President's message


The 2022 Bathurst Lecture, organised by our Commercial Law Section, will be held this evening in the Banco Court. The guest speaker is David Gonski AC. The lecture will be held in person with registration not necessary. The event is an opportunity for collegiality across the profession, with the lecture also being open to solicitors. Mr Gonski’s topic is Issues Affecting Company Directors in Relation to Cyber Security. This is a valuable opportunity to hear insights from one of Australia’s leading business figures, company directors and philanthropists on a topic of legal and technological currency. The Chief Justice and I would very much like to see a full Banco Court for the event, so I urge you to put down your pens and come to Level 13 of the Supreme Court for a 5.15pm start tonight.

On another issue of currency, there was a response rate of over 61 percent to the 2022 practising certificate renewal survey, which gives us a high degree of confidence in the results. PC holders reported a modest increase in median gross fee income, while women barristers, juniors under five years’ seniority and regional barristers reported increases in median or average income. The responses in relation to workplace discrimination, harassment and bullying reflect that the Bar is continuing on its journey of cultural change. More than 91 percent of respondents reported that they had not experienced discrimination in the past year. Similarly, more than 94 percent reported not experiencing harassment, including sexual harassment. While a large majority reported not experiencing bullying within the profession, this was the area with the highest number of reports of incidents: over 22.5 percent of respondents. This will be an area of particular focus in our future work with the judiciary, within the Bar and with solicitors.

In relation to the judiciary, there is no doubt that the vast majority of judges, and interactions between Bench and Bar, are positive and respectful. It is possible that numerous reports originate from conduct by a small number across different jurisdictions. I have spoken to Heads of Jurisdiction, and each is committed, along with the Bar, to promoting respectful relations. I remind members of the profession that there are formal and informal pathways to address your concerns as set out in our updated Best Practice Guidelines and guidance materials and I encourage you to raise any issues in order that they can be swiftly addressed. I would like to thank members of the profession and judiciary who continue to show leadership through the manner in which they interact with participants in the justice system and for effecting change where necessary.

Our updated Best Practice Guidelines and guidance materials and the related CPD held on Tuesday night, which can be viewed here, are a valuable resource in this respect. I will soon be requesting that Chambers indicate, by 28 October 2022, that their floors have adopted the updated Best Practice Guidelines.

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