Building links with Rhodes

The HAL National Committee – from left – Joe Tsalanidis (Victoria), Bill Athanasellis (National Secretary), George Georgiou (WA Chapter Chair), Elefteria (Teri) Konstantinou (Victorian Chapter Chair), Mal Varitimos (National President) and Maria Barbayannis (National Vice-President) presented emergency first aid equipment to a representative of the local emergency service provider.

The Service provides emergency first aid care on an island with 100,000 local inhabitants that also welcomes more than one million visitors annually.

Cultural group performs

Delegates and guests at the HAL Legal Conference in Rhodes were fortunate to experience a performance by a local cultural group.

Delegates generously made donations to the dancing troupe to purchase traditional dresses and garments for future performances, as well as to assist in further productions. Representatives of the cultural group also made a presentation – above – to members of the HAL National Committee.


HAL Oration rekindles Hellenic links

A calling to the law echoes throughout the Morris family of Tasmania, with links to their Hellenic origins rekindled through this year’s inaugural HAL Tasmanian Chapter Oration.

The Oration in February recounted the contribution of Sir John Demetrius Morris to the state as citizen, barrister, administrator and Chief Justice.

Much of the material about Sir John’s life came from documents and accounts from his family, including son John Paul Morris AM, chief magistrate of Tasmania from 1987 to 1994, and grandson David Morris, partner in Hobart law firm Simmons Wolfhagen.

Recollections from John Paul Morris AM included Sir John’s busy and varied life as a family man and the state’s chief justice, balancing travel around the state on judicial duty with hosting visiting dignitaries.

“After the war in particular,” John recalls, “he (Sir John) would sit in Hobart one day, travel to Launceston, sit the next day there, and then come back to Hobart.”

This busy life of his father proved no deterrent for Mr Morris AM, and he too embarked on a career in the law, studying Arts and Law at the University of Tasmania.

He was appointed a magistrate in 1968 at age 37, taking on the role of Senior Magistrate in southern Tasmania in 1977.

He was then appointed the state’s Chief Magistrate in 1987, also contributing to the civic wealth of his state, as had his father Sir John, chairing boards of the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Parole Board of Tasmania, Tasmanian Opera Company and the Tasmanian Council of Social Service.

He was recognized in 1996 as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his service to the law.

It was fitting that part of his memory of Sir John was his father’s visit to Athens for a legal conference in 1955 at the invitation of the International Commission of Jurists.

“This was not long before he died and it was fitting that he went back to the place of his ancestors, having regard to his Greek ancestry,” he recalled.

His son (and Sir John’s grandson), David Morris, attended this year’s Rhodes International Legal Conference as a delegate.

Fittingly, a central conference topic was the exceptional degree of citizen participation in judicial decision-making and democratic government in ancient Athens.

That description aptly illuminates the contribution of the Morris family to the legal and civic life of Tasmania.

ACT: Swearing-in Ceremony for Justice Loukas-Karlsson

The Hon Justice Chrissa Loukas-Karlsson SC

Justice Chrissa Loukas-Karlsson was appointed to the ACT’s Supreme Court earlier this year, joining a number of other judges of Hellenic origin appointed to judicial positions around Australia.

Her Honour (pictured) was sworn in on 26 March 2018 at a ceremony in Canberra before many eminent jurists, her family, colleagues in the law and both the Greek Ambassador and the Swedish Ambassador to Australia.

Her Honour’s Greek heritage was referenced many times in speeches on the day.  Justice Loukas-Karlsson traced her family’s arrival in Australia in the 1950s, remarking on the many challenges that such migrants faced in establishing a foothold.

Education was crucial in building her family’s future.

“It was a burning ambition on the part of my parents, both early feminists in their way, that my sisters and I, born in Australia, would receive the education they themselves were denied through the accidents of history and birth,” she said.

Her Honour graduated from the University of Sydney, and worked for the Aboriginal Legal Service and Legal Aid Commission.

Justice Loukas-Karlsson was appointed senior counsel in 2012, after being called to the bar in 1989.

Her Honour had experience as a Public Defender, Acting Crown Prosecutor, and appeared as counsel before the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

In 2017, Justice Loukas-Karlsson won barrister of the year award from the Women Lawyers Association of NSW.

Her Honour has presented many papers both nationally and internationally.

Attorney-General of the ACT, Mr Gordon Ramsay, said her Honour’s appointment to the bench on 26 March (the day after the observance of the Greek National Day) was a fitting celebration that reflected the community’s warm embrace of multiculturalism.

Her Honour concluded by quoting Socrates, who “stated some two and a half thousand years ago that the essential qualities of a judge are to listen courteously, answer wisely, consider soberly and decide impartially.”

A full transcript of Her Honour’s swearing-in March 2018 is available from the ACT Supreme Court website.

Legal Conference learnings show ancient Greeks wrestled same issues

Learnings from the ancient Greeks maintain relevance for critical issues facing modern Australian civil society, delegates heard at the Hellenic Australian Lawyers Association’s inaugural legal conference in Rhodes, Greece.

