Members of the Bar engage in a wide range of activities which aim to ensure that access to the courts is open to all members of the community and to promote the rule of law including the proper administration of justice.
When Sir Owen Dixon was sworn in as Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia in 1952 he remarked "... it is the duty of the barrister to stand between the subject and the Crown, and between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak".
The Bar is aware of the important role it plays in making sure justice is available to everyone. Members of the Bar engage in a wide range of activities which aim to ensure that access to the courts is open to all members of the community and to promote the rule of law including the proper administration of justice.
The Bar places great importance on upholding the values of equality and justice to support the right of all members of society to access quality legal representation.
The Human Rights Committee develops submission on behalf of the Bar in relation to human rights issues; considering ways in which the Victorian Bar can contribute to the maintenance and protection of human rights in Australia, and making recommendations about such matters to the Bar Council from time to time.
The Victorian Bar supports the national organisation, Barristers Animal Welfare Panel (BAWP). BAWP comprises some 120 barristers from across Australia committed to promoting awareness and reform in areas of the law affecting animal welfare and providing pro bono or reduced fee assistance to litigants in this space. Many members of the Victorian Bar are active members of BAWP.
The Victorian Bar is party to the the Victorian Legal Profession's Disaster Plan.
The Bar recognises the social benefits in maintaining local community sporting clubs and associations. Members of the Bar have a long history of supporting organised sport at local, state, national and international levels. A number of our members act as office bearers for sporting organisations, or donate other forms of support to 'grass roots' organised sport. Formal legal support is provided by sports law barristers through:
Membership of Tribunals & Appeals Boards
Bar members act as volunteer Tribunal or Appeals Board members, on a pro bono basis, for many sporting associations and federations. Appointments have been made to Tribunals and Appeals Boards for sports such as netball, hockey, cricket, women's cricket, basketball, rugby league, soccer, basketball and Australian Rules football.Support is also provided through other legal services including reviewing and amending constitutions.
Free mediation service
Sports law barristers, in association with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, offers a free mediation service for disputes between athletes and their sporting organisation. This scheme includes assistance to athletes caught up in nomination or selection disputes. In most cases, these mediations are convened at short notice and held with the assistance of the Victorian Olympic Committee.
Our members are regularly called upon to assist sporting groups in administrative matters. This may include the review and amendment of a constitution, acting as an arbitrator in disputes between athletes and the sport, or sitting as a member of a selection committee.
The Bar's Environment and Climate Change panel works to promote advocacy of climate change and environmental law and contribute to the development of effective legislation.