Legal representation before the Fair Work Commission

Fri Mar 14 2014

In December 2013, a single member of the Fair Work Commission refused to grant permission for the Australian Taxation Office to be represented by a barrister but permitted it to be represented by a solicitor in unfair dismissal proceedings on the ground that the matter was not complex enough to warrant representation by the barrister.

The New South Wales Bar Association sought leave to intervene and appealed from the decision. A full bench of the Fair Work Commission has found that the commissioner at first instance erred and that s 596 of the Fair Work Act does not permit the commission to discriminate as between solicitors and barristers when determining whether a party should be granted permission to be represented in proceedings before the commission. Although the full bench found it unnecessary to make orders disturbing the orders made below (as the Australian Taxation Office did not contend that it had suffered any prejudice), the full bench nevertheless held that s 596 of the Fair Work Act is not intended to interfere with a party’s right to choose who its legal representative should be.

The case has also been reported as an important decision on legal representation

Submissions on the office of senior counsel

Fri Mar 14 2014

As members would be aware, the Bar Council has requested comment from members on the desirability of reinstating the use of the term "Queen's Counsel" in NSW. Comments are due by next Monday, 17 March.

A committee has been established to examine the responses received and report to Bar Council on the suitability of the Bar Association approaching the attorney general to seek support for the establishment of a system for the appointment of individuals as Queen's Counsel following their appointment as "Senior Counsel" under the existing Silk Selection Protocol. The committee will comprise the Hon L J Priestley QC (Chair), Noel Hutley SC, Campbell Bridge SC, Arthur Moses SC, Anthony Lo Surdo SC, Elizabeth Cheeseman SC and Victoria Brigden.

The committee has been asked to report to Bar Council by 17 April 2014. Members will be kept informed of developments.

Bar Council business for February 2014

Thu Mar 13 2014

Bar Council met on 20 February 2014 in the boardroom of the New South Wales Bar Association. Matters reported elsewhere in In Brief are omitted from this summary of Bar Council business. Bar Council regularly considers requests by the attorney general, the courts and other agencies for advice on proposed legislation. Because that advice is sought on a confidential basis, it is not noted in this summary. Any member interested in a particular matter should contact the executive director for further information. View the minutes for 20 February 2014.

Want to know more about the Bar Association’s childcare arrangements?

Thu Mar 13 2014
Member services and benefits

Members are invited to attend the launch of the new childcare scheme, which will be held in the Common Room from 5.15 pm on 3 April 2014. Representatives from McArthur Management and Jigsaw Corporate Childcare will provide information on their respective services, and will answer any questions that members may have. The presentation will be followed by drinks and canapés. All members, and their families, are welcome to attend the launch and help us celebrate this wonderful initiative.


We ask that members intending to attend RSVP to the Bar Association reception by 27 March 2014.

Further information

Information in relation to the scheme is available here. Any enquiries in relation to the scheme can be directed to Megan Black on ph: (02) 9229 1739 or via

Next meeting of the Bar Book Club

Wed Mar 12 2014

The next meeting of the Bar Book Club will be held on Tuesday, 25 March at 6.00pm in the Bar Library. The book is Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China by Jung Chang. Reviews of the book have appeared in the Guardian and the New York Times.

Future meetings

Please diarise the 2014 dates for Bar Book Club meetings:

  • Wednesday, 30 April
  • Tuesday, 3 June
  • Wednesday, 9 July
  • Tuesday, 12 August
  • Wednesday, 17 September
  • Tuesday, 21 October
  • Tuesday, 2 December

Evolution or Revolution? The 16th Biennial National Family Law Conference

Wed Mar 12 2014

Registration is now open for the 16th Biennial National Family Law Conference, to be held in Sydney from 7-10 October 2014. With more than 90 international and local presenters, the professional program will showcase cutting edge developments in the law and provide practical guidance to family lawyers. It will also examine how the family law system can be improved and how those who work within it can foster change.

A dynamic format

The conference will benefit and challenge all delegates regardless of experience level. Featuring a more dynamic format, there will be increased audience interaction and a focus on exchanging knowledge and experience.


Most practitioners will be able to claim their full CPD/CLE quota by attending the conference.

Q & A

Pre-eminent Australian journalist and broadcaster, Tony Jones, will open the conference at the Sydney Recital Hall with a ‘Q & A’ Style event.

Social program

There is an outstanding social program, with the highlight being the Gala Ball at Sydney landmark, Luna Park.

More information

Please see the conference website for further information.

Farewell for the Hon Justice Cowdroy

Wed Mar 12 2014

A ceremonial sitting of the Federal Court of Australia will be held on Friday, 14 March 2014 to mark the retirement of the Hon Justice Dennis Cowdroy OAM. The ceremony will be held at 9.30am in Court 1, Level 21 Queens Square. Sandy Street SC will speak on behalf of the New South Wales Bar.

