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NSW trumpets ‘record’ number of female magistrates

Women now make up 47 per cent of magistrates in NSW, marking a 7 per cent increase from one decade ago, according to the state’s attorney-general.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 28 October 2019 The Bar
Attorney-General Mark Speakman

Source: nsw.liberal.org.au/Library/Members/State/Mark-Speakman

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At this morning’s swearing-in ceremony of new magistrates Allison Hawkins and Jillian Kiely, Attorney-General Mark Speakman and Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said the appointment of the two women brought the total numbers on the bench of the Local, Children’s and Coroner’s Courts to 65 out of 139 magistrates across the state.

Women also hold senior roles within the Local Court and Coroners Court including Deputy Chief Magistrate Jane Mottley and State Coroner Magistrate Teresa O’Sullivan, the pair noted in a statement.

 
 

“While judicial officers are appointed solely on merit, I’m delighted to see a record number of talented senior female barristers and solicitors being elevated to the bench,” Mr Speakman said.

“Not only are we seeing an increase in women vying for top jobs, more than half of the state’s law graduates are female, which is helping to drive a huge shift in cultural change across the broader legal profession.”

The state government will move to continue to eliminate barriers, Mr Speakman continued, for “talented women joining the senior ranks” of the legal profession.

“The NSW government has implemented equitable briefing practices of barristers and promotes flexible working arrangements and other measures to help advance careers of women and reduce their attrition rates,” he said.

Ms Taylor added that when Chief Magistrate Judge Graeme Henson was appointed to his role in 2006, only 32 per cent of magistrates were female.

“I applaud Judge Henson for being a champion of equality in law and encouraging more women to apply for judicial roles to reflect the growing numbers entering the legal ranks,” she said.