Vale the Hon Edward Gough Whitlam AC QC (1916-2014)

Tue Oct 21 2014

The Hon Edward Gough Whitlam AC QC, former barrister and prime minister, died this morning. He was admitted to the New South Wales Bar in February 1947 and took silk in 1962. On 17 May 1999, during the ceremonial sitting to mark the 175th anniversary of the Supreme Court, Mr Whitlam spoke on behalf of the NSW Bar, for which he was issued a practising certificate for the day.

Tomorrow in CPD

Tue Oct 21 2014

Tomorrow evening we have a seminar being held in the Common Room at 5.15pm:"Marketing the Bar", presented by Ian Hemmings SC, Andrew Laughlin, Tean Kerr and chaired by Richard McHugh SC. For full details please download a flyer here

Bar Council business for September 2014

Tue Oct 21 2014

Bar Council met on 25 September 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 25 September 2014 here.

ATO releases revised Code of Settlement

Mon Oct 20 2014

The Australian Taxation Office has released its revised Code of Settlement, which it claims will result in "a better settlement experience" for clients, practitioners and ATO staff. The new plain English code, which was announced by Commissioner Chris Jordan at the CPA Congress in Melbourne, is just two pages long and provides a clear commitment to early resolution of disputes and sensible use of settlements.

A new Practical Guide supports the code revision with clear and purposeful examples.

The old settlements practice statement 2007/5 Settlements will be withdrawn. Model Settlement deeds can be obtained here.

Robe and wig swap

Mon Oct 20 2014

The District Court has advised InBrief that a barrister who attended the morning tea following the swearing-in of Judge Hatzistergos on Thursday, 16 October accidentally collected the wrong wig and robe before leaving. It follows that at least one other member of the bar might be wondering why their wig or robe seems a little ill-fitting. For more information, or to arrange a discrete swap, contact the associate to Chief Judge Price AM via or ph: (02) 9377 5821.

Upcoming CPD Course: Accounting & Valuation

Mon Oct 20 2014

This practical four week course has been organised in collaboration with KordaMentha Forensic. The course will run over four consecutive Thursdays (5pm to 7pm) in October-November 2014, commencing on Thursday, 23 October. It is designed to teach barristers the principles of accounting and valuations. The course is interactive and leads the participants through the transactions of a simple company. It also uses the financial statements of a major listed company to illustrate accounting and valuation concepts.

The course will be taught by experts from KordaMentha who are experienced in explaining accounting and valuation issues in expert reports and in evidence. Each session will run for about two hours and there will be optional additional reading between these sessions.

For more details about each session and the costs involved, please click here

These workshops are run by registration only and places in each course are strictly limited. To register and pay to secure your place, please click here

LCA welcomes Legal Services Council appointment

Mon Oct 20 2014

The Law Council of Australia has issued a media release welcoming the appointment of the former chief justice of the Federal Court, Michael Black AC QC, as the inaugural chair of the Legal Services Council. Learn more here.

One for the diary: MIA Australian Immigration Conference 2014

Fri Oct 17 2014

The Migration Institute of Australia will hold its Immigration Conference 2014 in Canberra on 29 October – 1 November. Assistant minister for immigration and border protection, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash will provide government migration updates; Michelle Rowland, Senator Hanson-Young, Clive Palmer and Professor Nicholas Cowdrey will discuss their views on the future of the Australian migration program; and seventeen officials from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will be speaking on skilled migration, labour agreements, client services, the role & regulation of RMAs, citizenship, English language policy, health, refugee and partner visas, and ID and document fraud. Click here to view the full programme and registration details.

Walker SC appointed to Uniform Legal Services Council

Fri Oct 17 2014

Bret Walker SC has been appointed to the Uniform Legal Services Council, the body tasked with applying uniform laws and rules for lawyers in Victoria and NSW. The Hon Michael Black AC QC, former chief justice of the Federal Court, has been appointed as the council’s first chair. Learn more here.

