In Brief Issue #986

Wendy Harris QC

Meet our thirty-two new barristers

It’s always a proud moment for family, colleagues and friends when a new barrister signs the Bar Roll and becomes part of our professional college.

Today, we welcomed thirty-two new barristers to the Bar: Simon Thomas, Jayr Teng, Tessa Meyrick, Heather Anderson, Fiona Martin, Dara Isaacson, Anna Martin, Rhiannon Malone, Todd Allen, Rose Singleton, Gemma Cafarella, Melania Albarella, Julian Murphy, Shahed Sharify, Joshua Lessing, Paul Jeffreys, Amel Masinovic, Bridie Kelly, Katie Powell, Patrick Coleridge, Shannon Jenkins, Angus Macaskill, Merys Williams, Alexander Marcou, Benjamin Bromberg, Rebecca McCarthy, Nicholas Kotzman, Tanya Kamil, Shannon Finegan, Alexander Di Stefano, Harry Hill-Smith and Bradley Hardisty.

While completing the Bar Readers’ Course is an event to be celebrated on every occasion, I would particularly like to call out this cohort of Readers, for the circumstances in which they decided to come to the Bar are quite unique – in the middle of a pandemic, when the courts are disrupted, and it is uncertain when they will be able to meet new colleagues in Chambers or, indeed, enjoy the benefits of sharing Chambers with them.

The entire Readers’ Course was, of course, delivered online, and the Readers completed more than 140 workshops, webinars and moots, despite the distractions that come with blending home and work life. We were also very pleased to have been able to extend the Course to two individuals, Helen Luu and Mardi Conduit, who will be joining the South Australian Bar. Another Reader, Chris O’Donnell, who completed the Course virtually from his home in Moscow, will be signing the Bar Roll when he returns to Melbourne.

I encourage members to reach out to our new barristers to help them as they navigate their journey at our Bar. I would especially encourage you to keep them in mind for junior briefs or devilling; you can advertise relevant work opportunities via the New Barristers’ Slack Channel, a virtual bulletin board accessible to new barristers. More information about the Channel is in a notice below. 

Contributing to the success of the Victorian Bar

Welcoming new members to the Bar is also a time that gives Senior Counsel pause for reflection, as we remember the first days of our careers at the Bar – the hope, ambition, and trepidation we felt as we first rose to our feet to address a court in our role of counsel.

As new barristers, we set about the challenging task of building our practices, and of finding our niche in, and ways to contribute to the success of, the Bar. There is an enormous amount of work that is undertaken, all voluntarily, by members of the Bar to keep the Bar operating and I’d like to acknowledge the hundreds of members without whom the Bar could not function: working in committees and associations; undertaking pro bono work; spearheading initiatives that enhance and diversify the Bar’s offerings; contributing to vital legal training, events and publications; and in strengthening the Bar’s culture, social fabric and resilience. I know that our volunteer resources are stretched thin, and that the demands of the Bar eat into valuable professional and personal time. We may not always agree, but the contribution of members with a diversity of experience and views is what makes our college strong, and can help to ensure that it is relevant and competitive in an ever-changing legal landscape.

Good luck to those sitting the Bar Exam this Sunday

The attractiveness of the Bar as a career path is underscored by the record number of enrolments to the Victorian Bar Exam this Sunday. The exam will be remotely invigilated using specialised software, which enables it to proceed despite restrictions, and provides a path to entering the Bar for more than 230 aspiring barristers. This is the first time the exam has been delivered in this way and I would like to thank Nina Massara and Aylah Lohman from the VicBar education team for their work in shifting the exam to an online format, and for their work with the Readers’ Course Committee in delivering the September Readers’ Course.

Finding solutions in a COVID-19 world

We are all heartened by the announcement yesterday that jury trials will be resuming next month. This is very welcome news, and we hope it will be the first in many steps toward recovery. If you missed the communication yesterday, the announcement is on the Supreme Court website here.

