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Wake to Celebrate the Life of Peter Ross Hayes QC

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					  Obituary




Wake	to	Celebrate	the	Life	
of	Peter	Ross	Hayes	QC
Speech by Ross Robson QC, at a wake held on 7 June 2007



       CELEBRATE PETER’S LIFE


W
         E are gathered here today to cel-
         ebrate the life of Peter Hayes who
         passed away on Monday 21 May
2007. We were all shocked and stunned
by Peter’s death. It affected many of us far
more that we had expected. I hope these
few words will do justice to our remark-
able friend.
   Peter Hayes was born on 0 October
1948, the second son of Bob and Nancy
Hayes and brother of Robert. Peter
attended Carey Grammar School before
moving on to Scotch College. He gradu-
ated from Monash university B Juris, LL
B (Hons). Peter was articled to Michael
Winneke at Gillott, Moir & Winneke. Peter
was admitted to practice on 1 March 197
and signed the Bar Roll that day. He read
in the chambers of the Honourable Clive
Tadgell AO, QC. Peter took silk on 29
November 1988. Peter provided extensive
service to many Bar organizations, too
many to list.1 His clerk Glenn Meldrum
wishes his loyalty and support for his list
to be remembered.
   Peter was a unique individual, the like
of whom we will probably never ever meet
again. His vibrant and warm personality
made a significant impact on all he met
and each of us in this room who had the
privilege of knowing him will have special
memories of Peter that we will cherish
forever.                                       Peter Ross Hayes QC.
   Peter had wonderful qualities. He
was warm, generous, witty and compas-                  JOKES ABOuT PEOPLE                    at someone else’s expense that was not
sionate. He wore his heart on his sleeve       Peter had an endearing characteristic of      spiteful or hurtful.
and all who came into contact with Peter       being able to make jokes about a person
were struck by his genuine friendliness        that the butt of the joke could laugh                      COMPANION
and easy charm. Peter loved people and         along with. One of my favourites is Peter’s   When Peter first came to the Bar, those
delighted in their company. He could gain      observation to his junior when in earnest     fortunate enough to be encompassed
the confidence and friendship of a person      conversation with Roger Gillard: “Don’t       within his orbit were constantly enter-
as soon as he met him or her. The stories      interrupt Roger when he is interrupting.”     tained by the stream of stories and
that I am about to relate could be multi-      This epitomises the quickness of Peter’s      experiences that he generously shared.
plied many times.                              wit and also the way he could have a joke     Peter emanated energy, enthusiasm good

