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The National Brief #13

June 2023

President's Message

Colleagues, it is a pleasure to write to you again in relation to the affairs of the Bar nationally.

Cornerstone 2023 conference

The preparations are well in hand for the ABA’s 2023 conference, Cornerstone, at the Langham on the Gold Coast.

The Honourable Chief Justice Susan Kiefel AC will be giving the keynote address at the conference. The conference will take place approximately a month before her Honour’s retirement from the High Court, which she has led with such distinction. English and Australian barrister Geoffrey Robertson KC will also be addressing the conference, as will other distinguished judges and barristers, including in a number of panel discussions.

I hope as many members of the Bar as possible can make it to the conference.

Cost of access to authorised law reports

On 2 June 2023, I addressed the National Law Reporting Conference to give the Bar’s perspective on issues around cost-effective access to authorised reports. Significant discussions are occurring concerning the ways in which access to, particularly federal, authorised reports can be made more cost-effective to the legal profession. Courts understandably prefer authorised reports, and authorised reports are capable of making us more cost-effective advocates. This is something I expect to write you about in more detail in the future.

Meeting with members of the Academy for the Judiciary and Ministry of Justice for Taiwan

Earlier this month, the CEO, Professor Greg Tolhurst, and I met with Ms Li-Ling Ker, President of the Academy for the Judiciary and other members of the Ministry of Justice in Taiwan. The meeting demonstrated the interest there is more broadly in the region in Australia as a legal system of high repute.

The striking similarities in outcomes are also very interesting, notwithstanding that the Taiwanese legal system is one that is generally considered an amalgam of German and Japanese law, essentially civil law in dimension, where lawyers who wish to be on the pathway to judicial office commence doing so in their twenties. It was equally interesting to learn of the recently introduced composite jury of judge and lay persons in certain criminal trials.

The Voice

In the community, important discussions are going on in relation to the referendum scheduled for late in the year regarding whether there should be a First Nations Voice to Parliament. As is to be expected, our members have a range of views on the question of a Voice to Parliament.

Among our constituent associations different, and available, views have been taken as to whether to advocate an institutional position on a Voice to Parliament. The view taken by the ABA is that, on what necessarily centrally include political and social issues, the role of the ABA is not to advocate for one position or another, and limit comment, if any, to legal issues that the Bar is uniquely positioned to contribute on during the course of that debate.

I would encourage you to respect, as I know you will, the range of respectable views that sit around this issue to ensure that the contribution made by barristers to the debate is one that edifies and informs it. Naturally, individual members should, if minded to, express their own personal political views.

CPD Program and Best Practice Guidelines

Progress continues to be made on expanding the ABA’s role in the delivery of CPD programs and the promulgation of best practice guidelines.

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Cornerstone 2023


We are delighted to announce that registration for the 2023 ABA Conference ‘CORNERSTONE 2023’ is now open.

Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

The conference will be held between 21-23 September at the recently opened, beachfront Langham Hotel on the Gold Coast. As with all ABA conferences there will be an exciting and engaging program of panel discussions, addresses and social events.

The theme for the 2023 conference is “The Rule of Law”. The Rule of Law is the cornerstone upon which our nation and its institutions are founded. It has many facets, but is crucial in preserving and promoting a free and inclusive society. This theme has been chosen due to the many issues facing Australia and its neighbours that raise concerns or threats which the Rule of Law provides protection against under our system of government.

The Conference will be opened by the Hon Susan Kiefel AC, Chief Justice of Australia, followed by a keynote address on the conference theme by Geoffrey Robertson KC. Conference sessions will feature the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth, prominent members of the judiciary and the Bar, as well as solicitors and other professionals.

In addition, the conference will include the specialised commercial, tax and criminal law streams that members have come to expect of ABA conferences.

Click here to register.

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Ceremonial Sitting of the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia to welcome the Hon. Justice Emilios Kyrou AO

A ceremonial sitting of the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia to welcome the Hon. Justice Emilios Kyrou AO will take place in Melbourne on Wednesday 28 June 2023 at 9:30am AEST. 

Justice Kyrou AO will serve as President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a term of five years, overseeing the establishment of a new administrative review body. 

The ceremonial sitting will be livestreamed on the Federal Court's YouTube Channel.

Among the speakers will be Peter Dunning KC, President of the ABA, and Sam Hay KC, President of the Victorian Bar Association. 

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Australian Arbitration Week – Perth, 9-13 October 2023



The ABA is proud to support Australian Arbitration Week. Australian Arbitration Week 2023 will be held from 9 October 2023 to 13 October 2023, with the ACICA/CIArb Australia International Arbitration Conference on 9 October 2023.

The full calendar of events is available here.

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King’s Birthday Honours

Congratulations to the members of the profession who received awards in the Order of Australia:

Member in the General Division (AM)

  • Dr James Renwick AM CSC SC RAN of the NSW Bar
  • His Honour Michael Strong AM (retired) of the Victorian Bar

Medal in the General Division (OAM)

  • Robert Clynes OAM of the ACT Bar
  • John W. Dodd OAM of the NSW Bar
  • Dr Cameron Ford OAM of the NT Bar
  • Timothy North OAM KC of the Victorian Bar
  • Stephen Wilmoth OAM of the Victorian Bar

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Annual Federal Courts and Tribunals Fee Indexation from 1 July 2023

Fees payable in the Federal Courts and Tribunals will increase from 1 July 2023 to reflect the consumer price index over the past financial year.

Click here for a copy of the notice published in the Government Notices Gazette.

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In Other News

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Around the country

Nearly 700 people attended the NSW Bench and Bar dinner on Friday 12 May. Speakers included the Hon. Justice Jacqueline Gleeson, Gregory Sirtes SC and Catherine Gleeson, and it was by all accounts a glittering evening.

The Victorian Bar Dinner took place two weeks later, with a well-received keynote speech by Dr Stephen Donaghue KC, Solicitor-General of Australia.

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Dates for the diary

The International Malaysia Law Conference 2023 — 11-13 July 2023

2023 ABA National Conference — 21-23 September 2023

Australian Arbitration Week — 9-13 October 2023

Asia Pacific Coroners Society Conference 2023 - Truth Telling 2023 — 13-15 November 2023

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