In Brief Issue #973

Wendy Harris QC

Surviving Stage 3

As we continue to endure months and months of pandemic-related restrictions, we can all be forgiven if our democratic sensibilities are somewhat rattled by the constant directives relating to what we can and cannot do. Do wear a mask, don’t leave home unless absolutely necessary, do stay 1.5 metres apart, don’t touch your face…and on and on it goes. As frustrating, and necessary, as these restrictions are, there is hopefully some light at the end of the tunnel with trials of a COVID-19 vaccine at Oxford University showing some promise. Recent media reports indicate the best-case scenario is that this vaccine is the magic bullet we are waiting for and we could begin an immunisation program in early 2021. The worst case is that a new normal pervades our lives for the foreseeable future as we await another viable vaccine or a slowing spread of COVID-19. Either way, this lockdown definitely cramps our style, crimps our plans and checks our finances.

With the ongoing and unpredictable situation in Victoria, regrettably it has become necessary to cancel this year’s Victorian Bar dinner. It was hoped that there would be a possibility for the dinner to take place later in the year, however the second round of restrictions put paid to those plans. I am optimistic that this event will go ahead next year in May, which will give our guest speaker, Chief Justice William Alstergren, additional time to hone what promises to be a really cracking speech.

Although our liberty is under siege and hopes of social in-person interaction dashed for the time being, there are still creative ways to socialise and stave off boredom. The obligatory warning on alcohol consumption applies, but if you’re looking for a pub, why not enjoy a virtual pub online? The great thing about virtual pubs is that teetotallers can join in and no one will be the wiser. There are also fun pub-like trivia nights that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. Quiz meisters and Quizzame Livestream offer fun trivia activities – just don’t be tempted to cheat with your friend Dr Google…

For the music lovers and aesthetes among us, you can tune in for the final instalment of Melbourne’s  free Jazz online festival this Saturday 25 July. As a film-lover, I was dismayed at the oh-so-brief taste we had of the cinematic experience before Stage 3 closed down drive-ins and cinemas once more; if you’re in the same boat, but are bored with bingeing Netflix, then you might enjoy some high-brow entertainment with free on-demand theatre, comedy and drama. Now is a great time to support local talent, as the Australian entertainment industry continues to limp through this crisis. 

As COVID began to make its effects known, VicBar’s Health and Wellbeing Committee worked hard to provide myriad online resources to members; the list of activities caters to families, couples and individuals. Even the resources for parents consist of a list of activities great for adults and children alike – live stream zoo cameras and live circus performances to name just a few. I’d like to thank the Health and Wellbeing Committee for compiling this list, which is a more important resource than ever now that we are in the grip of lockdown 2.0. For a list of activities, visit VicBar’s health and wellbeing page here and scroll down to the subheading ‘Resources for staying well while working from home’.

Looking after our mental health is imperative at times like this – but for many in our community, and our profession, the strains and anxiety are overwhelming. Victorian Bar’s next In Conversation webinar is with his Honour Judge John Cain, Chief Coroner, Robert Richter QC, Sandy Rea, psychologist (who you may know from regular appearances on Channel 9), and VicBar CEO, Katherine Lorenz, speaking about the scourge of mental ill-health. You can register for the Zoom webinar on Tuesday 4 August here.

VicBar takes the wellbeing of members seriously and this is why I have been firm in my recent communications in support of the health and safety measures introduced by the Victorian Government. Now that face masks have become our new normal, I wish you a safe, fun, masked weekend. I hope you find interesting activities to keep you and your family engaged and connected – perhaps by taking the time to make your individualised face mask, which you can learn to do here!

Vicbar News & Events
Winter 2020 edition of Victorian Bar News out now

The Winter 2020 edition of Victorian Bar News is out now.

Victorian Bar News is our official twice-yearly magazine, bringing you the latest news, editorials and industry articles. The magazine also covers legal personalities, social events, courtroom humour, sporting and travel.

Webinar: Trauma-informed legal practice and litigation

On Tuesday 28 July 2020, 5:00-6:00pm, the Equality and Diversity Committee will present Trauma-informed legal practice and litigation.  

A trauma-informed legal practice aims to reduce trauma and recognise the role trauma plays in the lawyer-client relationship. Integrating trauma-informed practices provides lawyers with the opportunity to increase connections to their clients and improve advocacy. The Panel will discuss the concept of trauma-informed practice and provide practical tips on how to integrate trauma-informed practice into litigation.

The flyer for the webinar is available to read here.

Click here to register for this webinar.

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.

