Virtual practice continues at Banco Chambers

6 April 2020

Banco Chambers remains open. Courts and practitioners across the country are embracing technology as a way to continue the administration of justice in the current climate. Since our last update, we have seen arrangements made in an increasing number of cases for final hearings and appeals to take place by videolink, including in large and complex matters.

Recent examples include:

Final hearings:

  • Elliot Hyde has been appearing in an eight-day hearing before Stevenson J in the Supreme Court Commercial List by means of a virtual courtroom hosted by Epiq (LCM Investment Fund v Vannin Capital). The proceeding has involved the virtual cross-examination of witnesses, including witnesses in Sydney and Isle of Man (with witnesses from Malta and Jersey to appear this week).
  • Anne Horvath appeared in the District Court using an audio-visual link to present closing submissions in a medical negligence hearing.
  • More matters have been set down for final hearing by video or telephone in the near future. This week, Robert Dick SC will be appearing against Sandy Dawson SC and Tim Senior via videolink in a hearing before Ward CJ in Eq in the Supreme Court. In April, Robert Newlinds SC will be appearing in a final hearing in the Corporations List. In May, Naomi Oreb will appear as junior counsel in a 5 day hearing before Lee J in the Federal Court. In June, Tom Blackburn SC with Anais D’Arville will appear in six-week defamation trial before Jagot J in the Federal Court to be conducted using Microsoft Teams.
  • Nick Bender will appear in the final hearing in an anti suit injunction application to restrain the prosecution of foreign proceedings listed this week before Sackar J in the Supreme Court to be heard over Zoom.


  • David Sulan and Sebastian Hartford Davis appeared by audio-visual link in the Court of Appeal (Gleeson, Leeming and Emmett JJA) on a quantum appeal from a decision of Stevenson J in the Commercial List. The appearance was facilitated using the audio-visual facilities in chambers.
  • Tim Rogan appeared as junior counsel in a three-day Court of Appeal hearing concerning proprietary estoppel that proceeded by videolink.
  • This week, Kate Richardson SC and Chris Mitchell will appear by audio-visual link before the Court of Criminal Appeal in a matter raising the issue of the exclusion of evidence of false sexual compliant and related constitutional issues.

Interlocutory applications:

  • Vanessa Whittaker SC appeared before Markovic J (Microsoft Teams) seeking relief for administrators from personal liability for retailed lease obligations during the COVID-19 issues.
  • Elliot Hyde and Chris Mitchell (in a matter in which he is led by Vanessa Whittaker SC) appeared before a historic joint sitting of the Federal Court of Australia (Gleeson J) and the New Zealand High Court (Venning CJ) using Microsoft Teams, for the hearing of an application for judicial advice and joinder of respondents (In the matter of Halifax Investment Services Pty Ltd). The Australian-based counsel have been granted leave to appear in the NZ proceeding under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 (NZ), which allows a person to appear in NZ proceedings without being formally being admitted in NZ.
  • Ruth Higgins SC and Robert Yezerski appeared against one another on a privilege dispute before Wigney J in the Federal Court (Microsoft Teams).
  • Ryan May appeared by telephone and successfully argued a transfer application under s 1337H before Rees J in the Supreme Court, Corporations List (In the matter of Peter G Ward Industries Pty Ltd [2020] NSWSC 339).
  • Robert Newlinds SC appeared on a contested injunction application in the Federal Court before Greenwood J (Microsoft Teams, with Greenwood J sitting in Brisbane).
  • Robert Dick SC appeared by videolink for an interlocutory application and case management hearing in the Supreme Court.

Case management: Banco Chambers members have also continued to appear for clients at directions and case management hearings in all jurisdictions by video and telephone.

  • John Sheahan QC appeared with Higgins SC by video (Microsoft Teams) in the Federal Court before Allsop CJ in a contested case management hearing in the matter of Austrac v Westpac.
  • Robert Newlinds SC appeared by telephone in the Family Court for directions setting down multiple motions for hearing this week. Peter Strickland appeared by telephone before Black J for directions in the Corporations List and Sebastian Hartford Davis appeared in a contested directions hearing before the Equity Registrar.
  • Anais D’Arville appeared using Microsoft Teams in a case management before Jagot J in the defamation matter listed for trial in June mentioned above.
  • Ruth Higgins SC will be appearing virtually before Lee J in the Federal Court for a case management conference in the GetSwift litigation this week.
  • Jerome Entwisle prepared written submissions for the first case management conference before O’Bryan J in the Federal Court in the consumer credit insurance (CCI) class action, which hearing proceeded on the papers.

Arbitration matters: Anais D’Arville presided as tribunal member at an international sports arbitration for FIBA (GoToMeeting).

Dispute Panels: Ruth Higgins SC continues to chair a dispute panel under the National Electricity Rules, with video hearings continuing throughout the month.

Regulatory investigations: Peter Silver acted in an ASIC Section 19 examination via telephone, with the ASIC team located in different parts of Melbourne, his client joining from home, and solicitors and counsel from three different locations in Sydney. Dropbox was used efficiently to share documents throughout the examination.