As previously indicated, the Bar Council met last Saturday, 6 February for a strategy day to discuss a range of issues which have and will affect our practices and the operation of the Bar. It was a very useful exercise, conducted in good spirit. Hopefully, the fruits of the day will become apparent to members in the near future.
This week I met with the new President of the Law Institute of Victoria, Tania Wolff, for a general discussion about matters of joint interest. I also met with the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner, Fiona McLeay, to discuss Recommendation 88 of the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants and its effect on the Bar. The Hon James Allsop AO, Chief Justice of the Federal Court, discussed with me the usefulness of online hearings when restrictions are in place, but the desirability of returning to in-person trials as soon as possible.
Members will recall that late last year a request was made for assistance in the Readers’ Course. The response was most encouraging with many putting their names forward. However, for some attendance at the Advocacy Teacher Training Workshop may be required. Sue McNicol AM QC can advise, if necessary, why that is so.
As I write, we are heading for another lockdown for (hopefully only) five days. This will mean a return to the home office for some, with attendant delights, until the restrictions are lifted. I note however, that some of the definitions and categories appear to have altered.
‘Court, tribunal or commission services’ are said to be Essential Providers.
Any person who performs work that is essential for the continued operation of:
a. an essential provider; or
e. essential infrastructure and essential services...
n. services related to the administration of justice
qualifies as an essential worker.
It is of course up to each individual to satisfy themselves as to whether they fall within these categories.
I wish everyone well during this period and look forward to a return to Chambers as soon as possible.
Christopher Blanden QC