In Brief Issue #996

Christopher Blanden QC

The High Court of Australia

On Monday, I had the very great honour to represent our Bar at a Special Sitting to welcome the Honourable Justice Steward as a Justice of the High Court in Canberra. Notwithstanding travel restrictions and the need for Border Entry Permits to get home, a significant number of Barristers and Judges from Victoria made the journey to mark His Honour’s appointment to the Court. Although numbers were limited as a result of COVID-19 restrictions in the ACT, it was a fitting occasion, particularly as we are unlikely to see another Victorian appointment to the Court for some time. We wish His Honour well in the long and distinguished career that will no doubt follow. The speech I made is available to read here.

The Supreme Court Library

The Supreme Court Library is now open, and Barristers once again have full access to consult the library collection on site during opening hours.  

The librarians are prioritising health and safety, and ask that Library visitors comply with signage in the Court precinct with regard to masks, hygiene, social distancing and recording attendance. 

During the COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne, the Law Library negotiated with publishers to provide gratis and exclusive access to subscription items for Victorian Barristers. Most of those arrangements are now ended, and the Library will help you transition your research to the digital services that remain.  Your Library website is here.

Magistrates’ Court

On Tuesday, 2 February 2021, Paul Hayes QC and Darryl Burnett met with the Chief Magistrate Her Honour Judge Lisa Hannan for the second time, about the re-introduction of in-person appearances. Strict COVID-19 guidelines for indoor capacity in government buildings have made it impossible to have en masse attendances as we had before COVID-19. The salient points from the meeting were: 

  1. The backlog of criminal cases in the Court has grown very significantly. This is a real concern.
  2. From mid-March 2021, in-person appearances for unrepresented defendants will resume, the plan being to clear these cases as expeditiously as possible.
  3. Represented defendants will then resume with in-person appearances a few months later.
  4. In the interim, lawyers can apply to the relevant registries for in-person appearances in cases where circumstances require.

The Bar will produce a pro forma application form to assist the Court, which will be distributed to members.

Bar Council

The Bar Council is holding a planning and strategy day on Saturday, 6 February 2021. The venue is the Bar Council Chambers and the Essoign is catering.

There is a wide-ranging programme, which we hope will assist in setting the agenda of the Bar for the year to come.

Christopher Blanden QC

Vicbar News & Events
Memorial Service - The Honourable Barry Beach AM QC

The memorial service for the Hon Barry Beach AM QC will be held at Holy Trinity Anglican Church Kew, 1A Pakington Street, Kew (on the corner of Pakington Street and High Street), and will commence at 3:00pm on Tuesday, 16 February 2021.

The church permits 110 people inside, with seats for 80 people in an adjacent function room where proceedings may be viewed on a big screen.

The front three rows in the church will be reserved for close family and friends.

There will be room for 80 people in the function room after the service, with the balance on the balcony and lawn.

Nominations are open for the 2021 Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards

The Victorian Bar has a proud culture and tradition of providing pro bono assistance. Many of us know of colleagues who make an outstanding contribution representing parties on a pro bono basis. Please consider nominating them for the Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards for pro bono work provided during 2019 and 2020. 

The nomination form available here contains more information about the Awards and categories.

Nominations close Wednesday, 31 March 2021.

The Awards ceremony is scheduled for Monday, 5 May 2021 in the Supreme Court Library.

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.

