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Institute update

Every Issue

Cite as: (2003) 77(3) LIJ, p.89

LIV Council

Among the issues discussed at the Council meeting on 30 January 2003 was best practice for the writing of appellate judgments. Council member Christopher Penman delivered his maiden speech to Council.

Appellate judgments – best practice
The November 2002 LIJ carried as its cover story an article by LIV Criminal Law Section member Cosmas Moisidis which examined the processes to achieve concurrent judgments in as many cases as possible.

The article explored the way courts in the US, Canada and Great Britain carried out the writing of majority reports.

The article then put forward a model code for the writing of judgments in Australia’s superior courts. This included the production of single majority judgments and the inclusion of authorised headnotes by the Chief Justice or judge assigned the task of drafting the majority judgment.

The Law Institute Council approved a motion to endorse the draft model code as set out in the article and to campaign to promote its adoption by Australia’s appellate courts.

Maiden speech by Christopher Penman
I feel both privileged and humbled to be elected as a member of the Council of the Law Institute. I would like to thank all members of the Law Institute who saw fit to support my candidacy.

While I have always had an interest and sense of connection with the Institute, generally the focus on work commitments has precluded my more active involvement to date.

My initial exposure to an interest in the law was probably through my father, who was Public Solicitor in New South Wales for many years. Particularly as a young law student, I recall some interesting criminal and civil cases in which he was involved, somewhat removed from the environment in which I have practised over most of the past 30 years.

Probably this initial connection and the knowledge of the committed service my father gave to the less privileged members of our community has been one factor which has influenced my decision to stand for election to Council.

After graduating from Sydney University in 1973 and working through my articles and early years of practice with Sly & Russell in Sydney, I was overseas for a couple of years, initially doing my Master of Laws in London and then in Vancouver, Canada, where I found myself teaching property and evidence in what I recall was a more interactive environment than I had hitherto experienced at Sydney University.

This year, with one of my partners, we are teaching commercial law to the JD students at the University of Melbourne, using a case study model for a business acquisition with all the related legal and practical issues, and this is also proving to be a challenging and enjoyable experience.

However, virtually all my career has been in commercial legal practice and with Baker & McKenzie, which I joined in Sydney in 1976. I practised in the corporate and resources areas in Sydney for a couple of years before moving to our Hong Kong office in 1979.

During my time in the Sydney office, I was a member of the Young Lawyers Committee of the New South Wales Law Society. I recall writing a paper on national practice accreditation, and to the extent it is still an issue today, my paper has obviously had little impact.

My wife Heather and I spent over seven years in Hong Kong and I became a partner in Baker & McKenzie in 1981.

We had a mixture of nationalities in the office in those days, as is still the case, but the growth of that office to become one of our most successful has reflected the significant China investment activity over the past 20 years, and the career progression of our local lawyers there. In fact, our present chairman in Hong Kong was our first articled clerk in 1979.

We returned to Australia in 1986 and moved to Melbourne. I have been actively involved in the growth of our practice here since that time, working as before in the business and corporate law areas.

In both Hong Kong and Melbourne, I have been involved in the growth of offices from their early days to mature operations. These experiences and nearly 30 years in practice leave you with a broad skills set, which I hope to use to good effect on Council.

During the past four years I have served on our firm’s International Professional Responsibility and Practice Committee. This was virtually a daily commitment, helping to settle conflicts issues around the world and participating in developing policy in many other areas. Policies dealing with prohibitions on investments in clients and accepting directorships in client companies were in place some years ago and have certainly been vindicated in recent times.

I hope to be able to apply this experience to the work of the Ethics Committee to which I see I have been provisionally allocated, and along with the Journal Committee, I see these two areas in particular as being of much interest and in which I hope to be able to make a positive contribution.

In addition to my family background, my experience on our firm committee and my desire to contribute on a broader level to the legal profession in Victoria were some of the reasons behind my decision to stand for election to the Council of the Law Institute last year.

I believe we need to continue to strive for more uniformity in the regulation of the legal profession throughout Australia, particularly in the areas of legal education, admission to practice and continuing legal education. Law societies continue to have a vital role in servicing the needs of a diverse group of practitioners, both in the city and country, and in public, corporate and private practice.

With two daughters presently working their way through the Monash law degree, and having also been actively involved over the years with young lawyers in our firm, I hope to remain alive to the issues and challenges facing that part of the profession, particularly career progression for women lawyers.

While the Law Institute is a broad church, it is important that it receives full support from the larger city and national firms, and I hope to be able to assist in developing that connection with this important constituency.

The profession also needs to be able to regulate itself, independently from government, but ultimately be responsible from a fiscal and operational perspective. Certainly, being on Council brings a greater focus and awareness on issues confronting the legal profession and the community. The Law Institute, through Council and its management, has an important responsibility in maintaining the high standards of the profession and our role in the community.

