The Australian Bar Association’s vision, articulated in its current Strategic Plan, is to be “the national voice for the independent Bars of Australia”, with objectives of promoting the rule of law and access to justice, fostering a collegiate, inclusive and diverse national association of barristers; maintaining and enhancing professional standards; and providing opportunities for members to enhance professional performance.
As 2022 draws to a close, I am pleased to provide members with a report of how your Association has executed against the Strategic Plan over the past twelve months.
In addition to our ordinary functions such as governance, management of relationships with members and stakeholders, and responding to requests for policy and law reform submissions, which together consume much of the day-to-day time of the Association:
The ABA is principally funded by a capitation fee, which is collected by State and Territory Bar Associations on behalf of members. For the year to 30 June 2022, the capitation fee per barrister was $92. I hope all members agree that that represents value for money.
This is my last report as President of the ABA.
It has been a privilege to lead the Association over the past twelve months, and to meet so many dedicated, talented and hard-working members around Australia who, every day, make a difference in the lives of their clients and contribute to the ongoing strength, reputation and endurance of the Bar. We are a remarkable college, strong because of our commitment to shared values. I wish my successor and their team all the very best for the coming year.
Matt Collins AM KC
The ABA is assisted in its mission by a small team who handle the day-to-day administration and ensure that, while Presidents, Executives and Councils change, the Association has continuity.
Greg Tolhurst — CEO
[photo not provided]
Kelsey Rissman — Chief Financial Officer
Róisín Ryan — Media and Communications Manager
Hayden Doria — Events Manager
Liz Barr — Executive Assistant
The ABA and its committees have worked hard in 2022 to build up a library of high quality nationally available podcasts and CPD material, which is now accessible at https://austbar.asn.au/aba-on-demand.
Accessing the CPDs requires an account with the National Barrister Database — sign up at https://fab.austbar.asn.au/register.
Current CPDs include Trans Athletes in Sport – Current Protections and Options for Reform, presented by the Diversity & Inclusion committee, and A Trans-Tasman Perspective on General Anti-Avoidance Regimes, presented by the Taxation Committee.
30 November will see a CDP presented by Legal Home Loans on personal finance management for barristers — register here.
New to the podcast section is a conversation between Dr Matt Collins AM KC and John Heard of the Victorian Bar about John’s pathway to the Bar.
There are places available for only 42 barristers. Seniority of at least five years at the private bar is a pre-requisite.
The underlying philosophy of the Intensive is that the skills of a barrister are best learned in an environment that is as close to the real experience as possible. This involves providing realistic briefs to counsel in sufficient time for counsel to properly prepare the matter for hearing and then giving them the opportunity to perform in real court settings.
The Intensive involves discussion and comment on each aspect of trial performance.
There are very few opportunities for barristers to develop their advocacy skills by preparing a case and experimenting with a number of styles of performance to see which is the most effective for that advocate on that occasion. Rarely do barristers have the opportunity of seeing their own performance played back so that it can be reviewed. Never in professional practice is there an opportunity to have a number of senior practitioners analyse performances and provide intensive and supportive feedback about ways to refine and improve.
This Intensive provides each of these elements, and much more.
The coaching Faculty will include current and former Judges, Australian and international counsel, and performance coaches with expertise in voice, movement and impact, including:
Advocates will be briefed for either the Applicant or Respondent in a case involving alleged breaches of the Australian Consumer Law.
Advocates will be appearing for either the Crown or Defence in a conspiracy to murder case.
In both briefs, barristers will give an opening address, examine in chief three witnesses, cross examine three witnesses and give a closing address. No extensive, specialised legal knowledge is required for either brief - the cases are suitable for practitioners from all areas of practice to improve, develop and hone their skills.
Pre Intensive Preparation
To replicate reality as far as possible, full preparation of the brief is required before the Intensive commences. Barristers are expected to be ready to deliver an opening address on the first full day of the intensive. Past experience suggests that at least three full days preparation may be required.
The general format of the Intensive is to discuss the requirements of each performance and have demonstrations the day before the performances. Barristers then reconsider and refine for their own performances.
Performances take place in court rooms in groups of approximately six, each barrister of similar experience. At least three coaches are assigned to each group, on rotation. Performances are discussed and recorded. They are then reviewed individually with another coach, one on one, so that particular aspects of the performance, or suggestions for change, can be further discussed and developed.
Coaches are available during breaks as well as before and after sessions for consultation.
Registrations close 30 November 2022
Criminal Brief — $4,250.00
Civil Brief — $4,550.00
The cost includes:
Please note that there are no discounts being offered for barristers who wish to stay off-site. It is intended that this is a residential course and as such rooms have been booked for all barristers.
