Obituary - Richard Berian Phillips


BAR ROLL NO: 1789 & 2950

It is with deep regret that the Bar Council informs members of the death early Tuesday morning 2 January 2018 of Richard Berian Phillips.

He graduated with an Honours Law Degree from King’s College London – one of the two foundation Colleges of the University of London; and was called to the Bar of England & Wales as a Member of Lincoln’s Inn on 26 July 1979.

Richard served pupillage in England with Oliver Albury at Lincoln’s Inn and with Ivan Krolick in the Lamb Building in the Temple. He practised as a “squatter” in the Lamb Building until February 1982.

In England, Richard also served as Marshall to a High Court Judge on Circuit – a contract appointment for the week(s) of the Circuit on a stipend of 2 guineas per diem. Marshalls wore a morning suit with cutaway coat, top hat and white gloves and sat beside the Judge on the Bench. Richard dined out on, and regaled his 7 Victorian Readers with, tales from those days and experiences.

Richard was admitted in Victoria on 1 December 1982; and read here with Nimal Wikramanayake (later QC). He signed the Bar Roll on 19 May 1983.

Richard’s practice began as a wholly general one, taking whatever came and appearing in the Magistrates’ Courts (including in the Second Division before the Justices); a significant practice in County Court Chambers; Commercial work; Property Law; Common Law and Crime, including a number of Jury Trials.

After 10 years at the Victorian Bar, Richard and Larry Dent (also from the March 1983 Readers) left the Bar for a Nutshack franchise in Frankston.

Richard returned to the Bar and came to focus on the Trusts and Probate jurisdiction. He was a Full Member of the Society of Trusts & Estates Practitioners, headquartered in London – one of only 9 at our Bar. For Butterworths/LexisNexis, he co-authored the 1997 Wills, Probate and Administration Service Victoria two-volume, loose-leaf service; and contributed to Court Forms, Precedents & Pleadings Victoria. He was a Victorian Bar Advanced Mediator.

Notable cases include: Vernea v Hocking Stewart, Estate of Peter Brock and Groser v Equity Trustees (Supreme Court); Veall v Veall (Court of Appeal); and Dukemaster Pty Ltd v Bluehive (with Southall QC) (Full Court of the Federal Court).

He was an adventurous traveller – he rafted down the Colorado River; and a crossword enthusiast.

Richard was 60 (born in England, 3 April 1957).

Richard’s Funeral Service will be at 11 am on Monday 15 January 2018 at the Wattle Park Chalet, 1012 Riversdale Rd Surrey Hills.

Click here to view the Victorian Bar's Tribute Notice.

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