  • Summary Crime and Victoria Legal Aid: Grants, Fees and Funding Requirements for Barristers is on Tuesday, 9 February 2021, 4:30–5:30pm. This session is an essential introduction or a valuable refresher for any barrister appearing in summary crime legally aided work. It will include information about the summary legal aid grants system including grants, funding requirements, processes and the fees available for solicitors versus those available for barristers. Click here to register.
  • Indictable Crime and Victoria Legal Aid: Grants, Fees and Funding Requirements for Barristers is on Tuesday, 16 February 2021, 4.30–5.30pm. In this session, the grants, fees and funding requirements essential to the Victoria Legal Aid indictable grant system will be covered. It is aimed at anyone commencing an indictable practice or in need of a refresher. It will look at the fees available to solicitors and barristers for this work including additional grants of aid. Click here to register.
  • Tackling Modern Slavery - Civil and Criminal Law Perspectives is on Wednesday, 17 February 2021, 5:00–6:00pm. In this CPD, the speakers will outline current and potential future legal developments in tackling modern slavery in Australia from both a civil and criminal law perspective, drawing upon their experiences in key cases in the United Kingdom. Click here to register.
  • See What You Made Me Do - Power, Control and Domestic Abuse and the Family Law System – a Conversation with Jess Hill is on Thursday, 25 February 2021, 5:30–6:30pm. In this CPD, Jess Hill who is an award-winning investigative journalist and author of the 2020 Stella prize-winning book “See What You Made Me Do” will discuss her research, her findings and, most importantly, her views on how the family law system can be improved to better protect victims of domestic abuse. Click here to register.

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

PHOTO 2021 Congo Tales at the Peter O’Callaghan QC Gallery

The Peter O’Callaghan QC Gallery is proud to participate in PHOTO 2021, a biennial celebration of photography taking place throughout Melbourne and regional Victoria from Thursday, 18 February to Sunday, 7 March 2021. This year’s theme is Truth. Pieter Henket’s Congo Tales will be on display in the Gallery from Monday, 8 February 2021. Take a moment to admire these luminous works. You can read about the Congo Tales suite here.

Save the Date – 2021 Victorian Bar Dinner

The 2021 Victorian Bar Dinner will be held at the Plaza Ballroom on Friday, 21 May 2021. Be sure to keep the date free in your diary.

BCL Property & Technology Services – Updates

BCL recently published updates in relation to its rent relief response, safety in chambers, and FY 2020 annual report:

  • BCL response to COVIDSafe Summer and COVID-19 Safety in Chambers is available here.
  • BCL Rent Relief response (extension) is available here.
  • BCL Annual FY 2020 Annual Report is available here.
Vicbar Life
The Law Library of Victoria – December quarterly report satisfaction survey

The Law Library of Victoria has released its quarterly report for October – December 2020. The report is available here. The report is designed according to the Library’s strategic plan.

The Library team is strongly committed to improving performance and is currently seeking feedback from those who have used library services during 2020, to ascertain their level of satisfaction with the Library’s services. To complete the library satisfaction survey, please click here. The survey closes Monday, 8 February 2021.

Studio 11 – Solo exhibition by Alexandra Copeland

Studio 11 – Always Worth a Look has now installed its exciting New Year solo Exhibition by Alexandra Copeland on level 11 Owen Dixon Chambers East. The exhibition comprises 25 delightful, robust pieces that reflect a lifetime’s work in ceramics. The exhibition runs until Friday, 19 February 2021.

Click here for the works sheet.

Click here for the artist’s statement.

Treat yourself to a visit. Everyone is welcome.

The Essoign Club – Breakfast and a la carte lunch menus

Dear Essoign Club Members,

We are open daily from 7:00am till late.

Breakfast – See our Breakfast Menu here for dine-in or takeaway.

Lunch – Daily Café Menu takeaway or delivery.

Lunch dine-in – See our A La Carte Menu here for dining in.

Bar – Open till late with light snacks available.

Catering & Events – Special lunches, working lunches, private dinners or something special you may have in mind. Email us at

We appreciate your ongoing support and look forward to seeing you in the Club.

Practice & Profession News
High Court of Australia – Opening of the Registry

The Justices of the High Court have issued Practice Direction 1 of 2021 relating to the opening hours of the Registry.

Registry counters remain closed, with no face-to-face services provided at the counter. While the counters are closed, the Registrars and Registry staff continue to provide services and support to practitioners and litigants via phone, email and through the Court’s Digital Lodgement System.