ABA Advanced Trial Advocacy - Melbourne

Fri Oct 17 2014

The ABA will run its ninth Advanced Trial Advocacy Course on 19-23 January 2015 at the Federal Court Complex in Melbourne. This is a residential five day course that will develop your skills as an experienced barrister. The course focuses on developing your strengths in addressing, examining-in-chief and cross-examining. The coaching faculty will include Federal and Supreme Court judges, Australian and international counsel from New Zealand, South Africa, England and Wales, as well as coaches with expertise in voice, movement and impact. For more information, or to reserve your place, download a course brochure here.

Information in relation to readers’ rooms

Fri Oct 17 2014

Information in relation to readers’ rooms is now available on the Bar Association’s website:

The website includes responses from individual chambers in relation to application dates, fees, accommodation types, selection criteria, tutors and availability of a room after readership.

This information will be updated annually, or on request by a particular floor. Enquiries in relation to this page of the website should be directed to Megan Black at

MPC Wanderers to go on a Bloody Long Walk

Thu Oct 16 2014

Mike Staunton, Andrew Isaacs, Natasha Hammond, Michele Kearns and friends from Martin Place Chambers have formed a team, The MPC Wanderers, and set their sights on this Sunday's "Bloody Long Walk": a 35km charity walk from Palm Beach to North Head. They're asking for your support.

Walking 35km in a week is difficult enough, but to do it in a single day will be a stretch. But the MPC Wanderers are motivated and the cause is a good one. The Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (AMDF) funds essential research into the diagnosis, treatment and cure of mitochondrial disorders, and supports sufferers and their families.

If requested, the Wanderers will provide "proof of walking" photos.

Coming up in CPD next week

Thu Oct 16 2014

Next week we have a seminar being held in the Common Room at 5.15pm on Wednesday, 22 October: "Marketing the Bar", presented by Ian Hemmings SC, Andrew Laughlin, Tean Kerr and chaired by Richard McHugh SC. For full details please download a flyer here

Criminal Defence Lawyers Association annual dinner

Thu Oct 16 2014

The Criminal Defence Lawyers Association will hold their annual dinner on Thursday, 30 October at 5.30pm in L’Aqua, The Roof Terrace, Cockle Bay Wharf. The guest speaker will be Judge Dina Yehia SC. Full table RSVPs will guarantee preferred seating. RSVP using this form, together with full payment by cheque, by Friday, 24 October.

The Federal Court: A New National Court Framework

Thu Oct 16 2014

Practitioners are invited to attend a presentation by Chief Justice James Allsop AO, during which he will introduce the Federal Court’s new National Court Framework. It will take place on Monday, 3 November 2014 from 5.30pm to 6.30pm in Courtroom 1 Level 21, Queen's Square. RSVP essential. Learn more here.

Murray Gleeson to deliver CIArb seminar

Thu Oct 16 2014

The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Australia) invites members to an evening seminar on Friday, 31 October 2014, to be presented by the Hon Murray Gleeson AC QC on "Award Writing in International Arbitration". The seminar will take place between 5.45pm and 7.30pm at Baker & McKenzie, L27 50 Bridge Street, Sydney. Admission is free but registration is essential. To find out more, download a flyer here.

Bar Book Club

Thu Oct 16 2014

The next meeting of the Bar Book Club will be held in the Bar Library at 6.00pm on Tuesday, 21 October. Reading matter will be The Death of Napoleon by Simon Leys (Pierre Ryckmans). A review is available here and an obituary of the author here.

2014 Pink & Blue Ribbon Breakfast – RSVPs due tomorrow

Thu Oct 16 2014

Members and their friends are invited to the 2014 Pink & Blue Ribbon Breakfast on Friday, 24 October at Hyde Park Barracks Café. Come and enjoy a two-course breakfast and help raise money for two wonderful charities. There will also be a fabulous raffle drawn on the morning with over $1,000 worth of prizes available to be won! Raffle tickets are now available for pre-purchase at the Bar Association Reception. Register for the breakfast today, RSVP’s will be accepted until Friday, 17 October unless sold out prior.

Click here for all the event details including updated details on the amazing raffle organised by the EO Committee.

If you are unable to attend the breakfast, you may still make a donation to these worthy causes via the registration process. All donations over $2 are tax deductible. Tax receipts will be issued by the charities following the events. To donate, please click here. You can purchase raffle tickets if you are unable to attend the breakfast.

