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                                                                                                   Court of Appeal

Justice Alex Chernov JA

The legal profession gathered on 28             Lecturer in Equity in the Council of Legal
February 2008 to farewell Justice Alex          Education law course at what is now RMIT
Chernov, in the presence of his family,         University. In 1966 he married Elizabeth
upon his retirement from the Court of           Hopkins; they had three children, Caro-
Appeal. The range of people attending           line, Andrew and Michael. The Chernov
the Banco Court reflected the diversity of       home was delightful to visit, a measure of
Alex Chernov’s interests throughout his         the warmth of the hospitality of Elizabeth
impressive career as barrister, academic,       and Alex.
judge, university chancellor and Collins           Chernov served articles with the late
Street farmer.                                  Brendan McGuinness at his office in Col-
   Alex Chernov was born on 12 May 1938,        lins Street. He was admitted to practice
to Russian parents, in Lithuania, a country     and signed the Roll of Counsel in March
which was exposed to the Soviet Union,          1968. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel
especially after the conclusion of the Nazi–    in 1980. He was Chairman of the Victorian
Soviet pact in August 1939. Within 12           Bar Council from April 1985 to September
months, the Soviet Union had annexed            1986. He was Vice-President of the Aus-
Lithuania, together with her northern           tralian Bar Association in 1986–87; and
neighbours, Latvia and Estonia.                 President of the Law Council of Australia
   Chernov began school in Salzburg,            in 1990–91.
where his parents lived during the war. He         Chernov co-authored Tenancy Law and
lost his father early in the war. His widowed   Practice Victoria with the Honourable
mother brought her two sons to Australia        Robert Brooking AO (now retired from           Federal Court) as Honorary Secretary, he
in 1949. They began life in Australia at the    the Court of Appeal) in 1972, and took         served two years in that position, 1971–3.
Bonegilla Migrant Hostel. Chernov spoke         sole responsibility for the second edition        Chernov was elected to the Victorian
no English when he began his schooling in       in 1980. That book has remained one of         Bar Council in September 1971, and served
Australia. He was educated at Camberwell        the leading legal texts – a very substantial   on the Council for 14 years (1971–86). His
and Caulfield North State Schools, and           work of some 760 pages in its first edition     Honour served as Assistant Honorary
won merit selection entry to Melbourne          and 600 pages in its second edition. It was    Treasurer for eight years (1974–82) and
High School. The pattern of remarkable          pleasing to see Justice Brooking among the     Honorary Treasurer for two years (1982–
achievement had begun.                          several retired judges who attended the        84).
   He first studied Commerce, graduating         farewell in the Banco Court.                      Chernov was a Director of Barristers’
Bachelor of Commerce from the Univer-              Only a few barristers in the history of     Chambers Limited for five years (1982–86)
sity of Melbourne in 1961. He taught            the Victorian Bar could match Chernov’s        and on the Management Committee of the
as a senior geography master at two             contribution to the Victorian Bar from the     Barristers’ Benevolent Association for five
Melbourne secondary schools to support          time he signed the Roll of Counsel to his      years (1981–85). He was also on the Com-
himself through law school, and graduated       elevation to the Bench. He had been at the     mittee that brought about the establish-
with an Honours Degree in Law in 1968.          Bar three years when he became Assistant       ment of Owen Dixon Chambers West. He
   After graduation, Chernov tutored in         Honorary Secretary of the Victorian Bar        served on that committee for five years,
law in the Melbourne University Colleges        Council. Working with Peter Heerey (who        through its evolution from an Accom-
For five years (1971–75), he was then            was himself appointed subsequently to the      modation Policy Committee to the Owen

