The Women Lawyers Association of NSW biennial Celebrating Women in the Judiciary event was held last week, with a keynote speech delivered by the Honourable Justice Margaret Beazley AO.
“Not so many years ago I was asked to give a toast at this equivalent function to a newly appointed first female judge,” Justice Beazley AO said.
“[At that event] I did say that the day needed to arrive, and to arrive soon, when what was celebrated was not a first, but the appointment of another experienced and esteemed lawyer as a judge to serve our community.”
Since February 2014, the Honourable Justice Jacqueline Gleeson and the Honourable Justice Brigitte Markovic have been appointed to the Federal Court of Australia.
The Honourable Justice Carolyn Simpson has been appointed to the Court of Appeal and the Honourable Justice Helen Wilson to the Supreme Court of NSW, following a prior appointment to the District Court of NSW.
The District Court of NSW has appointed five new judges; Dina Yehia SC, Julia Baly SC, Jane Culver, Jennie Girdham SC and Kate Traill.
Meanwhile, Dominique Burns, Claire Girotto, Erin Kennedy and Tracy Sheedy have been appointed as magistrates.
Understandably, Justice Beazley AO said it was “an absolute delight” to welcome the 14 new female judges to the judiciary.
“The individual experience and the values that you each bring to the judiciary are what make the Australian judiciary and the judiciary of NSW in particular renowned in jurisdictions around in the world.”
Justice Beazley AO said that while the gender equality numbers in the profession still aren’t perfect, women now comprise approximately one third of all Australian judges.
“It must not be overlooked that female judges play an important role in the legitimacy of the judicial system itself.”