Justice William Crockett (1924-2007) was appointed a Supreme Court judge in 1969. The creation of an appeal division in the Court in 1988, found His Honour sitting as a full time appeal judge, mostly presiding in the Court of Criminal Appeal until retirement in 1996. By this time, he had been the longest serving member of the Supreme Court of Victoria.
In the dawn of a new millennium, Robert Richter QC together with four outstanding senior-junior barristers; Con Heliotis, Philip Dunn, Remy van de Wiel and Terry Forrest, shared not only chambers but also had the highest regard for Justice Crockett. Without hesitation and unanimously, College House became Crockett Chambers. And within four years the remaining original members took silk.
As time marched on, new ideas developed into wider horizons. The prospect of expansion excited the group into relocating to 530 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. Invitations were sent to senior and junior counsel, who were short listed through a quest for excellence, to take on tenancy. It was a holistic approach; juniors could import complex work requiring senior engagement and solicitors could retain junior barristers with the knowledge that they had immediate access to senior advice and direction.
The ultimate purpose was to set up the finest criminal chambers in the country. The most senior of Crockett counsel, Robert Richter QC says, 'I believe not only has this been achieved, but because of other specialists (industrial law, occupational health and safety, as well as some commercial and family law) chambers is fully capable of servicing needs in those jurisdictions.’
Be it old, young, female, male, senior, junior, plea advocates, trial specialists or appellate experts, there is no case that cannot be undertaken without the highest levels of utter commitment and laudable competency.
Crockett Chambers has a proud history of undertaking extensive pro-bono work and members continue to be active on the Bar Council and Criminal Bar Association at various levels. We have already farewelled a number of our colleagues to the bench:
Terry Forrest; Michael Croucher (Supreme Court)
Mark Taft; Gerard Mullaly; Greg Lyon; Carolene Gwynn, Michael O'Connell, Paul HIgham, Trevor Wraight, Mandy Fox, Sara Dawes (County Court)
The camaraderie in Chambers provides for a cross fertilization of experience. The door is always open to seek advice and this extends to the on-going flow of readers, interns and work experience students.
Born of legal struggle and history is a constellation of legal rights and freedoms. With these precious protections, we at Crockett Chambers, stand to dignify each and every case with powerful, forceful and the most effective representation.