                                                                                                VICTORIAN BAR NEWS     Autumn 2008    15
      Dusk, dawn and daylight                                                                     dency of the Victorian Court of Appeal of
                                                                                                  Winneke P, the fact remains that before
      From eight miles high, dusk was a two-tone ribbon of orange and grainy black,               the appointments were announced by the
      wrapped round the earth’s girth.                                                            government the blackboard above the bar
                                                                                                  in the old Essoign Club on 13th Floor
      Five minutes on, the ribbon was all black.
                                                                                                  East quoted similar odds for Winneke and
                                                                                                  Chernov to become the first President of
                                                                                                  that Court. The blackboard tote reflected
      The stars appeared and held centre stage until ‘put to flight by the pale sign traced
                                                                                                  the esteem in which the Bar held these two
      above the curtains by the raised finger of dawn’.
                                                                                                  lifelong friends.
                                                                                                     This short acknowledgement of the
      The vaulted ceiling displayed a cloudless sky of azure                                      retired judge’s career is not the place in
      while a zephyr brushed the cheek of vertical mortals.                                       which to discuss his contribution as a
      *Proust A la recherche du temps perdu
                                                                                                  judge to the jurisprudence of Victorian
                                                                        NIGEL LEICHHARDT
                                                                                                  law, but it was substantial; he more than
                                                                                                  honoured the promise he made at his
                                                                                                  Welcome to the Court in May 1997 that
Dixon Chambers West Development                     Chernov would often see a new angle in a      he would work hard as a judge. Moreover,
Committee (1981–86).                                case at about 1am and take to preparation     he was a popular judge: with his peers,
   Chernov served on numerous other Bar             with renewed enthusiasm for the case. As      because of his propensity for hard work
Committees including, for example, six              he gathered a second wind, he resembled       and wise counsel; with the Bar, because
years on the Ethics Committee (1972–73              a precocious golden retriever finding a        of his unfailing courtesy to those who
and 1975–80) – an onerous task, and one             buried bone, while his juniors were a spent   appeared before him, his mastery of the
perhaps, insufficiently appreciated by the            force gazing at the antique clock on the      papers and his solicitude of inexperienced
wider Bar community to the present day.             mantelpiece. No one was more capable of       counsel who were briefed to appear in his
   Chernov’s clients were the ones that             losing his own passport, wallet or Mont       Honour’s Court.
ultimately benefited most from his metic-            Blanc fountain pen. The taxi drivers of          The notion of Chernov sitting still in
ulous preparation, his skilful and persua-          Melbourne were accustomed to being            retirement is fanciful. While it is true that
sive style of advocacy and his wisdom and           asked to check their taxis for lost goods     his Honour’s favourite tailors and chefs in
experience. But he was a natural teacher to         with Chernov’s name on them. The              Paris may expect to see somewhat more
his readers (of whom he had eight) and his          mechanics of Melbourne delighted in           of him in the years to come, Chernov will
numerous juniors. Working with Chernov              Chernov’s love of his Alfa Romeo.             direct his energies towards the University
on a case was always a pleasure because he             Chernov became one of Australia’s lead-    of Melbourne and those other institutions
could combine leadership and responsibil-           ing commercial silks and was retained in      with which he has been closely connected.
ity for the brief with much good fun and,           all the big commercial trials in Victoria     He has been a member of the Melbourne
at times, mischief. It was always easy to           and elsewhere throughout the 1980s and        University Council since 1992. Since 2004,
attend to the list of tasks he would set            1990s. While all this was going on, Alex’s    he has been Deputy Chancellor at the
because of the guidance, encouragement              influence and energies were brought            University of Melbourne. There is also the
and good humour that would accompany                to bear in several forums beyond the Vic-     suggestion that he may return to earn ‘a
delivery of the list. He was the master of          torian Bar.                                   real buck’ as a mediator and arbitrator in
‘esprit de corps’: conferences would take              Chernov was Vice President of LawAsia      spare moments.
place in chambers and out – at Jimmy                in 1997. This was a substantial commitment.      In reviewing a professional life which
Watson’s, his den at his home in Hawthorn           LawAsia works to promote the rule of law      culminated in the conferral of an AO
and even watching training on a Thursday            in a diverse range of political, cultural,    for service to the law and to education,
afternoon at Princes’ Park. Chernov’s               social and economic contexts throughout       it is futile to fasten upon any particular
preferences in the arts, restaurants and            the region, and to foster professional and    achievement because there have been so
football club were all sound.                       business relations between lawyers, with      many. In days when we hear continued
   The late night/early morning confer-             the Economic and Social Council of the        references to ‘work/life balance’, perhaps
ences at his home in Hawthorn were both             United Nations observer status with the       his greatest achievement, in the light of
legendary and exhausting in equal meas-             World Intellectual Property Organization,     all that he has given to the Bar and to the
ure. One would be told ‘Don’t turn up until         and operational relations status with         Victorian community, with the inevitable
around 10.00pm’. When one dutifully                 UNESCO (United Nations Educational,           sacrifices and absence from family, is the
arrived at the appointed time, the scene            Scientific and Cultural Organization).         love and admiration of his family so plain
resembled the changing of the Guard at                 Alex Chernov was appointed a Judge of      to see when they were sitting in the jury
Buckingham Palace with one set of juniors           the Supreme Court of Victoria in May          box at his farewell. They just adore him.
and solicitors leaving as one arrived. For-         1997, and elevated to the Court of Appeal     The Victorian Bar wishes Alex Chernov
tune had favoured the early conferees.              in October 1998. Though no one would          well in his retirement.
What was most disconcerting was that                gainsay the formidable inaugural Presi-