With all the will and resources in the world, we know that there will continue to be a backlog of cases into the future, which is why finding innovative solutions to enable the resolution of cases in other ways is so important. This week, Tony Elder, Chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, was “In Conversation” with His Honour Judge Woodward, Her Honour Judge Tran and Judicial Registrar Adrian Muller about the new Victorian Bar County Court Mediator Referral Protocol, with questions moderated by Glen Pauline. The Protocol provides for the County Court Commercial Division to refer appropriate matters to Nationally Accredited Mediators at the Bar for mediation. This is a significant Protocol that will assist the Court in managing its caseload and help parties to resolve disputes more quickly and efficiently, as well as providing work for nationally accredited mediators and for barristers appearing in those mediations. It is the product of a huge amount of work by Tony and members of the ADR Committee, and significant collaboration from the Court.  A further invitation to join the Mediator Panels will be circulated to nationally accredited mediators early next week.  More information about the Protocol is here, and a recording of the webinar is available here.

My best wishes to readers of In Brief for the long weekend.

Vicbar News & Events
Reminder: Nominations for the 2020–2021 Bar Council election and voting instructions


Nominations for the 2020-2021 Bar Council election close at 5:00pm, Monday 26 October 2020. Nominations can be made through the form here.

Nominations must reach the Statutory Secretary, via email C/- on or before 5:00pm, Monday 26 October 2020.

Hard copy nominations cannot be accepted. Nominations received out of time cannot be accepted.


Voting takes place through a secure online portal. Instructions on how to vote are here.

Voting opens at 9:00am, Wednesday 28 October 2020.

Notice of Annual General Meetings ­of Victorian Bar Inc, and Barristers’ Benevolent Association of Victoria

The Annual General Meetings of Victorian Bar Inc, and Barristers’ Benevolent Association of Victoria will be held on Wednesday 28 October 2020 at 4.30pm via Zoom. Members will have received an invitation containing the agenda for each meeting and a link to register their attendance. Those who register will be sent a Zoom link to the meeting by email following registration. Registrations close at 4:00pm on Wednesday 28 October 2020. The Victorian Bar Inc. FY2019/2020 Annual Report is available on this link.

Appointment – Judicial Registrar Adrian Muller

County Court of Victoria

Victorian Bar member Adrian Muller has been appointed as a Judicial Registrar to the Commercial Division of the County Court.

Judicial Registrar Muller’s appointment commenced on 14 October 2020.

Justice Connect commences trial of the Victorian Bar’s Pro Bono Platform

Starting the week of the 19 October, Justice Connect will commence using Victorian Bar’s Pro Bono Platform to refer pro bono work on a trial basis. Jobs posted on the Platform can be accepted by barristers via the Platform.

Justice Connect will still use its usual referral method in administering the Victorian Bar’s Pro Bono Scheme. Therefore, team members from Justice Connect may also contact barristers via email and phone when referring other pro bono work during the trial period.

Cyber for business webinar: protecting your organisation against cyber-crime

How might your business respond to imminent cyber-attack? How prepared are you for a ransomware attack? What steps are you missing to avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime? How might you prepare today to avoid the worst tomorrow?

As part of Cyber Security Awareness month, CommBank’s Cyber Security team is speaking to our customers and communities about preparing for the next cyberattack - before it happens.

CommBank welcomes you to join its webinar on Tuesday 27 October 2020 at 11:00am–12:30pm for an informative morning, learning about the important issue of cyber security. The presentation will be followed by Q&A.

Register here.

New Barristers’ Committee: Work opportunity referral system

In the current circumstances, many of the usual ways in which barristers interact with each other have been greatly restricted or even made impossible.  One of the effects of this is that work opportunities have not been able to flow to new barristers in the same way as previously.  

To that end, the New Barristers’ Committee (NBC) is instituting a system for the advertising of work opportunities by barristers to new barristers.  These advertisements will be placed on the New Barristers’ Slack Channel - a virtual bulletin board accessible to new barristers.  The referring barrister will be contacted directly by the new barrister(s) responding to the advertisement.

If you would like to advertise a work opportunity to new barristers, please contact Tim Glass of the NBC at and provide the following information:

  • A summary of the work to be done
  • The area of law the work relates to
  • The expected scope and time requirements of the work to be done
  • The expected fee structure for the work, and
  • Your contact details.  

The NBC will not make any recommendations to the referring barrister as to appropriate counsel for the work opportunity, nor will the NBC make any recommendation to new barristers as to appropriate work opportunities, aside from advertising the work opportunity on the NBC Slack Channel.

Bar News: Call for contributions from the editors

Dear Colleagues,

We are delighted to report that our Summer Issue of Victorian Bar News (Issue 168) is ‘in train’.  Through all the challenges of  2020, the Bar News Committee thanks our numerous contributors for continuing to share news, views and photos about life at the Bar and in lockdown. A big thanks also to Bar Council and the Bar Office for supporting our desire to bring a hard copy publication to you.

