Taking over as editors from Georgina Schoff QC and Georgina Costello is a daunting task. Gina and Georgie have been Bar News’ fearless leaders for a number of years. They have an eye for a story and an endless capacity to know the right person to tell it. As committee members, we have always looked forward to our meetings during their time at the helm.
Gina and Georgie have presided over numerous debates about the content of the next edition (which have from time to time been serious) with good humour and in an inclusive manner. The Victorian Bar is a broad church, and the Bar News tries to reflect the views of its diverse membership. Sometimes, these debates have been less serious but no less intense.
Gina and Georgie have been fun and they have made Bar News relevant and interesting. Their approach has been symbiotic. They have been so in harmony with each other that they would sometimes finish each other’s sentences. They have also excelled at looking after the dark arts of the publication process. We are very grateful to Gina and Georgie for their efforts, and for their continuing mentorship and patience as we take our first faltering steps down our own editorial path. We hope to live up to their editorial legacy. Particular thanks are also due to the Editorial Committee, to Guy Shield, to Peter Barrett and to members of our Bar Office such as Denise Bennett, Amanda Utt, Sarah Harrison-Gordon and Ross Nankivell.
We have called this edition ‘The Travel Issue’ because we appreciate that the January court vacation is a time for reflection as we recalibrate and consider the road ahead, personally and professionally. There is perhaps an enduring assumption that, by our membership of the Victorian Bar, we are more tied to the jurisdiction than those in other professions. One can look wistfully at friends who say, “my job involves a lot of travel”, or with envy at those who mention the travails of travelling to New York, London or Paris.
However, is the road less travelled really the lot of the 21st century barrister? After all, barristers have a great deal of autonomy. In our feature, ‘Is a change as good as a holiday?’ we have brought together the stories of five barristers who have pursued personal odysseys in far flung places, taken a mid career break, or moved interstate for work for family or personal reasons. Our objective is to promote reflection and inspiration over the holiday season. The year ahead can be geographically adventurous, if you so wish.
Many barristers, of course, also travel on an ad hoc basis for work, or to give back to the community. Appearing in court in Melbourne’s CBD on one day, and appearing in Broome the next, might be daunting to some. As John Kelly SC suggests, acting for Aboriginal accused in remote areas is as challenging and rewarding as it gets. He explains his own experience and invites interested barristers to contact him. Separately, Campbell Thomson provides an insight into the experience of teaching advocacy in places such as Vanuatu. Plainly, it is a pursuit that is confronting and fulfilling in equal measure.
The last six months have been significant for the legal profession in Victoria. In a milestone moment, we said farewell to one Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria and welcomed the next. The retirement of the Hon. Marilyn Warren AC as Chief Justice was celebrated at a number of farewell functions hosted by the legal profession and by the Victorian Bar in an event at the National Gallery of Victoria which is covered in this edition. We congratulate her successor, Chief Justice Anne Ferguson, and look forward to providing insights from our new Chief Justice in future editions of Bar News.
The legal profession and the Australian public also saluted Sir Ninian Stephen KG, AK, GCMG, GCVO, KBE, QC, who passed away on 29 October 2017. Sir Ninian was a former member of our Bar who, amongst his many achievements, was a Justice of the High Court of Australia from 1982 to 1989 who then served as the 20th Governor-General of Australia from 1972 to 1982. The next edition of Bar News will mark the occasion appropriately.
We do hope you enjoy this edition of Bar News, and wish everyone a restful and enjoyable summer vacation.