In Brief Issue #997

Christopher Blanden QC

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

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). The service has been postponed to 3:00pm on Thursday, 18 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.

Victorian Law Week 2021 – Interested in hosting an event?

Law Week is scheduled for Monday, 17 May to Sunday, 23 May 2021.

The Victoria Law Foundation is now accepting proposals for events.

The Victorian Bar is a sponsor of Law Week and we are seeking members interested in hosting an event during Law Week.

If you have a great idea for an event that will improve the Victorian community’s understanding of the law or the legal system, let us know by emailing VicBar Office at

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.

  • 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 webinar, 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 webinar, Jess Hill, an award-winning investigative journalist and author of the 2020 Stella prize-winning book “See What You Made Me Do”, will discuss her findings and views on improving the family law system to protect victims of domestic abuse. Click here to register.
  • Advocacy Teacher Training Workshop is on Friday, 26 February, 5:00-7:30pm and all day on Saturday, 27 February 2021. This workshop is the first step in an ongoing program of advocacy teacher training. Those who successfully complete this program are eligible to teach in the mooting program of the Bar Readers’ Course. 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.

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
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.

**Due to current restrictions, The Essoign will be open for takeaway or delivery only from Monday, 15 February to Wednesday, 17 February.**

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.

VicBar Choir

Time: 1:15–2:15pm on Wednesdays via Zoom.

Dates: The choir will meet for an eight-week term, starting 10 February to 31 March 2021.

Cost: $30 a week (casual – fee relief readily available) – $240 a term, free trial session.

For more information, contact Emma Swart on 0411 239 278 or

Practice & Profession News
Court COVID updates

On Friday, 12 February 2021, the whole of Victoria will move to ‘circuit-breaker’ restrictions from 11:59pm until 11:59pm on Wednesday, 17 February 2021.

For up-to-date information about the Courts’ responses, please visit their websites:

  • Federal Court of Australia – see here.
  • Family Court of Australia – see here.
  • Federal Circuit Court of Australia – see here.
  • Supreme Court of Victoria – see here.
  • County Court of Victoria – see here.
  • Magistrates’ Court of Victoria – see here.
Sentencing Advisory Council - Feedback survey

The Sentencing Advisory Council (SAC) is seeking anonymous feedback through a brief 5-10 minute survey. 

Your input will let SAC know what you think about its performance and products, and help SAC plan future projects that better meet your needs and interests.

The survey will remain open until Friday, 19 February 2021. Please take a few moments to complete the survey now.

The survey is 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.

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, and the forensic and ethical aspects of the constitution of proceedings the international context.

For more information and to register, click here.

LAWASIA -- Constitutional and rule of law webinar series

Jointly organised by LAWASIA, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, Law Council of Australia and the South Pacific Lawyers Association, the series will run for four weeks, every Thursday from 18 February to 11 March 2021.

Registration is complimentary, and LAWASIA members, friends and supporters are encouraged to attend the webinars on offer.

  • Rule of Law in Governance: Public Sector Corruption is on Thursday, 18 February 2021 at 4:30–6:30pm AEST. Learn more and register here.
  • Loss of Majority in Parliament & Forming a New Government: The Guiding Constitutional Principles and Conventions is on Thursday, 25 February 2021 at 4:30–6:00pm AEST. Learn more and register here.
  • Constitutional Breakdowns, Coups, Crises and Disruptions: Experiences from the Commonwealth is on Thursday, 4 March 2021 at 4:30–6:00pm AEST. Learn more and register here.
  • The Role of Law Associations in Promoting the Rule of Law (Law Council of Australia) is on Thursday, 11 March 2021 at 4:30–6:00 AEST. Learn more and register here.

More information about the series is 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 for two virtual days. The exam is accessible remotely through CIArb’s virtual learning platform, LearnADR. On successful completion of the course, 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.

Diversity Council webinar – Universal childcare

The Diversity Council Australia’s webinar Universal Childcare: A Key Enabler for Women's Workplace Participation is on Thursday, 18 February 2021 at 2:00pm.

Affordable and accessible childcare/early childhood education is a key enabler for women's workforce participation, and yet many women and families struggle with the cost and finding vacancies to suit their needs. What’s more, early childhood educators, most of whom are women, are amongst some of the lowest paid in the country. So what can be done to improve the system for children and their families as well as for workers?
While some organisations are finding ways to support their employees' childcare needs, government, too, has a role to play in ensuring that all families can access quality childcare at a cost that does not present a barrier to participation, and that childcare workers can have rewarding and sustainable careers.

At this event, DCA CEO Lisa Annese will be joined by former SA Premier Jay Weatherill AO, who is now CEO of Thrive by Five which is campaigning to make our early learning childcare system high quality and universally accessible.  

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 register to view the webinar here.

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 preserve 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
Supreme Court of Victoria – Senior Lawyer, Common Law Division

The Supreme Court of Victoria is seeking a motivated and experienced lawyer to play a key role in managing cases in the Common Law Division’s Judicial Review and Appeals (JRA) and Valuation Compensation and Planning (VCP) Lists.

The successful candidate for this Senior Lawyer role will be a leading member of a small team providing expert legal and procedural support to judicial officers in the Common Law Division of the Supreme Court in order to promote just, efficient, timely and cost-effective resolution of proceedings.

The role involves the end-to-end case management of a large volume of complex cases within the Court’s supervisory jurisdiction in relation to the conduct or decisions of lower courts, tribunals and other external persons or bodies. It also involves the management and supervision of junior lawyers undertaking a similar role, participation in projects, and the refinement of Court processes and policies.

The Position Description is available here.

For more information and to apply, click here.

Expressions of Interest – Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA)

Expressions of Interest are sought from members to be nominated to serve as the Bar representative on the Board of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA).

The Victorian Bar is a corporate member of ACICA. The ACICA Constitution requires the reappointment (or retirement) of Directors nominated by corporate members on a four-year basis. The Board holds quarterly meetings.

The Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA) is Australia’s international dispute resolution institution. ACICA was established in 1985 as an independent, not-for-profit organisation, and its objective is to promote and facilitate the efficient resolution of commercial disputes throughout Australia and internationally by arbitration and mediation, with the aim of delivering expediency and neutrality of process, the enforceability of outcome and commercial privacy to parties in dispute.

ACICA actively engages with the arbitration and mediation community throughout Australia and around the globe, through a number of working committees.

More information about ACICA can be found here.

Expressions of Interest will be considered by the Bar Council, in accordance with the Victorian Bar’s external appointments protocol.

Please send your Expression of Interest, together with a copy of your CV by email to In the email, please set out:

  • your expertise that is relevant to the general attributes of the role
  • your previous contribution to or involvement with the Board, 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.

The closing date for Expressions of Interest is 4:00pm, Monday, 22 February 2021.

Expressions of Interest – LIV-AMA-VicBar Medico-Legal Committee

Expressions of Interest are sought from members to serve as a Bar representative on the LIV-AMA-VicBar Medico-Legal Committee.

The committee deals with a range of issues of mutual concern to the medical and legal professions, including issues arising from the proposed legislation practice in respect of the obtaining of medical reports and records and the attendances of medical practitioners to give evidence. The committee meets approximately four times per year.

Expressions of Interest will be considered by the Bar Council, in accordance with the Victorian Bar’s external appointments protocol.

Please send your Expression of Interest, together with a copy of your CV by email to In the email, please set out:

  • your expertise that is relevant to the general attributes of the role
  • 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.

The closing date for Expressions of Interest is 4:00pm, Monday, 22 February 2021.

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, 18th February 2021