  • Duty of Care, Breach and Causation in Psychiatric Cases is on Monday 27 July 2020, 5:00-6:00pm and is intended to assist members to gain an understanding of what to look for when drafting pleadings, taking instructions from clients, and generally preparing claims for psychiatric injury. Click here to register for this webinar.
  • Not Just Public Law: Pro Bono Opportunities for Commercial Law Barristers is on Tuesday 28 July 2020, 1:00-2:00pm and will discuss the practicalities of accepting pro bono briefs in various areas of commercial law, including through the newly established Victorian Bar Pro Bono Platform. Click here to register for this webinar.
  • (Virtual) tour of the Digital Bar Library is on Tuesday 28 July 2020, 1:15 -1:45pm and is designed for the Victorian Bar, exploring the Digital Bar Library highlighting the range of current and historical resources that are available in the collection to support barrister needs. Click here to register for this webinar.
  • Trauma-informed legal practice and litigation is on Tuesday 28 July 2020, 5:00-6:00pm and will discuss the concept of trauma informed practice and provide practical tips on how to integrate trauma informed practice into litigation. Click here to register for this webinar.
  • Subpoenas is on Thursday 30 July 2020, 5:15-6:15pm and is a wide-ranging seminar on the vexed topic of subpoenas (and similar) in civil litigation. Speakers will address various procedural issues concerning the issue of subpoenas and summonses for production. Click here to register for this webinar.

For more upcoming CPD events, please visit our listings 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:

  • The mandatory wearing of face coverings outside of home if you live in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire is now mandatory, unless an exemption applies. The announcement is here.
  • On Wednesday 22 July 2020, the Supreme Court of Victoria made an announcement stating that anyone in Victoria’s court or tribunal buildings in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire must wear a face covering unless an exemption applies. The Court’s announcement and an explanation of the exemptions is available to read here.
  • Further information on wearing face masks can be found on the DHHS website.
  • If any of the following circumstances apply to you, please email VicBar to let us know:
    • If you are feeling unwell and have been sent for testing
    • If you have been tested for COVID-19
    • If you have been in contact with person who tested positive to COVID-19, or
    • If you have tested positive for COVID-19.

As per current government directives, please wear a face covering when in the chambers’ common areas.

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

The Essoign Club is open daily from 7:00am for takeaway and delivery only while COVID-19 restrictions are in place.

Lunch can be Pre Ordered for Delivery or Pick-Up

Lunch delivery and pick-up available daily. The minimum order for delivery is only $10. Order via email to

In addition we have coffee, juices, soft drinks, beer or wine.

The Essoign would like to thank you for your ongoing support during this time and look forward to having you all back in the club to continue sharing stories, laughs and giving support to all fellow members.

Please continue to support the Club by renewing your Essoign Club Membership.

Email if you have any questions or special requests.

Member Benefits Australia - July exclusive member offers
Choir - Term 3 commenced 15 July 2020

Term 3 choir commenced Wednesday 15 July 2020 for ten weeks. More details about the choir zoom meetings may be found here. Please complete this payment form to enrol.

Practice & Profession News
Federal Sentencing Guide - 3rd edition now available

The third edition of the Federal Sentencing Guide is now available. Thanks to Desmond Lane of the Victorian Bar for preparing the revisions.

This edition contains updates to a number of chapters and reflects the law as at 1 June 2020, although it also incorporates some additional amendments to Part 1B of the Crimes Act 1914 brought about by the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Crimes Against Children and Community Protection Measures) Act 2020 which received Royal Assent on 22 June 2020. A full list of what is new is contained in the first section of the Guide.

It is anticipated that a further edition will follow in the coming months.

You can access the Guide here.

Justice Connect - second iteration of self-help tool and resources for Victorian renters

Justice Connect is launching the second iteration of ‘Dear Landlord’ - a self-help tool that can identify what actions Victorian renters can take and provide the necessary resources and information to help them avoid eviction.

Dear Landlord first asks a series of questions and, based on the answers it receives:

  • Empowers renters to generate tailored letters to their landlords/real estate agents to negotiate a rent reduction
  • Generates rent reduction agreements to lodge with CAV
  • Provides renters with information on the process of changing or ending rent reduction agreements or Dispute Resolution Orders
  • Helps renters to navigate VCAT proceedings, including generating VCAT review applications for renters who have missed VCAT hearings
  • Provides renters with information on ending leases, and
  • Provides referrals to renters for specialised legal and financial help.

For more information about Dear Landlord, visit the website here.

County Court surveys about your experience using Zoom for hearings

Over the last several months the Commercial Division of the County Court has heard a significant number of matters by Zoom. The County Court is now seeking feedback from court users to better understand their experience of using Zoom when appearing in County Court matters. In order to get this feedback from the court users, the Division has developed surveys for court users to complete after appearing by Zoom.

