President’s Update | Financial Support Fund and new website

Dear members,

Tomorrow, there will be a small gathering at Derwent & Tamar Chambers to launch the Tasmanian Bar’s upgraded website and to announce a Financial Support Fund for new Barristers.

Ideally, the Bar Council would have invited all members to the gathering, but due to Covid-19 social distancing restrictions, that has not been possible. Instead, we will upload a short video to our new website early next week, for those who are interested.

Website

The new website is now live at tasbar.com.au in your web browser. The new brand/logo for the Tasmanian Bar was agreed by the majority of members of the Bar Council and is fresh and modern.

I urge you all to go to the website and view your profiles, to ensure you are satisfied with them. The information you each provided about areas of practice did not exactly match the descriptors for fields of law on the website as built. The fields of law were largely dictated by the descriptors used by the Australian Bar on its website to permit consistent nationwide search for Barristers.

If you want the fields of law appearing on your profile to be amended, either complete the contact form on the website, indicating what changes you require or direct email me. We will then ensure changes are made.

I extend my thanks to Jessica Sawyer and Kate Cuthbertson for assisting me on this project. I also thank and acknowledge the great work of our web developer, Ionata Digital. I hope you all agree that we now have a more visually appealing and functional website, to suit the needs of the Tasmanian Bar.


Financial Support Fund

Early this year, I applied for a grant from the surplus of the Solicitors’ Guarantee Fund. The objective was to obtain funds to grow numbers and diversity of persons practicing as Barristers.

The application was successful and the Minister for Justice, Elise Archer MP, has authorised a grant of $60,000 to the Tasmanian Bar to enable it to establish a financial support fund. The fund essentially provides interest free start up loans, to reduce the initial cost impost and risk of commencing practice at the independent bar.

The Bar Council has established a formal Policy and Rules for the Fund. We will shortly undertake an initial expression of interest process and generally promote the Financial Support Fund to the profession. Eligibility is open to legal practitioners who:

  1. have at least 2 years post-admission experience;
  2. are based in Tasmania and will practice predominantly in Tasmania;
  3. are able to demonstrate a genuine need for financial assistance to establish a practice as a barrister in Tasmania;
  4. have not previously practised as a barrister in Australia; and
  5. (a) are female; or
    (b) are of Aboriginal ancestry; or
    (c) are from a non-English speaking background or ethnicity; or
    (d) live with disability within the meaning of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998.

As loan funds are repaid over time, further expression of interest processes will be undertaken, enabling continued financial support for new Barristers into the future.
Statistics and data continue to report the under representation of women at the Bar, particularly senior women. Nationally, data reveals that female Barristers earn proportionally less than their male counterparts.

I genuinely hope that this initiative will encourage more women to seriously consider pursuing their legal careers, by practicing at the independent bar. The Policy and Fund Rules for the Financial Support Fund are available on our resources page.

Sandra Taglieri SC, President