Ceremonial Sitting – 2014



18 AUGUST 2014

This is a Ceremonial Sitting to celebrate the recent appointment of two members of the Bar – Mr Ayliffe and Mr Barker – as Senior Counsel.

On behalf of the Court, I would like to welcome all visitors here today, particularly those close to Mr Ayliffe and Mr Barker. There has been a tradition in many Commonwealth jurisdictions that newly appointed Queen’s Counsel or Senior Counsel would appear before the courts in which they practised on a day appointed for the hearing of motions and each announce his or her appointment, whereupon the presiding judge would ask, “Do you move?” In response, the new appointee would bow to the Court. In this century, all appointments of Senior Counsel in Tasmania are made by the Chief Justice, and it is therefore somewhat unnecessary for the newly appointed to announce their appointments to the person who made them. However the judges have decided that it is appropriate to have a ceremonial welcome for the newly appointed that includes the physical part of the traditional practice. That is to say, we are establishing a new tradition. We will now proceed.

Mr Ayliffe, do you move?

Mr Barker, do you move?

On behalf of the Court I congratulate you both on your appointments. The appointment of barristers as Queen’s Counsel commenced with the appointment of Sir Francis Bacon by Queen Elizabeth I in the 1590s. Queen’s Counsel were designated as Her Majesty’s counsel learned in the law. As those words suggest, that designation involved an acknowledgment of very high professional qualities, particularly in relation to experience, skill and learning. The appointment of Queen’s Counsel by the Governor-in-Council was replaced in this State by the appointment of Senior Counsel with effect from 2001.

The designation of Senior Counsel is reserved for those whose standing and achievements justify an expectation that they can provide outstanding service as counsel and advisors, to the good of the administration of justice. The appointments are made by the Chief Justice in consultation with the other judges of the Court, judicial officers of other courts, and the presidents of the relevant professional bodies. The required qualities include skill and learning, integrity and honesty, independence, diligence, and experience, particularly experience as an advocate in the higher courts or tribunals.

Mr Ayliffe was admitted as a legal practitioner on 23 February 1977. He has practised continuously in the courts ever since. He practised as a barrister for three years in the late 1980s, and has practised at the Bar again since the beginning of 2005. Most of his practice is now in family law cases. He is very highly regarded by judges of the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court. He is the head of Derwent and Tamar Chambers.

Mr Barker was admitted on 25 February 1980. He too has practised continuously in the courts ever since his admission. He has practised as a barrister since 1997, except for about three years in the time since then when he worked with a Hobart law firm as a consultant. He has extensive experience in various jurisdictions including courts martial, royal commissions, and commissions of inquiry.

Both Mr Ayliffe and Mr Barker have all the attributes required of Senior Counsel. It gives me very great pleasure to acknowledge their appointments at this ceremonial sitting today. Gentlemen, I congratulate you both again. I hope you both enjoy many years of challenging and rewarding practice as Senior Counsel.

That concludes this ceremonial sitting. The Court will now adjourn.