Four women were among the 15 Victorian barristers who were appointed silk today (25 November).
Chief Justice Marilyn Warren announced the senior counsel appointments of Susan Margaret Brennan (pictured), Melinda Jane Richards, Diana Mary Harding and Róisín Niambh Annesley along with 11 male barristers.
A total of 89 barristers applied, five of whom were women.
Last year’s round of silk appointments in Victoria also attracted just five female applicants. From a pool of 71 applications, three women and 17 men were appointed silk.
The figures fall well short of the example set by NSW last year; the state appointed a record 12 women to senior counsel and attracted 32 applications from female barristers.
Despite Victoria’s comparatively low number of female appointees, Will Alstergren SC, chairman of the Victorian Bar Council, said he was pleased to see four women among this year’s successful candidates.
He added that the appointments reflect the diversity of experience, backgrounds and practices at the Victorian Bar.
“The Bar remains a much sought after career option for those who want to practise independently in a flexible and supportive environment, develop deep expertise in a range of legal practice areas, and pursue excellence in advocacy.”
Today’s announcement comes just weeks after the launch of the Victorian Bar’s Quantum Leap program, which aims to triple the percentage of female silks in the state over the next 10 years. The program also seeks to increase the number of female barristers in their first two years at the Bar from the current level of 44 per cent to 50 per cent.
There are currently 26 female silks and 225 male silks in Victoria.
Victoria’s newest silks
Brent Maxwell Young
Diana Mary Harding
Andrew John Maryniak
David Paul Gilbertson
Gregory Peter Harris
Michael Sumner Osborne
Stephen John Sharpley
Melinda Jane Richards
Geoffrey Rowan Dickson
Richard Hugo Muecke Attiwill
Róisín Niambh Annesley
Jonathon Peter Moore
Susan Margaret Brennan
Jason David Pizer
Nicholas James Tweedie