Welcome back to chambers, those who have returned. I hope everyone had a relaxing holiday and is preparing for the year ahead. The sight of a number of barristers in robes, out and about in public is at least a positive sign.
Could I encourage everyone to take every opportunity to attend court in person if they can. I think there needs to be an appreciation on the part of the Courts (and the public) that we are here and raring to get back to business. Shorts and thongs under the desk are convenient, but it’s not who we are and it’s not what we do.
Of note for the Victorian Bar, is the welcome ceremony next Monday, 1 February 2021 in the High Court in Canberra for the Honourable Justice Simon Steward. As His Honour is a former member of our Bar, we are delighted by the appointment. More on this next week.
It was my great pleasure this week to sign the contract for the printing of the Bar history book, authored by Dr Peter Yule. Members will be interested to know that according to Peter, one of the dates which has the strongest case to mark the establishment of the Victorian Bar is 12 April 1841, when the first five barristers were admitted to practice at the inaugural sitting of the Supreme Court in Melbourne. This means that on 12 April this year the Bar will be 180 years old. Not a bad achievement! May I publicly acknowledge the work done by Peter Jopling AM QC in organising the funding for this project and, of course, all those who contributed.
Last night, the Bar Council held its first meeting of the year. Much of the Agenda was devoted to housekeeping matters, finalising committees and the like. As a result of a request by the Bar Council late last year, Nicola Gobbo consented to the removal of her name from the Bar Roll of retired counsel, effective from Friday, 22 January 2021. The Bar Council passed a motion to that effect.
Christopher Blanden QC