More than 500 delegates and accompanying persons, including judges, lawyers and law students from jurisdictions around the world, and others attended the conference, which featured papers and presentations from many of Australia’s most eminent jurists and world-renowned classicists.

Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, the Hon Susan Kiefel AC, presented the Keynote Address titled “Rhetoric and Reasoning – Contributions to the Common Law”, acknowledging the contribution of classical philosophy to contemporary legal and judicial reasoning.

Eighteen other speakers presented on topics including the trial by jury in ancient times and the continuing importance of juries, presentation of evidence in criminal trials, freedom of expression, communication and the law, the role of a constitution in society, water resources and maritime law.

His Excellency, the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr Prokopios Pavlopoulos, opens proceedings at the HAL International Legal Conference on 9 July in Rhodes.

National President of Hellenic Australian Lawyers Association, Mal Varitimos QC, said the conference location provided meaningful context for the theme “Contemporary Legal Issues and the Influence of Hellenism”.

“Strengthening strong intellectual and economic links between these two countries that have much in common, will be vital to the continued growth and vibrancy of both nations.”

The conference was opened by the President of the Hellenic Republic, His Excellency Mr Prokopios Pavlopoulos, on Monday 9 July at the Bastion of the Grand Master’s Palace in Rhodes, an event which attracted widespread local and national media coverage.

The President stressed values originating in Hellenistic philosophy and law which are shared by contemporary liberal democracies.

The Australian Ambassador to Greece, Her Excellency Ms Kate Logan, also spoke at the opening about the many bonds between the two countries through both World Wars and the great post war migration to Australia of so many of Greece’s young men and women.

The Governor of the South Aegean Region, Mr George Hatzimarkos, and the Mayor of Rhodes, Mr Fotis Chatzidiakos, both spoke at the official opening welcoming delegates to Rhodes.

Papers are available on the HAL website at

Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, the Hon Susan Kiefel AC, presents the Keynote Address titled “Rhetoric and Reasoning – Contributions to the Common Law”

After the Chief Justice’s Keynote Address, internationally recognised academics Professor Edith Hall, of King’s College London, and Professor Paul Cartledge, of Cambridge University, discussed the exceptional degree of citizen participation in judicial decision-making and democratic government in ancient Athens.

Professor Cartledge, together with Desmond Browne, renowned British QC, discussed freedom of expression in ancient times and the present day.

Harvard Law Professor Adriaan Lanni considered innovative new approaches to sentencing, including restorative justice, and the greater involvement of local juries in sentencing to increase community understanding, engagement and respect for the administration of the law. Chief Justice Helen Murrell of the ACT Supreme Court described the challenges in achieving a balance between various relevant considerations in sentencing.

Justice Robert Mazza of Western Australia compared and contrasted the nature of evidence given in criminal trials between ancient Athens and now in Australia, and what lessons can be drawn.

The transformation of legal and judicial practice to meet the challenges and opportunities of information technology was the subject of a session on the future of the law presented by Chief Justice Chris Kourakis of South Australia, and Jason Karas and Andrew Ford, from major sponsors Lipman Karas.

Chief Justice James Allsop AO of the Federal Court of Australia explained that because the maritime law of modern nations was based on independent sources, such as the ancient Rhodian Maritime Code, it had developed largely without the self-interested influence of state actors.

Justice Melissa Perry of the Federal Court traced contemporary international law principles on the sharing between nations of limited water resources and on the resolution of competing claims by independent arbitration of laws on water distribution in the relatively arid countryside of ancient Athens.

Justice Stephen Kós, President of the New Zealand Court of Appeal, identified the Aristotelian ethical principle of doing what is right and proper as the ultimate foundation of the fiduciary duties recognised in equity.

Justice Emilios Kyrou of the Court of Appeal of Victoria explored important present day conflicts between the personal interests of legal practitioners and the interests of their clients by reference to the duties of citizens in the direct democracy of classical Athens.

Chief Justice Alan Blow AO of Tasmania traced modern federations and international treaty based organisations back to the defence and common interest leagues which once bound ancient Greek cities.

Controversy over the rights of citizenship are not unique to present day Australia. Chief Justice Michael Grant of the Northern Territory placed the recent controversies over the single citizenship requirement of the Australian Constitution for members of the Australian Parliament in its historical context and the classical period of Ancient Greece.

Queensland Court of Appeal’s Justice Anthe Philippides gave the closing address on how the ancient Athenians have provided the template for governmental structures relevant to navigating the future.

“The conference examined values that went to the heart of the ancient Athenian democratic model; isegoria (equal access to political speech) and parrhesia (the freedom of citizens to speak out). These concepts have influenced political and legal thinking through the ages and are very much matters of contemporary relevance,” Justice Philippides said.

Justice Andromanche Karakatsanis, Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada delivered a very practical paper on “The Role of Advocacy – Oral and Written”.

Justice Michalis Christodoulou, Justice of the Supreme Court of Cyprus, delivered a fascinating paper on “Justice and Philosophy”.

Photographs from the Conference

Monday Opening at Bastion of the Grand Master’s Palace, Rhodes

Tuesday Conference Opening Session

Day 3 Conference Proceedings

Chapter Delegations