Forbes Society - Tutorial in Australian Legal History

Wed Jun 13 2018

Members are reminded that the next Forbes legal history tutorial will be delivered by Professor Mark Lunney, on "History of the law of tort" on Tuesday, 19 June 2018, at 5.15pm in Banco Court. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Reminder about supporting research projects supported by the Forbes Society

One of the Society’s objects is to encourage and promote research into Australian legal history and it maintains a fund for that purpose to which donations may be made – the Francis Forbes Fund (donations of $2.00 or more are tax deductible). Members will recall that last year the Council of the Forbes Society approved a grant from the Fund to the University of Sydney to support the project of Professor Anne Twomey to publish of Pitt Cobbett's grand opus called ‘The Government of Australia’. We are pleased to share this update from Professor Twomey:

Professor Pitt Cobbett wrote his grand opus on The Government of Australia in his retirement, leaving it as an 'unfinished symphony' upon his death in 1919, with a request to his executors that it be finished, edited and published. But the High Court handed down its judgment in the Engineers Case the following year, and the executors decided the manuscript was out of date. It was instead donated to the University of Sydney and has sat quietly moulding there ever since. It is now a work of great historic importance, showing how the Constitution was understood in the first twenty years of its existence.

The Forbes Society has kindly supported the project of finishing, editing and publishing this work. The aim is to publish it upon the centenary of Pitt Cobbett's death, in 2019. The Society donated $8300 to pay a PhD student to check the footnotes of the book and to help subsidise publication to make it viable. Unfortunately, the full $8300 was spent on the footnote checking, as it turned out that as Pitt Cobbett's illness increased, the accuracy of his footnotes decreased and considerable work had to be undertaken to find the correct sources. I am therefore hoping for some additional assistance from the Society later in the year to subsidise publication so that it can be published as a hardback book for libraries and scholars to consult for generations. The support of the Society is essential for this type of work, which would otherwise not see the light of day and remain moulding away, unseen and forgotten. We will not learn from our past unless our history is readily accessible. The Francis Forbes Society ensures that it is.

The Society welcomes further donations to enable us to support such worthy projects – a form for donations is available here: Forbes Fund Donation Form and on the web site under DONATIONS

World Cup tipping competition closes tomorrow night

Wed Jun 13 2018

Your tips in the Not the NSW Bar Association World Cup Tipping competition are due before 1am this Friday 15 June (ie tomorrow night). The competition is open to all members of the Bench and Bar, and their families. The tipping form is here. Tip: save the form first to your computer then complete it and attach the saved completed form to an email. If your system does not allow you to save an edited form then complete it and then print/scan it and send that by email.

Coming up in CPD tomorrow

Wed Jun 13 2018

Thursday, June 14 2018 - Issues in Securities Class Actions

Presented by Jeremy Kirk SC and Perry Herzfeld. Commentary by The Hon Peter Jacobson QC. Chaired by Ruth Higgins SC. For full details, please download a flyer here.

This seminar has been organised by the Commercial Law Section.

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

For a full list of current CPD events please click here.

rise2018 – 2018 ABA & NSWBA National Conference – 15-17 November, Sydney

Wed Jun 13 2018

The 2018 ABA and New South Wales Bar Association National Conference - rise2018 - has featured in the latest edition of Lawyers Weekly.

Speaking to LW, the CEO of the ABA, Cindy Penrose, said: "The calibre of the [conference line-up] represents the very best of what Australia’s legal profession has to offer and exemplifies the contribution that our members can and continue to make to the administration of justice, law reform and public policy in this country."

The theme for the 2018 ABA & NSWBA National Conference is rise2018 – relevant/resilient/respected, three concepts, carefully chosen as key to the legal profession dealing with disruption and change within contemporary society. Held over two-days, 16 and 17 November, the conference consists of thought provoking plenary sessions and specialised streams in commercial law, taxation law, criminal law and future practice.

Keynote speakers include: The Hon Susan Kiefel AC, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, The Hon James Allsop AO, Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia and The Hon Tom Bathurst AC, Chief Justice of NSW. Other confirmed speakers include: The Hon Justice Virginia Bell AC, The Hon Justice Pamela Tate, The Hon Mark Speakman SC MP, The Hon John Quigley MLA, Professor Hilary Charlesworth, Allan Myers AC QC, Roderick Cordara QC, Bret Walker SC, Dr Matt Collins QC and Tony Jones (ABC).

Venue: The conference will be held at the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), Darling Harbour.

Travel & accommodation: Packages for the conference will be released next week. To register your interest for the conference, including details regarding the program and the early-release registration and travel and accommodation packages, please click here.

Conference registration will open in early May.