We are now calling for contributions for our December issue. This is your magazine.  Please let us know what you are thinking, feeling and doing right now. Whether you give us two sentences or a magnum opus, either is fine. 

In the last six months we have been working from home. This is an important chance to share with each other what we have been doing professionally and personally. Bar News serves as a record of our lives during a remarkable time.

We would love your photos. If your photography skills do not rival Slim Aarons, please do not be concerned.

Here is a list of topics designed to assist inspiration:

  • (Virtual) court room bloopers /  Unwelcome Zoom exhibitionist horror stories;
  • How have you survived Stage 4 lockdown (including the school holidays…)?
  • What changes have worked this year and are worth retaining, and what should we let go?
  • Is Bar collegiality under stress from social isolation?
  • Can we create a court room presence, virtually and, if so, how?
  • Is virtual communication more intimate or alienating?
  • Is the forensic disadvantage between in person and virtual appearances maintainable anymore?
  • Could juries work from home if judges can?

Please keep your stories and photos flowing. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Our content deadline is 6 November 2020. Please submit to:

You are also most welcome to contact us directly.

Best wishes,

Natalie Hickey, Justin Wheelahan and Annette Charak

The Editors

Victorian Bar member CPD and events

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

  • The VicBar Health & Wellbeing Program: Sleep techniques for babies and childrenwebinar is scheduled for Thursday 29 October, 8:00–9:00pm. As part of the Victorian Bar’s health and wellbeing initiative, we are hosting a webinar for parents by Dr Jane Fisher AO to help parents with their children’s sleep schedules. Dr Fisher is a clinical psychologist who has dedicated her life to researching maternal health and wellbeing and is a highly experienced consultant at the Masada Early Parenting Centre. The registration form includes space for you to write any questions that you’d like Dr Fisher to answer during her presentation. You can register here.
  • Cross-Examination and Re-Examination on Prior Statements is on Monday 9 November, 4:00–5:00pm. This seminar will consider the applicable law of evidence and provide some practical guidance on improving your skills in this fundamental area. Click here to register.

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

COVID-19 resources weekly update and guide to virtual hearings

We understand that members are worried about the risks of COVID-19. Please see the new health and wellbeing section in our 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.

Second Step – Easing of Restrictions

The Department of Justice and Community Safety has provided us with an outline of the measures that are now in place in Metropolitan Melbourne to combat the spread of COVID-19, following the easing of restrictions from 11:59pm, 18 October 2020. The changes, together with information about the anticipated move to the Third Step in the government’s reopening plan on 1 November, are summarised on the Victorian Government website here.

Unfortunately, there is no change with respect to the industry restrictions in place for legal professionals, or changes to the operation of the courts, which are governed by the restrictions about which we advised members in COVID-19 update number 70, a copy of which is here.

We continue to maintain a dialogue with government to advocate for legal professionals and the courts to among the first professions to be released from restrictions when the government determines this is safe to do so.

Supreme Court and County Court of Victoria – Joint Announcement

The Courts announced that a limited number of Melbourne-based criminal jury trials are planned to resume in a measured way from 16 November 2020 – the announcement is here. The Courts have also produced Q&As about the resumption of criminal jury trials, which are available on the Supreme Court website here.

County Court of Victoria

On Monday 19 October, the Court issued the revised Trial by Judge Alone – Emergency Protocol COVID-19. The Protocol is available on the Court’s website here.

Previous email updates

To access each email update relating to COVID-19 that VicBar has sent members, please click here.

BCL Property & Technology Services: Updated services and cyber security awareness

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.

Cyber Security Awareness: What you need to do to keep your practice safe 

In these current uncertain times, the increased use of video conferencing, reliance on email, the use of home internet services, SMS’s from our governments, and the sudden shift into paperless practices all make it easier to fall victim to a costly scam.
In recent months we are aware of successful scams within the community, leading to significant financial and operations impact. There are some simple things you can do to help protect your practice:

