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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: jhouen@barcare.org

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

Tue Oct 02 2018
Vale

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.

CIVIL LIABILITY (NON-ECONOMIC LOSS) AMENDMENT ORDER 2018 (NSW)

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.

Robert David Harding SC (1946-2018)

Fri Sep 28 2018
Vale

Robert David Harding SC, former barrister, who was called to the Bar in 1977 passed away on Monday.

A private funeral service will be held next week for family and close friends.

Minds Count Lecture

Fri Sep 28 2018

The Minds Count annual lecture will take place on Monday 12 November 2018, 5.45pm for 6.00pm start – 8.00pm at Federal Court, Sydney.

As mental health challenges generally increase, it is imperative that organisations’ have mental health and wellness strategies that are evidence-based, and can evolve with improving scientific knowledge.

Please join our speakers Stephen Sly, DLA Piper and Dr Brian Marien, The Positive Group. Stephen is the former co-chair of DLA Piper Litigation and Regulation Group and Brian is the co-founder and director of the Positive Group, a company dedicated to delivering evidence based techniques to improve the psychological wellbeing, resilience and performance of individuals and teams. Together they will outline some key points from the current research on behavioural psychology and also include some personal reflections on managing a career in a high performance culture.

We hope you can join us for this special event! Click here for more information and to register.

Everything you wanted to ask a judge but are too afraid to ask

Fri Sep 28 2018

The New Barristers’ Committee will again host the Judicial Q&A panel in the Bar Common Room on Thursday, 25 October at 5.15pm. As usual, the Q&A will feature a panel of judges who will answer your burning questions, which you dare not ask in court. However, this year drinks (like costs) will follow the event at the St James Crypt and Garden Courtyard (across from the court). Members are welcome to attend one or both events.

  • Register here for the Q&A and to submit your questions for the panel
  • Register here for the drinks (free for under 5s, $30 for over 5s)

Please note that registrations are necessary for Under 5s attending the drinks (regardless of no cost) for catering purposes.


The Q&A panel discussion is designed to allow under 5s to pose questions to judges from the Federal Court, Supreme Court and District Court with a view to assisting new barristers in their court craft, advocacy and practice in those courts.

The drinks function which follows will provide an opportunity for New Barristers to catch up. The drinks will also serve as an opportunity to welcome the new cohort of Barristers from the 2018 Bar Practice Courses.

Members of the judiciary and barristers over 5 years are also invited to the drinks.

We would also like to thank BarCover who are kindly sponsoring this event. To find out more about what BarCover has to offer you please visit their website.

2019 Regional Conference Series

Fri Sep 28 2018
Final Call for papers

The Bar Association's Professional Development Department invites members to submit suggestions and/or abstracts for papers to be included in the association's 2019 CPD Conference series. The conferences will be held on Saturdays in Ballina, Newcastle, Orange, Parramatta and Sydney during February and March.

The dates for 2019 Conferences are:

  • Newcastle – Saturday 23 February
  • North Coast (Ballina) – Saturday 2 March
  • Orange – Saturday 9 March (Please note, from 2019 Orange will be a single day Saturday conference due to falling demand)
  • Parramatta - Saturday 23 March
  • Sydney – Saturday 30 March

Interested barristers, solicitors, academics, legal and non-legal professionals are invited to submit suggestions for papers online, HERE. During the submission process, you will be asked to provide your contact details, conference preference, a working title and, where possible, a short description or abstract of your suggestion presentation.

Suggestions and abstracts are requested by Monday 1 October.

Announcement of Senior Counsel Appointments

Thu Sep 27 2018

President Arthur Moses SC advises members of the NSW Bar Association that an announcement of senior counsel appointments for 2018 will be made on Friday, 5 October 2018.

Book your summer holiday now

Thu Sep 27 2018
Member services and benefits

Your Bar Association member benefits are perfect for planning your summer travels. You can save hundreds when booking your weekend trips, summer holidays and activities. Transform essentials into luxuries and have more leftover to enjoy your stay:

  • Save over $300 on a new Qantas Club Airline lounge membership.
  • Access up to 60% off accommodation in thousands of locations around the world.
  • Enjoy 3% off pre-purchased Flight Centre e-gift cards to purchase discounted flights and accommodation.
  • Receive an online quote with specially negotiated travel insurance premiums.
  • To access all these benefits, simply log in to your New South Wales Bar Association member area using your CPD streaming username and password.

*T&Cs apply. Prices and savings correct as of 25/09/2018

15 Bobber- Ms Kelly Rees SC - Appointment to the Supreme Court of NSW

Thu Sep 27 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.