In the news: defamation and trial preparation access to terrorism suspects

Tue Jun 12 2018
Law reform and public affairs

The Bar Association's media release and submission on reforms to defamation laws were reported in The Australian yesterday. President Arthur Moses SC has argued that defamation protections must be extended to all Australian companies to bring the country in line with similar jurisdictions overseas.

"It seems rather incongruous that an Australian corporation cannot sue for defamation — even if it suffers significant financial loss — yet international corporations that it competes with in common law jurisdictions like the UK, New Zealand and India, can sue for defamation. This restriction impacts on Australian corporations because there is no level playing field."

Similarly, the Bar Association's media release welcoming new recommendations by the Inspector of Custodial Services to improve access to legal representation for prisoners charged with terrorism offences has been reported in Lawyers Weekly.

Queen's Birthday Honours List

Tue Jun 12 2018

The Bar Association is pleased to advise that four members were recognised in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours List.

The Hon Catherine Branson QC - Companion(AC) in the General Division of the Order of Australia - For eminent service to the judiciary as a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia, to the law as an advocate for human rights and civil liberties, to judicial administration and professional development, and to governance roles in tertiary education.

The Hon Judge John Hatzistergos - Member(AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia - For significant service to the law and the judiciary, and to the people and Parliament of New South Wales through a range of ministerial roles.

Bruce Hodgkinson SC - Member(AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia - For significant service to community health through cancer support and awareness programs, and to rugby union, particularly to player welfare.

His Honour Magistrate Michael North Holmes - Medal(OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division - For service to the law, and to the community.

Funding for access to justice initiatives

Tue Jun 12 2018
A statement from President Arthur Moses SC

The Attorney General the Hon Mark Speakman SC MP and the Treasurer the Hon Dominic Perrottet MP have today announced additional funding for civil justice initiatives in the 2018-19 State Budget. I particularly welcome the announcement of $15 million for Community Legal Centres over the next four years. The Bar Association has consistently advocated for the allocation of additional funding for Community Justice Centres, which play an important role in providing access to justice in this State. I also note the allocation of $7 million over the next four years for initiatives to assist with the resolution of relatively minor civil disputes. The Bar Association is represented on the Attorney General’s Civil Justice Collaboration Group, which will have input into the implementation of these proposals. Members will be kept informed of developments.

Coming up in CPD this week

Tue Jun 12 2018

Thursday, June 14 2018 - Issues in Securities Class Actions

Presented by Jeremy Kirk SC and Perry Herzfeld. Commentary by The Hon Peter Jacobson QC. Chaired by Ruth Higgins SC. For full details, please download a flyer here.

This seminar has been organised by the Commercial Law Section.

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

For a full list of current CPD events please click here.

2018 Tutors & Readers Dinner

Tue Jun 12 2018

2/17 and 1/18 Readers and their Tutors are invited to attend the 2018 Tutors & Readers Dinner. The dinner will be held in the Establishment Ballroom on Friday, 22 June at 7.00pm for 7.30pm. Dress for the evening is business attire. The Guest of Honour is Her Hon Judge Julia Baird and the Reader Speaker is Tim Senior. RSVP’s are required by Thursday 14 June. For further details and to RSVP for the dinner, please click here.

The 2018 Tutors & Readers Dinner is kindly supported by Bar Cover.

Celebrating the career of the Hon Jane Mathews AO

Tue Jun 12 2018

Members are invited to celebrate of the career of the Hon Jane Mathews AO on Friday, 15 June 2018. Speaking for the Hon Jane Mathews AO will be the Hon Margaret Beazley AO. The celebration will commence at 5.15pm with the speeches at 5.45pm. RSVP by 6.00pm on Wednesday 13 June. Tickets purchased after this time will be $25 at the door. RSVP here.

John Hope Gibson (1934-2018)

Tue Jun 12 2018

John Hope Gibson, former barrister and prothonotary of the NSW Supreme Court, died on Saturday, 9 June 2018. He will be buried at a private ceremony.

Defamation law reform

Fri Jun 08 2018
Media release

The NSW Attorney General has announced that NSW will "lead a push to modernise" Australia’s defamation law and improve the justice system’s engagement with digital media cases. The Attorney’s announcement follows the release of a new report by the NSW Department of Justice containing 16 recommendations. This report is the result of a statutory review, which first commenced in 2011, of the Defamation Act 2005 which implements the Model Defamation Provisions in New South Wales. The report includes a recommendation that the Council of Attorneys-General request a review of the Model Defamation Provisions to reconsider whether corporations should be given the right to sue for defamation.

Corporations have been prevented by legislation from suing for defamation, except in limited circumstances, since 2002. This is inconsistent with the position in other common law jurisdictions including the UK where a corporation may bring a claim for defamation if publication of a statement has “caused or is likely to cause serious harm” to its reputation. For bodies that trade for profit, reputational harm is not considered to be “‘serious harm’ unless it has caused or is likely to cause the body serious financial loss”.