  • Using BCL corporate-grade technology and network services (Internet & email) provides you with a managed enterprise environment with corporate-grade security platforms and sophisticated network practices.
  • SMS verification for passwords is now available. To enhance the security of barrister passwords, we have introduced SMS verification for password resets. Login to, select the “Profile” tab and click “Edit” to enter your mobile number. All password reset requests will now require this information.
  • Always check the “From” address in emails, particularly those from external parties. A difference in the Senders name compared to the From address is a clear indication of a scam email.
  • Look for suspicious characteristics in an email such as unprofessional emails with typos and spelling mistakes, or requests for ‘click here’, pay now, requests for funds, bank account details or an unnecessary sense of urgency.
  • Always use an up to date and valid anti-virus product and backup your data as outlined in the Victorian Bar Technology Minimum Standards.
  • If you are ever unsure, DO NOT open it and contact the BCL Service Desk.
  • Improve your cyber security awareness by taking a short 5-minute quiz provided by the Australian Government here.
Vicbar Life
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:

Darren Ferrari is organising a Zwift group for members of VicBar. Zwift blends the fun of video games with the intensity of serious training, helping cyclists get faster. Level up in the virtual worlds of Zwift with a group that motivates each other. To join or find out more, contact Darren Ferrari on 0412 124 076 or by email at

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.

The Essoign Club – Closed for Stage 4 Restrictions

Dear Essoign members and patrons,

It is with great regret that due to the impact of Stage 4 Restrictions the Club has temporarily closed its doors. 

Thank you for your continued support during the ever-changing circumstances in 2020. Understandably the current Stage 4 Lockdown has reflected your absence from the Club. We will miss seeing you along with your story sharing, laughs and giving support to all fellow members.

The Essoign will be back once restrictions are lifted and we will keep you informed as we get closer to that date.  

Please stay safe and stay healthy. We look forward to seeing you all again very soon.

As always, thank you.

The Essoign Club

Member Benefits Australia - October exclusive member offers

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

Practice & Profession News
Notification of NSW District Court of attendance of Victorian residents

On 15 October, the Chief Judge of the District Court of NSW advised the NSW Bar Association regarding attendance of Victorian residents at the Court. Although residents of Victoria are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in New South Wales, a border entry permit (NSW) may exempt them from self-isolation when they are required to attend court.

The Court's COVID safe policy requires any person from Victoria to contact the District Court before a border permit is requested or they attend court in person, to ascertain whether their physical attendance is required. The Court will usually be able to make suitable alternative arrangements in such cases.

NSW Bar members have been advised that enquiries should be made to the appropriate District Court to ascertain whether an appearance in person of a Victorian resident is necessary.

Digital Bar Library – Resources and events


The Digital Bar Library provides access here to certain licensed resources, structured for ease of access.

In addition to that collection, publishers have made many titles available gratis during COVID restrictions. These are available here.

If you would like help accessing the content you need, or have a research query that you’d like assistance with, please fill in a library request form here.

The Library has launched its 2020-25 Strategic Plan. Please read about its truly digital library service here.


The Library has a number of events coming up. You are welcome to register for any of the following sessions:

  • Bar Library Tour is on Tuesday 27 October, 1:15–1:45pm. Register here.
  • Home-brewed Shakespeare – an end of year celebration in collaboration with Bottled Snail is on Monday 23 November, 5–6:00pm. Register here.
  • Switch On… Personal Injuries is on Thursday 19 November, 1:15–1:45pm. Register here.
Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee – Professional Indemnity Insurance and new website

Professional indemnity insurance

The Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee (LPLC) is collecting gross fee income information from barristers as part of their preparatory work for insurance renewals in 2021/22. All barristers will have a received an email from LPLC ( asking them to go to LPLC’s insurance portal insurance at and enter their gross fee income for the year ended 30 June 2020 as well as an estimate of gross fee income for the 2020/21 year.

A gross fee income declaration for the last completed financial year is usually collected by LPLC upon insurance renewals, but the information is being collected earlier this year to ensure LPLC is able to give full consideration to the impact of COVID-19 on member incomes before it sets premium rates.

Members are asked to assist LPLC by completing the requested information promptly.

New website

The LPLC is proud to announce that its new website was launched on Tuesday 20 October.

You can view the new website here:

Special Edition of the Legal Services Council Newsletter

On 12 October 2020, the Legal Services Council issued a special edition of its newsletter. The newsletter is available here.

Notice of Termination – Manager appointed to Samantha Ward Pty (In Liquidation)

On 18 July 2019, the Victorian Bar was notified that Mr Paul McCarthy had been appointed by the Victorian Legal Services Board as the Manager of Samantha Ward Pty.

