President's Message


May is one of the busiest months in the calendar of the Bar Association, with practising certificate renewals, the first Bar Practice Course for the year, Committee applications open for 2023-24, the Katrina Dawson Award applications open, and hosting the Bench and Bar dinner.

At the beginning of the month, I welcomed the newest prospective entrants to the Bar, 45% of whom are female, at the commencement of the May Bar Practice Course. This will be the last Bar Practice Course under the distinguished leadership of Course Director Gillian Mahoney of 8 Wentworth Chambers. Gillian has ensured thorough training and guidance for our emerging readers during the last eight years. On behalf of the Bar, I thank Gillian for her professionalism and dedication.

A reminder to all that applications for the Katrina Dawson Award are open. The Katrina Dawson Foundation was established in memory of a talented and inspirational barrister, Katrina Dawson. The Award was established in order to find, fund and mentor other inspiring young women, and to encourage their practice at the bar. The award is open to women who have passed the New South Wales Bar exam and committed to enrolling in a Bar Practice Course within 18 months of their application. Applications will close on 30 May 2023 and must be submitted online. This year, the NSW Bar Runners will compete in this Sunday’s Sydney Half Marathon to raise funds for the Katrina Dawson Foundation, and you can contribute, should you wish to here. Thank you to all of our runners.

A gentle reminder to all practising barristers that applications for renewal of practising certificates for 2023-24 must be submitted by 7 June 2023 to avoid the statutory late fee, and by 30 June 2023 at the latest. Barristers at the private bar are required to have approved Professional Indemnity Insurance in place before their practising certificate can be issued. Barristers who have not received their 2023/2024 practicing certificate by 5.00pm on 30 June 2023 will be contacted by the Bar Association and should not undertake any barristers work until they have clarified their position with the Bar Association.

Applications for membership of the Association’s committees close on Monday, 22 May 2023. The Association has more than 20 committees, two-thirds of which focus on policy and practice. Our committees assist the Association in developing submissions to government on a wide range of law reform proposals, and contributed to over 100 submissions during the past 12 months. There are also Practice Development Committees and our Regulatory Committees, such as the Education Committee and four Professional Conduct Committees. I urge all barristers, including senior counsel, to consider applying to join a Bar Association committee, and to lodge your application this weekend before the cut-off time. The Committees play an invaluable role advising Bar Council and supporting the day-to-day practice of the NSW Bar Association. Further information about the application process, and a link to the application form is available here.

I would like to thank all attendees for the wonderfully collegiate atmosphere at the 2023 Bench and Bar dinner on 12 May 2023. A special vote of thanks to our exceptional speakers - Catherine Gleeson, Gregory Sirtes SC and the Honourable Justice Jacqueline Gleeson - for a thoroughly entertaining evening. Attendance at the dinner returned to pre-pandemic levels, with almost 700 guests in attendance. It was the fastest-selling Bench and Bar dinner, with the majority of tickets sold in the first 18 minutes, and the remainder within the day, which is a reminder to make sure to book tables early next year.

Presidents and colleagues from interstate and across the Tasman thoroughly enjoyed the evening, and on Saturday morning attended the Australian Bar Association quarterly meeting, hosted at the NSW Bar Association. Our strong and enduring relationships with the interstate and territory bars continue, as does our affinity with the NZ Bar. A range of issues facing the profession were discussed, including the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement, proposed Anti-Money Laundering reforms, and proposed changes to the Barristers’ Rules, along with the upcoming ABA Conference, to be held on the Gold Coast in September 2023.

Finally, on Thursday 25 May 2023 at 2.30pm, we will, with great sadness, farewell one of the giants of the NSW Bar, Mr David Jackson AM KC, at St Mary’s Cathedral. The family has invited colleagues and members of the profession to the requiem mass to honour his life. This will be an opportunity for the Bar to pay tribute to a true gentleman and exemplary advocate. I encourage attendance by those in the profession who had the privilege of knowing David.

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