Message from the Bar Knitting (not only knitting) Group

Thu Sep 27 2018
Wellbeing

Click here to see a photo of our recent meeting. Aren’t you sorry you didn’t make it? By popular demand, at our next meeting we will start a Sock Knit-along. If you’d like to participate, all you need to do is to show up, armed with sock yarn and some 2.5mm or 2.75mm needles (either double pointed needles or a circular needle - ask if you aren’t sure). We will provide copies of a basic pattern (you can do some early reading if you like - click here and we’ll have experienced sock knitters at the meeting to provide assistance as required.

See you on the fourth Tuesday in October (23rd) to cast on your socks!

Indigenous Barristers' Trust - National Indigenous Legal Conference 2018

Thu Sep 27 2018

The current Reconciliation Plan reflects a lengthy and ongoing commitment of and the various steps being taken by the New South Wales Bar Association to address the substantial under-representation of First Nations barristers at the NSW Bar. The primary support mechanism is through the Indigenous Barristers Trust the Mum Shirl Fund (the Trust) which principally provides financial and other critical support to new First Nations barristers. The Trust has been generously supported by barristers and the judiciary since its inception in 2000.

The Trust usually makes a few grants each year to law students who aspire to practice as advocates but who needed to overcome significant financial disadvantages preventing them from completing their law studies. These grants make a significant difference to ensure that these students complete their law courses and in due course can achieve their dreams of practising at the Bar. A few grants each year are also made to young solicitors to attend advocacy courses to increase their professional skills for when they join the Bar.

Trustees of the Indigenous Barristers’ Trust are:

  • Chris Ronalds SC
  • Arthur Moses SC
  • Tony McAvoy SC
  • The Hon Justice Michael Slattery

One activity of the Trust is to annually fund two First Nations law students from each law school in NSW to the National Indigenous Legal Conference, which is not only a career development opportunity but also a wonderful opportunity to build important networks with fellow First Nations law students and lawyers from across Australia and demonstrate the many different areas of practice available for First Nations lawyers. This year the conference was hosted by the University of Western Australia and was held in Perth from 25 to 26 September 2018. The students sponsored by the Trust to attend the conference this year are:

  • Jude Barlow Charles Sturt University
  • Eliza McCabe Southern Cross University
  • Karen Gotts Southern Cross University
  • Odette Brown University of Newcastle
  • Gabrielle Hinchey University of Newcastle
  • Olivia Henderson University of Technology Sydney
  • Lehman Reti University of Technology Sydney
  • Ebony Adams University of New England
  • Mollie Jackson University of New England
  • Tiarni Herczeg Macquarie University
  • Alanna Reneman Macquarie University
  • Emily Bushell UNSW Sydney
  • Ashelee Christian UNSW Sydney

Click here to see a photo of the students who were at the conference in Perth this week.

The fund has tax deductible gift recipient status as a public benevolent institution under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth). Contributions of $2 or more are allowable deductions for income tax purposes. Click here to make a donation.

2019 Regional Conference Series

Wed Sep 26 2018
Final Call for papers

The Bar Association's Professional Development Department invites members to submit suggestions and/or abstracts for papers to be included in the association's 2019 CPD Conference series. The conferences will be held on Saturdays in Ballina, Newcastle, Orange, Parramatta and Sydney during February and March.

The dates for 2019 Conferences are:

  • Newcastle – Saturday 23 February
  • North Coast (Ballina) – Saturday 2 March
  • Orange – Saturday 9 March (Please note, from 2019 Orange will be a single day Saturday conference due to falling demand)
  • Parramatta - Saturday 23 March
  • Sydney – Saturday 30 March

Interested barristers, solicitors, academics, legal and non-legal professionals are invited to submit suggestions for papers online, HERE. During the submission process, you will be asked to provide your contact details, conference preference, a working title and, where possible, a short description or abstract of your suggestion presentation.

Suggestions and abstracts are requested by Monday 1 October.

Barristers Classifieds

Wed Sep 26 2018
Member services and benefits

The online Barristers' Classifieds enables every member of the Bar Association to buy or sell chambers, wigs, gowns, law reports and more. Simply login to your member dashboard via the Bar Association's home page. Standard posts are free of charge, but can be upgraded to premium with the addition of photos and a credit card payment of $25.

If you have any questions or difficulties using the system, contact the publications and promotions co-ordinator, Michelle Nisbet.

