President's message


The end of this month marks a period of both change and continuity at the Bar, through the renewal of Practising Certificates and the refreshment of our Committees. I would like to thank our members for the overwhelming number of offers to work on our expert Committees. The Bar Council is especially grateful to our outgoing Chairs for their exceptionally hard work over many years and our outgoing Committee members for their contribution. On behalf of the Bar Council, I welcome our new Chairs and Committee members. We very much look forward to working with you over the next year.

In the same vein of voluntary contribution, which is one of the finest traditions of our profession, barristers have been undertaking work for the Bar’s Legal Assistance Referral Scheme. This includes matters such as:

  • providing advice in relation to crown-owned easements on private property in the wake of the Lismore floods;
  • advice and representation with Redfern Legal Centre for persons erroneously fined under COVID-19 health orders during lockdown;
  • advice and representation in relation to care and protection proceedings for a person subject to sexual servitude; and
  • advice in collaboration with the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, to assist the response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and in particular in relation to offshore humanitarian visa applications for displaced persons.

The profession has also been returning to chambers, face-to-face meetings and in person events. Shortly we will commence celebrating some recent appointments through “15 bobbers” in the Bar Association Common Room and will hold a memorial night for our long-serving former CEO, Philip Selth OAM.

Finally, I strongly encourage all members of the profession to attend in person at upcoming swearing in ceremonies. The Bar should always strive to turn out in person and in force as a mark of respect for the new judicial officer and to celebrate other great traditions of bearing witness to a new appointment and the taking of the oath of office. Many readers have not experienced this tradition in person owing to the pandemic, or had the opportunity to meet senior members of the bar or bench at the morning tea ceremony which follows and is open to all members in the outer area of Level 13, outside the Banco Court and Court 13A. This opportunity to interact, and for our younger members to experience the collegiality between Bar and Bench is a further reason for members of all seniority to attend.

I look forward to seeing you on Monday morning in the Banco Court and on the following Monday for the first of these ceremonies in this time of renewal, and thereafter at Bar events to follow.

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