Contingency Fees on the Legal Table

Fri Oct 05 2018

If litigation funding and contingency fees are permitted to operate in Australia then there should a closely regulated regime. See my opinion piece at page 26 of today’s Australian Legal Affairs section. Click here(paywall) to see the full article.

Michael Wheelahan QC appointed to the Federal Court of Australia

Fri Oct 05 2018

Mr Michael Wheelahan QC has been appointed as a judge of the Federal Court of Australia. Mr Wheelahan QC commenced in the Melbourne Registry from on 3 October 2018.

Mr Wheelahan graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne in 1986, and was admitted as a practitioner of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1987.

He began his career as a solicitor with Madden Butler Elder & Graham and was called to the Victorian Bar in 1990 and was appointed silk in 2004. Click here for a copy of the full media release.

Senior counsel 2018

Fri Oct 05 2018

The appointment of senior counsel for 2018 will be announced at 1.00pm today. Learn more here.

rise2018 National Conference - Register Now

Thu Oct 04 2018

Register now to join the ABA, NSWBA at the rise2018 national conference scheduled to take place from 15-17 November in Sydney; a conference by the Bar for all professionals! Click here for more information.

The conference boasts an exciting and engaging line-up of speakers, interesting and topical discussion, this event is not to be missed!

  • Be inspired by leaders of the profession
  • Gain insights from ASX-listed General Counsel
  • Explore with CSIRO how the profession will be disrupted
  • Network with your peers from the bench, bar, firms and in-house
  • Join the conversation and shape the profession

The conference brings together Australia’s legal profession to discuss issues impacting on legal institutions, the rule of law and legal practice.

Hear from leading voices in the profession including:

  • The Hon Chief Justice Susan Kiefel AC, High Court of Australia
  • The Hon Chief Justice James Allsop AO, Federal Court of Australia
  • The Hon Chief Justice Tom Bathurst AC, Supreme Court of NSW
  • The Hon Justice Virginia AC Bell, High Court of Australia
  • The Hon Christian Porter MP
  • The Hon Mark Speakman MP
  • Sharon Cook, Chief Legal & Commercial Council NAB
  • Caroline Cox, Group General Counsel, BHP
  • Bret Walker SC
  • David Marr, ABC
  • Angela Wood, Partner KPMG
  • Sarah McNaughton SC, Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Sessions of interest include:

  • Q&A with Tony Jones, ABC
  • Change and the Legal Profession with The Hon Chief Justice Susan Kiefel AC
  • Directors’ Duties with Sharon Cook, NAB
  • In Conversation with the Regulators with Daniel Crennan QC
  • Class Actions – proudly supported by IMF Bentham
  • Navigating the Future with Vivek Srinivasan, Futures Manager - CSIRO
  • Effective Triage of Major Multi-faceted Disputes
  • Running Appeals in the 21st Century with The Hon Justice Pamela Tate, Supreme Court of Victoria

The conference also boasts genuine networking and social opportunities, including our Celebrating Women in Law breakfast, supported by Fairfax & Roberts, held on Friday 16 November at Planar Restaurant, ICC Sydney. Join us to hear from guest speaker Julia Baird, ABC.

We encourage you all to join the conversation, entertain clients and network with members of the bench, bar, government and media.

A detailed program, including social events, can be found here.

Please contact the event organisers here if you have any questions in relation to the program, pricing or how to register.

Statement from President Arthur Moses SC

Thu Oct 04 2018

Dear members and colleagues

It has been an honour and a great privilege to serve as President of the New South Wales Bar Association during 2017-18. After careful consideration, I have made the decision not to stand for re-election this month.

I have been humbled by the trust that you have placed in me and what we have achieved together over the last eighteen months. I am acutely aware of the great privilege and responsibility that comes with serving the New South Wales Bar. With every decision that came across my desk, I have always strived to act in the best interests of members and the Bar. This decision has been no different. I have decided to announce it at this time so that there is transparency and accountability before the time for nominations close on 8 October 2018.

From 1 January I will be taking up the position of President of the Law Council of Australia. I am pleased to be able to continue to serve the Australian legal profession in this new capacity. However, I believe it is in the best interests of the New South Wales Bar for me to step aside at this election to provide an opportunity for others to take up leadership of the Association while I serve in the office of President of the Law Council of Australia.

As the oldest and largest independent Bar in this country, I could not be more proud of the sterling standard of service, advocacy and citizenship that the New South Wales Bar continues to represent. Please be assured I will work with our next president to ensure a smooth transition.

