ABA Welcomes new president Matthew Howard SC

18 November 2019

The ABA has elected Matthew Howard SC as President for 2019-2020 following outgoing President Jennifer Batrouney QC from Victoria. 

The ABA is the voice of Australia’s 6000 independent barristers. 

Mr Howard is a silk based in Perth with a commercial and public law practice, which includes some criminal law. He has been in practice for 30 years and a senior counsel for 10 years. He is the fourth WA-based barrister to lead the ABA since its formation in 1963. He has previously served as President of the Western Australian Bar and Chair of the not for profit Mental Health Law Centre of WA. Mr Howard has taught at UWA for many years where he is an adjunct professor and has taught advocacy extensively in Australia and overseas. He was recently appointed by the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea as senior counsel assisting the Royal Commission led by former Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia into the loan by UBS of AUD 1.2B to the PNG Government in 2014. 

Mr Howard said he was honoured to have been elected. “It is a humbling privilege to have been elected to lead the ABA with the newly-elected Executive. The Bars provide fearlessly independent legal advice and representation across the length and breadth of the country. Barristers play a vital part in the administration of justice.” 

“We are fortunate to live in a society where no person, or government is above the system of law administered by an independent judiciary.” 

“Barristers are committed to the highest standards of behaviour and provide many thousands of hours of pro bono legal work in all Courts to assist those in need”. 

“There are many challenges facing people seeking access to justice. The courts themselves have never worked harder or had such demands placed on them. The Association looks forward to continuing to play a constructive role in those issues.” 

“The national Bar is committed to reflecting the diverse society which we serve,” Mr Howard said. 

Mr Howard paid tribute to outgoing President Ms Batrouney QC, who completed her term in November. “Jennifer has made a huge contribution to the Association over many years. During her Presidency she has led the adoption of a new strategic plan and set the Association up for its next phase of operations. We are very grateful for all of her work and efforts.” 

The following Executive office-bearers were elected at the AGM over the weekend: 

President: Matthew Howard SC
Vice-Presidents: Michael McHugh SC, Matt Collins QC
Treasurer: Peter Dunning QC
Chair of the ATC: Ian Robertson SC 

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Greg Tolhurst: ceo@austbar.asn.au 

View the PDF here