Review of the Senior Counsel Protocol

Wed Dec 09 2009

The Bar Council is reviewing the Senior Counsel Protocol and the related administrative procedures to see where improvements might be effected. The council is to be informed by a report to be prepared on possible improvements by the Hon R V Gyles AO QC. The Bar Council is keen for Mr Gyles to have as wide an expression of views from the bar as possible.

We are seeking your views in particular, but certainly not to limit the generality of your comments, on the following questions:

1.� should the method of appointment of senior counsel be generally maintained in its present form; 2.� if so, what modifications do you suggest to improve the present system’s transparency and efficiency; 3.� if you believe an alternative system would be preferable, please outline that system and why you believe it would be preferable; 4.� are there any other concerns you have with the current protocol, such as the criterion to be taken into account by any selection committee ?

Would you please forward any response to the executive director by the first week of February 2010 so that the Bar Council is able to implement any changes to the present protocol before the 2011 senior counsel selection round.

The Bar Council has also written to the bars of England and Wales, New Zealand and all Australian states and territories seeking their views on their own system for appointing senior counsel.

The current Senior Counsel Protocol is posted on the Bar Association’s web site at

**Tom Bathurst QC President

9 December 2009**

Web watch: French constitutional cases online - and in English

Tue Dec 08 2009

French laws and administrative decisions occasionally attract attention in the English-language media, particularly in matters pertaining to immigration, terrorism and secularism. The Conseil constitutionnel (Constitutional Council) has unveiled a new English version of its web site to make some of its decisions readily accessible online. Learn more>

8 December 2009

Federal Court issues guide to counsel fees for 2010

Tue Dec 08 2009

Federal Court has updated the National Guide to Counsel Fees, which takes effect from 4 January 2010. The principal object, as provided by the guide's preamble, is to assist taxing officers of the court when making an estimate pursuant to Order 62 rule 46 of the Federal Court Rules or upon taxation of a party and party bill of costs. The amounts listed in the National Guide to Counsel Fees are not, however, to be regarded as limiting the taxing officers’ discretion to allow higher or lower fees if it is considered appropriate. For further information, contact Philip Kellow on ph: (02) 9230 8336 or by email to

8 December 2009

Red Mass for opening of 2010 Law Term

Mon Dec 07 2009

The archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, and the president of The St Thomas More Society, Richard Perrignon, invite all members of the bench and bar to the celebration of the 2010 Red Mass. The mass will be held in St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney at 9:00am on Monday, 1 February 2010, followed by morning tea in Cathedral House. Robing in the crypt is available from 8.30am. It will be the 80th Red Mass for members of the legal profession in NSW, the first being held in St Mary's Cathedral on Monday, 16 February, 1931.�

7 December 2009

In Brief distribution during the Christmas-New Year holiday

Fri Dec 04 2009

In Brief will be winding down its daily distribution over the Christmas-New Year period. Beginning Monday, 9 December 2013, bulletins will be distributed once or twice per week. Normal service will resume on Monday, 20 January 2014.

4 December 2013

Web watch: Frank Costigan QC and the Vic Bar oral history programme

Fri Dec 04 2009

A profile of Frank Costigan QC has been added to the excellent oral history page on the Victorian Bar's web site. Listen to an interview with the Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC, view photos and press clippings from Costigan's run in the by-election for the federal seat of Chisholm. Other profiles on the site include SEK Hulme AM QC and a slide show on the first 25 women barristers.

4 December 2009

Changes to Federal Magistrates Court Human Rights forms

Thu Dec 03 2009

As a consequence of amendments following passage of the Disability Discrimination and Other Human Rights Legislation Amendment Act 2008 (Cth) the Federal Magistrates Court’s Application - Human Rights and Response - Human Rights forms have been amended.� In the application form the time period in question 14 has been changed from 28 days to 60 days and in both forms all references to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission have been changed to the Australian Human Rights Commission. Both forms may be obtained from the court's web site.

3 December 2009

Life membership for Anna Katzmann SC

Wed Dec 02 2009

At a recent meeting of the Bar Council it was formally resolved to appoint Anna Katzmann SC as a life member for her "exceptional service to the Bar Association and to the profession of the law".

2 December 2009

Financial assistance for the family of Stephen Stewart

Wed Dec 02 2009

Stephen Stewart of Culwulla Chambers was tragically killed on Saturday night in a car accident caused by a massive heart attack. His wife, Kay, is in intensive care. Stephen and Kay's sons, Andrew and Matthew are students. An account has been opened at the NAB Law Courts' Branch titled "The Stewart Family Account" for the purpose of providing some immediate financial support for the boys and Kay. Deposits can be made electronically using BSB Number 082053 Account Number 164850781. The support of the profession would be greatly appreciated.

Anne Rees SC & Robert Lethbridge SC Culwulla Chambers

2 December 2009 �

Online survey of Parliamentary Counsel drafting style

Mon Nov 30 2009

The Commonwealth Office of Parliamentary Counsel is seeking the participation of members in a survey regarding its legislative drafting style. The online survey will be conducted by ORIMA Research during February 2010. Those interested in taking part should contact Alastair McConnachie at the Bar Association by 9 December.