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humour and affection, which those that          to the Federal Court, and said: “Michael,       the sheer energy and force of personality
circled around him basked in. He was a          I heard a rumour you are to be appointed        that emanated from the north-east corner
great companion. Every minute was an            Chief Justice of Victoria.” Michael, seeking    which was the happiest spot in the build-
adventure, stimulating and fun. The old         to establish the strength of the rumour,        ing.
saying “never a dull moment” must have          said to Peter: “Who started that rumour?”
been coined with Peter in mind.                 Peter paused as if searching his memory                   LOYALTY TO FRIENDS
    As I mentioned previously, Peter            and then said, “I think I did.”                 Peter maintained a great friendship
read in the chambers of Clive Tadgell,             Peter gave the Mr Junior Silk speech in      with the late Ian Sutherland and Peter
an experience for both Clive and Peter.         1989. One of the judges he was toasting         Kennedy, his close friends from Monash.
Peter was a “fashionable junior” and he         was Mr Justice Fullagar. Peter said that his    Peter’s eulogy at Ian Sutherland’s funeral
often acted as junior to Stephen Charles,       Honour was busy writing his three-volume        will surely rank as one of the finest ever
Alex Chernov and Bill Ormiston. They all        work on how not to hear a case, loose-leaf      heard by those that were there, that sad
became firm friends and perhaps assisted        service of course. Only Peter could get         day. He spoke with such empathy, knowl-
by the experience they all later sat on the     away with a comment like that.                  edge and sincerity that those fortunate
Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of                                                         enough to hear it were deeply moved and
Victoria, along with Peter’s pupil master                 STATE OF CHAMBERS                     retain wonderful memories of Ian.
Clive Tadgell.                                  His chambers had to be seen to be
    One of Peter’s first trips overseas as      believed. He went through briefs like                         THE BOOMGATE
counsel was as junior to Stephen Charles:       hot dinners and each brief when finished        A picture of Peter’s life would not be
a trip that took them to San Francisco          with was cast into the corner onto an           complete without the full story of the
to confer with a major corporate client.        existing mountain of documents. Peter           car park boomgate. Peter and Mary had
At the conference with executives of            had a constant stream of people in and          been invited to Canberra to provide
the client, Peter in his usual enthusiastic     out of his chambers: colleagues, juniors,       some youthful company to their Royal
manner offered all sorts of opinions and        solicitors, secretaries, clients and friends.   Highnesses Prince Charles and Princess
advice. Stephen could hardly get a word         Peter loved talking. After court if the         Diana during their first royal tour of
in. After the conference, Stephen turned        phone didn’t ring he had his secretary          Australia. Mary went on ahead and Peter
to Peter and said “I think it is a good idea    ring around several of his favourite solici-    left, naturally, at the last moment to head
to let your leader kick a goal occasionally.”   tors and leave a message to call Peter.         out to the airport to fly to Canberra. He
One of the great aspects about Peter was        When they rang back, Peter would give           left his car park pass behind and his
that he was the one who would tell you          the impression that they were instigating       entreaties to the car parking attendant to
that story and many similar stories at his      the contact and chew over every aspect          allow him to leave without the card fell on
own expense.                                    of the cases they were working on               deaf ears. Peter crashed his car through
                                                together.                                       the boomgate as you would expect and
                    ASIO                                                                        managed to get to Yarralumla to carry out
Peter had the knack of paying attention              PETER uNDERSTOOD PEOPLE                    his duties. A few days later back in cham-
to what he considered was important and         Peter understood people. For example,           bers, we were all surprised to see a mem-
ignoring what he thought was unimpor-           if he was offered a piece of confidential       ber of the Victorian Police Force arrive at
tant. On one occasion, he was briefed by        gossip he would usually reply, “No need         Peter’s chambers asking to see “a Mr Peter
ASIO in an inquiry into the security serv-      to worry — it won’t go beyond the 16th          Hayes” about a damaged boomgate. I don’t
ices. A whole bevy of serious-looking men       floor.” As all who practice at the Bar know,    know what Peter said to the constable but
turned up in his chambers and wheeled in        that is a pretty accurate prediction of         all was sorted out to the satisfaction of
a huge safe. Peter was given strict instruc-    what usually happens to gossip.                 the police and the car park owners. One
tions that the secret documents that ASIO           Peter also understood himself. In a         thing we can be sure of is that Peter would
provided him with were to be locked in          famous Western Australian case, Peter’s         not have mentioned Prince Charles or
the safe every night. He was instructed         instructors had obtained a psychologi-          Princess Diana. Peter was no name drop-
to memorise the combination. Naturally          cal profile of the other side’s client that     per. Peter was completely oblivious to
every morning Peter had forgotten the           pointed out some unusual characteristics.       rank and title. To Peter, all that mattered
combination and the same group of men           Peter’s junior and instructing solicitor        was the person.
would return to open his safe. I am sure        were shocked to see that the analysis also
that the ASIO officers were often surprised     fitted Peter’s personality and showed it to                 PETER’S READERS
to find a half-eaten sandwich or other item     Peter with completely straight faces, hold-     Peter had 11 readers: Stephen O’Bryan,
of food along with the top secret papers in     ing their breath. As Peter read the profile     Peter Costello, Graeme Clarke, Nunzio
the safe. If perchance a document was not       he started to laugh and said as he tossed it    Lucarelli, Michael Hines, Charles Scerri,
locked up I am sure we can all sleep easy,      away, “Sounds like me.”                         Jocelyn Scutt, Paul Anastassiou, Blair
confident that our national secrets were                                                        ussher, Kathy Williams and Godfrey
safe as only Peter could locate a document              THE SIXTEENTH FLOOR                     Cullen. Each of his readers treasured
in the sea of paper in his chambers.            The sixteenth floor of Owen Dixon               their only too brief time with Peter. Peter
                                                Chambers West — those lucky few who             took silk in 1988 and as is the custom his
             MISCHIEVOuS                        shared that floor with Peter will never         eleven readers entertained him to a din-
I think we should add mischievous to            forget the experience. Andrew McIntosh,         ner. Peter’s speech in response treated
Peter’s endearing characteristics as well.      Chris Maxwell, Kim Hargrave, Simon              his readers as his cricket team from the
For example, one day, Peter met Michael         Whelan, John Larkins and many more              Western suburbs and described their
Black in the street, before Michael went        who are still at the Bar will forever recall    character and legal abilities in cricketing