While I have some distance to cover in matching the accumulated knowledge and experience of Council members, I look forward to drawing on those resources and being an active contributor to Council over the next three years.

What’s on at the LIV

Professional Development

You can obtain further information on our conferences, seminars or workshops at For more information, contact the Professional Development Department by fax at 9607 9451, by email at or by phone on 9607 9387 unless otherwise specified.

LIV and Spherion join forces
The Law Institute has joined with Spherion to provide members with access to computer applications training at a discounted price.

Members will be able to access the Spherion catalogue and enrolment form directly, which they can fax back to complete their application. As with Professional Development programs, members can simply send a cheque or include credit card details to complete their booking.

Regional CPD Tour 2003
Full day conference programs in the following locations.

7 March - Traralgon

21 March - Mildura

29 March - Rutherglen

Business Development Workshops
21 March - Strategic Business Planning

26 March - Money as a Marketing Tool

Young Lawyers

Articled Clerks Information Kit
If you have just commenced your articles year, don’t miss the essential information contained in the Young Lawyers’ Articled Clerks Information Kit. The kit includes the Legal Practice Admission Rules 1999, which detail the formal requirements for the successful completion of articles of clerkship and outline precedents for the formal documents that must be lodged to commence and complete your articles.

The Articled Clerks Information Kit costs $30 and is available from the Law Institute bookshop at 470 Bourke Street, Melbourne or by visiting

Legal Writing Competition
To enter this competition, submit your 1500-word article on the theme “Developing the Law” before 17 April 2003. Federal Court Justice Mark Weinberg, Victorian Law Reform Commission chair Professor Marcia Neave, and LIJ managing editor Mick Paskos will adjudicate the competition. LexisNexis Butterworths, Henry Bucks and Watermans will be sponsoring prizes for the competition winner and runner up and the winning entry will be published in the Young Lawyers’ Journal.

Contact Verity Quinn at or Jane Levin at for further information and to obtain the competition rules and entry form.

Young Lawyers join the Melbourne Comedy Festival
The Institute’s annual Legal Comedy Debate will be part of this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Join us for a laugh at the law on Monday, 31 March from 6pm at The Forum. Tickets are available through Ticketek at 13 28 49 or at

Young Lawyers’ Assembly
Young lawyers come in all shapes and sizes. Some work in the city, some in regional areas. Some work in-house, some for government bodies. Young lawyers also face various challenges, whether it be working with a disability or having to juggle family and career.

At the Young Lawyers’ Assembly on 5 April 2003 at Werribee Mansion, these themes will be explored and addressed by the Section. Specific time will be allocated to discussions concerning “What Young Lawyers of Today Want” and matters affecting regional young lawyers.

For further details, contact the Young Lawyers’ Section on 9607 9379 or at

LIV Governance and Representation

LIV Executive
President Bill O’Shea, 9607 9366
Vice President Judith Peirce, 9363 1811
Immediate Past President David Faram, 5821 4566
Treasurer Chris Dale, 9286 6164
Executive Member Victoria Strong, 8686 6000
LIV Council Members
Simon Begg 9620 0700
John Corcoran 9609 1555
Richard Fleming 8686 6000
Aurora Kostezky 9670 0700
Peter Little 9342 1817
Kirsten Mander 9673 0460
Tom May 9670 6123
Tina Millar 9336 2411
Christopher Penman 9617 42oo
Geoff Provis 9612 8347
Erskine Rodan 9329 8744
John Weigl 5222 2277
Mark Woods 5174 6311
LIV Suburban Law Association Presidents
Eastern Suburbs Law Association
Simone Tate 9885 0891
Northern Suburbs Law Association
Andrew Wilson 9499 1899
North Western Solicitors Association
Bruce Millar 9336 2411
Southern Solicitors Group
Michael Pharr 9596 6022
Western Suburbs Law Association
Peter Mecoles 9687 3211

LIV Country Law Association Presidents
Ballarat & District Law Association
Anita Rose-Innes 5331 7888
Bendigo Law Association
James Leach 5444 0906
Geelong Law Association
Michael Brugman 5229 3555
Gippsland Law Association
Jacqui Billings 5127 1944
Goulburn Valley Law Association
Nicole Inglis 5852 2555
Mornington Peninsula Solicitors
Nick Roberts 5975 4133
North East Law Association
Ian Watkins 5721 2149
North West Law Association
Shane Ryan 5023 0571
Western District Law Association
Tony Robinson 5562 1044
Wimmera Law Association
Janelle Brown 5382 0061
To find out more about LIV Governance and Representation see and or telephone the Secretary to the Council on 9607 9372 or email


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