In Brief Issue #969

Katherine Lorenz

Where to from here?

We can all be forgiven, I think, for being a little dispirited this week.

Just when we thought that we were out of the woods, with infection rates dropping and some normality returning to life, it now feels a bit like our isolation is becoming indefinite. I’m sure I echo the sentiments of many members when I say that I understand why we need to remain working from home, but I’m very tired of it!

It takes courage to confront uninvited challenges and to leap into an unknown future. That is what we’ve had to do in the last few months. We have had to accept that we don’t know when or if the old routines and practices of the institutions we are part of will return to the way they were, and if not, how will things work out for us in the new world. Many of our members are leaping in and finding new ways of working and using different channels to connect with clients. For example, this month LIV Young Lawyers Social and VicBar New Barristers’ Committees co-hosted a law-themed Trivia Night, via webinar.

At VicBar HQ we’ve been developing other new initiatives to add value to barristers’ practices – like re-igniting the advocacy interactive workshop program via Zoom. To kick things off, advocacy workshops are again available for barristers who are keen to develop their skills further. These include the Case Preparation Interactive Seminar, which explores the fundamental techniques of preparation, and the Expert Evidence Workshop, which allows participants to conference with, examine and cross-examine expert witnesses in guided simulations. 

I’ve had many comments from members that the art of advocacy is different in an ‘online’ environment. The corollary is the different art of stage performance to film. Sir Laurence Olivier said that on the stage the actor is more the master of the situation than in a film (this medium being owned by the director). According to Sir Laurence, on film the acting is ‘very precise, very exact, I suppose…subtler…the canvas is smaller and the brush strokes are finer’. For those members who want to command all aspects of online advocacy, we’ll soon be announcing some bespoke workshops from expert television and screen trainers on how to work the camera, effectively present in online forums, and recognise and avoid the unconscious movements that can undermine our presentation when we are viewed through a lens.

Soon we will be expanding our popular “In Conversation” webinar series, which thus far has been focusing on the courts’ responses to COVID-19, and will pivot to discussions with legal and other leaders in our community. Please let us know if there’s someone you’d particularly like to hear “In Conversation at the Bar”.

In other good news, the VicBar Mediation Centre has reopened (with precautions in place – you can book here); the VicBar Expedited Mediation Scheme launched last month and is already providing mediators upon court requests; and the new VicBar Pro Bono Platform has already referred five cases from the courts through to barristers.

In the past few days, we have been confronted with the dreadful revelations in the High Court involving the allegations of sexual harassment of associates by Dyson Heydon QC. Everyone has a right to feel safe in their workplace and the Bar does not tolerate or welcome members who perpetrate any kind of harassment or intimidation toward others. I urge all members, if there is an incident that you hear about or witness that should be reported, to please report it through one of the channels listed here.

If you need help or support, please call one of the counselling services, details of which you can find on the member Health & Wellbeing page here.

It’s also important that we check-in with those we’d normally bump into in chambers or in the courts. And if someone you know is acting out of character, ask them if they’re okay.

The anxiety, uncertainty, anger and disappointment you may be experiencing at this time is normal and justified. That is the key message of the excellent webinar The Covid Capsule Part 1: Take-off that the psychologist Sandy Rea presented this week. We engaged Sandy to speak with members about mental health during COVID, to help us understand what specific issues are causing us distress, and how to examine our struggles and anxieties honestly. Next Monday, The Covid Capsule Part 2: Orbiting will explore techniques to help you navigate the transition back to work in chambers, and to develop psychological safety in yourself and those around you. Members can register for the second part of the webinar here.

Of course, to take advantage of all of this, you need to hold a valid practising certificate! So, to the small number of members who have not yet renewed, please take the weekend to do so through the link here.

Some congratulations are also in order: Dr Ben Gauntlett, who left the Bar in May 2019 to commence his five-year term as Australia’s new Disability Discrimination Commissioner has been nominated for an Aspire Award©, which recognises Australians who identify with a disability and whose work and achievements have made a significant contribution to their profession or community.

There are lots of things happening at the Bar, and I’m optimistic about the new financial year. We’ve all taken some blows this year – there will continue to be surprises in the next. But I’m confident that together we will weather this storm and emerge stronger than ever.

Enjoy your weekend and stay safe.

Vicbar News & Events
Practising Certificates – RENEW BEFORE 30 JUNE 2020

Any member who has not renewed their practising certificate (PC) with the Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner or who has not taken out compulsory professional indemnity insurance (PII) with the LPLC should do so as soon as possible.