Please be advised that the appointment of Mr McCarthy as Manager terminated on 15 October 2020.

If you have any questions about this matter, please contact Reshma Pickering on 03 9679 8048 or email

Profession CPD & Events
Cyngler Consulting
  • Do you ever find yourself in difficult conversations? Come and join one our programs.
  • Do you need mediation accreditation or reaccreditation? Enrol in our next course.
  • Are you wanting to extend and enlarge your mediation skills? Come and take one of our Mediation Masterclasses.
  • Do you need training or support in conflict management, decision making or listening skills? Get in touch with us.

National Mediator Accreditation

9–11 and 16–18 November 2020

Mediation Masterclass

23, 24 and 25 November 2020

Online Skills Training

October to November 2020

Visit our website for more information and to register.

Melbourne Law School - Upcoming events

Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne is inviting you to attend two upcoming events:

An Australian International Commercial Court: A Quixotic Concept or a necessity?

On Tuesday 27 October at 11:00am–12:00pm, join us as we discuss if Australia has the capacity to serve as a regional commercial dispute resolution hub. A critical element would be the establishment of an International Commercial Court. Melbourne Law School is honoured to host this webinar discussion featuring the Honourable Chief Justice Marilyn Warren AC QC and Professor Doug Jones AO, with facilitation by Professor John Sharkey AM.

Register here.

Law Apps Presentations

On Wednesday 28 October at 9:00–11:00am, our students will showcase their law app designs developed in their class at Melbourne Law School. Over the semester the class learnt about legal technology, disruption in the legal profession, innovation, creativity and human centred design. Groups of students identified legal needs that are not served adequately by existing legal processes. Using Josef and Neota Logic software, the teams built web based applications and chat bots to empower their users. Applications and chat bots were built from the ground up using human centred design.

Register here.

Castan Centre / King & Wood Mallesons annual lecture with Professor Megan Davis

Keynote address by Professor Megan Davis, Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous and Professor of Law at UNSW, and member of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Professor Megan Davis will talk on a subject related to the human rights of Indigenous peoples.

The event is scheduled for Tuesday, 27 October at 5:30pm. Click here for more information. This is a public event and all are welcome – register here.

DCA Research Launch Event - Gari Yala: Speak the Truth

‘Indigenous employment’ is a growing, vital discipline within the employment and diversity, inclusion, and human resources landscapes but there are two glaring omissions – there is a notable lack of research that asks Indigenous people what they want and need from workplaces in order to flourish, and what is available has been primarily informed by non-Indigenous voices. To address this gap, DCA and the UTS Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research created the Gari Yala project, which means ‘speak the truth’ in Wiradjuri language, to gain an understanding of the diversity of Indigenous workers’ experiences firsthand. On Tuesday 17 November at 2:00–3:30pm, the findings of this project will be released and followed by a panel discussion.

To view this webinar, you’ll need to be a member of Diversity Council Australia. To become a member, please register here and we will forward you the login instructions. You will need to use your VicBar email address. Current members of DCA can learn more about this webinar and register here.

Careers & Opportunities
Judicial College of Victoria – Manager, Legal Research and Information Services

The Judicial College of Victoria (JCV) is seeking a Manager, Legal Research and Information Services, to contribute to and develop the JCV’s highly regarded legal publications for the judiciary. The successful applicant will also be involved in establishing a proposed curated digital platform to showcase academic writing for the assistance of judges and practitioners. More information about the position and application process is available here.

ILF International Fellows Program – Call for remote fellows

The International Legal Foundation (ILF) is seeking lawyers with extensive criminal defence experience and legal aid institutional know-how to join its Natalie Rea International Fellows program and provide training and capacity building to local lawyers and legal aid providers in developing and transitional legal systems through day-to-day, case-by-case mentoring.

Juvenile justice experts are particularly needed to support the development of specialised units to provide quality representation to children in conflict with the law. 

We currently have fellow positions available with our teams in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Palestine (West Bank) and Tunisia. Fellows are normally embedded within ILF’s local offices, but due to the unfolding global health emergency, fellows will work remotely for the foreseeable future. An in-country fellow role may be possible, as the situation develops and if circumstances allow.

How to apply or for more information

More information is available in this flyer.

If interested or for more information, please contact ILF at Applicants should send a thoughtful cover letter and resume. Qualified candidates will be contacted for interview.

Deadline for the next issue:5pm, 29th October 2020