Hearsay ... the Journal of the Bar Association of Queensland
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President’s Welcome Print E-mail

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It is with great pleasure that the Bar Association brings to you this edition of Hearsay. We hope you enjoy the variety of content in this edition.

The time since the last edition of Hearsay has seen changes in editorial responsibility for publication. Thanks must go to Adrian Duffy QC who, as Editor for many years, has worked tirelessly to produce many editions of Hearsay. On behalf of the Bar Association, I would like to thank Adrian along with his dedicated assistant, Jennifer Hewson for the enormous effort they have put in over the years to get Hearsay onto member’s desks. Their efforts have been much appreciated. Thanks must also go to those who have agreed to assume all responsibility for future publications - Andrew Skoien as the Editor with Holly Blattman, Kasey McAuliffe-Lake, David Purcell and Amy Low as Sub-Editors on the Editorial Committee for Hearsay.

The Annual Bar Dinner was held on Friday 26 July 2019. It was a most successful evening. Be sure to look through the photographs of the event, and in particular, to read the toasts which were made to four members of the Bar who were honoured at the Dinner. On that occasion I said:

“This evening, in addition to the usual toasts however, we also mark a most special occasion.

Tonight, we celebrate the achievements of four of our members who have reached a remarkable milestone. Each of them, 50 or more years of practice as a barrister. … They are Marshall Cooke RFD QC, John Gallagher QC, Lister Harrison QC and Ian Hanger AM QC. All except John Gallagher have been able to join us tonight. John is traveling overseas for his grand daughter’s wedding. I have spoken to him and his wife Susan, and I know he is most disappointed not to be here this evening.

I take nothing away from those of our profession who have attained judicial office when I say it is something quite remarkable to have maintained practice at the Bar for such a length of time. This is a demanding profession. It requires intellectual rigor, discipline and courage. It is not for the faint-hearted. And it comes at considerable personal sacrifice. Marshall, John, Lister and Ian have displayed their skills and their commitment to the law, each for more than 50 years. And so, it is fitting, and important, that we honour them tonight.

It is, I think, no coincidence, that the occasion upon which we celebrate the achievements of these remarkable barristers, is the occasion we have a record number of people at the Bar Dinner. It is a testament to them, and the high regard in which they are held. …

In a tradition reminiscent of the days in which we invited the most junior members of the Bar to make the toast to the Judiciary, we will have four of our newest barristers, readers in their first year of practice, to read the presentations to our four very senior silks. These new members, who were chosen entirely at random, are ones for whom practice is counted in days or maybe weeks rather than years. They are Justin Byrne, Sophie Gibson, Rachel Taylor and San-Joe Tan.”

The tribute to Marshall Cooke RFD QC, John Gallagher QC, Lister Harrison QC and Ian Hanger AM QC made the Bar Dinner for 2019 a very special event.

CPD continues to be a significant focus of the Bar Association with 19 seminars and four conferences having taken place in 2019, and a further 10 seminars and one conference scheduled before the end of the year. In October, members are encouraged to attend the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation – Minds Count Lecture which highlights the importance of mental health in the legal profession. Other seminars include insights into conducting workplace investigations and the Current Legal Issues Seminar which examines International Law and the prospect for reform of Investor-State Dispute Settlement.

Bar Council has been busy this year. The first fully electronic processing of practicing certificates proceeded which has allowed Bar Association staff to operate with improved efficiencies.

The staff have also been pushing towards the finalisation of a new format for Hearsay which will, in future, make the editions easier to produce so that, hopefully, they can be produced with more regularity. Any member who has anything to contribute to Hearsay at any time should feel free to contact the Editor, Andrew Skoien, or me, with their suggestions. Hearsay appreciates content of anything ranging from case notes, articles and analysis of new legislation through to the wrap up of Association social functions. Additionally, members can earn CPD points by their contributions to Hearsay.