Large External room for sale - Tenth Floor St James Hall Chambers

Wed Sep 26 2018
Member services and benefits

Tenth Floor St James Hall Chambers currently has a large, well-lit, external room for sale measuring 5.6m by 3.6 m. The room includes built in, wooden storage as well as a robing cupboard. Tenth Floor St James Hall Chambers is a well-established, welcoming floor located opposite the Supreme Court of NSW. The Floor consists of 3 Senior Counsel and 8 Juniors, all of whom practice across a broad range of areas. To view photos click here.

If you require any further information or would like to arrange an appointment to view the room, please contact the Clerk, Grace Kenny on 9224 1501 or email here All enquiries and applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

Firies Climb For MND

Wed Sep 26 2018
Philanthropy

Joshua Beran, barrister, will participate in the Firies Climb for MND on 20 October 2018. Motor Neurone Disease is the terrible disease with which Peteris Ginters, barrister, was diagnosed in 2016.

Joshua is currently serving as senior deputy captain in the Rural Fire Service. The Firies Climb for MND involves current serving Fire Fighters climbing Centrepoint Tower (1504 steps) on 20 October in full structural firefighting kit, plus breathing apparatus (total weight 20kg). Joshua says that, notwithstanding the fact that he may need rescuing himself, his goal is to raise $1 per step for research into Motor Neurone Disease.

If anyone at the bar would like to donate to this worthwhile event, please click here

Bar Association annual general meeting and election timetable

Wed Sep 26 2018
Governance

The Bar Association’s AGM will be held on Thursday, 1 November at 5.00pm, in the Common Room. The election ballot closes at 1.00pm that day and counting commences on the morning of Friday, 2 November, with announcement of the results via In Brief later that day. The nomination forms for election of the 2019 Bar Council were posted on Friday, 14 September. Learn more here.

Public Law weekend - hosted by ANU - 2 & 3 November

Wed Sep 26 2018

The Public Law Weekend, hosted by the ANU Centre for International and Public Law, is one of Australia’s pre-eminent public law conferences. This year’s program will focus primarily on administrative law with a special emphasis on celebrating administrative law at the ANU, particularly the stellar careers of Emeritus Professors Robin Creyke AO and John McMillan AO.

Confirmed speakers include: the Hon Justice Stephen Gageler, the Hon Justice John Basten, the Hon Justice John Griffiths, the Hon Justice Rachel Pepper, the Hon Justice Janine Pritchard, Gabrielle Appleby, Mark Aronson, Judith Bannister, Will Bateman, Janina Boughey, Lisa Burton Crawford, Robin Creyke, Matthew Groves, Graeme Hill, Leighton McDonald, John McMillan, Dennis Pearce, Kim Rubenstein, Kristina Stern SC, Daniel Stewart and Greg Weeks.

Further information can be found at the conference website.

Room for Sale/Licence - 4th Floor Wentworth Chambers

Wed Sep 26 2018

A room is available on 4th Floor Wentworth Chambers for sale, or licence with a view to purchase. Time payment can be considered.

The room has built-in filing cupboards, a robing cupboard and shelving, new air conditioning and lots of natural light

4 Wentworth is a busy, harmonious and well established Floor of varying practices. For more information about the Floor, please visit our website: www.4wentworth.com.au

All enquiries will be dealt with in the strictest confidence and can be directed to the Clerk, Leanne Somerton here or call on or 9232 2722.

Criminal Court of Appeal decision highlights challenges of underfunding legal aid in NSW

Tue Sep 25 2018

A recent decision by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal has profiled some of the issues and uncertainties that underfunding of the state’s legal aid system creates for clients, counsel and the courts, the president of the Bar Association, Arthur Moses SC, said today.

The case of Director of Public Prosecutions v Martin (a pseudonym) [2018] NSWCCA 207 (click here) concerned an application to adjourn the DPP’s appeal against a ruling on the rejection of tendency evidence in Martin’s criminal trial. The Court’s practice note provides that such appeals must be heard “as expeditiously as possible” as a trial is pending.

The matter was listed before the Court on 21 September and the trial was the subject of a grant of legal aid to the accused. On 21 September the Court was informed that “trial counsel is not available today to appear on the Director’s appeal because Legal Aid has required that a separate grant be made with respect to the Director’s application in this Court and that, before aid is granted, a “merits advice” will be required from counsel other than trial counsel”.

As that advice was yet to be received, Martin sought an adjournment. The Court noted at [13] that “to refuse the adjournment application would be to cause, potentially, a significant detriment to the accused and the respondent to the appeal” as “He would be left without counsel through no fault of his own”. The matter was relisted for hearing on 5 October 2018.