16   VICTORIAN BAR NEWS               Autumn 2008

                                                                                                       Supreme Court

Justice Bernard Teague

At the Farewell to Justice Bernard Teague          A measure of the affection and respect
(hereinafter sometimes referred to as           that the then partners at Corrs have for
‘Bernie’) on 14 February 2008, it became        Bernie is indicated by the number who
apparent from the speeches that his life        attended his Farewell. Sadly the partner
divides conveniently into pre- and post-        with whom he served his articles, John
Bench. Born in St Kilda on 16 February          Lewis, died some months ago. The decision
1938 into a nurturing family which              to join Corrs was a happy one and he
focussed on education, Bernie was a pre-        remained there until his appointment to
cocious student who attended De La Salle,       the Supreme Court on 13 October 1987.
Malvern, where he matriculated at the age          The period 1963–1987 is a tribute to
of 15. He was school captain and dux of         both Bernie’s intellectual capacity and his
his final year.                                  work ethic. As a practising solicitor he
   Too young to attend university, he           specialized in litigation, but at Corrs he was
worked for a year before undertaking his        afforded the opportunity to concentrate
National Service at the age of 17. As he had    on media law. In that period of 24 years,
aspirations of a career in the diplomatic       he built up a national and international
corps he commenced a Political Science          reputation for his expertise in that area of
(Honours) Arts course at the University of      the law.
Melbourne. It quickly became apparent to           He was the solicitor to both the Herald
him that this was not where his future lay      and Sun newspapers when they were sepa-
and, accordingly, he decided to switch to       rate entities, Channel 7 and Melbourne
law. On announcing this decision, his           University Press. These retainers were on
mother Eileen, showed remarkable presci-        an at-call basis and involved guiding those      exciting times. He found himself sur-
ence. Opposing the idea, she remarked,          clients through difficult, delicate and,           rounded by a group of younger lawyers
‘You can’t do law, you will only finish up       potentially, very expensive problems.            who were, effectively, the movers and
mixing with criminals’.                         These included the litigation by Ralph           shakers in the profession in Victoria. Law-
   After completing an Honours Law              Nader in 1972, Wilfred Burchett affair in         yers including the late John Richards, the
degree and a Bachelor of Arts, he obtained      1974, and the infamous Khemlani affair            late Tony Smith (later Judge Smith), David
articles at what was then Corr & Corr. It was   which was, ultimately, a major contributor       Jones (later Judge Jones), David Miles,
his original intention to go to the Bar and,    to the 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam Gov-        Matt Walsh and Alan Comell were all
in this regard, he had made arrangements        ernment.                                         prepared to challenge the status quo. What
to read with Robert Brooking (later                The late ED ‘Woods’ Lloyd once ob-            had formerly been regarded as a respected,
Brooking JA). However, at this time he          served to me, ‘Bernie is a wonderful com-        but rather stodgy men’s club, took on a
faced the dilemma which confronts many          promise between the pragmatic and the            new life.
young lawyers. He had married the love          legalistic. After all, unless you are prepared      Bernie was a participant in many
of his life, Patrice, in 1963, and the lack     to take a robust approach sometimes, the         exciting changes, although these did not
of income if he went to the Bar, combined       truth would never be published.’                 include the burning down of the old Law
with the likely inroads into his family            In 1974 Bernie was elected to the LIV         Institute building in Little Bourke Street
life, persuaded him to accept a partnership     Council where he was to remain until his         by an obliging, but unknown, arsonist
offer at Corrs that same year.                   appointment to the Bench. They were              in 1978. Only four weeks before, at the