The Practice Direction, which takes effect on Monday, 8 February 2021, is here

Federal Court of Australia - Updates

The February Full Court and Appellate sitting period commenced on Monday, 1 February 2021.

Streaming pilot

The Court is preparing to roll out a streaming platform, to be piloted in some upcoming Full Court matters. The platform will enable the members of the public to live stream a hearing via a fixed link accessible on the Court list and the Court's website, avoiding the need to obtain access to a specific Teams link and reducing the complexity of admitting and managing numerous parties in a Teams meeting.

First instance matters

Members of the profession appearing before the Court should consider whether a matter should be heard remotely or in person. Some hearings, particularly case management hearings and some trials, will be better suited to the online format in any event and that should continue. If a matter must be heard in-person, representatives should consult with the other side and the bench. In all registries except Sydney and Melbourne, whether a matter proceeds in person is a matter for discussion with the relevant judge and the local registry. In Sydney and Melbourne, in-person hearings are still a matter of permission, given the registries' size and the need for centralised management.

COVID-19 updates

As circumstances continue to change around the country due to COVID-19, please ensure you check the Court's updated procedures regularly, which are available here.

Family and Federal Circuit Courts of Australia

The Honourable William Alstergren, Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, has issued Joint Practice Direction 1 of 2021 expanding the COVID-19 List currently operating in each Court.

The expansion of the COVID-19 List is a result of its success throughout 2020 in handling the increase in urgent applications filed as a result of the pandemic. As the impacts and consequential effects of the pandemic continue to change, the List has been expanded to proactively address these changes, provide greater opportunities for litigants to seek urgent assistance from the Courts via the fast-track nature of the List.

The practice direction is on each Court’s website at the following links:

County Court of Victoria – Updates

The Court has moved to ‘mask setting 1’ for all jury trials from Thursday, 4 February 2021. For more information about mask settings, see the Court’s COVID-19 response guide for the profession and court users here.

On Tuesday, 2 February 2021, the Court’s Criminal Division issued the following updated documents:

In both the Zoom and WebEx Guides, section five has been amended to include online registration for the 9:00am General Crime List, 9:00am Sexual Offences List and 9:30am Circuit Directions Hearing List. These documents are available on the Court’s website here. Download resources that explain criminal, common law and commercial procedures for practitioners and self-represented litigants here.

The following are updated points of contact for listing requests in the General Crime List and Sexual Offences List:

  • 10:30am General Crime List – should be made to the General Crime List judge at, unless the matter is being case managed by a Criminal Division lawyer, in which case all enquiries and requests should be made to the Criminal Division lawyer case managing the matter at
  • 9:00am and 10:30am Sexual Offences List – should be made to the Sexual Offences List associates at, unless the matter is being case managed by a Criminal Division lawyer, in which case all enquiries and listing requests should be made to the Criminal Division lawyer case managing the matter at

Information regarding listing procedures in the Criminal Division Court Lists is available on the Court’s website here.

The Court’s sitting dates for 2020–2021 and monthly civil lists are available here.

Digital Bar Library resources and research requests

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

Practise with confidence with free access to the Digital Bar Library.

Available 24/7 online, the Law Library of Victoria gives you access to expert content, including legal resources, judgments, journals and analysis. Our authoritative, world-class collection will put you at the forefront of the legal community and will support you to offer the best advice available. We can support barristers with personalised librarian research assistance and support professionals working in any location thanks to our 100% online service.

Submit your next research request here.

Notice of Termination – Manager appointed to SW Legal Pty Ltd (Trading as ‘Shamrock Woodland Lawyers’)

On Tuesday, 26 November 2019, the Bar was notified that Mr Alan Alpass had been appointed by the Victorian Legal Services Board as the Manager to SW Legal Pty Ltd (trading as ‘Shamrock Woodland Lawyers’).