There are four surveys, one for each type of hearing:

  • The summonses and directions hearings on Zoom survey is here
  • The pre-trial directions hearings on Zoom survey is here  
  • The commercial division trials on Zoom survey is here
  • The judicial resolution conferences on Zoom survey is 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.

Profession CPD & Events
International Bar Association free webinar series

As part of the International Bar Association’s continuing outreach to the global legal community, over the last few months the IBA has facilitated over 50 webinars, covering multiple practice areas and highly topical content.

The International Bar Association invites you to attend its series of forthcoming on-demand free webinars.  

The webinar series is designed to provide updates on international developments in a range of practice areas such as tax, energy and anti-trusts from leading global practitioners. There is also a stream of webinars from the IBA Law Firm Management Committee that has been extremely popular with leading law firms and consultants, helping firms navigate the issues facing them in the current COVID-19 crisis.

More information on this series of webinars is available on the IBA website here.

Deakin Law School Webinar – Corporations and Stakeholders: Codetermination and Employee Democracy post COVID

Deakin Law School invites you to a webinar on, “The best interests of the corporation and the best interests of stakeholders: Are we entering a new era of Codetermination and Employee Democracy after the COVID-19 crisis?”

The Hayne Commission (2019) revealed some shocking abuses and misconduct in the banking and financial services sector in Australia. Internationally there are some serious doubts whether the “shareholder primacy” model of our corporate law model is sustainable. Since 2019, there has been a significant international movement away from shareholder primacy as a corporate law and governance model. In this webinar, Professor Jean du Plessis will discuss the following issues and proposals for law reform in Australia.

Date: Monday 27 July 2020

Time: 5:15pm – 6:45pm (AEST)

Where: Via Zoom

Chair: Dr Ben Saunders, Deakin Law School

Speaker: Professor Jean du Plessis, Professor (Corporate Law), Deakin Law School


  • Professor Mervyn King SC, Chair of the previous South African King Corporate governance Committee and Chair of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC).
  • Professor Charlotte Villiers, Professor of Company Law, University of Bristol Law School.
  • Associate Professor Umakanth Varottil, School of Law, National University of Singapore (NUS).

Registration is essential via Eventbrite.

ALRC Future of Law Reform Webinar Series

In 2019, the Australian Law Reform Commission undertook research and broad public consultation to address the future of law reform.

Join expert panels including judges, legal scholars and industry leaders in a series of online conversations to unpack some of the key areas identified by the ALRC, including defamation, automated decision making, legal structures for social enterprises and press freedom. The Future of Law Reform: A Suggested Program of Work 2020-25 report is available here.

These interactive webinars present an opportunity to elicit new perspectives and ideas, enabling individuals with diverse views to contribute to potential law reform. You can view the leaflet here.

You can register to attend these webinars here.

Upcoming webinars:

  • The Future of Law Reform: Defamation on Monday 27 July 2020, 1:00-2:00pm. Join an expert panel comprising thought leaders on defamation law addressing questions such as: Should defamation law reform be a priority? What are the particular problems that any future defamation law reform inquiry should seek to solve? What benefits might be expected from reform of defamation law? Register here.
  • Automated Decision Making and Administrative Law on Monday 10 August 2020, 1:00-2:00pm. Join an expert panel comprising thought leaders on automated decision making and administrative law addressing questions such as: Should administrative law reform be a priority in light of increasing automation in decision making by government agencies? What are the particular problems that any future law reform inquiry should seek to solve? What benefits might be expected from reform? Register here.
  • Legal Structure for Social Enterprises on Monday 17 August 2020, 1:00-2:00pm. Social enterprises are businesses that seek to make a profit while also pursuing social and/or environmental goals. Join an expert panel comprising thought leaders on social enterprise addressing questions such as: Should an inquiry into legal structures for social enterprises be a priority? What are the particular problems that any future law reform inquiry should seek to solve? What benefits might be expected from any future reform? Register here.
  • Press Freedom on Monday 24 August 2020, 1:00-2:30pm. Join an expert panel comprising thought leaders on press freedom and national security addressing questions such as: Should an inquiry into press freedom be a priority? What are the particular problems that any future law reform inquiry should seek to solve? What benefits might be expected from any future reform? Register here.
Law Library Webinar: Switch On… Legislation Online

The Law Library of Victoria invites you to attend our online Switch On… information sessions. These thirty-minute digital sessions are suited to judicial officers, court staff, legal professionals, law students, and anyone with an interest in law.

Publicly available resources provide access to Legislation online, and Librarians from the Law Library of Victoria will show you how you can find Acts and Legislation information. The Law Library of Victoria also subscribes to several resources that can help you locate more information related to Legislation, such as second reading speeches and previous versions of Acts.

The next webinar, Switch On… Legislation Online, is on Thursday 6 August 2020, 1:15 ­– 1:45pm.

