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Great Bar Boat Race

Wed Nov 08 2017
Bar sports

The Wellbeing Committee invites everyone to join the 34th Great Bar Boat Race on Monday, 18 December 2017. This is a friendly race between solicitors and the Bench & Bar. The race commences at 11.00 off Shark Island and concludes about 2 hours later at Store Beach with a picnic. It is a wonderful day – come and enjoy it!. Details may be obtained from Adrian Gruzman on 0400222 211 or adrian@gruzman.com.au. For more information, and to obtain a registration form, download the Notice of Race.

External legal adviser to Joint Committee on Human Rights

Wed Nov 08 2017
Positions vacant

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights is seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified persons for appointment as an external legal adviser to the committee. The position commences in January 2018. The closing date for expressions of interest is COB Thursday, 23 November 2017. Potential applicants are encouraged to contact the Committee Secretariat on 02 6277 3823 for further information. Learn more here.

LawInform seminar

Wed Nov 08 2017

Ingmar Taylor SC (Greenway Chambers) and Andrew Gotting (PG Hely Chambers) will present a Law Society LawInform course on "Underpayments, bonuses, enterprise agreements and those employees that unleash on social media". It will be held on 22 November 2017, between 4.00pm and 7.00pm at the Law Society of New South Wales. For more information, or to register, click here.

Funeral arrangements for William Harwood Knight (1944-2017)

Wed Nov 08 2017
Vale

William (Bill) Knight, former District Court judge and barrister on 5 Wentworth Chambers, died on the afternoon of Friday, 3 November 2017. His funeral will be held on Monday, 13 November 2017 in St John's Church, 120 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst at 12.30pm. In lieu of flowers please donate to the Royal Institute for Dear and Blind Children.

Retirement Celebration - Mr Ian Barker QC

Wed Nov 08 2017
Social events

Members of the NSW Bar Association are invited to attend an event for Mr Ian Barker QC, celebrating his retirement. The event will be held Friday, 10 November in the New South Wales Bar Association Common Room. Speaking for Mr Ian Barker QC will be Mr Michael Adams QC. The event begins at 5.30pm with speeches beginning at 5.45pm. Please RSVP for catering purposes at events@nswbar.asn.au

The 2017 Annual Plunkett Lecture - this Thursday

Wed Nov 08 2017

Thursday, 9 November 2017: Mark Tedeschi AM QC will deliver the Annual Plunkett Lecture on 9 November 2017 at 5.15pm in the NSW Bar Association Common Room, to be chaired by the Attorney General, the Honourable Mark Speakman SC. Mr Tedeschi is the Senior Crown Prosecutor in New South Wales and the author of ‘Murder at Myall Creek: The Trial that Defined a Nation’, published by Simon & Schuster in 2016. Mr Tedeschi will deliver a lecture titled "John Hubert Plunkett QC and the Myall Creek murder trials."

Arrangements during the closure of Queens Square.

Tue Nov 07 2017

President Arthur Moses SC has received advice regarding the conduct of matters listed before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal while the Law Courts Building in Queens Square remains closed for repairs.

First, the president has been advised that members should assume that any matters listed until the end of Law Term will proceed unless notified to the contrary by the court. Members should continue to check daily court lists here.

Second, requests for access to files and exhibits for urgent matters should be emailed to sc.enquiries@justice.nsw.gov.au and addressed to Rebel Kenna, director and prothonotary. Arrangements will be made for the file or exhibit to be located and brought to the King Street Court Complex where a room will be made available for inspection.

Finally, the president has been advised that the probable date for reopening the Law Courts Building will be 20 November 2017. Members will be notified through InBrief if there is any change to that date.

Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation dinner - Book now!

Tue Nov 07 2017

The Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation invites members to a dinner on Friday, 10 November at the Wayside Chapel to celebrate the most successful year yet in efforts to reform Australia’s drug policies.

The special guest speaker will be Senator Larry Campbell, former member of the Drug Squad, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, former coroner and mayor of Vancouver. Senator Campbell was mayor when Insite was opened, Canada’s first medically supervised injecting centre. Senator Campbell will compare Australia with 2 approved Drug Consumption Rooms and Canada - where 15 will be opened in the next few years.

Other speakers include Dr Ingrid van Beek, Senator Richard Di Natale, and The Hon. Adam Searle MLC, Leader of the Opposition in NSW Legislative Council. Brooke Boney will be the MC.

