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AWL questions federal level court appointments

AWL questions federal level court appointments

Australian Women Lawyers has voiced its concern over the gender imbalance of the recent Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court appointments.

Attorney-general George Brandis recently announced five new judges for the Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court to replace vacancies in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Newcastle.

In a statement, Australian Women Lawyers noted with concern that all new appointees were male and one, Mark Kranz Moshinsky QC, will replace a female judge, the Honourable Justice Michelle Gordon.

Since 1 July 2014 the Attorney-General has made three Federal Court appointments and seven Federal Circuit Court appointments. Only one of the 10 appointments has gone to a woman, according to the AWL.

"When more than half the law graduates are women and almost half the solicitors practising in Australia are women, what has happened to gender equity?" AWL president Elspeth Hensler asked.

The organisation also questioned why it was no longer consulted regarding judicial appointments and called on the Attorney-General to reinstate the practice.

"State and Territory Women Lawyers associations are commonly consulted about judicial appointments in the States and Territories but it is now many years since Australian Women Lawyers’ views or suggestions have been sought by the Commonwealth about suitable appointees," Ms Hensler said.

"Gender equality is a hot topic in legal circles. What then of these new appointments? Was the Federal Government not listening? Are there no women considered suitable to be appointed?"

Australian Women Lawyers did commend the work of the Law Council of Australia on issues by the NARS report, particularly its efforts to encourage firms to implement the Equitable Briefing Policy.

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