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Chancellor Michael Shand retires, former Justice Clyde Croft his successor

Chancellor calls time after 13 years

By Mark Brolly

April 6 2020The Chancellor, Mr Michael Shand QC, has retired after nearly 13 years as the chief legal officer of the Melbourne diocese.

Mr Shand, a familiar figure sitting next to the Archbishop at diocesan synod meetings, retired on 31 March and at the same time ceased to hold the office of Chancellor to the Primate.

Archbishop Philip Freier's resignation as Primate also took effect that day.

Mr Shand, who is to continue in legal practice at the Bar, became Chancellor a few months after Dr Freier became Archbishop of Melbourne in December 2006. He is also a former Chancellor of the Ballarat diocese.

He has been succeeded as Chancellor by former Supreme Court Justice Clyde Croft, who was Deputy Chancellor.

The son of a former assistant bishop of Melbourne, the late Bishop David Shand, Mr Shand's term as Chancellor was marked by significant changes, many of them flowing in whole or in part from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse from 2013-17 and the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations from 2012-13.

In a Facebook post on 31 March, Mr Shand wrote: “Today I retire as Chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne after almost 13 years’ service in this honorary role. It’s been a privilege to have advised the Archbishop over so many years and to have had the opportunity to develop a wide range of significant Church legislation ..."

He cited legislation supporting child safety, professional standards of clergy and lay people in the Church, incorporation of the Melbourne Anglican Diocesan Corporation, the creation of the independent Kooyoora Ltd to manage complaints and clearances, and separate contemporary governance acts for the Archbishop-in-Council, St Paul's Cathedral and the Trust Corporation.

"I give thanks for the opportunity to work with so many good and committed people in the Church," Mr Shand wrote. "I have enjoyed it immensely.”

He has practised as a barrister at the Victorian Bar since 1980 and was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1997. He has chaired the Victorian Bar Council and has practised as both an arbitrator and an accredited mediator.

Last year, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for significant service to the Anglican Church of Australia, and to the legal profession.

The new Chancellor, former Justice Croft, retired last year as a Judge of the Commercial Court in the Supreme Court of Victoria and as Judge in Charge of the Arbitration List. He was a Senior Counsel at the Victorian Bar from 2000 until his appointment to the bench in 2009.

Like Mr Shand, he was awarded an AM last year, in the Australia Day Honours List.

Among other roles in the Church, he has been a member of the Appellate Tribunal -- its highest court -- since 2014 and Chancellor of the Wangaratta diocese since 2010.

In February this year, Dr Croft joined the law faculty at Monash University as a professor and as a leader of the Commercial Disputes Group.