Appointment of Michael Colbran QC as President of the Law Council of Australia
[7 Jun 2013]
I welcome the appointment of Michael Colbran QC, as President of the Law Council of Australia. He replaces Joe Catanzariti, who has been appointed as a Vice President of the Fair Work Commission.
Michael is of course a past Chairman of Bar Council. He has served on the Executive of the Law Council since 2006 and is concurrently the President of the Australian Bar Association. This is an historic appointment to the dual Presidency and should create real opportunities for the independent Bars to advance issues of concerns at a national level. I look forward to working closely with Michael on a number of national issues affecting the Bar, in particular national legal profession reform, legal aid and issues relating to attrition in the profession. A link to the LCA press release is available here.
I congratulate Joe Catanzariti on his new position and thank him for his service to the Law Council.
Victorian Bar delegation to Guangdong
Members will recall my post concerning the need for our Bar to develop a strategic approach to international work, in particular arbitration work in the Asia-Pacific region - click here.
Work is underway to develop a strategy targeting a few key legal markets with real potential to bring work to our members and build upon our reputation as a strong and ethical profession, for clear and consistent adherence to the rule of law and demonstrated pro bono commitment to the region. The aim is to follow emerging trends in the international legal market and service the needs of international clients and lawyers in Australia and abroad.
Between 12 and 19 May a delegation including Martin Scott SC, Caroline Kirton SC, Michael Whitten and Colin King visited Guangzhou and Shenzen in Guangdong Province, China representing the Bar. I thank the members of the delegation for their work in representing the Victorian Bar in this way.
The delegation was received by the Guangdong Lawyers Association, Shenzen Lawyers Association, China's largest arbitration institution CIETAC, the Shenzen International Arbitration Court, and influential local educational institutions with responsibility for mandatory legal training of public officials.
The consensus from every meeting was that a rapidly changing legal services market in China and the region required development of networks of connections between practising professionals in Australia and China. The delegation was both warmly received and invited to return later this year for further discussions on the development of closer contact between lawyers in China and Australia directly. There was clear recognition that close and mutually beneficial relationships are vital given the very substantial trade between Guangdong and Australia.
A working group convened by Vice-Chairman Will Alstergren SC will progress the international strategy and I will keep members informed about progress.
Judicial Welcomes and Farewells
Yesterday, I welcomed Judge Gavan Meredith to the County Court. Click here to view speech.
Next Wednesday 12 June the Bar welcomes her Honour Judge Suzanne Jones to the Federal Circuit Court and on Thursday 13 June, Justice Tim Ginnane to the Supreme Court.
Farewells will be held for Justice Linda Dessau of the Family Court on Friday 21 June and Justice David Harper of the Court of Appeal on Wednesday 26 June.
Members should have received an electronic invitation to a dinner for Justices’ Dessau and Young, in honour of their contribution over many years to the judiciary and in particular to family law, to be held on Thursday 20 June in the Essoign. Please contact Courtney Bow if you have not received your email invitation.
I advise members that the process for the appointment of silk this year has not yet been finalised, although I expect the criteria for appointment and the process will be similar to last year.
Once again, applicants will be expected to demonstrate substantial and recent advocacy experience in appeals, trials and contested hearings and significant interlocutory matters and that they meet the criteria for appointment. The designation of Senior Counsel provides a public identification of barristers whose standing and achievements justify an expectation, on the part of those who may need their services as well as on the part of the judiciary and the public, that they can provide outstanding services as advocates and advisers, to the good of the administration of justice.
The Chief Justice has indicated that applications for silk will open by the end of June. The exact date has not yet been fixed although it is likely the period for lodging applications will extend over the July Court vacation and mid-year school holidays. Accordingly, members intending to apply for silk will need to pay close attention to the opening and closing dates once these are posted on the website. I highly recommend applicants begin the work of drafting their application now, based on last year’s process, so that they are ready to lodge the application with any minor adjustments in good time. IT issues can sometimes create last minute problems that are best managed by early lodgment.
The Bar will conduct an information session once the final details are known and I will post further information on the website as soon as the process has been finalised.
Photos from the recent Bar dinner are available for viewing and downloading here.