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New Chief Judge appointed to head WA’s District Court

Attorney-General John Quigley has appointed the new Chief Judge of the District Court of Western Australia.

user iconTony Zhang 03 March 2020 Big Law
District Court of Western Australia
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Her Honour Judge Julie Wager, a past president of the Criminal Lawyers Association of Western Australia, will replace Chief Judge Kevin Sleight who retires on 1 May.

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Judge Wager to the role of WA’s Chief Judge of the District Court. Her Honour was a formidable advocate at law and has been an outstanding magistrate, judge and president of the Children’s Court,” Mr Quigley said. 

Judge Wager is a respected member of the Western Australia legal profession and brings to her new role 15 years experience on the bench, coupled with a wealth of knowledge, empathy and compassion from her years as a criminal lawyer.


Mr Quigley said Judge Wager’s extensive experience as a judicial officer, coupled with her renowned compassion and empathy, made her an excellent choice for the role.

Judge Wager was a criminal lawyer for 14 years before being appointed as the inaugural magistrate of the Western Australia Drug Court in 2000. She was appointed to the District Court in 2005 and has been president of the Childrens Court since March 2018.

Meanwhile, the ALA of Western Australia has welcomed the new appointment. 

“Judge Wager is highly respected for her work in the Children’s Court and is widely acknowledged to be a highly competent and compassionate judge,” ALA national president-elect, Mr Graham Droppert said. 

“Her Honour has also delivered a number of important decisions in personal injury damages claims in her period as a judge of the District Court.

Nicholas van Hattem, president of the Law Society of Western Australia also congratulated Judge Wager on her new appointment. 

“Judge Wager is a highly respected judicial officer, who is well known to the local profession. Her Honour has been a valued member of the law society since first joining in 1990. Over the years, Judge Wager has made a notable contribution to the society’s Continuing Professional Development programme for practitioners. The society looks forward to working with the new Chief Judge,” he said.

District Court Judge Hylton Quail will be appointed as the new president of the Children’s Court of Western Australia, previously held by Judge Wager. 

Judge Quail brings nearly 30 years of experience to the Children’s Court and a demonstrated commitment to the administration of criminal law in Western Australia,” Mr Quigley said. 

His Honour has presided over the Children’s Court in the past as the acting president when the president has been on leave and has a good knowledge of the jurisdiction, practices and procedures of the court.

Judge Quail will take up his new position on 15 March 2020, for a term of two years.

“I also take the opportunity to congratulate Judge Hylton Quail on His Honour’s appointment as president of the Children’s Court of [Western Australia ],” Mr van Hattem said. 

“The Children’s Court has a vital role in deciding criminal matters involving young people; I have no doubt that Judge Quail will capably perform this role with the utmost objectivity and integrity.”