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    « Julian Burnside | Main | Sandalising the court »

    Arthur Moses

    The boy from the wild west of Sydney climbs to the top limbs of the barristers' tree ... Arthur Moses on the couch ... President of the NSW bar and treasurer of the Law Council of Australia ... Big agenda items ... Long lists of projects ... Run, run, run 

    Arthur Moses; SMH half marathon, May 2017. Time: 2:04:14

    Arthur Moses SC has been practising at the NSW bar for more than 20 years. He was appointed senior counsel in 2008 and his practise includes administrative law, coronial inquests, corruption inquiries, proceeds of crime litigation, work health and safety prosecutions, employment and industrial law, discrimination, restraints of trade, commercial and equity cases. 

    He has appeared in numerous high profile corruption investigations, advised and appeared for the NSW Crime Commission and for the former NSW Police Minister in the ICAC inquiry into political donations. 

    He has also appeared in the NSW Court of Appeal for senior crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen in her successful challenge to the powers of ICAC and was part of her legal team in the High Court. 

    Moses regularly appears for the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police in proceeds of crime matters. He is also currently appearing for the former NSW Deputy Police Commissioner, Nick Kaldas in his challenge in the NSW Supreme Court to the Ombudsman's Report in Operation Prospect. 

    He's also a squadron leader in the Royal Australian Air Force Specialist Reserve and a member of the ADF work health & advisory group and advises in matters for the Office of the Director of Military prosecutions, Defence Counsel Services as well as advising the Inspector General of the ADF. 

    Describe yourself in three words.

    Persistent, loyal and annoying.

    What are you currently reading? 

    "Bobby Kennedy - The making of a Liberal Icon," by Larry Tye.

    What's your favourite film?

    "Muhammed Ali's Greatest Fight" - it combines my passion for law and boxing.

    Who has been the most influential person in your life? 

    My late mother. She could not read or write but was the wisest and strongest person I have known. 

    When were you happiest? 

    When the Parramatta Eels were winning grand finals.

    What is your favourite piece of music? 

    Midnight Oil's "Beds are Burning".

    As well as president of the NSW bar you are also treasurer of the Law Council of Australia. Are you juggling too many jobs? 

    The bar prepares you well to do more than one thing at a time. At the moment all is well. I am surrounded by an extremely talented and hardworking executive and staff in both organisations. 

    What is in your refrigerator? 

    Chicken, plenty of fruit and vegetables.

    Have you a favourite recipe that you would like to share? 

    Can't cook; can't bowl, can't bat.

    What makes you frightened? 

    Politicians who attack the judiciary for supposed political gain without understanding the impact it has on the rule of law in society. The recent attack on the Victorian Court of Appeal, which included personal comments about the judges, was disgraceful. 

    Who would you like to play you in a film about your life?

    Rowan Atkinson. 

    Who would you most like to be with in a lift that has broken down? 

    Angela Merkel.

    Why law, and not another worthwhile pursuit in life? 

    Good question. My father wanted me to be a mechanic and leave school when I was 15 but my mother persuaded him that I should be allowed to finish school. 

    What was your most interesting case as a barrister? 

    I have been fortunate to be in a few. There are two that come to mind as a young, junior barrister: 

    • Hollingsworth v The Commissioner of Police in which I appeared for the applicant. The case involved a former stripper/prostitute in an unfair dismissal case against the Police Force. The applicant had been dismissed when the Police Force became aware of her former occupation; and 

    • NAALAS v Bradley. Appearing in a contempt matter for an aboriginal legal aid service against the former Chief Magistrate of the NT in relation to statements that were made during a press conference. The substantive proceedings involved a challenge to the validity of the appointment of the former NT Chief Magistrate. 

    What was the most important opportunity you didn't take? 

    Progressing as a NSWRL referee after getting my refereeing ticket as a 16-year-old. 

    If you were on death row, what would you request for your last meal?  

    Grilled Barramundi and a large bowl of tabouli.

    If you were a foodstuff, what would you be?

    Zucchini - because I get a lot stuffed into me every day by staff, juniors and solicitors (and occasionally a judge).

    Who do you most admire professionally?

    Julian McMahon AC - a courageous and selfless barrister from the Victorian Bar who has worked tirelessly for Australians on death row in overseas countries.

    What is your favourite word?


    What would you change about Australia?

    The rising rate of indigenous incarceration. In NSW alone, it has increased by 25 percent since 2013. 

    What initiatives are you implementing as president of the NSW bar? 

    I work with the bar council as a team. It is early days but at the moment some of the issues we are looking include: 

    • Reviewing the strategic plan of the NSW Bar Association with a view to examining how we can provide services to members that better assists them in their practices. 

    • Closer engagement with the Association of Corporate Counsel. Approximately 30 percent of the legal profession is employed as in-house counsel. Potential direct briefing by these lawyers is a new source of work for the junior bar. 

    • Reviewing the 2017 Quality of Working Life Survey of the NSW bar in order to find what evidence based policies can be implemented in relation to issues such as bullying or inappropriate behaviour by some members of the judiciary that impact on barristers and the remuneration for junior barristers who undertake stressful legal aid work. 

    • Educating solicitors and clients about the benefit of briefing counsel at an early stage of proceedings in order to assist in focusing issues in proceedings as well as reducing costs.

    What do you hope to achieve by the end of your term as president of the of the NSW bar association? 

    • Implementing measures to reduce indigenous rates of incarceration. 

    • Increasing the work of junior barristers, as they are the future of the independent bar. 

    • Securing extra funding for legal aid in order to ensure that people are better represented and lawyers are properly remunerated. During a Law Week speech in the Northern Territory this year, former chief justice Robert French noted that in order for the rule of law to operate effectively, access to justice cannot be limited to the rich and powerful. 

    • Trying to get the balance right between the statutory functions that the bar association undertakes dealing with the conduct of barristers as well as providing services to members. 

    • Increasing the awareness of mental health and other health issues confronting barristers and implementing measures to deal with these problems.  

    • Promoting diversity at the bar and the judiciary. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, gender, race and practitioners with different socio-economic backgrounds. Michael McHugh and Justice Stephen Gageler have both made the point that the judiciary better serves the community when it reflects the community. And, of course, members of the judiciary should be selected on merit.

    What comes into your mind when you shut your eyes and think of the word "law"? 


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