                                                                                                  VICTORIAN BAR NEWS      Autumn 2008   17
instigation of Alan Comell, the insurance        was a toothless tiger, with little to show      Attorney’s break from tradition. However,
cover over the building had been trebled.        for the considerable amount of money the        in the eyes of many members of the Victo-
This incident caused great interest on           Law Institute poured into its continuing        rian Bar, Jim Kennan had lost his marbles
the part of the Bar Council who sent a           existence.                                      – a practising solicitor indeed?! What
deputation to the Institute to find out how          Although Bernie had a massive dual           would be next? Academics, women,
they could achieve something similar.            commitment to Corrs and the Law Insti-          homosexuals, or Aborigines?! Senior mem-
   Reforms during the Teague years               tute of Victoria for 13 years, and although     bers of the Bar who had for long coveted
included:                                        he served as President of the Law Institute     the ultimate reward of a judicial appoint-
• The streamlining of the disciplinary           in 1978 and 1986, Corrs never suffered           ment, saw one window of opportunity
   procedures to include lay involvement.        any financial detriment because of his           closed. There was a discussion of a boycott
• The formation of sections to represent         absences.                                       of his Honour’s Welcome, but wiser heads
   solicitors practising in specialized areas.      Indeed, due to his legendary work            prevailed.
• The appointment of a Lay Observer              hours, in both years that he was President         What followed at Justice Teague’s formal
   who was the predecessor of the Legal          he still recorded more than 2000 billable       Welcome was a disgrace, and involved
   Ombudsman.                                    hours at Corrs.                                 behaviour by the then Acting Chairman
• The introduction of a compulsory                  Those who know him well will respond         of the Victorian Bar Council which, at
   professional indemnity scheme which           immediately by pointing to the fact that he     best, was ill-mannered and, at worst, inex-
   became the envy of all other States.          spent very little time in bed. That, however,   cusable. The transcript of the Acting
• The introduction of certified specialist        cannot be the case, because at last count       Chairman’s speech of ‘welcome’ (so-called)
   status for solicitors.                        he had fathered seven children.                 occupied two typed pages and the latter
• The organization of on-going legal                Rather the truth is about early arrivals.    half consisted of a condescending remind-
   education for solicitors.                     As a partner at Corrs it was his habit to       er of the complexity of legislation and the
• The creation of a Management Advice            catch the first tram into the City shortly       need for judges to eschew administrative
   Service which visited practices on            after 5.00 am. Frequently, he worked a          matters and to decide cases:
   request to assist with problems.              seven-day week. His responsibilities at the
• The upgrading of the Law Institute Jour-       Law Institute, particularly when President,       The role of judges is not and cannot be
   nal to bring it into the 20th century.        virtually guaranteed that he did not return       administrative. It involves essentially
• A free legal advice service to members         home until late at night. Because he felt         deciding cases in accordance with the law
   of the public.                                that he needed more exercise he, ultimate-        and thereby dispensing justice. Those
• The organization of international law          ly, gave up the first tram and switched to         before the Courts must be entitled to put
   conferences in Melbourne.                     the railways. He began to catch the first          all their arguments and to have those
• The successful campaign to force banks         train into the City shortly after 5.00am.         arguments dealt with fully and justly. If
   to pay interest on trust moneys.              This habit of an early arrival and a seven-       ever judges became regarded as adminis-
This latter achievement which was headed         day working week continued throughout             trators who decided cases in accordance
by Alan Comell and called The Westpac            the years that he has been on the Bench,          with convenience or the wishes of the
Deal, meant the provision of millions            although his means of transport changed           State, far-reaching inroads would be made
of dollars for legal aid, legal education        to bicycle some ten years ago. It was then,       into the liberty of the individuals who
and proper supervision of trust funds.           in search of even more exercise, he gave          comprise our society.
It represented a break through a defiant          up public transport for good and rode his
wall of non-cooperation on the part of the       bicycle to Court each weekday arriving at       These passages were more appropriate
banks and brought about similar changes          about 5.30 am. He did, however, afford           for a form III legal studies class, rather
in all other states.                             himself the luxury of driving to the Court      than a Welcome to an appointee to the
   While Bernie recognized the profession’s      on Saturdays and Sundays because of the         highest Court in our State. It represented
impatience with the artificial restrictions       reduced traffic.                                  a black day for the Victorian Bar and was
placed upon solicitors’ entitlement to              At the time of his appointment to the        contrary to what I had always understood
advertise, and pressed for liberalisation,       Supreme Court in 1987 Bernie enjoyed a          the Victorian Bar stood for. In particular
personally he regarded the freeing up of         national and international reputation as        the references to administration and
the advertising restrictions as something        a common lawyer generally and a media           the judicial process, at best displayed
of a Pandora’s box. However, it was typical      law specialist in particular, which was at      a monumental ignorance of the Court
of him that as President of the Institute,       its height.                                     experience of the new appointee and
he argued forcefully for a change about             When in October 1987, Attorney-              the national and international regard in
which he personally was ambivalent.              General, Jim Kennan, announced the              which he was held.
   He was (and is), however, an ardent           appointment to the Supreme Court of a              More than twenty years later, on 14 Feb-
advocate of a national profession with           practising solicitor, Bernard Teague, there     ruary (the anniversary of the St Valentine’s
total reciprocity of admission from state        was a mixed reception from the profes-          Day massacre) Justice Bernard Teague
to state. The corollary was his concern          sion. Those who knew Bernard Teague             retired.
during his time on the Law Institute             well, whether as practising barristers or          Contrary to the concerns of the Acting
Council that the Law Council of Australia        solicitors, enthusiastically endorsed the       Chairman of the Bar Council who had

