Suppression orders in Victoria: supporting or distorting justice?

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Village Roadshow Theatrette

State Library of Victoria

179 La Trobe St

Melbourne, VIC 3000


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This event is now sold out. But don't worry if you missed out on a seat, the entire discussion will be live-streamed - October 23 from 6pm-7:30pm.

Suppression orders imposed by courts have been big in the news this year. George Pell and barrister Nicola Gobbo, known during the suppression period as Lawyer X, are key examples.

In the Pell case where there were two trials, coverage of the outcome of one was suppressed in order to prevent prejudice from the jury in a second trial. The outcome was reported overseas and was available online, but Australian news outlets were prevented from covering it.

Are suppression orders essential to a fair trial for defendants, or does the public have a right to know about all aspects of the justice system and its outcomes?

Join us for the Law and You Forum for an exploration of the current law and some of the thorny issues which surround it.

  • Are suppression orders sometimes made because judges and lawyers believe juries can’t separate fact from comment?
  • Do suppression orders even work in a globally connected world when we can read international coverage online?
  • And what about the rights of victims where matters or names are suppressed?

What's the balance between a fair trial and free press - making sure justice is done and is also seen to be done?

Our outstanding panel will bring some great insights into this clash of cultures -


The Hon. Frank Vincent AO QC

After a prominent career as a criminal barrister, Frank Vincent served 16 years as a judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria and a further eight years on the Court of Appeal.

He was Chair of the Victorian Adult Parole Board for 17 years and has been a Commissioner with the Victorian Law Reform Commission since 2012.

Frank Vincent has been appointed by successive Attorneys General to conduct inquiries into matters of public importance, including a review in 2018 of court suppression orders and the Open Courts Act.

Louise Milligan

Reporter with the ABC TV Four Corners and author of Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell.

Louise is a highly experienced investigative and courts reporter. She won a Walkley Award for the Pell book, was named the Sir Owen Dixon Chambers Law Reporter of the Year, and awarded the 2019 Press Freedom Medal.

She is the only journalist to have interviewed the men who made complaints against the Cardinal. The day after her book was published, the Victorian Office of Public Prosecutions made it known that it had sent the Pell brief back to Victoria Police and it was free to charge George Pell. Six weeks later, Pell was charged with multiple historical child sexual offences and Louise became a witness in the case. George Pell was convicted, and this was recently upheld by the Victorian Court of Appeal.

Dr Matt Collins AM QC

President, Victorian Bar and Senior Fellow at the Melbourne Law School

Twenty years a barrister, and a QC since 2011, Matt has been a member of the Bar Council since 2014 and is in his second term as President.

He has acted in a number of the most significant defamation and media cases heard in Australia in the last 15 years. An acclaimed author on defamation, Matt wrote the standard international text on The Law of Defamation and the Internet, as well as Collins on Defamation.

His research interests include defamation and the intersection of freedom of speech and the right to privacy.

Rod Ratcliffe

Principal Registrar of the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal

Rod has lengthy experience working in courts, including five years as the Prothonotary of the Supreme Court of Victoria, where he prosecuted several high profile contempt proceedings.

As Principal Registrar of the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal, Rod now works in the Magistrates' Court, and he has acted as the Victorian Juries Commissioner.

Before courts, Rod worked in several social services roles such as youth services, welfare housing and residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation and brings this social services perspective to the victim services sector.


Lynne Haultain

Executive Director, Victoria Law Foundation.

The Law and You Forums are community events that explore areas of law that affect Victorians and their lives. The forums are hosted by Victoria Law Foundation.

Venue accessibility

Wheelchair access via Entry 3 on Latrobe Street.
There are three two-hour disability-permit parking spaces in La Trobe Street, outside Mr Tulk.

Getting there

Train: Melbourne Central station is directly opposite the Library's Swanston Street entrance. Country travellers can transfer to metropolitan trains at Southern Cross or North Melbourne stations.
Tram: There are tram stops near our entrances on Swanston Street and La Trobe Street
Bus: The nearest stops are in Lonsdale, Russell and Exhibition streets
Bike: There are separated bike lanes in both directions on Swanston and La Trobe streets. You'll find bike racks on and near the corner of Swanston and La Trobe streets, Swanston and Little Lonsdale streets. See the City of Melbourne website for more information.
Car: The Library doesn't have on-site parking, but there is paid street parking on La Trobe Street and several pay car parks close by, including at Melbourne Central and QV. There are three parking spaces for people with a disability permit in La Trobe Street.

Date and Time


Village Roadshow Theatrette

State Library of Victoria

179 La Trobe St

Melbourne, VIC 3000


View Map

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