Supporting charities

The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) is the leading community-funded national organisation in Australia raising money for research into prevention and cure of breast cancer. Research programs funded by the NBCF cover every aspect of breast cancer, from increasing understanding of genetics to providing better treatments and improving ways to support women and their families. The NBCF relies almost entirely on corporate and community support to continue its work.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) is the peak national body for prostate cancer in Australia. The PCFA focuses on funding innovative research, support, information and advocacy for men with prostate cancer and raising awareness across the community. PCFA operates over 100 supports groups Australia wide who provide support and advocacy, via the phone or face to face to men and their families affected by prostate cancer. These groups meet regularly and provide a meeting forum for the exchange of experiences, ideas and news as well as an invaluable support network.

If you have any questions regarding the event, please contact Katie or Kirsten on 9232 4055. We look forward to seeing you there.

For the diary: a Vienna Convention breakfast

Thu Oct 16 2014

Members are invited to a breakfast seminar on the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), otherwise known as The Vienna Convention, on Tuesday, 21 October 2014, from 7.30am-9.30am. Entitled "To Exclude or Not to Exclude the CISG: Benefits and Risks for Australian Parties", it will be delivered by Professor Ingeborg Schwenzer (University of Basel), chair of UNCITRAL's CISG Advisory Council. Commentary will be provided by the Hon Kevin Lindgren AM QC. The seminar will be held at the offices of Herbert Smith Freehills, 161 Castlereagh Street, Sydney. Entry is free, but numbers are strictly limited and registration is required. RSVP:

Sydney Peace Prize lecture and award ceremony

Wed Oct 15 2014

Julian Burnside AO QC will be awarded the 2014 Sydney Peace Prize at Sydney Town Hall on Wednesday, 5 November. After Mr Burnside has delivered the Peace Prize Lecture, the The Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser AC CH GCL will present him with the award. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 concession. Doors open at 6.00pm for a 6.30pm start.

A reception will directly follow the lecture and ceremony, starting at 8.00pm in the Town Hall’s vestibule. Guests will have the opportunity to meet Julian Burnside, engage in a Q&A moderated by distinguished journalist Richard Ackland and enjoy entertainment from The Chaser’s Charles Firth whilst mingling over drinks and canapés. Tickets for the Gala Reception are $180 for adults and $150 concession.

Health and Wellbeing Committee

Wed Oct 15 2014

On 28 August 2014 the Bar Council established a Health and Wellbeing Committee to be chaired by the junior vice-president, Moses SC. Members are invited to apply to be considered for appointment to the committee.

Expressions of interest should include any relevant details to be considered, such as expertise and interest in the area, and should be received by the Bar Association by 6.00pm on Friday, 17 October 2014.

Applications can be delivered to the Bar Association reception between 8.00am–6.00pm, Monday to Friday or emailed to

Parliamentary report on child sexual assault offenders

Wed Oct 15 2014

The NSW Parliament's Joint Select Committee on Sentencing of Child Sexual Assault Offenders has tabled its report entitled Every Sentence Tells a Story - Report on Sentencing of Child Sexual Assault Offenders. The government is required to respond by 14 April 2015. The report is now available here. For enquiries please call the secretariat on ph:(02) 9230 2843 or via email.

One for the diary: Aboriginal Family Law Conference

Wed Oct 15 2014

Members are invited to the Statewide Aboriginal Family Law Conference, to be held in Sydney on 27-28 November 2014 at UTS Sydney. The aim of the forum is to assist Aboriginal community organisations and service providers to better understand how federal and state court systems deal with domestic violence, child and family protection. Guest speakers include Judge Matthew Myers AM, from the Federal Circuit Court, and representatives from the Family Court. Learn more here.

Changes to conditions of entry to courthouses

Tue Oct 14 2014

The NSW Sheriff's Office has reviewed security arrangements at courts throughout the state, after the Australian National Terror Threat Alert level was raised to "high" on 12 September. Beginning 20 October 2014: all persons entering any court are subject to the Department of Justice's security procedures; and bags of all sizes (including large suit cases), walking sticks, files, boxes etc are to be passed through the X-ray machine. Visual inspection of bags will no longer be permitted.

The sheriff has advised that: "any previous localised arrangements relating to practitioners have now ceased and are no longer valid. This includes special arrangements for the Downing Centre".