18   VICTORIAN BAR NEWS        Autumn 2008
spoken at his Welcome, little of his time       in the establishment of the Australia-wide      organizations, his facility for innovation
had been spent in administration and            Judicial Orientation Program. He was            and reform and his unfailing service to
indeed even in the eyes of his most carping     the convenor of the AIJA Technology for         the people of Victoria. All of those matters
critics, he had demonstrated that he had        Justice Conference in 1998. In 2004 he          were fairly dealt with in the affectionate
a pretty handy grip on the concept that         was made a life member of the AIJA. He          and appreciative speeches made at his
being a judge ‘involves essentially deciding    was a member of the International Bar           Farewell. What, however, I hope I have
cases in accordance with the law and            Association for more than 20 years and          done is to demonstrate that the Victorian
thereby dispensing justice’.                    on its organizing committee for its 1999        Bar in 1987, through its Acting Chairman,
   After his infamous Welcome, Justice          Melbourne Convention, the first IBA              got it hopelessly wrong.
Teague’s first case was a matter of PJ           biennial conference held in Australia.             There is no better way to sum up this
Constructions (Vic) Pty Ltd (in liquidation)    He played a key role on the organizing          tribute than by repeating the words of
v TM Burke Pty Ltd which involved the           committee of the 2003 Commonwealth              Peter Riordan QC, Chairman of the
concept of unjust enrichment. Now, even         Law Association conference in Melbourne         Victorian Bar Council, when he addressed
at the Essoign Club, ‘unjust enrichment’        and, was responsible for persuading many        the Court at Judge Teague’s Farewell. On
was not a common topic for conversation         senior overseas judges to make the trip         that occasion he said:
at lunch. There were some of us (support-       to Melbourne. Of course, all of this was
ers of the Teague appointment) who were         over and above more than a full-time              Your Honour responded to the challenge
sufficiently paranoid that we believed that       commitment to the Supreme Court.                  of being the first and only practising so-
the allocation of this matter involving an         In Court Bernie continued to display           licitor to be appointed as a judge of this
obscure area of the law, was just a continu-    the courage to innovate and experiment,           court in your own inimitable way. Your
ation of his ‘Welcome’ to the Bench.            and his sentence in the matter of R v Avent       Honour was one of the most experienced
   In the early months, Justice Teague sat      in 1995 was the first televised in this state.     and highly regarded litigation lawyers in
predominantly in the Civil Jurisdiction,           Occasionally his early arrival at Court        the state, particularly in the areas of defa-
and quickly gained the confidence of most        still caused some problems. On one                mation and personal injury. However, it
of his original detractors. However, the real   occasion on his arrival at Court in the           could be said that Your Honour did not
milestone in his judicial career came about     early hours of the morning, he found a            have a great deal of experience in the
in a most unexpected way. In 1988, he           broken glass panel in the first floor door          criminal law. In fact Your Honour has
requested he be listed in crime, an area in     into Judges’ Chambers and a trail of              remarked that the first time you set foot in
which even his most outspoken supporters        blood. Quite properly he rang the police          a criminal court was to see a murder trial,
believed ‘he dare not go’. Not only was his     and when they responded he showed                 and you were the judge. However, there
first participation in a criminal hearing        them where the break-in had occurred.             was never any doubt that Your Honour’s
at the age of 50, but it was to preside         Everything was going swimmingly until             work ethic, intelligence, not to mention
over a murder trial! The rest is history.       one police officer, unaccustomed to find-            your pragmatism and deep concern for
He found the subtleties of the criminal         ing anybody occupying a Court at 6.00am,          fairness, would ensure that you met the
law fascinating and during the last ten         was prompted to ask ‘And who the bloody           challenges that were presented to you by
years he sat almost exclusively in crime,       hell are you?’                                    this court. In fact, as has been mentioned
and by the date of his retirement, he had          On another occasion, while riding              by the Solicitor-General, since 2001 you
presided over more than 90 murder trials.       a tandem to work with Patrice behind              have been the Principal Judge of the
These included the trials of Edwin Lewis,       him (as many Supreme Court Judges                 Criminal Division of this Court.
Peter Knight and Keith Faure. At the time       do), he allowed the front wheel to catch             It would be remiss of me not to men-
of his retirement. Justice Teague was the       in a tram track and suffered a heavy fall.         tion that the Bar is very grateful for
principal Judge in the Criminal Division        He dislocated his shoulder and it was             Your Honour’s tireless work in ensuring
and had responsibility for allocating eight     necessary to go to St Vincent’s to have it        that our Supreme Court has adopted the
judges to particular matters.                   put back into place under anaesthetic.            reforms and efficiencies to ensure that it
   Appointment to the Bench did nothing         However, as he was conducting a murder            remains the pre-eminent Supreme Court
to make him one dimensional. He had             trial at the time, he felt that he should         in this country.
served on the Board of Examiners, before        persevere and, in any event, after medical           On behalf of the Victorian Bar, I would
moving to the Council of Legal Education.       treatment, he still arrived at Court by 9.00      very much like to thank you for your great
He served as Chairman or Deputy                 am. His only concern was that he might            contribution to the legal profession and to
Chairman of the Adult Parole Board for          fall asleep on the Bench as a result of the       this court.
17 years, and Chairman of the Forensic          after-effects of the general anaesthetic. He
Leave Panel and Forensicare for nine            warned his Associate and his Tipstaff to
years.                                          keep an eye on him for the first signs of
   He was on the Council and Board              him passing out!
of the Australian Institute of Judicial            I am aware that this tribute to Bernard
Administration for six years. He was            Teague does not do full justice to his
the inaugural Chairman of the AIJA              wry humour, his love of his family,
Education Committee: playing a key role         his involvement in international legal

