initiatives across the legal profession and we encourage members to include this information as they renew, so we can better capture relevant information and foster a more inclusive and culturally diverse Bar. 

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.

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

Distribution of New ID Cards

The Victorian Bar is in the process of creating and distributing ID cards for all members:

  • Members for whom we have photos will receive an email shortly confirming that VicBar has created an ID Card for them. Those members can collect ID cards from their respective clerks. If you do not have a clerk, please email to arrange a time to collect your card.
  • Members for whom we do not have photos on their profile page of Vic Bar’s website (or photos unsuitable for ID purposes) will receive an email shortly with instructions on providing a suitable photo so that we may create an ID Card for them.

ID Letters are still acceptable for entry into court venues so if you do not have an ID Card yet, we ask for your patience as we finalise the ID Cards.

Security Entrance Requirements

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 or letter to the CSO at the entry to security screening point of court venues.
  • CSOs must not touch the identification cards or letters. 
  • 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.

Lawyers Mediation Certificate 2020 – Enrol Now

Presented by Dr Peter Condliffe, Dr Elizabeth Brophy and Tony Neal QC, this six-day course is open to barristers and lawyers wishing to become an accredited mediator under the National Mediator Accreditation System.

The course dates are 13, 14, 15 November and 20, 21 & 22 November 2020, 8:30am - 6:00pm.

Book now as limited places are available.

For more information about the course and to register, please click 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. 

The Committee is seeking expressions of interest from barristers interested in setting up a WhatsApp group to connect those barristers who are carers. The group is for barristers who care for elderly or disabled parents or relatives and will allow members to offer each other support by sharing information or resources for various issues, including finding alternative living arrangements or home assistance. Please contact Sally Flynn by email if you’re interested.

Other 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.

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.

Appointments – County Court and Coroners Court

The Governor in Council has made the following appointments:

County Court
Her Honour Judge Sarah Leighfield
His Honour Judge David Purcell

Fiona Todd, who will commence as Her Honour Judge Todd on 13 July 2020
Judicial Registrar My Anh Tran, who will commence as Her Honour Judge Tran on 9 October 2020

Coroners Court
Coroner John Olle (re-appointment)

Details of any welcome ceremonies will be made available when they are known

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.

  • On 17 June, the International law section of the Commercial Bar Association will present Coding Law: Opportunities and challenges when legislation is coded. This webinar will address the requirements and challenges of coding law, current limitations and also implications of coding solutions. Register for this webinar here.
  • On 18 June, in Practice building a panel of members from the junior Bar will share their experience in building their practices and moving into new practice areas. The session is mainly aimed at newer members of the Bar who could benefit from practical guidance in these areas. Register for this webinar here.

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

Vicbar Life
The Essoign – Takeaway, Delivery and Dine-in


Breakfast is served daily from 7:00am to 11:30am – see the menu here. Breakfast is available as dine-in or takeaway.

Lunch – Delivery or Pick-Up

Lunch delivery and pick-up available daily. The minimum order for delivery is only $10. Order via email to Please have orders in by 11.30am so the team can organise your delivery.  

The delivery time is between 12:00pm and 1:30pm - the Club can be flexible with these timings, when possible.

In addition to the menu here, we have coffee, juices, soft drinks, beer or wine.

Lunch – Dine-In

Dine-in lunch is available midday – 4:00 pm – see the menu here.

Bookings via email to by Midday on the day to allow for the maximum capacity.  

Walk-ins are welcome!

Currently, regulations allow a maximum capacity of only 20 patrons and six persons per table.

Pizza + Vino Night from 4:00pm

Get a pizza and a glass of wine for $25.  

Bookings via email to no later 5:00pm the day before to allow for the maximum capacity.  

Private Dinner Party – Tailored Package

Bookings via email to – only two business days’ notice is required to organise your event.

The Essoign would like to thank you for your ongoing support during this time. Please continue to support the Club by renewing your Essoign Club Membership.

Email if you have any questions.

Questions of Law Trivia Quiz – Register Now

The LIV is excited to partner with The Chaser’s Julian Morrow, to present (remotely) an entertaining and informative way for legal practitioners to come together during the COVID-19 pandemic!

Questions of Law Trivia is a law-themed trivia quiz which can be played by any lawyer with access to the internet, as an individual or in teams, all accompanied by a live DJ. The event is scheduled for Thursday 18 June 2020, 5:00-6:00pm.

All are welcome and tickets are only $25 each. Registration is free Victorian Bar members when they use a special discount code – to get this code email

Register for this event here.

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 artists. For 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 - June exclusive member offers

Don't miss out on these exclusive member deals for June 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.

Discontinuation of DX Mail Service

The Federal Court, Family Court and Federal Circuit Court will retire the DX mail service on 30 June 2020.

DX mail is a national document exchange service that provides a next day tracked delivery service between some Court locations and stakeholders who subscribe to DX mail.

A review of the service by the Courts has noted a significant decrease in its use by the profession over time. This is attributed to increased functionality and the ability to eFile court documents on the Commonwealth Courts Portal, with over 84% of all documents now received this way.

Please note that from 1 July 2020, the DX service will no longer be available and you will need to correspond with the Courts via electronic means, courier or Australia Post.

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 – Business and Human Rights Webinar

On Tuesday 16 June 2020 at 5:00pm, LAWASIA will host Business and Human Rights during COVID-19 which will explore the privacy concerns that arise in the context of these methods, across several LAWASIA jurisdictions. Register for this webinar here.

Careers & Opportunities
Monash Law Students’ Society - Professional Mentoring Invitation

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Monash Law Students' Society (LSS) will not run the Barrister Shadowing program this year.

However, Matthew Song and Catrina Yao, LSS Careers Officers, would like to cordially invite you to participate in the 2020 Professional Mentoring Program.

This program aims to pair students in the penultimate or final year of their law degree with a legal professional working in the area of law in which they are interested. Ultimately, the aim is for students to gain a real appreciation of the legal industry by developing a relationship with an experienced professional.

We believe that barristers would be the perfect source of guidance and tutelage for current students. The program is an invaluable opportunity for a student to understand the type of work you are involved in, as well as the highlights and challenges of working in courtroom advocacy and litigation.

The level of commitment is flexible and can be determined between you and your mentee. It can involve corresponding over email, phone calls and other digital platforms (such as Zoom or Google Hangouts). If the situation permits, you may choose to have more formal meetings or coffee catch-ups. Furthermore, there may be a planned end-of-program celebration evening in September or October, dependent on the circumstances.

For more information about the program and how to become involved, please refer to the flyer.

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 (

Law Institute Journal – Legal Feature Submissions Wanted

The Law Institute Journal (LIJ) is encouraging members of the Victorian Bar to make legal feature submissions.

Topics across all practice areas, as well as current legal issues, are considered for publication.

Typically, a legal feature is 2000-2500 words (including endnotes) and all articles are peer-reviewed by subject matter experts. It is a collaborative process shared by the author, LIJ editorial team and reviewer with excellent results. Author guidelines are provided.

Having a feature published in the LIJ is a CPD activity. The article is considered for the Rogers Legal Writing Award and on publication it can be shared on professional platforms.

The LIJ, established in 1927, is the journal of record for the Victorian legal profession. A rich and reliable resource published monthly in print and online, it goes to about 12,000 legal practitioners in Victoria as well as many institutional subscribers including libraries, courts, universities and parliaments in Australia and overseas.

If interested in pursuing this opportunity, please contact Managing Editor Carolyn Ford via email.

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.

Deadline for the next issue:5pm, 18th June 2020