30 November 2009

Australian Bar Association office bearers for 2010

Mon Nov 30 2009

At a meeting of the Australian Bar Association Council on Sunday, 29 November the following were elected to be office bearers for 2010: President: Peter Riordan SC (Vic Bar) Vice-President: Michael Stewart SC (Qld Bar) Hon Secretary: Dan O'Connor- (Qld Bar) Hon Treasurer: Craig Colvin SC (WA Bar) Chair, Australian Bar Advocacy Training� Council: Phil Greenwood (NSW Bar)�

Tom Bathurst QC remains a councillor by virtue of his position as president of the New South Wales Bar Association.

30 November 2009

Legislation to note: amendments to the Federal Magistrates Court Rules

Mon Nov 30 2009

The Federal Magistrates Court Amendment Rules 2009 (No 3) comes into effect on 30 November 2009. The amendments introduce new rules in relation to subpoenas with provision for the release of documents produced for inspection and copying without the need for a listing before a judicial officer, where there is no objection.� The amendments are aimed at reducing the number of court appearances for production of subpoenaed documents when there is no dispute.

The subpoena� form has been approved for use from 30 November 2009. The new approved form includes a new notice of objection. The old/current subpoena form will be removed from the website and should not be filed from 30 November 2009.�

A new Notice of Request to Inspect� form has been approved for use from 30 November 2009� and must be filed prior to any right to inspect under the rules.� �

30 November 2009

Law Council office bearers for 2010

Mon Nov 30 2009

At meeting of Law Council directors on 28 November the 2010 office bearers were elected. They are: President:� Glenn Ferguson (Qld Law Society) President elect: Alex Ward (SA Law Society) Treasurer: Cathy Gale (Law Institute of Victoria) Executive members: Joe Catanzariti (NSW Law Society) Michael Colbran QC (Vic Bar) Duncan McConnell (NT Bar)

30 November 2009

Murray Gleeson made honorary member of the Law Council

Mon Nov 30 2009

The Hon Murray Gleeson AC QC has been made an honorary member of the Law Council of Australia for his extraordinary contribution to the legal profession and community. Law Council President John Corcoran bestowed honorary membership on Mr Gleeson at a dinner in Canberra on Friday. Learn more>

30 November 2009

Michael Kirby and Antonin Scalia to debate international values and constitutional law

Fri Nov 27 2009

The American Bar Association's International Law Section, is organising a one-day conference on 9 February 2010. The theme of the ILEX conference is Australian and US perspectives on "Cross-Border Collaboration, Convergence and Conflict: The Internationalization of Domestic Law and Its Consequences." Confirmed speakers include the Hon Antonin Scalia, Sir Anthony Mason AC KBE AC, the Hon Murray Gleeson AC QC, the Honorable Michael Kirby AC CMG, and other leaders of the legal profession in Australia and the U.S. Download the conference programme for more information.

The conference will be held in the Banco Court and is being organised in conjunction with the Law Council of Australia, Law Society of New South Wales and New South Wales Bar Association.

The first session will be a debate between Justice Scalia and Michael Kirby moderated by Murray Gleeson on International Values and Constitutional Law. The second will be a session on International Harmonisation of Commercial Law in which Justice Finn, Michael Pryles and others will be speaking. Later sessions in the day will involve criminalisation of cartel behaviour, the effects of the global financial crisis and emerging property rights in systems such as emissions trading schemes.

27 November 2009


Applications for 2010 committee membership - Today is the deadline

Fri Nov 27 2009

Members (not just those holding a practising certificate) who wish to be considered for appointment to a committee should complete the application form online or in hard copy showing the committees for which they wish to be considered. Existing members of committees who wish to continue on a particular committee should also complete the form online or in hard copy. Expressions of interest will close at 5.00pm today, Monday, 14 December 2009.

The Bar Association is very fortunate that we have many more volunteers for committees than can possibly be accommodated. The president has therefore asked that members restrict their choice of committees to no more than two.

In confirming committee membership, the president ensures that all parts of the bar – geographically, practice areas and seniority – are represented on each committee.

Please note that until new committees are established and promulgated, the existing committees continue unchanged. The existing appointments to various working parties and representatives for the Bar Association continue unless and until the president determines otherwise.

Acknowledgement of your expression of interest will be e-mailed to you within 24 hours. If you do not receive an acknowledgement please contact or telephone Corinne Brown on 9229 1754.

Thank you.

**P A Selth Executive Director

14 December 2009**

No Title - Please give me one

Fri Nov 27 2009

legislation limiting the courts’ ability to give criminals discounts on their sentences.

In its final report under the chairmanship of former Supreme Court Justice Hon. James Wood AO QC, the NSW Sentencing Council also recommends victims be included in the charge negotiations process between the prosecution and the offender. “This would build a mechanism into the charge negotiations process to guarantee that victims of crime get a fair say,” Mr Hatzistergos said. “The prosecution would have to sign a certificate to verify they had consulted with victims on the statement of facts submitted to the court during sentencing.” The report Reductions in Penalties at Sentence was commissioned by the NSW Government to ensure offenders were not receiving excessive sentence reductions. The report recommends new laws: • to ensure no discounts for sex offenders solely on the basis that they will be designated prohibited persons under Child Protection laws and prevented from working with children; • to ensure no discounts for offenders on the basis that their assets have been confiscated; • to ensure any discounts do not result in a penalty that is ‘unreasonably disproportionate’ to the serious nature and circumstances of the offence; and • to require the court take into account the circumstances in which the offender pleads guilty .