                                                                                                 VICTORIAN BAR NEWS        Autumn 2008     19

                                                                                                       Family Court

Justice Joseph Kay
Address by Peter Riordan SC, Chairman of the Victorian Bar Council,
on Friday 15 February 2008

I appear on behalf of the Australian Bar       I sat down to dinner between the Chief
Association – in particular, of course, on     Justice and the Governor-General. Only in
behalf of the Victorian Bar.                   Australia… .’
   Your Honour has served as a Judge of           But you never took on airs and graces.
this Court for nearly 22 years – more than     Shortly after your appointment a barrister
14 of those years assigned to the Appellate    greeted you in Domino’s ‘Hello, Judge’. You
Division of the Court.                         responded ‘Hello, Barrister’ – and there-
   Your Honour came to the Bar, almost         after you both returned to first-name
immediately after admission, and read          terms.
with Rod Joske – later Mr Justice Joske           Particularly in early days on the Court,
of this Court. You quickly developed a         the mercurial side of your nature flashed
strong general practice, but the insistent     through from time to time.
demands of your Matrimonial Causes                On one occasion, you came down
clients steered you to exclusive practice in   from the Bench alongside counsel at the
that field.                                     Bar table: ‘Look!’ You pointed to parts of
   You were recognized as a leader and         the document from which counsel was
gave much time and energy to family law        addressing you. ‘This is how you read a
policy and law reform. You served on           balance sheet!’
every family law committee there was at           Another favourite is your final clincher
the Bar and, as Mr Kennedy will tell us,       after a heated exchange with counsel: ‘Let
through the Law Council of Australia and       the transcript record that counsel threw
the Government’s Family Law Council.           down the document I had ruled irrelevant      of Melbourne, your classmates were
   You chaired the Family Law Bar Asso-        onto the Bar table in a fit of pique!’         nervous. You were relaxed, languorously
ciation and formulated the Bar’s responses        But such flashes were no more than that.    sucking at a pipe. ‘Did you know that
to Government and Law Reform agencies          When you later asked for a document, and      Rylands v Fletcher was disapproved in the
on Family Law matters. You were a Bar ap-      were politely advised that it was the very    Canadian Court of Appeal?’ you quipped.
pointee of the Council of Legal Education,     document you had ruled irrelevant, you           The mercurial and competitive side
and a member of the Bar Fees Committee.        smiled, and the air was cleared.              of your nature also manifested itself in
You had four readers.                             And even the most heated exchange in       your driving. One day you sped through
   You took pleasure in the distinction of     court stayed in court.                        a roundabout. You turned around to look
your appointment to this Court.                   The intense concentration and competi-     behind you – and saw that Bumper, the
   Movingly, you spoke at your Welcome         tive edge we have all seen in your Honour     family dog, was no longer on the back seat.
of your parents’ migration from Poland         at the Bar and on the Bench have deep         An open window, a small dog, and Your
in the Great Depression to escape bigotry,     roots: in the Coca Cola Yo-Yo Champion-       Honour’s emulation of Stirling Moss were
and of their joy in your achievements in       ships – to say nothing of your having de-     not a good combination.
this country.                                  veloped a distinct partiality to Diet Coke.      There is a quaint symmetry in appoint-
