Past Chairman - Melanie Sloss SC

Silks appointments process settled for 2012

[5 Jun 2012]

The process for appointment of barristers as Senior Counsel in and for the State of Victoria has been settled for 2012.

Farewell to The Honourable Justice David Ashley

[10 Feb 2012]

Address on the occasion of the retirement of The Honourable Justice David Ashley from the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria by Melanie Sloss SC, Chairman of the Victorian Bar Council, Wednesday 1 February 2012 at 4:30pm in the Banco Court.

The ceremony is available by podcast via the Supreme Court website.

Bar Council releases discussion paper regarding Silk Selection Process for 2012 - Members invited to comment

[9 Dec 2011]

Members of the Bar will be aware that in late April this year the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, the Honourable Marilyn Warren AC, informed us that she would no longer have the necessary time available to devote to the appointment of Senior Counsel in and for the State of Victoria, and would return the responsibility for the appointment to the Bar.  At that time, the Chief Justice indicated that she would be pleased to consider and assist with the new model for selection that the Bar Council develops.  However, the Chief Justice has not yet committed to accepting any new process.  That resolution will await the outcome of a consultation process by the Bar.

The Bar Council has for the past several months been in the process of developing a proposal for the appointment of Senior Counsel in Victoria in 2012.  That proposal reflects the Bar Council’s strong preference for a Court-based system, with the Chief Justice being centrally involved. 

The Bar Council today released a discussion paper outlining the proposal.  The Bar Council wishes to consult with the Bar about this proposal, and to this end invites comments or questions in relation to the proposal by 1 February 2012.  In the first instance, these should be addressed to the Chairman and headed “Comments on Proposal regarding Silks Selection Process” and sent by email to the Bar Council’s Executive Officer, Denise Bennett at: denise.bennett@vicbar.com.au.  The Bar Council’s Silks Working Group (comprising Mark Moshinsky SC, Melanie Sloss SC, Fiona McLeod SC, Phillip Priest QC, Jonathan Beach QC, and Tim Tobin SC) would be happy to meet with any member who wishes to make a comment or ask a question; if you would like to do so, please also indicate this to the Bar Council’s Executive Officer.

Click here for Chairman's Media Release.

Comments made by the Chairman, Melanie Sloss SC, at the Ceremonial Sitting to Welcome the new Silks held in the Banco Court on 2 December 2011

[2 Dec 2011]

On behalf of the Bar may I warmly congratulate each of the new Senior Counsel and wish them well in their new role.  Each of the candidates is highly deserving of their appointment.

May I also, on behalf of the Bar, express our sincere thanks to you, the Chief Justice, for the important role that you perform each year in considering the applications for appointment as Senior Counsel. We are very conscious of the significant demands the Silks process places upon you, and the time and attention you devote to it, both in consulting with the Judiciary and the profession more generally, and in making the selection.  

The institution of Senior Counsel is indubitably an important one.  In Victoria, all QCs and SCs present in Court today have been appointed by, or on the recommendation of, the Chief Justice.  We think a court-based system, with the Chief Justice centrally involved as the appointor, provides independence and impartiality from the practising profession, confidentiality and candour in the consultation process, and appropriate recognition of the importance of Senior Counsel in the administration of the system of justice.

This system, with your Honour’s involvement as appointor, is strongly supported by the Bar.  It works extremely well.  

May it please the Court.

Link to podcast of 2011 Silks Ceremony.

Congratulations to Debbie Mortimer SC who has received the Law Council President’s Medal

[29 Nov 2011]

Debbie Mortimer SC was awarded the prestigious Law Council of Australia President’s Medal on Friday 25 November. Past recipients have included Lex Lasry QC, the Hon. Ted Mulligan QC, Bret Walker SC and Colin McDonald QC.