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First Indigenous woman appointed to an Australian Supreme Court

ACT magistrate and Kamilaroi woman Louise Taylor is set to become the first Indigenous female Supreme Court judge in Australia’s history, having been named to the ACT Supreme Court as a resident judge.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 26 July 2023 The Bar
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The magistrate, Louise Taylor, has been appointed as the sixth resident judge of the ACT Supreme Court, with ABC reporting that a swearing-in is expected within weeks.

The territory’s newest Supreme Court judge brings, the ACT Bar Association detailed, “a huge range of relevant experience to the position”, having previously worked as a prosecutor with both the ACT and Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, as deputy chief executive officer of the ACT Legal Aid Commission, as chair of the ACT Women’s Legal Centre for 10 years, and most recently, as a magistrate at the ACT Magistrates Court since 2018.

The appointment follows that of Warramunga man Lincoln Crowley QC to the Supreme Court of Queensland in May 2022 and that of Yamatji man Michael Lundberg (a son of a member of the stolen generations) as Western Australia’s first Aboriginal judge for its state Supreme Court, in September.

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Speaking about the appointment, ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said: “Magistrate Taylor brings to the Supreme Court a wealth of knowledge and expertise, having represented the most vulnerable members of our community in complex matters.”

“Having served on the ACT Magistrates Court since 2018, Magistrate Taylor has spent the past five years exhibiting her proficiency in both civil and criminal law matters, displaying a commitment to fairness, impartiality, and open-mindedness.

“Her background as deputy chief executive officer of ACT Legal Aid, together with her roles with the ACT and Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, further accentuate her exceptional expertise and knowledge of the legal system.”

Chief Justice Lucy McCallum said: “I have no doubt that Louise’s dedication to upholding the rule of law, combined with her invaluable experience, will contribute to the continued delivery of justice in our community.

“It is pleasing to welcome her to the Supreme Court as a long-time Canberran and as the first Aboriginal resident judge in this jurisdiction.

“The ACT Supreme Court is committed to fostering an inclusive and representative judiciary that reflects the diversity of the community it serves, so we look forward very much to serving alongside Magistrate Taylor.”

ACT Bar president Marcus Hassall said that, as a magistrate, Her Honour has “proven herself to be, among other things, efficient, balanced, worldly, compassionate and insightful”.

“These are qualities which will stand Her Honour in great stead on the Supreme Court. Her Honour is an inspired appointment from which the community will benefit greatly in the years to come,” he proclaimed.

Reflecting on Ms Taylor’s appointment as the first indigenous woman to be appointed to a Supreme Court in Australia, Mr Hassall said that it is a “great distinction for Her Honour and for the ACT legal community that Her Honour is the first Aboriginal woman in Australia to be appointed to a Supreme Court”.

“Her elevation to the Supreme Court is a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts towards a more representative judiciary,” he said.

Jerome Doraisamy

Jerome Doraisamy

Jerome Doraisamy is the editor of Lawyers Weekly. A former lawyer, he has worked at Momentum Media as a journalist on Lawyers Weekly since February 2018, and has served as editor since March 2022. He is also the host of all five shows under The Lawyers Weekly Podcast Network, and has overseen the brand's audio medium growth from 4,000 downloads per month to over 60,000 downloads per month, making The Lawyers Weekly Show the most popular industry-specific podcast in Australia. Jerome is also the author of The Wellness Doctrines book series, an admitted solicitor in NSW, and a board director of Minds Count.

You can email Jerome at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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