President's Message


Being as this is my last President’s message, members may recall that I noted in my first Bar News column:

'Important work continues by many to combat sexual harassment at the Bar. I personally subscribe to the principle "the standard you walk past is the standard you accept". Each and every one of our members and each and every person who works at or with the Bar deserves a safe workplace, free from harassment or discrimination. No one is above the law; we must hold each other to the highest standards of ethical and professional behaviour.'

Those sentiments now have extra impact following recent amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) and our own Bar Rules, specifically r 123 and the associated definitions. We are fortunate to have had an analysis of these significant changes by J Hogan-Doran SC and Thew in the linked paper New accessorial liability for barristers under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) and fresh obligations under Bar Rule 123.

In particular, s 105 of the SD Act, which deals with accessorial liability, now attaches to both sexual harassment and the newly inserted prohibition against sex-based harassment, giving rise for the first time to the potential for liability under the SD Act for barristers who ‘permit’ such conduct. Accordingly, I commend a close reading of the paper.

Again, thank you all for the honour I have had serving as your president. I congratulate the new leadership of the Bar Council and wish them well.

go n-éirí an bóthar libh

If you no longer wish to receive In Brief, please notify the Bar Association's