   Even as you achieved greater seniority         More competition, and a mastery of         ments between you and Justice Dessau.
and distinction on the Court, you never        words, have roots in the Moomba Scrabble         In June 1986 you were appointed to
lost the simple delight in that distinction.   Championships – and you were a fiercely        this Court; and in July that year, she was
   You once said to a friend: ‘My parents      competitive Table Tennis Champion.            appointed to the Victorian Magistrates’
came to Australia with nothing. Last night,       Before the Torts exam at the University    Court.

20   VICTORIAN BAR NEWS       Autumn 2008
   You wrote to congratulate her, and
added that you looked forward to hearing
appeals from her decisions.                               High altitude
   By June 1995, when she was appointed
                                                          for the late Ian Bowditch
to this Court, you were on the Appellate
   Your congratulations repeated that you
looked forward to hearing appeals from                    Your deft touch defused exploding egoes.
her decisions.
   You have been the Liaison Judge for                    Your gentle ways merited the title of gentleman.
the whole of Australia under the Hague
Convention. One of your roles as such                     Me, I remember you as a man of unfailing decency.
has been to assist other judges world-
wide. Domestically, you liaised with the                  Your lastborn has honoured you in a song whose airplay
Commonwealth and the State Central                        evokes and prolongs
Authorities.                                              the memory of a man
   You have been the Australian judicial
                                                          whom neither death nor disease shall conquer.
representative at the Special Commission
Meetings every four years, and at the
                                                                                                     NIGEL LEICHARDT
Judges’ meetings.
   You have been a regular contributor to
the Judges’ newsletter on the Convention,
published out of the Permanent Bureau of
the Hague Conference.
   You are a national and international      delegate at the Hague Convention Special         Although it was only with some effort
authority on the Convention – amongst        Commission Meeting and at the Common          that they put it into words, your friends
three or four judges who have led the way    Law Judicial Conference on International      at the Family Bar Association say you
in its development and application.          Child Custody in Washington, your Hon-        will be really missed on the Court. Your
   Mr Kym Duggan, the Assistant Sec-         our has presented papers on family law        attendance at Family Law Bar Association
retary of the Family Law Branch of the       related topics in London, Bath, New York,     functions during your time in office has
Commonwealth Attorney-General’s De-          Washington, Kansas City, New Orleans,         been much appreciated – and they hope to
partment, who is the leading Govern-         San Francisco, Vancouver, Quebec, Jerusa-     see a lot more of you.
mental officer in relation to the Hague        lem, Capetown, Auckland and, of course,          On behalf of the Australian Bar
Convention, came from Canberra yester-       throughout Australia.                         Association, and all the independent Bars
day so as to be here in your honour. He is      Your friends hope you and your wife        of Australia – in particular, the Victorian
in court today.                              Yvonne will enjoy using the frequent flyer     Bar – I wish Your Honour and Yvonne a
   In addition to being the Australian       miles in your retirement.                     long and satisfying retirement.

                                                                                             VICTORIAN BAR NEWS        Autumn 2008   21

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