Hearsay ... the Journal of the Bar Association of Queensland
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Issue 15: December 2006
Presentation of Senior Counsel and Exchange of Christmas Greetings Print E-mail

main_02christmasgreet.jpgOn 13 December 2006, those members who were last month appointed as Senior Counsel made their formal announcements and signed the roll, followed by the traditional exchange of Christmas greetings.

 

 

I n a speech delivered by the Honourable Chief Justice, His Honour welcomed the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly who returned a portrait of the Hon. TJ Byrnes to the Court after what was described as a “serendipitous saga”. His Honour also spoke of the prospect of a new Courthouse for the Supreme and District Courts, the re-hanging of Sir Harry Gibbs’ GCMG banner and the Society of Notaries. To download a copy of the speech made by the Honourable Chief Justice, CLICK HERE.

The Association was represented at the ceremony by the President, whose speech is reproduced below.

“The Bar has significant interest in each of the four topics specifically mentioned by Your Honour the Chief Justice this morning.
Standing here, as we do, in regalia which itself preserves hundreds of years of history, we are very pleased to see the presentation by the Society of Notaries of their historical records for safe keeping by the Supreme Court Library. It is not merely a gesture – it is a public sign of the depth and strength of the confidence in, and affection for, this Court which is shared by the profession in this State.

We also respectfully associate ourselves with Your Honour’s observations about the prospect of a new Court House for Brisbane. We can speak with some authority on the subject, given that this is our professional home. This building has served us well, but its time has well and truly come and gone. The Courts of our State deserve better; and so do the people of Queensland.

The other two matters have, of course, a personal connection for the Bar. Thomas Joseph Byrnes, who was born in Spring Hill in 1860, read for the Bar with Mr Patrick Real (later a judge of this Court for nearly 20 years). It is said that Byrnes was quickly successful as a barrister, and within a few years was making a large income (we are speaking of barristers a long time ago!).

After only five years at the Bar, he was appointed Solicitor-General by Sir Samuel Griffith. Only a few years later, he stood for the Legislative Assembly, was elected, and was appointed Attorney-General. He died of pneumonia at the age of 38 – a life of so much achievement, and so much expectation, cut tragically short.

Sir Harry Gibbs, known to many in this courtroom, was a modern-day icon for the Queensland Bar. A past president and life member of the Bar Association of Queensland, Sir Harry held the highest judicial office in the land, and served the country with great distinction. We are honoured to witness the re-hanging here of his GCMG banner.

But back to the present. 2006 has been a busy year for the Bar Association, which now has more than 1,100 members, more than 850 of whom are in private practice. Much of the Association’s work these days is directed towards its functions as a regulatory body under the Legal Profession Act, and to the provision of important member services, such as a comprehensive Continuing Professional Development program. Yet we remain, as we have always been, an independent body of independent professionals.

We are most fortunate to enjoy a strong collegiate professional relationship with our new Attorney-General, the Hon Kerry Shine, as we did with his predecessor, the Hon Linda Lavarch, and we wish him well in his pivotal leadership role in the administration of justice in this State. It is more than a little regrettable that the occasional disagreements which will inevitably occur under our democratic system, and which I might also add are handled with utmost professional courtesy, tend to receive more airplay than the vast bulk of the good work between us, which is done with tremendous good faith and cooperation.

Only in the last week, for example, I have, on behalf of the Bar Association, subscribed to the Fremantle Declaration, to which
the Attorney-General was a signatory, affirming our support for fundamental rights of accused persons on the fifth anniversary of the detention of David Hicks. I also acknowledge with gratitude the co-operation of all officers of the Department, led by example, as they have been, by Ms Rachel Hunter and now Mr Jim McGowan.

Barristers and solicitors work hand in glove every day in these Courts for the benefit of the people in Queensland. I am pleased to report that relations between the Bar Association and the Queensland Law Society are at an all time high, resulting in high levels of co-operation on matters affecting the profession and the administration of justice generally. Again, that is due in no small part to the positive and co-operative leadership of my friend Mr Pinder, and his recent predecessors Mr Davis and Mr Ferguson, who continues to serve on the Executive of the Law Council of Australia.

Finally, we acknowledge with gratitude the respect which the Courts of this State have shown us over the last twelve months. We serve the Courts willingly, and appreciate the interest and concern which the judges collectively and individually have for us. Just one example of the way in which the Courts and the profession have collaborated over the last twelve months is the promulgation by each of the Courts of Practice Directions concerning direct access briefs. Regulation of this relatively recent phenomenon, whilst covered by the Bar Rules, needed some positive reinforcement with the authority of the Courts, and each of the Courts responded by working with us to formulate appropriate Practice Directions - all of which, of course, is ultimately for the benefit of those who come to the Courts utilizing the services of counsel to seek justice.

It remains only for us to extend to the judges and staff of this Court, and all the Courts and tribunals before which we have the honour to appear, our sincere best wishes for this Christmas season and for the year which lies ahead.”

Martin Daubney S.C .
President , Bar Association of Queensland


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