In Brief Issue #968

Wendy Harris QC

On respect

Some of you might have watched the Netflix series, ‘Last Dance’, about Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls and the incredible journey that he and his teammates shared that culminated in Jordan’s retirement after their successful campaign in the 1998 NBA Finals.  Many things struck me about the story that unfolded in this series. The Bulls were successful – not just because they had a bunch of talented players, but because they had a bunch of talented players who respected each other enormously and wanted team, as opposed to individual, glory. And the person who drove that culture was perhaps the greatest basketballer of all time.

Since having the honour of becoming the President, I have thought a lot about the culture of the Victorian Bar – the companionship and collegiality, our camaraderie, and the cooperation between us that our shared chambers and open-door policy foster. While we are individual practitioners, our reputations depend on the standing of the Bar as a collective of barristers who act with skill, integrity and respect for others. We are the greater sum of our parts.

Having a strong and vibrant culture is an essential foundation of the Bar’s reputation and our individual success; and that means that every one of us is responsible for respecting other members of our college and those who come into our professional orbit.

Respect is at the core of our strong professional culture – respecting the opinions, work, contribution and life choices of the many diverse individuals at the Bar and with whom we have dealings.

Through the years, I have worked and interacted with many, many barristers who are respectful and humble with each other and those with whom they work. I have learned much from these colleagues – many of them junior to me – who have led by example in the way they deal with others.  These are the people who demonstrate the truth of what I have drummed into my long-suffering children since they (my children) were tiny: be courteous and respectful to others, not just because you should, but because it gets you further in life.  As opponents, these advocates are the most dangerous because of the positive way judges, witnesses and juries respond to them; as team members, they are the ones you want to work with again; as colleagues, they are the ones for whom you would bend over backwards to accommodate.

The events of the past three months have been a source of anxiety and stress for many of us – with financial pressures, working from home, adapting to new technologies, and uncertainty about what the future will bring. As professionals, we have had to pivot fast to a new environment and we have been helped to do this by the extraordinary efforts of the courts, other professionals and the VicBar and BCL staff.  This crisis has brought out the absolute best in so many people, and it has been a real privilege to work with a great number of them over the past few months.

So … it seems that it can also bring out the worst.  It bursts the bubble of pride I feel in the way our college has responded when I hear and see, all too frequently at the moment, people treating others with whom they work or deal professionally with rudeness and disrespect.  Call me old-fashioned, but courtesy, respect and consideration for others have never been more important than they are now. They are – and should always be – the foundations on which our individual and institutional reputations are built.  There are times to be tough, there are times to be firm, and there are times to stand your ground; but there are never times to abuse or humiliate others. Those who think that is good advocacy, or clever social or business interplay, are mistaken and way behind the times.  When people think of the Victorian Bar and Victorian barristers, they should think of advocates who are dangerous and effective … but fair, and not ones to reach for the ‘abuse’ button when things get tough.     

This applies not just to our dealings with clients, solicitors, employees and colleagues, but to VicBar and BCL staff – who have done a heroic job of keeping the wheels moving in this difficult time. Our milieu is not a conventional workplace, but we are still obliged to provide a safe working environment that protects both the physical and mental health and wellbeing of members and staff.  They are under pressure, too.

The above certainly isn’t intended as a lecture; that’s not my place. But what I was seeing had come to the point that it needed to be called out and so I have – because we’re better than that. I hope you will see it as a rallying cry.

Of course, if you are feeling the pressure and excessively frustrated and stressed, I would urge you to make use of the health and wellbeing resources offered by the Bar - the link to our H&W page is here.

Another core attribute of our Bar is mutual support and I’d like to take the opportunity to reiterate the call for contributions to the Barristers’ Benevolent Fund. We know that many members are undergoing financial hardship and for those in ill health or with additional financial difficulties this period has been especially difficult. If you can find a way of contributing to the support of your colleagues in particular distress, I urge you to do so by donating here.

Finally, last week the hearings in the Bourke Street inquest concluded, and I’d like to acknowledge the extraordinary pro bono assistance provided to the Coroners Court by members of the Victorian Bar during a total of 31 appearance days, including two days of oral submissions preceded by detailed written submissions. Too often, public service of this kind, which is in the best traditions of our college, goes unacknowledged beyond the small cohort directly involved. I’m sure that all of you will join me in thanking Sue McNicol AM QC, Áine Magee QC, Marko Cvjeticanin, Elizabeth Ruddle, Fiona Ryan, Maria Pilipasidis, Barbara Myers, Fiona Spencer, Andrew Sim, Kylie Weston-Scheuber, Mathew Kenneally and Gayann Walker for their considerable efforts in a significant and very valuable undertaking in the public interest. If their efforts inspire you – as I hope they will – you will be interested to know that the VicBar Pro Bono Platform has (finally!) gone live and members can access the platform here.

And, finally, thank you to all the other members who have truly “stepped up to the Bar” through these difficult months.  I hope we will look back on this time with real collective pride.

Vicbar News & Events
Respecting hygiene and social distancing protocols and COVID-19 testing

As many members are returning to chambers and the courts, please remember to continue to use hand sanitiser provided, respect the social distancing protocols that are in place in chambers and around the courts, and please do not remove signage.