The debate about drug law reform in Australia has now been won. Even Police Commissioners acknowledge that we cannot arrest or imprison our way out of our problems. The ACT government approved a trial of pill testing though implementation has temporarily (we hope) been thwarted.

And just days ago the Victorian Government approved a trial of a Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Melbourne. That’s worth celebrating!

The event will take place in the Wayside Chapel. Half a century ago the Wayside Chapel acknowledged the humanity of people who inject drugs. It was also in the Wayside Chapel where Australia’s first Medically Supervised Injecting Centre began operating (pre-legally) in May 1999.

  • 6:00 for 6:30pm until 10:00pm
  • The Wayside Chapel, 29 Hughes Street, Kings Cross NSW 2011
  • Non-members $150 + booking fee
  • Members $120 + booking fee
  • (Meal and drinks included)

Retirement Celebration - Mr Ian Barker QC

Tue Nov 07 2017
Social events

Members of the NSW Bar Association are invited to attend an event for Mr Ian Barker QC, celebrating his retirement. The event will be held Friday, 10 November in the New South Wales Bar Association Common Room. Speaking for Mr Ian Barker QC will be Mr Michael Adams QC. The event begins at 5.30pm with speeches beginning at 5.45pm. Please RSVP for catering purposes at events@nswbar.asn.au

Bar Choir Christmas Concert

Tue Nov 07 2017

Come join the Bar Choir in a concert of beautiful Christmas music on Thursday, 7 December 2017 6 to 7.00pm in St James Church, 173 King Street, Sydney. Learn more here.

Retirement Celebration - Mr Ian Barker QC

Tue Nov 07 2017
Social events

Members of the NSW Bar Association are invited to attend an event for Mr Ian Barker QC, celebrating his retirement. The event will be held Friday, 10 November in the New South Wales Bar Association Common Room. Speaking for Mr Ian Barker QC will be Mr Michael Adams QC. The event begins at 5.30pm with speeches beginning at 5.45pm. Please RSVP for catering purposes at events@nswbar.asn.au

Gender diversity key to raising standards for barristers

Mon Nov 06 2017
Diversity

In a world of accelerating technological development, the legal profession and the bar are hardly immune from the need for change. The policy dilemma for the NSW Bar Council is that the bar might not be changing fast enough.

Over the past 14 years the total number of practising barristers in NSW has increased by only 221. During this same period, the total number of practising solicitors in NSW has increased by more than 13,400. While the NSW bar has not grown much, numerically speaking, it has grown older. Nearly one-third of practising barristers are 60 or over. Most of those are men. Of the current 2362 practising barristers in NSW, only 525 (22.2 per cent) are women.

One principal aim of my presidency is to recruit more women to the bar. This is vital to ensuring the NSW bar remains the largest and strongest independent bar in Australia. Bodies such as the Institute of Company Directors make the point that diversity is a crucial element of good governance. Former High Court Justice Michael McHugh has put persuasively the need for diversity on the High Court bench as follows: “The need to maintain public confidence in the legitimacy and impartiality of the justice system is to me an unanswerable argument for having a judiciary in which men and women are equally represented.”

These considerations apply equally to the legal profession.

A dynamic and permeable independent bar, which attracts and retains the best advocates, irrespective of gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background, must eventually resemble the community from which it attracts talent.

To this end the NSW Bar Association is pursuing a range of initiatives to promote and achieve greater opportunities for women at the bar. One of the bar association’s objectives in its new strategic plan is to increase the adoption of the equitable briefing policy by clients, solicitors, government, barristers’ clerks and barristers, and ensure its implementation. The policy seeks to achieve cultural and attitudinal change within the legal profession with respect to gender briefing practices, so as to maximise choices for legal practitioners and their clients, promote the full use of the independent bar and optimise opportunities for practice development of all barristers.

Contrary to the rhetoric of its critics, the policy requires those briefing counsel to consider briefing a suitable female barrister — it does not impose a requirement to do so. The policy also provides for reporting measures so that changes to briefing practices over time can be monitored. It does not mean that counsel should not be appointed on merit but that prospective counsel should be considered equally.

To ensure that the bar remains the pre-eminent source of specialised advocacy services, each of us needs to contribute to the teaching and mentoring of colleagues to assist them in developing successful practices which in turn will help talented practitioners to deal with the challenges of sole practice and retain talent at the bar.

To this end the association has run a successful mentoring program over the past few years to assist junior barristers to come to terms with these challenges.