Bookings can be made through Eventbrite here.

Monash University free webinar: The Role & Effectiveness of ASIC v the SEC

This Zoom session hosted by the Centre for Commercial Law and Regulatory Studies on Monday 31 August 2020, 4:30 – 5:45pm will compare ASIC with the world’s biggest capital market regulator, the SEC. Does ASIC Stack up? 

By comparing ASIC with the world’s biggest capital market regulator, the SEC, this session analyses the viability of further reform of ASIC, and argues that ASIC is woefully under-resourced to engage in increased enforcement action.

You can register to attend this webinar here.

LAWASIA Online Conference 10 September - 8 October 2020

LAWASIA is excited to announce the upcoming LAWASIA 2020 Conference Online. For the first time in LAWASIA's 54-year history, its flagship event is heading online and is specifically designed to provide its members with a platform for continued collaboration and the cross-jurisdictional sharing of information despite the current challenges.

This Annual Conference webinar series - featuring a distinguished lineup of panellists from across the region and beyond - will be free to attend, serving as an essential online forum for sharing ideas, reinforcing shared professional values, and advancing the status of the legal profession in the Asia Pacific region.

The series will run over five consecutive weeks, every Tuesday and Thursday, from 10 September to 8 October 2020 (none webinars in total). 

Registration is complimentary and all LAWASIA members, friends and supporters are encouraged to attend one, or all of the webinars on offer. Registrations will open soon; in the meantime, you can register your interest via email.

LAWASIA President Mr Chunghwan Choi has invited President of the Victorian Bar, Wendy Harris QC, to recommend speakers from among members of the Bar by 3 August 2020. If you wish to be nominated, please email Executive Assistant to the President and Bar Council, Denise Bennett here.

LAWASIA looks forward to seeing you online soon!

Careers & Opportunities
Expressions of Interest Senior Crown Prosecutor and Crown Prosecutor

Senior Crown Prosecutor and Crown Prosecutor

Legal practitioners with experience in criminal law and advocacy, and a passion for the administration of justice, are invited to apply for Senior Crown Prosecutor and Crown Prosecutor positions.

This is an exciting opportunity for suitably qualified and experienced barristers to undertake and support criminal prosecutions on behalf of the Victorian community.

Working within the Crown Prosecutors' Chambers is an opportunity to advance your career and be at the forefront of the move to sophisticated technology changes within criminal law, including e-trials.

The successful applicant/s will prosecute and advise on serious crimes, appear in a wide range of matters in all criminal jurisdictions, including regional courts.

To submit your expression of interest, please click the ‘apply now' button on the website and provide your current CV and cover letter.

Applications close 11:59pm Sunday 2 August 2020.

Job Vacancy: Judicial Registrar – Commercial Division, County Court of Victoria

County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd seeks expressions of interest from suitably qualified persons for appointment as a Judicial Registrar of the County Court.

The successful candidate(s) will be assigned to the County Court’s Commercial Division. This Division is responsible for the management and hearing of a wide range of often complex commercial disputes, including general commercial matters, building disputes and banking and finance disputes. The Court has an unlimited monetary jurisdiction in commercial matters.

The Commercial Division is an efficient jurisdiction for the resolution of commercial disputes in Victoria, with most cases listed for trial within six months of being issued.

Judicial Registrars play an important role in the case management of proceedings in the Commercial Division, including conducting directions hearings; making interlocutory determinations on the papers; making consent orders; hearing trial assessments; reforming Court procedures; and working collaboratively with the Commercial Registry to ensure efficient and effective systems of work. A significant part of the role is also conducting judicial resolution conferences (judicial mediations).  Experience and interest in commercial litigation, interlocutory and trial procedures and mediation will be highly valued.

Judicial Registrars are assigned duties by the Chief Judge pursuant to the County Court Act 1958. They are appointed by the Governor-in-Council on the recommendation of the Attorney-General. The position is located in Melbourne. The position is full-time, however appointments on a part-time or work-share basis will be considered.

The successful candidate(s) will be legally qualified (admitted for not less than five years) and have extensive experience in the practice of commercial law as well as an in-depth demonstrated understanding of court processes and procedures. They will also possess superior oral and written communication skills and an ability to make timely decisions according to the law.

Expressions of interest, to be marked ‘Private and Confidential’, should include a resume as well as details of appropriate professional and personal referees. They should be emailed to Claire Findlay, Senior Associate to the Judge in Charge of the Commercial Division at .

All expressions of interest must be received by no later than close of business on Friday 31 July 2020. Any queries should be directed to Ms Findlay on (03) 8636 6749.

You can download the flyer here.

Short-listed candidates will be contacted mid-August 2020.

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, 30th July 2020