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Vic Bar keeps calm and carries on

Vic Bar keeps calm and carries on

In contrast to the bitter rivalries in NSW stemming from the QC debate, last week’s Victorian Bar Council election was an uncontroversial affair.

Jim Peters QC (pictured) from Aickin Chambers has been elected as the Victorian Bar Council’s new chairman. He replaces retiring chair Will Alstergren QC.

Peters joined the Bar in 1987 and took silk in 2003. He specialises in complex commercial litigation and is also a keen sportsman and former Australian rowing champion.

Victorian silk Caroline Kirton QC told Lawyers Weekly that the selection of Peters, Paul Anastassiou QC as senior vice-chairman and David O’Callaghan QC as junior vice-chairman, was not surprising.

“The vote went as I expected,” she told Lawyers Weekly.

Eight women were voted in, with there being a total of 21 Bar Council positions. Jennifer Batrouney QC, Samantha Marks QC and Michelle Quigley QC were among 10 silks and one junior counsel in Category A.

Categories B and C each had a 50 per cent split of men and women. Kirton said it was pleasing to see such a strong representation of women in these categories.

The Bar Council is divided into three groups: 11 barristers who have been in practice for at least 15 years (Category A); six barristers with more than six years’ experience (Category B); and four barristers who have been at the Bar for less than six years (Category C).

Eight of the newly-elected members will sit on the council for the first time. This follows the deletion of around 16 names from the voting form for Category A.

Kirton said Category A had attracted “a strong field of candidates”, despite women being in the minority.

She added that that it is extremely difficult for non-silks to be elected in this category.

There are currently 26 women out of a total of 248 silks in Victoria.

The council election ballot closed on Wednesday 12 November and executive positions were finalised by a vote on Thursday 13 November at a special Bar Council meeting.

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