The program is particularly suited for new female barristers and those with a culturally diverse heritage who may not have the same support networks as those from more traditional legal backgrounds.

The concept of diversity of course involves far more than gender.

We are also committed through our strategic plan to improve diversity at the bar and promote and ensure equality of opportunity irrespective of age, physical disability, class, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion.

These days the NSW bar has an active social media presence which provides the bar’s messages to new, more diverse professional and demographic groups. In particular, they are being seen by law students and solicitors.

It is not unusual for one of the association’s tweets or posts to reach an audience many times the size of the bar itself.

Not only is this helpful in propagating the association’s policy message, but, just as importantly, it also helps to demystify the NSW bar and make it an institution with which an increasingly diverse range of people can identify and see as a career choice.

In the past the bar was perceived as a largely homogenous group practising in isolation from a changing community.

More recently the bar has acknowledged the strength and renewal that comes from genuine diversity and we are actively encouraging and pursuing programs aimed at a more balanced demographic among our members.

I must emphasise again that we are not seeking to promote anything beyond the progression on merit at the bar, but seeking to broaden the pool of meritorious candidates.

At a time when the bar is faced with myriad challenges, it is this very diversity that will provide us with the means and competencies to survive and thrive in the years to come. Arthur Moses SC is president of the NSW Bar Association.

This article was published in The Australian on Friday, 3 November 2017.

WBF Cocktails and Canapes to celebrate the women silks of 2017

Mon Nov 06 2017
Diversity

The Women Barristers Forum invites members to join them for cocktails and canapes at the Verandah Bar Restaurant on Tuesday, 14 November to celebrate the appointment of women senior counsel for 2017. Guest speaker will be Mary Gaudron QC. Learn more here.

United Nations Day Lecture re-scheduled to 5 December

Mon Nov 06 2017
International trade law

The United Nations Day Lecture marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of UNCITRAL has been postponed to 5 December 2017 due to the closure of the Law Courts Building in Queens Square. Learn more here.

The lecture is an initiative of the UNCITRAL National Coordination Committee for Australia (UNCCA). The speaker will be Tim Castle, barrister and chair of UNCCA and the chair will be Chrissa Loukas SC. It will be presented around Australia to introduce lawyers, academics and students to the past and future work of UNCITRAL. Admission will be free, but registration is required.

Positions vacant at QCAT

Mon Nov 06 2017

The Honourable Yvette D’Ath, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills, is seeking to appoint two Senior Members, two Ordinary Members, and one part-time Adjudicator of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

QCAT is an independent statutory body established to actively resolve disputes in a way that is fair, just, informal and quick. QCAT operates across three divisions, Human Rights, Civil Disputes and Administrative and Disciplinary and has an internal Appeals Tribunal. Members and Adjudicators are appointed for a period of up to five years by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Attorney-General.

Expressions of interest are sought from lawyers and other persons from diverse backgrounds with a high level of integrity, proven legal skills or specialist knowledge, sound judgment and excellent communication skills. Mediation skills are desirable. QCAT is committed to technological innovation to ensure accessibility for all tribunal users. A commitment to the use of technology will be viewed favourably.

Senior Members

Senior Members each head and case manage a Division and the Appeals List. They hear the complex matters within their Divisions and Appeals. They provide assistance and advice to the President and Deputy President, including about the allocation of members and tribunal procedures. The Senior Members perform a significant leadership role, including managing the Members and Adjudicators. Each Senior Member is assisted by an Associate.

Ordinary Members

Ordinary Members hear and decide matters within the Tribunal across a number of different divisions, depending on their particular expertise. Ordinary Members also conduct compulsory conferences.

Adjudicator

Adjudicators are responsible for hearing minor civil disputes and other less complex or non-contentious matters.

A comprehensive information pack including selection criteria and application and appointment requirements can be obtained online at QCAT.qld.gov.au.

PLEASE CONTACT

For further information contact David Reynolds or Sarah Vermeiren on 07 3023 1000. Applications together with required documentation must be lodged with Davidson Executive & Boards at executivejobs@davidsonwp.com quoting JO-1709-85539 on or before midnight (AEST) 19th November 2017.

PM's comments on Indigenous advisory body 'misconceived'

Mon Nov 06 2017
Law reform and public affairs

President Arthur Moses SC has described as 'misconceived' recent comments by Prime Minister Turnbull regarding an Indigenous advisory body to parliament, which was the key recommendation of the Referendum Council and the Uluru Statement.

