News

NOTICE OF AGM: WOMEN BARRISTERS FORUM – WEDNESDAY 2 AUGUST 2023

The Women Barristers Forum will be holding its AGM for 2023 as a hybrid event via Zoom and in person at 11 Garfield Barwick Chambers on Wednesday, 2 August 2023 at 5:00pm

All women barristers are automatically members of the WBF.  We invite all barristers, particularly new women barristers, to join the AGM where the election of office bearers will take place. 

Please contact Emily Graham, Co-Secretary, for the Zoom link or to RSVP to attend in person and for copies of the proxy form, nomination forms and other documents: egraham@chambers.net.au

Notice of AGM - Wednesday, 7 september

The Women Barristers Forum will be holding its AGM for 2022 as a hybrid event via Zoom and in person at 11 Garfield Barwick Chambers on Wednesday, 7 September 2022 at 5:00pm. 

All women barristers are automatically members of the WBF.  We invite all barristers, particularly new women barristers to join the AGM where the election of office bearers will take place. 

Please contact Emily Graham, Co-Secretary, for the Zoom link or to RSVP to attend in person and for copies of the proxy form, nomination forms and other documents: egraham@chambers.net.au

CPD SEMINARS

WBF has organised a number of seminars over the past year. These seminars have included the following:

  • Towards the end of July 2017, The Honourable Justice Jagot, Vanessa Whittaker and Clarissa Amato presented a compelling CPD seminar on interlocutory applications that covered practical advocacy tips, as well as substantive issues arising in common applications.
  • In August 2017, Arthur Moses SC, Kate Eastman SC and Jane Needham SC presented an informative seminar on the National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy, providing a step-by-step practical guide to reporting.
  • In February 2018, the Chair, Jane Needham SC, Sarah McNaughton SC and Kelly Rees SC presented a seminar on “Pathways to Silk”. This seminar provided barristers interested in applying for silk with invaluable practical advice on how to shape their practice in the years leading up to a silk application. WBF saw a significant interest among junior and more senior male and female barristers, and provided a fantastic opportunity to have questions answered by women who have previously been on the Silk Selection Committee.
  • In March 2018, Richard Scruby SC and Brenda Tronson dissected and discussed the wealth of data collated on the number of women appearances in NSW Courts, Federal Court (NSW Registry) and the High Court of Australia between November 2016 and April 2017. The seminar was chaired by Kate Eastman SC, and expanded on her work in the 2016 paper, Visible Targets: The case for equitable briefing which shed light on the 141% gender pay gap among barristers Australia wide, with the New South Wales Bar comprised of only 21% women in 2015.
  • In August 2018, WBF facilitated a round-table lunch discussion on returning to work from parental leave with a panel of barristers (being Gabby Bashir SC, Jonathan Clark, Melanie Cairns and Naomi Oreb).

SOCIAL FUNCTIONS

The new silks function in 2017 was, once again, a great success. Guest speaker The Hon Mary Gaudron QC proved a huge drawcard and a record number of barristers were in attendance to celebrate our new women silks. Throughout the year, WBF has also organised drinks nights at the Verandah Bar and invited readers. These events are always enjoyable and provide an opportunity for women barristers to get together and exchange ideas.

SILK APPOINTMENTS 2017

The new Silk appointments were announce on 29 September 2017. 5 Women were appointed:

  • Lesley Wahlen SC (11 Wentworth)
  • Melissa Gillies SC (Banco Chambers)
  • Naomi Sharp SC (Director’s Chambers)
  • Katharine Morgan SC (Tenth Floor Selborne / Wentworth Chambers)
  • Dr Ruth Higgins SC (Banco Chambers)

Congratulations to these three women on their outstanding achievement

FEMALE PARTICIPATION AT THE BAR

The Equitable Briefing working party has released a report in response to the National Attrition and Re-engagement Study Report.

The report notes that:

  1. There is a wage disparity of 38% between gross income of male and female barristers.
  2. That in the Federal court the average length of a hearing that a male counsel appearing as junior counsel to Senior Counsel was 223.6 hours whereas for women Junior counsel in the same role it was 1.4 hours.
  3. The average length of hearing for a male senior counsel in the Federal Court was 119.7 hours compared 2.7 hours for a woman Senior Counsel.

The report has recommended a number of measures including the setting of targets for the briefing of women barristers, as well as revising the Equitable Briefing Policy.

The report has been widely reported in the media:

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nsw-bar-push-for-national-targets-for-briefing-women-barristers-20150902-gjd3q8.html

http://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/news/17082-bar-diversity-needs-to-be-addressed

WOMEN BARRISTERS FORUM AGM

Following the Women Barristers Forum AGM, the executive members are:

Chair: Vanessa Whittaker SC
Vice-Chair: Renee Bianchi and Madeleine Bridgett
Co-secretaries:  Emily Graham and Sarah Andrews
Treasurer: Rosalind Winfield
Social:  Elizabeth Picker,   Caroline Dobraszczyk, Gina EdwardsEmma Bartley and Chauntelle Ingenito
CPD: Parisa Hart and Fiona Clark
WLA Liaison: Renee Bianchi
Equitable Briefing: Ingrid King
Diversity and Equal Opportunity Committee Liaison Officer: Winnie Liu
Alumni Project Coordinator: Kerrie Leotta
Clerks Liaison: Jackie Charles    

The minutes of the Meeting as well as the reports of the treasurer and the Chair are now available.

KATRINA DAWSON FOUNDATION

So many people have asked what can be done to preserve and honour Katrina's memory. A charitable foundation has been established and registered - The Katrina Dawson Foundation - focused on the education of women. Former Governor-General The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO is the founding member.

Instead of flowers, please consider making a donation to Katrina's Foundation (online at www.thekatrinadawsonfoundation.org or cash/cheque through any Commonwealth Bank branch)

Katrina was a light in so many lives. She shone in so many ways with her warmth, her brilliance, her humour and her limitless love and affection for her friends and family. And she made the most of every opportunity she had. It is our hope that out of her senseless death we will, through the opportunities the Foundation will provide, bring meaning to the lives of other amazing young women.

ARTICLES AND SPEECHES

http://theconversation.com/australian-women-must-hold-their-nerve-until-justice-is-served-21464

http://www.fedcourt.gov.au/publications/judges-speeches/justice-perry/perry-j-20140405

http://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/news/16258-briefing-practises-need-a-culture-shock

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-06/new-court-role-to-help-female-lawyers-become-barristers/6285720

http://www.nswbar.asn.au/docs/webdocs/BN_022015_feature1.pdf  

HELP NEEDED

The Bar Alumnae Subcommittee is looking to contact female former barristers. If you know of any anyone that has left the bar, for any reason, please contact the members of the  Bar Alumnae Subcommitte.

CALL FOR SPEAKERS

The WBF is seeking women barristers who are willing to present at upcoming CPD events. If you have provided a CPD, or would like to provide a CPD, or know of someone who can provide a CPD, please contact the members of the  CPD subcommittee.

HAVE WE MISSED ANYTHING?

If you know of an upcoming event or some news about a WBF member that we have missed, please contact  Kavita Balendra and let us know.  

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