Travel costs are additional for interstate barristers and are to be organised by the barristers individually. All working materials (stationary, text, legislation) are to be provided by the participant.
Justice Ross, President
7 November 2022
 The Fair Work Commission encourages the active participation of junior counsel in cases where two or more counsel are briefed for a person and the Commission has granted the person permission to be represented by a lawyer or paid agent in a Commission conference or hearing.
 The Commission recognises that junior counsel will often have made a substantial contribution to the preparation of the case, and will best develop as advocates by being given opportunities to present argument and examine and cross-examine some witnesses.
 Where appropriate, the Commission encourages senior counsel to divide submissions between themselves and junior counsel, or ask junior counsel to make submissions in reply, call evidence or cross examine witnesses.
Following the recent Federal budget announcement, and FCFCOA media release, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) (the Courts) have been working on the expansion of the Lighthouse model to 15 family law registries.
The safety of children and families is the highest priority for the Courts and this new process is being implemented to improve outcomes for families in the family law system. As detailed at the National Family Law Conference in August, the Courts’ focus and priority is squarely on family violence, and the Courts have made significant changes to address the seriousness of the issue. Some of the changes and initiatives include:
From 28 November 2022, the Courts will make further changes to continue this focus, expanding the Lighthouse model, including the Evatt List, nationally.
The Courts have been issuing detailed Notices to the Profession about the expansion of the Lighthouse Model on a weekly basis:
The Australian Law Reform Commission is pleased to invite members of the Australian legal profession to the inaugural Michael Kirby Lecture.
The keynote address for 2022 will be delivered by the Attorney-General of Australia, the Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP.
This annual lecture celebrates the law reform legacy of the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG both as the inaugural Chairman of the ALRC and as one of Australia’s leading jurists.
As the inaugural Chairman of the ALRC from 1975 until 1984, Michael Kirby laid the foundation for the Commission’s community consultative approach to law reform that continues today. Those consultative processes are recorded in the photos that line the walls of the ALRC office of the community circles undertaken on Country as part of the Recognition of Aboriginal Customary Laws (ALRC Report 31).
This event will also provide the opportunity to formally thank outgoing ALRC Commissioner, the Hon Justice John Middleton AM, for his significant contributions to law reform. Justice Middleton was first appointed as a part-time Commissioner in 2012 and has provided invaluable expertise and guidance to numerous ALRC Inquiries over the last ten years.
The lecture will take place at 5pm on Monday 5 December 2022, at the Federal Court of Australia, Melbourne, and via livestream.
The Chief Justice of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, the Hon Chief Justice Alstergren AO, has issued the Special Measures Information Notice – Hearing Protocol to replace the Special Measures Information Notice – COVID-19 Hearing Protocol, with effect from Monday, 7 November 2022 in the FCFCOA (Division 1) and FCFCOA (Division 2).
The SMIN sets out how the Courts will continue to utilise both in-person and electronic hearings, as well as the arrangements for dispute resolution and Court Children’s Service events.
It also specifies the COVIDSafe measures that continue to apply. Some of the COVIDSafe measures have been relaxed, including removing the restriction on the Courts providing water jugs and disposable cups in courtrooms.
From close of filing, Friday, 4 November 2022, the Chief Justice has revoked the FCFCOA Practice Direction – COVID-19 Special Measures. This document provided for the filing of documents that had not been witnessed, the deferral of fee payments, filing of documents by email, and other COVID-19 measures.
All documents should continue to be filed electronically through the Commonwealth Courts Portal or eLodgment. For documents that cannot be filed electronically through the Commonwealth Courts Portal, they may be lodged for filing by email, by post, or in the registry.
These changes will be reflected on the website shortly. The Hearing Protocol is live here: FCFCOA Special Measures Information Notice: Hearing protocol | Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia
The Special Measures Information Notice – COVID-19 Electronic Subpoena Inspection continues to apply.
The Australian Bar Association welcomes today’s announcement that the Hon. Justice Jayne Jagot has been appointed as the 56th person to be a judge of the High Court of Australia.
The Australian Bar Association is deeply concerned by the appointment of Attorney-General Tetiro Semilota to the position of Acting Chief Justice of Kiribati.
A snapshot of the New South Wales Bar in 2022. (Photo courtesy @NSWBarPresident)
On 26 October 2022, Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, attended the Victorian Bar’s dinner in honour of the life and service of Her Majesty The Late Queen Elizabeth II.
On 10 October 2022, the silks appointed around Australia in 2020 and 2021 announced their appearances at a ceremonial sitting of the Full Court of the High Court in Canberra.
5 December 2022 — Inaugural Michael Kirby Lecture
23–27 January 2023 — Advanced Trial Advocacy Intensive
28–30 September 2023 — ABA Annual Conference