"In no way does the voice recommendation impact on the sovereignty of the Parliament or create a third chamber of Parliament," Arthur Moses SC said.

Learn more here.

A generous donation from the silks of 2017

Mon Nov 06 2017
A message from President Arthur Moses SC

In keeping with a long-standing tradition, the 2017 silks have donated $52,000 to charity, in this case the Indigenous Barristers' Trust The Mum Shirl Fund. I thank each of the 2017 silks for their generosity and thoughtful initiative.

The Mum Shirl Fund works towards the long term strategy of increasing the number of Indigenous barristers who will commence practice and succeed at the New South Wales Bar. It does this by providing financial and other assistance to Indigenous barristers and through grants to law students who aspire to practice as advocates but who needed to overcome the significant financial disadvantages preventing them from completing their law studies. The current trustees of the fund are Justice Slattery, Chris Ronalds SC, Tony McAvoy SC and the person who occupies the office of president of the New South Wales Bar Association (at this time, myself).

These grants are making a real difference in ensuring these students complete their law courses and in due course may practise at the bar. One example is Jason O'Neil, a final year law student at UNSW, who received the Indigenous Barristers' Trust Award at the recent UNSW Indigenous Awards Night. The trust helped him to attend the World Indigenous Law Conference in California last year, and to find work with Jane Needham SC.

I encourage all members to donate to the Indigenous Barristers’ Trust The Mum Shirl Fund, which has received endorsement from the Australian Taxation Office as a deductible gift recipient. Contributions of $2 or more are allowable deductions for income tax purposes. Donations can be made using your credit card, via the Bar Association's website.

Coming up in CPD tonight

Mon Nov 06 2017

Monday, November 06 2017: 'A white coat view of black robe health'

Presented by Professor Matthew Large, School of Psychiatry, UNSW, and chaired by Arthur Moses SC. For full details please download a flyer here.

This seminar will commence at 5.15 pm in the Bar Association Common Room.

The 2017 Annual Plunkett Lecture

Fri Nov 03 2017

Thursday, 9 November 2017: Mark Tedeschi AM QC will deliver the Annual Plunkett Lecture on 9 November 2017 at 5.15pm in the NSW Bar Association Common Room, to be chaired by the Attorney General, the Honourable Mark Speakman SC. Mr Tedeschi is the Senior Crown Prosecutor in New South Wales and the author of ‘Murder at Myall Creek: The Trial that Defined a Nation’, published by Simon & Schuster in 2016. Mr Tedeschi will deliver a lecture titled "John Hubert Plunkett QC and the Myall Creek murder trials."

NSW Bar Association CPD Conferences 2018

Fri Nov 03 2017

Registrations are now OPEN for the New South Wales Bar Association Regional CPD Conferences. For more details about each venue, speakers and the costs involved please click here

  • Saturday, 17 February 2018 - North Coast
  • Saturday, 24 February 2018 - Parramatta
  • Saturday, 10 March 2018 - Newcastle
  • Saturday, 17 & Sunday, 18 March 2018 - Orange
  • Saturday, 24 March 2018 – Sydney

The conferences are run by registration only and places in each conference are strictly limited. To register and pay to secure your place please click here

Further speaker details will be made available over the coming weeks. These will be advertised in In Brief as well as on the NSW Bar Association Website.

For any questions about CPD requirements, conferences or the general CPD program, please contact the Professional Development Department on 02 9232 4919 or via e-mail cpd@nswbar.asn.au

Changes to Federal Circuit Court forms take effect today

Thu Nov 02 2017
Practice and procedure

Included in the recent rule amendments contained in the Federal Circuit Court Amendment (Costs and Other Measures) Rules 2017 was an amendment to extend the time a response must be filed and served from 14 days to 28 days of service of the application to which it relates. This amendment commences on 2 November 2017 and applies to applications made after the commencement. As a consequence of this amendment changes have been made to these forms:

Save the date : 2018 Personal Injury/Common Law Conference

Thu Nov 02 2017

The 2018 Personal Injury and Common Law Conference will be held at the Hilton Sydney on Saturday 3 March. The conference offers 5 CPD points.

Speaker details and online registration will be made available over the coming weeks. These will be advertised in In Brief as well as on the NSW Bar Association Website.

For any questions about CPD requirements, conferences or the general CPD program, please contact the Professional Development Department on 02 9232 4919 or via e-mail cpd@nswbar.asn.au