As 2022 draws to a close, the Bar is well on the way of returning to a semblance of normality, even amid another covid wave. We are back in court, in chambers and at this festive time of year it is wonderful to be able to celebrate together again. We will return in 2023 to a plethora of swearing-in ceremonies to take place in the Supreme, Federal, District and Local Courts. I look forward to gathering with you in the New Year to celebrate the appointment of many outstanding members of the profession to the Bench.
The Bar Council has also invited members to save the date of 21 May 2023 for our annual Bench & Bar dinner, so make sure to diarise this event. It promises to be a fun night out.
The Bar Council has worked incredibly hard this year. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Bar Council of 2021-2022 and the new 2022-2023 Bar Council, along with our extraordinary Executive, 25 voluntary Committees, our unwavering and indefatigable CEO Andreas Heger and the Staff of the Bar Association, for the tremendous amount and quality of work done in 2022.
The pace will not slow as we head into an election year, and we have today released our call to parties. One of the long-standing reform priorities of the Bar Council is to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 years old to 14 years old. This week I spoke to James O’Loghlin broadcast on ABC Radio Sydney (listen from 1:05:55) to explain the Bar’s position, following the long-awaited release of the draft Report of the Working Group on the Age of Criminal Responsibility to the Council of Attorneys General (as it then was). The core recommendation of the Working Group was that the age be raised to 14 years old without exception.
The end of year season can be a particularly difficult time for many people who have lost loved ones or who are themselves struggling. I remind you all that BarCare is available over the festive season; you are not alone.
Finally, I wish you all a relaxing break and a happy holiday season. See you in 2023!
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