The various sub-committees of the Bar Association have had a busy year. To name but a few submissions and reports :

  • 1 February 2019 – Criminal Law Committee - submission to the Attorney-General re Criminal Justice Report released by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse;
  • 5 February 2019 – Criminal Law Committee – submission to the Attorney-General re Criminal Code and Penalties and Sentences Amendment Bill 2019;
  • 11 February 2019 – public hearing of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee re Inquiry into the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Commitments for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2018 (Cth);
  • 11 March 2019 – Criminal Law Committee – submission to Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee re Criminal Code and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 and Criminal Code and Other Legislation (Mason Jett Lee) Amendment Bill 2019;
  • 14 March 2019– General Litigation Committee – submission to Insurance Commission Queensland Treasury re Motor Accident Insurance (Claim Farming) Amendment Bill 2019;
  • 15 March 2019 – Criminal Law Committee – submission to Economics and Governance Committee re Police Service Administration (Discipline Reform) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019;
  • 20 March 2019 – Criminal Law Committee – submission to the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council re intensive community correction orders;
  • 30 April 2019 – Administrative Law Committee – submission to the Attorney-General re Section 100 of the Coroners Act 2003;
  • 3 May 2019 –submission to the Review of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 2003;
  • 18 May 2019 - Building and Construction Law Committee – submission to the Department of Housing and Public Works re Subcontractor non-payment in the Queensland Building Industry;
  • 18 June 2019 – Judicial Retirement Subcommittee – examination of the advantages and disadvantages of increasing the judicial retirement age;
  • 19 June 2019 – Criminal Law Committee – submission to the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council re review of community based sentencing orders, imprisonment and parole options;
  • 15 July 2019 – General Litigation Committee – submission to the Economics and Governance Committee re Motor Accident Insurance and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019; and
  • 22 July 2019 –public hearing of the Economics and Governance Committee re Motor Accident Insurance and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019; and

Important work was also carried out by a sub-committee in relation to judicial conduct. Both barristers and judges have an obligation to conduct themselves respectfully and properly in the conduct of hearings. The Conduct Policy, which is being developed in close association with the State’s judicial officers, is something that the Bar Association hopes will contribute meaningfully to the highest standards of conduct on both sides of the Bar table.

In addition, eight professional conduct reports have been finalised in 2019 to date by the Professional Conduct Committee.

Although applications for Silk for 2019 are now upon us, this edition of Hearsay contains the most entertaining speech given by Damien Atkinson OAM QC at the Silks Dinner in December 2018. Please enjoy it.

On 21 September 2019, the Queensland Bar will compete against the New South Wales and Victorian Bars in an Annual Football (soccer) Championship. The matches are to be held at the grounds of the Brisbane City Football Club at 38 Newbery Street, Newmarket from about 12:45pm. Members of the Association who wish to participate in one or more of the football games, or merely to attend, spectate and support the members of the Queensland Bar, are most welcome. Players can register their interest by contacting Andrew Skoien.

Planning is well underway for the Annual Bar Conference for 2020. The 2020 Conference will be a very significant event in the Bar’s calendar next year. It is to be held in conjunction with the Australian Bar Association, and so it is expected to attract members of the profession, academics and judicial officers who are local, interstate and international. The Conference will commence with Welcome Drinks on Thursday 5 March 2020 at the W Hotel, and will then proceed over Friday 6 and Saturday 7 March. A fabulous conference dinner will be held on Friday 6 March. The Conference will provide the perfect opportunity to re-connect with friends and colleagues as well as offer the opportunity to collect all your CPD points for the year. Please mark your diaries for this important conference.

I conclude by thanking members for the support which they have extended to the Bar Council this year. Members of Bar Council give generously of their time for the betterment of the profession. Much of what they do impacts not just on their workday, but upon their personal time away from chambers. Their contribution to the ongoing CPD programs, the development of policy and the health and wellbeing of members of the Bar is something of which the Association is most proud.

Rebecca Treston QC

President


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