Please be advised that the appointment of Mr Alpass as Manager terminated on Friday, 18 December 2020.

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

Notice of Termination – Manager appointed to the law practice of Barry Kenna & Co

On Thursday, 17 October 2019, the Bar was notified that Mr Jeff Dunemann had been appointed by the Victorian Legal Services Board as the Manager of the sole practitioner law practice of Barry Kenna & Co.

Please be advised that the appointment of Mr Dunemann as Manager terminated on Wednesday, 16 December 2020.

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

Profession CPD & Events
Australian Academy of Law event - Regulatory Enforcement of Directors’ Obligations

The Australian Academy of Law (AAL) will be holding an event on Monday, 22 February 2021 at 5:00pm on the Regulatory Enforcement of Directors’ Obligations.

The event is held in association with the New South Wales Bar Association. AAL is grateful to Mr Tim Game SC, Ms Anna Mitchelmore SC and Mr Michael Izzo SC, for their ideas and assistance.

The speakers will focus on issues in trials where corporate and individual respondents are sued; the privilege against self-incrimination; reducing the overlap between proceedings for criminal offences and civil penalties; the forensic and ethical aspects of the constitution of proceedings the international context.

For more information and to register, click here.

2021 CIArb Australia Accelerated Route to Membership course

The 2021 Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Australia) Accelerated Route to Membership course will be delivered virtually on Saturday, 13 March and Monday, 15 March 2021.

Registrations are now open.

This course is a pathway to Membership to CIArb. CIArb accreditation carries a global qualification in the growing practice of arbitration.

The course is delivered over two virtual days. The exam is accessible remotely through CIArb’s virtual learning platform, LearnADR.  On successful completion candidates will be eligible to apply for Member grade of CIArb and to progress to Fellow grade membership status by completing Module 3 (Award Writing course).  Module 3 will be offered in the second half of 2021 to enable candidates to progress to Fellow grade membership by the end of the calendar year.

The course fee per person is AU$2,815 (inc. GST), which includes access to CIArb’s virtual learning platforms, course materials and exam assessment fee.

Places are strictly limited and will close by the close of business on Monday, 22 February 2021.

For full details and registration, please click here.

Please note this is the only CIArb Australia Accelerated Route to Membership course to be conducted in 2021.

Monash University event seminar – Startup Failure

Venture-backed startups famously “exit” by going public or selling to another company through an acquisition deal. A different path, however, is far more common – failure.

Despite the large amounts invested in venture-backed startups, and their high average rate of failure, these companies rarely use the formal Chapter 11 bankruptcy process that is embraced by distressed public companies seeking to preserving their going-concern value.

In this seminar on Thursday, 18 February 2021, Professor Pollman from Pennsylvania Law School will provide an account of startup failure, including:

  • why bankruptcy law does not fit the needs of most distressed venture-backed startups
  • what we can learn from the rare exceptions, and
  • how alternative mechanisms serve an important role in the venture capital ecosystem.

Register here.

Careers & Opportunities
Expressions of Interest for trustee nominations to the Law Aid Trust

The Victorian Bar has been invited to nominate a Trustee to the Law Aid Trust, a charitable trust managed by the Law Institute of Victoria and the Victorian Bar to support the funding of civil disbursements in civil litigation matters undertaken by law firms on a pro bono and “no-win, no-fee” basis. 

The Bar is calling for expressions of interest from members who may wish to contribute as one of the Bar’s nominated Trustees. The appointment will be for a term of two years.

A position description for the role may be viewed here. The Bar’s protocol for nomination and appointment of Vic Bar members to external bodies can be viewed here.

To assist the Bar Council in selecting the best candidate for the position, your expression of interest should identify any relevant areas of experience or expertise, including:

  • Experience or expertise in the matter/claim types referred to in the Position Description
  • Previous contribution to, or involvement with, the Trust, and
  • Contribution as a trustee or in a similar capacity with other bodies.