                                                                                                                                        17
terms. If I recall correctly Peter Costello   sibly any other barrister at the Bar. Often     one of the giants of the Victorian Bar and
and Don Bradman may have been men-            he took these cases on a “no win, no fee”       a wonderful human being.
tioned in the same sentence.                  basis. The investors in Pyramid would not
    Peter was kind and generous to all        have received a penny but for the efforts                         MARY
and particularly to his readers and those     of Peter and his junior Michael Hines,          Mary and Peter married in 1972. After
just starting at the Bar. He would ensure     instructed by the late David Fogarty of         nearly 0 years of marriage they sepa-
each of his readers got juicy briefs as       Deacons. Against all odds he battled            rated. Any celebration of Peter’s life
soon as they were able to take briefs, usu-   the State of Victoria and ultimately won        must acknowledge the unfailing love and
ally junior to Peter. Kate McMillan read      through. There were many more cases             support Mary gave Peter during their
in the chambers of Peter’s good friend        like Pyramid. They were difficult as often      marriage and the dignity and patience she
Ian Sutherland. For three days after she      the life savings of his clients were at risk.   displayed during their marriage.
signed the Bar Roll and became eligible       These cases are very emotional as so
to take briefs the phone remained silent.     much rides on the outcome. Despite the                           SuMMARY
On the fourth day it rang. It was Peter.      toll they took on Peter, he could never         How do we sum up Peter’s life? Once in
“Kate, can you do a couple of consents in     turn a victim of injustice away from his        a lifetime comes along an individual that
the practice court for me?” Her successful    door. He had the gift of getting straight to    with the sheer force of his personality and
career was off and running. Peter had obvi-   the point and encapsulating his arguments       humanity leaves an indelible mark on all
ously heard from Ian Sutherland of Kate’s     in a way you could not forget. He was the       fortunate to meet him and share his life
plight and typically lent a hand. One could   barrister to have in a last ditch fight. He     with him. Peter was such a man. How
multiply stories like that one hundred-       was the barrister to have in any fight and      would you describe him: Woody Allen
fold.                                         the huge practice he had bears testimony        — Oscar Wilde — F.E. Smith. You can’t
    Being a junior to Peter had its risks,    to the view that the profession had for his     — he was one out of the box and we are
however. Peter would often say just           abilities.                                      all richer for having known him and poorer
before a case was to begin: “Look you start       Peter railed against any hypocrisy that     for his passing. Vale Peter.
the case. I’ll be across in ten minutes.” A   he saw in the law. He argued for proce-
day or so later he would turn up to make      dures to speed up cases and reduce tech-        Note
the final submissions and usually win the     nical delaying tactics. He was a relentless     1. Peter served on the Bar Library Committee
case. On the other hand, many of Peter’s      advocate for justice.                              in 197 and 1974 and, briefly, on the New
juniors carry with pride the red bag gen-                                                        Barristers Committee in 1974. He was Assist-
erously bestowed by Peter in recognition                PETER’S CHILDREN                         ant Honorary Secretary of the Bar Council
of their efforts in acting as Peter’s         Peter dearly loved his children Sarah,             from March 1984 to May 1985, and Honorary
junior.                                       William and Jane. We all remember the              Secretary from May 1985 to February 1986.
                                              wonderful photograph of them that                  In that connection, he was a member of the
   PETER’S SuPPORT FOR JuSTICE                Peter had in his chambers and the pride            Applications Review Committee, the Read-
Peter was a wonderful and courageous          he expressed in their achievements. It is          ers’ Practice Course Committee, and the Bar
barrister. There are some things that         important that they know the high esteem           Executive Committee. He served on the Bar
should be said, however, to show his true     Peter was held in and the great friend-            Company Law Committee in 1986–87. Peter
character. Over the last twenty years,        ships he forged at the Bar. They should            served as Chairman of his List Committee
Peter took on more hard cases than pos-       know and be proud that their father was            (List M) from 1991–1992 and 1994–1994.




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