Legal Classics Library for sale

Wed Mar 12 2014

For sale: a retired judge's "The Legal Classics Library". A varied collection of great books in the law. Fully leather bound, gilt edged, gold embossed, ribbed backs, French joints, marbled interior boards, silk ribbon markers. Included are explanatory booklets for each book as to its history and significance. List of titles available on request. 113 volumes, all in extra fine condition, 4.9 metres of shelf space. The set $7,500. Phone: 02 9416 1649

World Indigenous Domestic Violence Conference

Wed Mar 12 2014

The World Indigenous Domestic Violence Conference will be held on 8-10 December 2014 at the Cairns Pullman International Hotel in Queensland. The 2014 World Indigenous Domestic Violence Conference is designed to be the largest international gathering of Indigenous and non Indigenous peoples with an interest in stopping Domestic Violence within Indigenous communities. The conference will highlight positive outcomes of various community programs that impacts Indigenous families on a day to day basis dealing with issues of domestic violence within our communities. To register to attend the event, please visit the conference website or send us an email at

Bar Association to host seminar with ACLA and ASIC

Wed Mar 12 2014

The Bar Association, the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission invite members of the bar to a presentation by the corporate regulator regarding its focus on the deterrence and disruption of illegal phoenix activity. The joint event will be held on Tuesday 1 April 2014 between 5:00-7.00pm in the Common Room. Members will hear from Brett Bassett, senior executive leader of ASIC's Small Business Compliance & Deterrence Team and ASIC senior lawyer, Lesley Symons. Learn more here.

TOMORROW: Offers of Compromise and Calderbank Offers

Wed Mar 12 2014

This seminar will be presented by Andrew Combe. The session will review the decision of Whitney and the amendments to rule 20.26 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules as well as the use of the “Calderbank” offer to act as a fall back if an offer of compromise is held invalid. It will also include an overview of the main differences between an offer of compromise under the rules and Calderbank. For full details, please download a flyer here.

TONIGHT: Regulation 176

Wed Mar 12 2014

Tonight's seminar will be presented by Penny Thew and chaired by Trish McDonald SC. For full details, please click here.

2014 CPD Conference Programs Now Online

Tue Mar 11 2014

The NSW Bar Association is conducting a number of conferences throughout February and March to assist members in obtaining their required CPD points. Conferences will be held at:

Official launch of LCA study on progression and re-engagement of female lawyers

Tue Mar 11 2014

Why women leave the legal profession and do not re-engage is an important issue and one which has been a priority for the Law Council of Australia (LCA). In 2013 the LCA conducted the National Attrition and Re-engagement Study (NARS) to obtain quantitative data and confirm trends in progression, attrition and re-engagement rates of female lawyers. The research also examined the qualitative reasons behind these trends. On Friday, 14 March 2014 the Law Council will host the official launch of the NARS report at the National Press Club.

CIArb 2014 Diploma Course in International Commercial Arbitration

Tue Mar 11 2014

The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Australia Branch) and the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration will conduct their 2014 Diploma Course in International Commercial Arbitration in Georgetown, Penang, over nine days, between 19-27 April 2014. The intensive residential course will teach all major forms of international arbitration and related dispute settling mechanisms such as WIPO, WTO and investment treaty arbitration. Places are strictly limited. For more information, or to register, download a brochure here.

Part-time employment opportunities wanted for Indigenous law students

Mon Mar 10 2014

Do you need some clerical, administrative or research assistance to run your practice? If the answer is yes - why not employ an Indigenous law student? There are a number of students currently looking for this opportunity.As part of the Bar Association's Indigenous Barristers Strategy, all barristers, clerks and chambers are encouraged to identify part-time employment opportunities for 2014 for Indigenous law students. Ideally, this would be for a day or half day a week on a regular basis doing loose-leaf filing, administrative or clerical tasks or research and includes some mentoring and guidance for the student.

Contact us

This initiative has been highly successful for a number of Indigenous law students and needs the ongoing support of more members of the bar to ensure its continued success. Contact with the bar as well as some financial security significantly contributes to the success of the student at their law studies. Please contact Chris Ronalds SC on or 9229 7378 if you have any openings.

PA Selth
Executive Director 

Court of Criminal Appeal to sit in Parramatta

Mon Mar 10 2014

It has been announced that the Court of Criminal Appeal will sit in both Queens Square and Parramatta in the weeks commencing July 28 and August 4. Read more about the Supreme Court's return to Parramatta here. Members are advised that care should be taken when setting appeals down for hearing during those two weeks that barristers with more than one appeal on the same day ensure that the appeals are to be heard in the same location.

The office of Queen's Counsel in New South Wales

Mon Mar 10 2014

The Bar Council has resolved to seek comment from members on the desirability of reinstating the use of the term “Queen’s Counsel” in NSW. The views of members are sought on the following question:

Should the New South Wales Bar Association approach the Attorney General to seek support for the establishment of a system for the appointment of Queen’s Counsel following appointment as Senior Counsel under the existing Silk Selection Protocol?

Send us your comments

Comments should be provided by email to by 17 March 2014. An issues paper has been prepared setting out relevant information about the office of Queen’s Counsel and the relevant legislative provisions in NSW for the assistance of members.

Call for volunteers for judging university competitions

Mon Mar 10 2014

Macquarie University Law Society (MULS) is seeking volunteers to assist with the judging of internal competitions, such as mooting and client interviewing, to be held at the North Ryde and City campuses on dates across March and April. Interested practitioners should register online or contact Nigel Khine, director - competitions, via email.


Amendments to the UCPR came into effect today

Fri Mar 07 2014

On Monday, 3 March 2014 the Uniform Rules Committee approved 2 amendments to the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules: an amendment to rule 6.2 (extending the period a statement of claim is valid for service from 1 month to 6 months for debt and liquidated claims in the District Court) and an amendment to rule 4.2 (clarifying what constitutes a solicitor’s email address). These rule amendments were published today on the NSW Legislation website and have commenced.