Please submit your expressions of interest to Denise Bennett, Executive Assistant to the President and Bar Council, at the Victorian Bar office at

The closing date for expressions of interest is 4:00pm, Wednesday, 10 February 2021.

Expressions of Interest – Firearms Appeals Committee

Expressions of Interest are sought from members to be nominated by the Bar to the Victorian Government for appointment to the Firearms Appeals Committee.  

The Firearms Appeals Committee (the Committee) is an independent statutory appeals body established under section 154(1) of the Firearms Act 1996 (Vic).  The function of the Committee is to review firearm licensing decisions of the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police in the circumstances in which a right to review is given to any person by or under the Act.

The Committee is to consist of 15 persons appointed by the Governor-in-Council.  Of the persons appointed to the Committee, there are to be five legal members, five ministerial members and five members form the prescribed shooting organisations.

There is currently more than one vacancy within the legal members.  The Victorian Government has requested the Bar nominate three members for consideration by the Governor-in-Council.

Expressions of Interest will be considered by the Executive, in accordance with the Victorian Bar’s external appointments protocol and a recommendation of the requisite three nominations will be provided to the Bar Council for approval at its next meeting on Thursday, 18 February 2021.

Please send your Expression of Interest by email to  In the email, please set out:

  • your expertise that is relevant to the general attributes of the role (which are set out in the position description)
  • your previous contribution to or involvement with the Committee, if applicable, and
  • in the case of members seeking reappointment, the length of time already served.

The information provided will assist the Bar Council to select the best candidate for the position.

Please attach your CV, as the Minister has requested that the Bar provide a CV for each of the Bar's nominees.

The closing date for Expressions of Interest is 5:00pm, Monday 8 February 2021.

Animal Law Institute – Expressions of interest sought from barristers to join a panel of volunteer counsel

The Animal Law Institute (ALI) is seeking expressions of interest from barristers in Victoria, Queensland and NSW with an interest in animal protection, who would like to join our panel of volunteer counsel. 

ALI is a national non-profit community legal centre dedicated to protecting animals and advocating for their interests through the Australian legal system.

Our panel of volunteers receives email alerts whenever assistance is needed, under an opt-in system, with no minimum time commitment required. 

We currently have two opportunities: 

  1. Expressions of interest for pro bono work via direct brief (whereby counsel will work under their own insurance). 
  2. Expressions of interest to provide advice through ALI’s new Anti-Puppy Farm Legal Clinic, which will provide consumer law advice to clients who have purchased a sick pet from a negligent breeder. Volunteer counsel can either act under their own insurance or sign up as an ALI volunteer in order to be covered by our insurance. Please note that initially we will be taking on Victorian clients only. If you are from NSW or QLD but would still like to assist the Clinic, you will need to be familiar with the Australian Consumer Law and the procedures of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

You can read more about ALI and our work here. In previous years, we have briefed counsel in both advice and appearance work across a range of areas such as animal welfare law, defamation, corporate and tax law, charities law and consumer law. For example, we have successfully run proceedings in VCAT in relation to a dog breeder’s liability for past and future veterinary expenses under the consumer law in respect of hereditary illnesses. 

This is a fantastic opportunity for counsel to undertake pro bono work and to engage with our volunteer lawyers, many of whom are from top tier firms (which may also present a marketing opportunity for counsel). Counsel will receive support from a lawyer and paralegal in all matters. 

We also recommend that counsel put in place conditional costs agreements in any litigious matters so your legal fees may be recovered.

If you are interested in joining our panel of volunteer counsel, or have any further questions, please send an email with your name, contact details and main practice area to Erin Germantis at

In Brief Submissions

If you would like to contribute relevant news, events and updates for barristers and the legal profession to In Brief, please send an email with your content to or complete this submission form.

Deadline for the next issue:5pm, 11th February 2021