In its judgment, the Court raised two important issues regarding the management and impact of the legal aid system. First, in relation to Legal Aid’s processes, Basten JA noted at [5]-[7] that:

  • The requirement of the Legal Aid Commission that a grant of aid will depend upon the obtaining of merits advice from counsel other than trial counsel appears, on its face, to defy rational explanation. It is one thing to impose such a condition where the accused is the applicant who seeks to review an adverse interlocutory ruling of the trial court; it makes very little sense to impose such a requirement where the accused has been successful at trial and seeks to retain the fruits of his success. The Registrar of the Court has communicated with the Legal Aid Commission in relation to this issue. Nevertheless, the Commission has confirmed that the requirement stands.
  • The Legal Aid Commission is staffed, relevantly for present purposes, by trained lawyers who work on a daily basis with applications for legal aid in indictable criminal matters. If some independent review of a grant to defend an interlocutory ruling were required, it might be expected that that review could be undertaken in-house so that an immediate response could be made to the application. In the alternative, the application might have been considered as simply a continuation of the grant with respect to the trial.

There may be an explanation for the Commission’s stance, but it is not self-evident. Because the Commission’s position has not changed in the face of informal communications from the Court, it is appropriate that this matter be aired publicly in the hope that steps will be taken to avoid this situation arising again.

Second, in relation to the position of Counsel for the accused, Basten JA noted at [9] that the Court was informed that the accused’s “counsel lives on the north coast and has not been prepared to attend the sitting of this Court in Sydney unless fees are guaranteed. The solicitor has no funds to provide such a guarantee and has no grant of legal aid for that purpose”. His Honour stated that:

Without further inquiry and hearing from counsel, it is doubtful whether this is an acceptable response. The offences the subject of the charges are alleged to have been committed in a western suburb of Sydney. The trial is being conducted at Penrith. As a general proposition, the fact that counsel briefed to appear at a trial lives on the north coast of New South Wales and would incur additional expenses in travelling to and from Sydney for the hearing of an interlocutory appeal is not an acceptable reason for non-attendance. (at [10])

The issue may not have arisen in the past because the Court would expect trial counsel to be prepared to appear in defence of an interlocutory judgment, particularly where the appeal is dealt with at a time when the trial, had it proceeded, might be expected to still be running. (Indeed, the Court has been informed that if the matter is determined today, the trial will commence next Monday.) There are occasions when counsel is expected to fulfil his or her professional obligations by appearing in circumstances where funding may be uncertain. There must, at least, be a reasonable expectation that legal aid, which had apparently been granted for the trial, would be extended to cover resistance to the current appeal. (at [8])

“This case highlights the problems of our underfunded Legal Aid system, which contributed to this situation,” Mr Moses SC said. “Under-resourcing of legal aid in NSW continues to pose challenges for clients, the victims of crime, witnesses, counsel and the courts in promoting the administration of justice. Delays impact on victims and witnesses who find the trial process stressful, not just the accused. However, despite this I remind Counsel acting in matters to be alert to the concerns outlined by the Court of the Criminal Appeal”.

Amendment to the Criminal Appeal Rules

Tue Sep 25 2018

On 19 September 2018, the Supreme Court Rules Committee approved Criminal Appeal (Amendment No 1) Rule 2018. The amendment enables the court to extend the period of time within which a notice of appeal, or a notice of application for leave to appeal, may be filed. The amendment was published on the NSW Legislation Website on 21 September 2018 and commenced on that day.

Everything you wanted to ask a judge but are too afraid to ask

Tue Sep 25 2018

The New Barristers’ Committee will again host the Judicial Q&A panel in the Bar Common Room on Thursday, 25 October at 5.15pm. As usual, the Q&A will feature a panel of judges who will answer your burning questions, which you dare not ask in court. However, this year drinks (like costs) will follow the event at the St James Crypt and Garden Courtyard (across from the court). Members are welcome to attend one or both events.

  • Register here for the Q&A and to submit your questions for the panel
  • Register here for the drinks (free for under 5s, $30 for over 5s)

Please note that registrations are necessary for Under 5s attending the drinks (regardless of no cost) for catering purposes.


The Q&A panel discussion is designed to allow under 5s to pose questions to judges from the Federal Court, Supreme Court and District Court with a view to assisting new barristers in their court craft, advocacy and practice in those courts.

The drinks function which follows will provide an opportunity for New Barristers to catch up. The drinks will also serve as an opportunity to welcome the new cohort of Barristers from the 2018 Bar Practice Courses.

Members of the judiciary and barristers over 5 years are also invited to the drinks.

We would also like to thank BarCover who are kindly sponsoring this event. To find out more about what BarCover has to offer you please visit their website.