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Sole women in NSW silk appointments
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Sole women in NSW silk appointments

ONLY ONE of the 17 new senior counsel announced by the NSW Bar Association is a woman, it has been revealed. Lucy McCallum, a barrister at the HIH and James Hardie inquiries, has been practising…

ONLY ONE of the 17 new senior counsel announced by the NSW Bar Association is a woman, it has been revealed.

Lucy McCallum, a barrister at the HIH and James Hardie inquiries, has been practising for 14 years and last week joined 16 male peers to be enlisted as senior counsel.

During the Hardie inquiry, McCallum acted for the Medical Compensation and Research Foundation, which represented asbestos victims, and was counsel assisting the HIH Royal Commission.

The appointment of senior counsel provides a public identification of barristers “whose standing and competence justify an expectation … that they will provide outstanding service as advocates and advisers”, the NSW Bar Association said.

In order to be considered for senior counsel, barristers have to apply to the president of the Bar Association. Their applications are then considered by a selection committee, which takes into account the views of a large number of barristers, solicitors and members of the state and federal judiciary. There is no quota as to the number of barristers who can made senior counsel and last year 25 barristers were appointed.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that McCallum’s appointment takes the number of female silks in NSW to 13, while more than 300 men currently hold that rank.

McCallum has in the past spoken about her concerns about some female lawyers seeking a perfectionism when they are seeking power and influence in the profession. This, she said, “perpetuates rather than confronts the workings of power, the only difference being that some women who have extracted themselves from the class of women over whom power is traditionally exercised by joining the ranks of the dominating men”.

David Cowan (1977)

David Ulric Arnott (July 1980)

Peter George Maiden (1981)

Simon Demetrius Kalfas (1983)

Paul Hampden Blackburn-Hart (1984)

Christopher Mark Harris (1984)

Paul Ivan Lakatos (1984)

Philip David Young (1984)

Lindsay James Ellison (1985)

Craig James Leggat (1987)

David Geoffrey Staehli (1988)

Richard James Button (1989)

Thomas Guy Radcliffe Parker (1991)

Fabian Gleeson (1991)

Philip Mark Strickland (1991)

Lucy McCallum (1991)

Richard Cobden (1992)

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