I encourage all members to take every opportunity to be involved in the life and leadership of the Association to ensure that it continues to reflect the views of its members and remains a powerful voice for the administration of justice and the public good. The ballot for nominations to Bar Council closes at 4pm on Monday 8 October. I encourage any member who is of the view that she or he can contribute to the important and difficult work of the Bar Council to nominate.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the current members of the Executive: Tim Game SC , Andrew Bell SC, Anna Mitchelmore and Sophie Callan. I have been very grateful for their selfless work, wise counsel and friendship. I could not have discharged my duties without each of them. I also pay tribute to the Bar Councillors of 2017 and 2018 for their tireless service, contribution and advice, as well as the many members who have graciously given of their time and expertise to assist myself and the Association.

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Association’s Executive Director Professor Greg Tolhurst for his leadership,dedication and counsel, and the staff of the Bar Association for their enthusiasm, professionalism and hard work.

I wish all candidates well and thank them for offering their service to the Bar. I look forward to working with the new President of the New South Wales Bar Association to serve our profession and the administration of justice. In the interim, I will continue to devote my energies as President until a new President is elected.

Surviving the Sri Lankan civil war

Thu Oct 04 2018

Members are invited to attend a literary lunch hosted by the Refugee Advice & Casework Service on Friday, 19 October 2018. The topic will be "The Power of Good People Surviving the Sri Lankan Civil War", presented by authors Para Paheer and Alison Corke. The special guest will be RACS patron Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs. For more information about the speakers, or to reserve your place, visit the RACS website.

15 Bobber for Justice Kelly Rees

Thu Oct 04 2018
Social events

Members of the NSW Bar Association are invited to attend the 15 Bobber for the Hon Justice Kelly Rees, celebrating her recent appointment to the Supreme Court of New South Wales. The 15 Bobber will be held Friday, 19 October in the New South Wales Bar Association Common Room. Speaking for her Honour will be Mr Peter Braham SC. The event begins at 5.15pm with speeches beginning at 5.30pm. RSVP here by Friday, 12 October 2018.

2018 CIArb Australia Annual Dinner

Wed Oct 03 2018

Members are invited to attend the 2018 CIArb Australia Dinner featuring guest speaker, Allan Myers AC QC. To be held at No35, at the Sofitel Melbourne On Collins, the dinner will be attended by distinguished guests including members of the judiciary, business, government, media and global leaders of international dispute resolution. Learn more here.

Retirement ceremony for Chief Justice John Pascoe AC CVO

Wed Oct 03 2018

Members are advised a joint ceremony of the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia will be held on Monday, 8 October 2018 to mark the retirement of Chief Justice John Pascoe AC CVO, chief justice of the Family Court of Australia. The ceremony will be held at 4.30pm in Court 1, Level 21, Queen's Square.

Nominations for 2019 Bar Council

Wed Oct 03 2018

Members are reminded that nominations for the 2019 Bar Council must be received by the returning officer by 4.00pm on Monday, 8 October 2018.

Nomination forms have been posted to all members. The form is available from the Bar Association's reception (ph: 9232 4055; fax: 9221 1149 or e-mail

All nominations are acknowledged by e-mail to the candidate within 24 hours of their receipt by the returning officer. A candidate who has not received an acknowledgment within 24 hours of when they believe the nomination would have been received by the returning officer should immediately contact Georgina Stow at the Bar Association on ph: 9232 4055 or e-mail:

CPD in October

Wed Oct 03 2018
Monday, October 15 2018 - Surrounding Circumstances in Contractual Interpretation: the State of the Law

Presented by John Eldridge, Lecturer, The University of Sydney. Chaired by Greg Tolhurst. This is a lunchtime seminar commencing at 1 pm. Learn more here.

Wednesday, October 17 2018 - Criminal Trial Advocacy: Observations from the Bench

This is a unique and valuable opportunity for the NSW Bar to benefit from the observations of two Judges of the District Court of New South Wales on criminal trial advocacy. The panel includes Her Honour Judge J A Girdham SC and Her Honour Judge H L Syme. Learn more here.

This is the first CPD in the Women Barristers Forum’s Advocacy Skills Series._

Thursday, October 18 2018 - Contracting Out of Statutory Prohibitions Against Misleading or Deceptive Conduct

Presented Richard Scruby SC, chaired by Dr Kristina Stern SC and commentary by The Hon JD Heydon AC QC. Learn more here.

This seminar has been organised by the Commercial Law Section.

