The National Brief #11

November 2022

President's End of Year Report

Portrait of ABA President Dr Matt Collins AM QCThe 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:

  • In April, we held our first national conference since the onset of the pandemic, Re-Emerge 2022, in Melbourne. Speakers at the conference included current and former High Court judges; the Chief Justices of the Federal Court, the Federal Circuit and Family Court, the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the Supreme Court of Victoria; the then Commonwealth Attorney-General and shadow Attorney-General and the Attorneys-General of NSW and WA; leading judges and retired judges, barristers, solicitors, corporate counsel, politicians, business leaders, journalists, epidemiologists and others. The conference facilitated a large number of important but difficult conversations about the health and culture of the Bar as we re-emerge from two unprecedented years of lockdowns, remote hearings and challenges to collegiality and the way we practise our vocation.
  • Plans are underway for a 2023 conference to be held on the Gold Coast from 28–30 September 2023. The theme will be the rule of law. Save the date now!
  • The ABA’s Advocacy Training Council, under the stewardship of Ian Robertson SC, resumed in-person advocacy training, conducting an essential trial advocacy workshop in Adelaide in July and an appellate advocacy workshop in Brisbane in September. An advanced trial advocacy intensive course is scheduled for Sydney in January 2023 (more information here). We sent two members of Senior Faculty to teach at the Keble Advanced Advocacy Course at Oxford in August.
  • We refreshed the composition of the ABA’s committees and established a Practice Development Committee, chaired by Dominique Hogan-Doran SC.
  • In September, we launched the ABA’s national CPD program, On Demand, which provides Australian barristers, wherever they are located, with high quality, nationally focused, continuing professional development seminars and podcasts, drawing upon the expertise of our national membership. Seven CPDs have been held and two podcasts released since the launch of the program, all of which are available to members freely on demand:
  • The ABA has applied for accreditation as a CPD provider in Western Australia to enable WA barristers to earn CPD points by participating in the ABA’s CPD program. The application is pending at the time of writing.
  • Also in September, we launched the ABA’s national find-a-barrister database, a one-stop resource enabling solicitors and clients from around Australia to search for barristers, wherever they are located around the nation. More than 1,600 barristers have established profiles to date. Creating a profile takes less than 10 minutes and ensures that when solicitors and clients are looking to the ABA database to locate the best barrister for their matter, you will not be overlooked. To register, click this link.
  • We have increased direct communications with members in a way that we hope you are finding useful. Our newsletter, The National Brief, has been refreshed and expanded, with five editions published this year. Past editions can be found here.
  • The ABA has sought to increase its public profile—and, in so doing, the reputation of barristers as pre-eminent sources of legal expertise—by speaking authoritatively on matters within our core remit, such as promoting the rule of law and access to justice and explaining the importance of and defending an independent judiciary and Bar. As at the time of writing, we had issued 13 media releases this year on topics including:
    • the need for moderation in the debate about a federal anti-corruption commission
    • policy priorities in the 2022 federal election campaign
    • responding to an attack by the former Prime Minister on barristers
    • the appointment of the nation’s first Indigenous superior court judge
    • Western Australia joining the uniform national profession
    • the launch of the national find-a-barrister database
    • the passing of her Majesty the Queen
    • the appointment of Jagot J to the High Court
    • challenges to the rule of law in Kiribati.
  • We have also sought to raise the ABA’s profile by more actively engaging with the national media, consistent with the terms of our Public Spokespeople and Public Commentary Policy, including on television, radio, print media, and via podcasts.
  • In October, the silks appointed around Australia in 2020 and 2021 were finally able to announce their appointments in the High Court, and attend a celebratory dinner hosted by the ABA at the National Gallery of Australia.
  • The ABA Council has agreed upon and implemented a strategy to secure the sustainable operations of the ABA. Key points include a revised mechanism to compensate State and Territory Bar Associations which make substantial contributions to the operations of the ABA, and the engagement of a dedicated Secretariat to improve the ABA’s responsiveness and professionalism.

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

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Meet the ABA Team

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

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ABA On Demand

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

Accessing the CPDs requires an account with the National Barrister Database — sign up at

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.

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Advanced Trial Advocacy Intensive

  •     Location: Sydney
  •     Dates: 23 - 27 January 2023

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:

International Faculty

  • Fiona Guy-Kidd KC (NZBA, Chair of NZ Criminal Bar Association)
  •     Alex Di Silva (Malaysian Bar Association)
  •     Bibi Badejo (Bar of England and Wales and presenter of the Advocacy Podcast)
  •     Penny Bosman (National Bar Council of South Africa)

Australian Faculty

  • the Hon. Michael Corboy SC (retiring Justice of Supreme Court of WA)
  •     Judge Penny Wass SC
  •     Todd Alexis SC (Course Director)
  •     Ian Robertson SC (ATC Chair)
  •     Ben Katekar SC (Civil Stream Coordinator)
  •     Grant Brady SC (Criminal Stream Coordinator)
  •     Alistair Wyvill SC
  •     David Studdy SC
  •     Patrick Griffin SC
  •     Jeffrey Phillips SC
  •     Melissa Gillies SC
  •     Anthony McGrath SC
  •     Chris Wood SC
  •     Performance Coaches
  •     Lucy Cornell (The Voice Advisory)
  •     Tanya Gerstle
  •     Rebecca DuMaine

Civil brief

Advocates will be briefed for either the Applicant or Respondent in a case involving alleged breaches of the Australian Consumer Law.

Criminal brief

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.

Intensive Format

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:

  •     All materials required for the intensive.
  •     Venue and equipment (a tablet to record performances must be provided by the participant).
  •     Five nights accommodation (Monday-Friday night inclusive).
  •     All breakfasts, lunches, pre-dinner drinks and four dinners.
  •     Final night off-site dinner including drinks.

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.

Register here

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Notice to the Profession from the President of the Fair Work Commission

Justice Ross, President

7 November 2022

[1]  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.

[2]  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.

[3]  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.


Download this notice in PDF format

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FCFCoA Expansion of the Lighthouse model - Updates to the Profession

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:

  •     the Mandatory filing of a Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence or Risk in every parenting proceeding
  •     comprehensive family violence and trauma informed training for Judges, Registrars and Court Child Experts
  •     a clear and consistent case management pathway focused on early resolution if safe to do so
  •     the triage of all cases at the earliest stage
  •     a digital transformation that enables vulnerable and regional litigants to have access to justice from their homes or safe environments.

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:


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Invitation to the Inaugural Michael Kirby Lecture

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.

Register here

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Hearing Protocol Issued | FCFCOA PD Covid-19 Special Measures revoked

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.

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In Other News

Australian Bar Association Congratulates Justice Jagot on her Appointment to the High Court Of Australia

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 welcome speeches, including by ABA President Dr Matt Collins AM KC, can be viewed here. Transcripts are available here.

Australian Bar Association Deeply Concerned About Appointment of Kiribati Attorney-General to Position of Acting Chief Justice

The Australian Bar Association is deeply concerned by the appointment of Attorney-General Tetiro Semilota to the position of Acting Chief Justice of Kiribati.

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Around the country

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.

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Dates for the diary

5 December 2022 — Inaugural Michael Kirby Lecture

23–27 January 2023 — Advanced Trial Advocacy Intensive

28–30 September 2023 — ABA Annual Conference

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