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3 new magistrates named for NSW Local Court

NSW Attorney-General Michael Daley has appointed three new magistrates for the Local Court in the nation’s most populous state.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 08 August 2023 The Bar
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Gina Towney, Timothy Khoo and Cathy Tawagi have been elevated to the bench of the NSW Local Court, bringing “a wealth of knowledge” to that bench, having worked in a variety of jurisdictions and specialist areas, the A-G’s Department said in a statement.

Ms Towney has previously served at the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the Torture Claims Appeal Board in Hong Kong, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and the University of NSW.

Mr Khoo played senior roles with the Children’s Legal Service at Legal Aid NSW and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and he is “an expert in children’s law”. He has, the statement noted, “extensive experience” in hearing and determining legal matters.


Ms Tawahi has held several senior leadership roles in Legal Aid NSW while conducting a high-volume criminal law practice and has worked in the coronial jurisdiction. She is “an experienced criminal lawyer with more than 30 years of involvement in criminal advocacy and advice, legal management, and mentoring”.

The three magistrates are set to be sworn in on 8 August 2023, 9 August 2023, and 10 August 2023, respectively.

Speaking about the appointees, A-G Daley said: “Ms Towney, Mr Khoo and Ms Tawagi are highly regarded leaders in their field and bring decades of wisdom to the NSW Local Court.

“I congratulate these new magistrates on their appointments which are welcome additions to the bench.”

The NSW Local Court is perhaps the busiest court in Australia, managing a wide range of matters across several jurisdictions. It sits in 123 locations and deals with more than 90 per cent of all criminal cases and civil claims across NSW.

The appointments support the NSW government’s $56.1 million investment in the engine room of the state’s court system, the A-G’s Department noted, driving the delivery of more efficient justice.