Thursday, October 25 2018, - Judicial Q&A

The New Barristers’ Committee will again host the Judicial Q&A panel in the Bar Common Room on Thursday, 25 October at 5.15pm. The Q&A will feature a panel of judges who will answer your burning questions, which you dare not ask in court. This year the panel will include Justice Julie Ward, Chief Judge in Equity, Supreme Court of NSW; Justice Michael Lee SC, Federal Court of Australia and Judge Penelope Wass SC, District Court of NSW. Learn more here.

Wednesday, October 31 2018 - Appearing before Tribunals

Please join Deputy Presidents of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal as they discuss tips for effective advocacy when appearing before tribunals. The panel includes The Hon. Acting Judge Jennifer Boland AM, Deputy President, NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Ms Jan Redfern PSM, Deputy President, Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Surya Palaniappan, Sixth Floor. Learn more here.

This is the second CPD in the Women Barristers Forum’s Advocacy Skills Series.

Equitable briefing report due

Wed Oct 03 2018

The equitable briefing reporting year closed on 30 June. Reports were due on 30 September.

This year, reports must be provided to the Law Council of Australia directly through its reporting portal. The portal for Counsel is here.

You can find the Law Council of Australia’s Guidelines, including templates for record-keeping and reporting, here.

If you have any questions about your reporting obligations under the equitable briefing policy, or any other matter to do with the policy, you are welcome to contact Ms Ting Lim, Senior Policy Lawyer, at the Bar Association: You can also contact the Law Council of Australia directly at

Courts in the crosshairs

Tue Oct 02 2018

In the Weekend Australian at page 17 on Saturday there was an important analysis by former High Court judge Dyson Heydon on unacceptable delays of judgments being delivered, especially in the Federal Court, which weakens the capacity of courts to do justice. Click here to see the full article.

Mental Health Month

Tue Oct 02 2018

October is Mental Health Month and the Black Dog Institute is running a number of presentations as webinars for those of you who may not have had the opportunity to attend.

For more information or to register for one of these upcoming webinars, click here.

You can also join the Black Dog Institute for World Mental Health Day on Wednesday, October 10 on Facebook to catch live interviews with some of their team or visit their website here to learn more about the programs.

If you feel you not coping with work or other life pressures, remember that BarCare is available. Jenny Houen may be contacted via telephone on 0427 317 958 or via email:

His Honour Judge Kevin O'Connor AM (1946-2018)

Tue Oct 02 2018

His Honour Judge Kevin O'Connor, former President of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal and Deputy President of NCAT, District Court Judge and Federal Privacy Commissioner passed away on Sunday 30 September 2018.

Details for funeral arrangements will be provided when these are available.

Appointments of the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia (FED)

Fri Sep 28 2018

Attorney-General, Christian Porter announced yesterday the appointment of the new Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia. "The new Chief Justice of the Family Court will be the Honourable William Alstergren, the current Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and Deputy Chief Justice of the Family Court. Chief Judge Alstergren will retain his commission as Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court. With Chief Judge Alstergren’s elevation, the Honourable Justice Robert McClelland will become the new Deputy Chief Justice of the Family Court."

Click here for the full media release.

The Motor Accident Injuries Amendment (Indexation) Regulation 2018

Fri Sep 28 2018

The Motor Accident Injuries Amendment (Indexation) Regulation 2018 (the Regulation) has been published on the NSW legislation website.

The NSW Government committed to regular indexation of maximum legal costs and medico-legal fees during consultation on CTP Scheme Reforms.

The Regulation provides, with some exceptions, for annual adjustment in accordance with inflation of the maximum costs for legal services, and the maximum fees for medico-legal services, recoverable under the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017. The provisions of the regulation will take effect on 1 October 2018.

Also published on the NSW legislation website are the following Orders, commencing on 1 October 2018: • Motor Accident Injuries (Indexation) Amendment Order 2018 • Motor Accidents (Determination of Non-Economic Loss) Amendment Order 2018 • Motor Accidents Compensation (Determination of Loss) Amendment Order 2018

The Regulation and Orders can be accessed here.


Fri Sep 28 2018

The object of the Civil Liability (Non-economic Loss) Order 2010 is to adjust, for the year commencing 1 October 2018, the maximum amount that may be awarded for damages for non-economic loss under the Civil Liability Act 2002 (the Act). Section 17 of the Act requires the Minister to declare the amount in each year. The amount is to be indexed by reference to movements in average weekly earnings. An amount specified in the Civil Liability (Non-economic Loss) Order 2010 (as amended by this Order) applies to the exclusion of the corresponding amount specified in section 16 (2) of the Act.

Click here to see a full copy.