The New South Wales Bar Association made submissions to the review in 2011 recommending that corporations’ rights to sue for defamation should be restored in Australia. The Association’s submissions are acknowledged in the report and have been reported in media today, including by the Guardian.

The report considered that current defamation law “continues to be appropriate”. However, in light of the position in other countries including the UK, the report recommends that National Uniform Defamation Law jurisdictions “reflect further on the question with a view to either reconfirming their position, or potentially amending” the Model Defamation Provisions.
The Association is committed to the administration of justice and promotion of the public good. As with any piece of legislation or policy reform, it is prudent and appropriate to continue to assess how well that law is performing and whether it continues to serve its intended purpose over time. This is particularly important for laws that seek to regulate and balance rights and freedoms in our rapidly changing global media and regulatory environment.

The Bar Association welcomes the opportunity to continue to engage with Government on this issue to ensure Australia’s defamation laws remain relevant and fit for purpose in today’s society.

Legal history tutorials

Fri Jun 08 2018

The next Francis Forbes Society legal history tutorial will be "History of the Law of Tort", to be delivered by Professor Mark Lunney on Tuesday, 19 June 2018 at 5.15pm in Banco Court.

The Forbes Society welcomes new members. Apply here.

National Letter of Engagement

Thu Jun 07 2018

The Law Council of Australia has written to the Commonwealth DPP to express concerns about changes to its fee structure, under which barristers appearing in trials will not receive payment whilst the jury deliberates, unless there are exceptional circumstances or counsel is required to appear in court during the deliberations.

The LCA, through the Bar Association, will keep members informed of progress in negotiations with the CDPP.

Work-life balance of English criminal barristers is deteriorating

Wed Jun 06 2018

The Bar Council of England and Wales has published a new report, titled Barristers' Working Lives 2017. Some of the findings are grim and reflect the data collected by the New South Wales Bar Association in its own Quality of Working Life survey. As a result of constant cuts to Legal Aid, more than one-third of criminal barristers are "considering their career options".

Final call for 2018-19 practising certificates

Wed Jun 06 2018
Renewals update

All practising certificate renewal documentation must be received by the Bar Association tomorrow, 7 June 2018, otherwise a late fee applies.

Remember: you don't need to wait for confirmation of insurance in order to return your completed renewal form and payment. Preliminary processing of your practising certificate can begin and your insurance can be matched up with your renewal documentation once confirmation of insurance is received.

Not intending to renew your practising certificate?

If you have decided not to renew your practising certificate this year, would you please advise us in writing that this is your intention so we can note our records.

If you have questions regarding your renewal documentation, please contact the certification officer, Barrie Anthony ph: (02) 9232 4055, or e-mail

Visit by Bangladeshi judges

Wed Jun 06 2018

On 6 June 2018 the Bar Association hosted a visit by over 40 judges and magistrates from Bangladesh. The judges were visiting as part of an international training program conducted by the International Centre for Ocean Governance at Western Sydney University. The judges were addressed by the Executive Director on the role of barristers in the Australian legal system, legal education in Australia and the work of the Bar Association.

Trust money account – Fees in advance – External Examination report due 7 June 2018

Wed Jun 06 2018

A final reminder for any barristers who, in the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018, have received fees in advance, that is, as described in the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Regulation 2015 (the LPULAR), money on account of legal costs for legal services in advance of the provision by the barrister of the legal services – an External Examiner must be appointed to carry out an examination of the clause 15 account for the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018. Clause 15(2) of the LPULAR also requires that a copy of the External Examination report be provided to the Bar Council by no later than 7 June 2018. The External Examination report template, which has been amended from 2017, is available on the Bar Association’s website under the heading "Fees in Advance" here.

Any questions? Please contact the Bar Association’s Legal Officer, Angela Huang, on (02) 9232 4055 or

Legal Aid NSW Summary Criminal Law Panel

Wed Jun 06 2018
Reminder: applications due by 18 June 2018

The Summary Criminal Law Panel (formerly the General Criminal Law Panel) is currently open for new applications from solicitors and barristers.

Applications must be submitted online through the Panels Application Website by Monday, 18 June 2018 for consideration by the Selection Committee.

Please note that if you are currently a member of the General Criminal Law Panel your membership will continue on the Summary Criminal Law Panel. You do not need to apply.

Information about the Panel is available on the Summary Criminal Law Solicitor Panel web page and contains the following:

  • Information for applicants
  • Practice standards
  • Service agreement
  • Supervisory Undertaking
  • Information for Supervisors of Panel Lawyers

More information about how to submit an application is available at the following web pages:

For any further enquiries regarding the Panel please email or contact Professional Practices on 9219 5662.