If you are feeling unwell, please stay at home and seek medical advice. In the event that you are sent by a medical practitioner to be tested for COVID-19, or if you test positive, please email Amanda Utt, General Manager Corporate Services at the Victorian Bar.

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.

VicBar IT Systems Maintenance: Saturday 20 June 2020

To ensure optimal performance of the BCL network, we will be testing backup systems and performing general maintenance on Saturday 20 June between 8:00am and 8:00pm. During this time, internet, email and printing will be intermittently disrupted.

To minimise any potential concerns or impact, it would be beneficial to save your work and shut down devices prior to leaving chambers on Friday 19 June 2020.

What do I do if I have issues after the works have been completed?

  • Disconnect - reconnect your LAN cable to restart your phone
  • Restart your mail application i.e. Outlook or Apple Mail, and
  • Contact the BCL Service Desk.

If you are having trouble or require further information, please contact the BCL Service Desk on 9225 888 or

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 have received an email 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 have received an email 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.

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 relevant updates and resources that were made available to you during the past week:

  • The Supreme Court of Victoria and County Court have published a joint statement today, informing us that they will recommence jury trials, with special arrangements, from 20 July 2020. The announcement, which includes further information about how trials will be conducted in a COVID-safe environment is here.
  • 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 today, 15 June 2020. The announcement by His Honour Chief Justice Alstergren is here.
Review of the current CPD requirements for lawyers in Victoria

What is your experience of CPD in your career?

What are the strengths of the current system and what opportunities are there for improvement?

The Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner has commissioned an independent consultant to conduct a review of the current CPD arrangements in Victoria. The VLSB+C is keen to hear from lawyers at any stage of their career. Submissions close 5pm, 3 July 2020.

For more information on how you can make a submission or participate in a focus group, click here.

Victorian Bar Member CPD Events

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 22 June 2020, the Criminal Bar Association will host Ethics and Professional Responsibilities For Criminal Barristers. In this seminar, Peter Chadwick QC will examine the applicable rules and provide practical examples of what to do, and what not to do, drawn from nearly 40 years at the Bar and seven years membership of the Ethics Committee. Topics to be covered will include being briefed, conflicts of interest, conduct in court and dealing with other barristers. Click here to register for this webinar.
  • On 24 June, Sandy Rea the first of a practical two-part workshop on surviving COVID-19 isolation, understanding the anxieties we are feeling, and emerging stronger on the other side. Click here to register for this webinar.
  • On 24 June, Daniel Cousens, Digital Communications Coordinator at the Victorian Bar, will present a step by step guide for barristers on how to use the pro bono platform. Click here to register for this webinar.

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 to 4:00pm – 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.

$10 Swine & Dine offer from 4:00pm daily

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.


An end of financial year message from legalsuper

The end of financial year is fast approaching

Adding more money to your super account may not be top of mind right now, however, if your financial circumstances permit and you can afford to top-up your super, you could substantially enhance your financial outcome at retirement.

You can learn about the financial year end and different superannuation contribution types here and here.

Important dates

For legalsuper members the fund is recommending that your payments be made as soon as possible in order to allow legalsuper to allocate your payment to your account before the 30 June 2020. 

Payments received after 30 June 2020 will not be allocated to your account for the 2019/20 year and instead they will be allocated towards the 2020/21 financial year.

Unfortunately, legalsuper’s office at William Street is not currently open to accept payments. If you would normally drop off a cheque, please contact legalsuper to make alternative arrangements or refer to this link for important details.

Need help or not sure where to start? Speak to legalsuper

To help you get the most out of your super including discussing ways by which you can submit your year-end contribution to legalsuper, contact Client Service Manager, Benjamin Fernandes, who can provide complimentary personal support.

Contact Benjamin by phone or email: 

Benjamin Fernandes


P: 0475 999 133

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
LSB+C Regulatory guideline – Lawyer conduct in providing information to police

The Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants has highlighted the need for guidance on what is acceptable conduct for lawyers when dealing with clients and their associates, and when it is appropriate and ethical for lawyers to provide information to the police.

The new regulatory guideline by the Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner addresses some of the concerns about lawyer conduct raised during the course of the Royal Commission. It is not a detailed list of what you can and can’t do. Instead it provides a reminder about your role within the legal system, broad guidance on your duties and obligations, and practical information to help you maintain professional independence and avoid conflicts of interest. It sets out our views on what information is and is not appropriate to share with the police, in certain scenarios.

The guideline is available here.

Annual Federal Courts and tribunals fee increases from 1 July 2020

The fees payable in the Federal Courts and tribunals will increase from 1 July 2020. A copy of the notice published in the Government Notices Gazette on 9 June 2020 setting out the new fees payable is available here.

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
International Commission of Jurists Victoria (ICJV) Webinar Series

ICJV is hosting two upcoming webinars:

  • On 25 June 2020, ICJV Vice Chair barrister Campbell F Thomson will interview Adam Wakeling on Zoom about his book Stern Justice which deals with Australia's Pacific War Crimes Trials after World War II with reference to allegations of war crimes by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. Register on Eventbrite here to receive the Zoom link.
  • On 9 July Felicity Gerry QC will interview on Zoom Sri Lankan Senior Counsel JC Weliamuna PC about human rights, public finance and corruption in Sri Lanka. There will be a question and answer session after both interviews. Register on Eventbrite here to receive the Zoom link.

Information about both webinars is available 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, 25th June 2020