Although the PC renewals cycle for 2020/21 has been extended to 30 June 2020 for the renewal of your PC without incurring a surcharge, please do not wait until the last minute to renew.  If your renewal is delayed due to unforeseen technical or other difficulties, you will not be able to practise on 1 July.

Links for online lodgement of your PC and PII renewal are available through your member home page here

Alternatively, you may go directly to LSB Online to renew your PC or directly to the LPLC renewal portal to renew your PII.  In both cases, your Practitioner Number is you username.

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.

Pro bono platform update

As you are aware, the Victorian Bar’s new online pro bono platform, which administers court-based pro bono referrals to barristers, launched two weeks ago. The platform is working very well.  Most matters are being picked up very quickly—sometimes within minutes—including by members who were not previously enrolled in our court-based pro bono schemes. 

Members who wish to receive notifications for pro bono work in their areas of interest, outside of their usual practice areas, can quickly & easily update their pro bono preferences on the platform.

Once you are logged into the platform, you will be able to alter the areas of pro bono work you are willing to accept, if this differs from the practice areas on your VicBar website member profile. Changes to the platform will not affect your VicBar member profile. This is because the two environments operate entirely separately. To log into the platform, please click here.

If you require any assistance logging in or tailoring your practice area preferences to your needs, please contact Daniel Cousens.

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.

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.

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.

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.

  • Workplace Manslaughter - The new offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 ('OHS Act') brought to you by the Criminal bar Association on Monday 29 June will address the basics of the new offence, the policy behind it and the potential difficulties in its operation. Click here to register for this webinar.
  • Case Preparation Seminar on Tuesday 7 July, presented by Professor the Hon. George Hampel AM QC, will explore fundamental techniques which will ensure your preparation is efficient, effective and complete, both as to the facts and the law. Click here to register for this webinar.
  • The three-part Expert Evidence Workshop is a good opportunity to conference with, examine and cross-examine expert witnesses in guided simulations. Click here to register for this webinar.

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

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.

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:

  • On 21 June 2020, Victoria’s Minister for Health announced that the State of Emergency in Victoria will be extended for another four weeks to continue the measures designed to slow the spread of coronavirus and keep Victorians safe. The State of Emergency will be extended until 11:59pm on 19 July 2020, which allows the Victorian Government to continue to enforce physical distancing and isolation requirements, as well as other directions from the Chief Health Officer. The full announcement is available here.
  • In a letter dated 19 June 2020, the Honourable James Allsop, Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, advised that this week the Court will begin hearing a limited number of matters in-person in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. The letter is available here. In the letter, His Honour stated that several precautions will be introduced for in-person hearings, including social distancing measures and limits on the number of people allowed in Court. Special Measures Information Note – Court Attendance (SMIN-4) sets out these arrangements, which is available here.
  • In The Covid Capsule Part 1: Take-off psychologist Sandy Rea spoke with members about mental health during COVID, to help us understand what specific issues are causing us distress, and how to examine our struggles and anxieties honestly. Next Monday, The Covid Capsule Part 2: Orbiting will explore techniques to help navigate the transition back to work in chambers, and to develop psychological safety in yourself and those around you. Members can register for the second part of the webinar here.

Judicial College – New Judge Alone Trials resource

The Judicial College’s new Judge Alone Trial Proceedings publication discusses relevant legislation and issues concerning adequacy of reasons, directions and warnings, and judicial practice in the conduct of a criminal judge alone trial.

Family Court of Australia

On 24 June 2020, the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia issued the following updated protocols and arrangements:

  • Child Dispute Services (CDS) In-person Interview Protocol – available here, and
  • Update to the Profession – COVID-19 Registrar and Child Dispute Services Listing Measures and Arrangements – 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. 

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.

Vicbar Life
The Essoign Club

Breakfast – Dine in or takeaway

Breakfast is available daily from 7:00am to 11:30am – see the menu here.

Lunch – Pre order 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 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.

$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 or special requests.

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
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.

International Commission of Jurists Victoria Webinar - Human rights, public finance and corruption in Sri Lanka

On 9 July 2020, Felicity Gerry QC will interview Sri Lankan Senior Counsel JC Weliamuna PC about human rights, public finance and corruption in Sri Lanka via Zoom. There will be a question and answer session following the interview. Register on Eventbrite here to receive the Zoom link. More nformation about this webinar is available here.

33rd LAWASIA Conference: Notice of Cancellation

LAWASIA, in consultation with the Mongolian Bar Association, has made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s 33rd LAWASIA Conference 2020, which was due to be held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia from 7 - 10 September 2020. You can read the cancellation notice 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, 2nd July 2020