find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Legal Inhouse / Lawyer / Company Secretary
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Fantastic Company · Potential to be Part Time / Flexible Work Pattern
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Bar closed on QC comment

Bar closed on QC comment

Key figures involved in a Bar Association report that is supposed to provide guidance on whether to reinstate Queen’s Counsel in NSW have avoided speaking publicly on the issue.

In the report released this month (16 April), the NSW Bar Association’s QC/SC Committee outlined arguments for and against bringing back the QC post-nominal but failed to make any recommendations.

The executive director of the NSW Bar Association, Philip Selth OAM, told Lawyers Weekly that the report is before the Bar Council for consideration, but would not answer any specific questions posed by Lawyers Weekly.

“The report speaks for itself,” he said.

Members of the QC/SC Committee were also tight-lipped when approached by Lawyers Weekly, including Anthony Lo Surdo SC and Elizabeth Cheeseman SC.

When asked about the report findings, Cheeseman would only echo Selth’s comment that “the report speaks for itself”.

Lawyers Weekly also approached the committee’s chair L J Priestley QC, who did not respond to requests for an interview.

In the wake of the report, a vocal supporter of re-instating QC in NSW, Jeffrey Phillips SC from Sydney’s Denman Chambers, urged the Bar Council to conduct a Bar-wide vote on the issue.

“It’s such an important issue, an issue people hold very firm and very emotional opinions about, and the best way to deal with it is to have a full vote of the Bar to determine which way we go,” he told Lawyers Weekly.

 

Not talking now, but watch this space

Lawyers Weekly contacted the newly-appointed NSW Attorney-General to discuss whether he supported the return of QC in NSW. Brad Hazzard said via a spokesperson that he could not currently provide his view on the topic, but planned to consider the issue and reveal his position in the near future.

Other state Attorneys-General have been more forthright.

Hazzard’s recently-ousted predecessor, Greg Smith SC, did not support the reintroduction of QC in NSW; nor does Shadow Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Paul Lynch.

Meanwhile, in Queensland, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie openly supported the return of the QC post-nominal.

Bleijie dumped SC altogether in reviving the QC title last year. Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark also gave silk appointees in the state the option to have the title QC or SC in February.

Sydney barrister John Hyde Page commented that the appointment of a new Attorney-General in NSW could improve the chances of a Bar Council request to amend the relevant legislation being actioned by the government.

 

Public interest?

The Legal Profession Act 2004 (NSW) currently prohibits official schemes for recognition of seniority or status, including “the prerogative right or power of the Crown to appoint persons as QC”.

Hyde Page, who is rallying support for the return of QC, slammed the main argument against a legislative change contained in the Bar Association report, which claimed the move is not justified in the public interest.

“There is a clear public interest in keeping the NSW Bar in line with other states, and in line with contemporary opinion,” Hyde Page told Lawyers Weekly.

“The SC post-nominal is an artefact of the embarrassing debates we used to have in the early 1990s about national identity. It belongs in the dust-bin of history, along with those proposals for a new Australian flag.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Bar closed on QC comment
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 24 2017
Demand lifts in 2017/18 for short-term finance to cover crises
Promoted by NWC Finance. The first five months of the 2017-18 financial year have seen unpreceden...
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
Nov 24 2017
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
The Law Council of Australia says the establishment of a panel which will examine the human right to...
Law Society launched a new website, legal politics and lawmaking
Nov 24 2017
Law Society launches project to engage young Aussies
The Law Society of NSW has launched a new website to engage young Australians in legal politics and ...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...