Judicial appointments announced this week will see Tasmanian Chief Magistrate Michael Brett and Victorian county court judge Maree Kennedy join the Supreme Court bench in their respective states.
Tasmanian Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin announced that Mr Brett will replace outgoing Supreme Court Justice David Porter, effective 11 July.
Mr Brett served as the Chief Magistrate in Tasmania from September last year and has been a magistrate for six years. Prior to coming to the bench, he sat on the board of the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania and was an active leader for the state’s bar association.
Tasmanian Law Society president Matthew Verney congratulated the Chief Magistrate on his new appointment, saying: "Mr Brett has been a fine magistrate and Chief Magistrate and I have no doubt he will be an excellent judge of the Supreme Court of Tasmania. He is both widely liked and respected. On behalf of the legal profession, I offer my warm congratulations to him."
In Victoria, the state Attorney-General Martin Pakula announced the appointment of Ms Kennedy as a judge of the Supreme Court.
"Judge Kennedy has shown exceptional leadership as a county court judge and she will bring a wealth of experience to her new role.
"The reforms she has helped introduce are a testament to her dedication and talent, particularly in commercial law, and are attributes that will make her an excellent judge of the Supreme Court," Mr Pakula said.
Judge Kennedy was appointed as a county court judge in 2007. She was called to the Victorian bar in 1990 and appointed senior counsel in 2002.
During her time as the judge in charge of the commercial division, Judge Kennedy was responsible for reforms including the appointment of two judicial registrars and a commercial list coordinator. She also helped to establish the commercial list, which became a division of the Victorian County Court in its own right in 2014.
Other commercial division improvements made under Judge Kennedy’s leadership have included the setting of early trial dates within six months of a first appearance and ensuring that trial dates that won't proceed within the same financial year are kept to a minimum.
She was also responsible for developing a protocol between self-represented litigants and the Victorian Bar, as well as an expansion of the court’s alternative dispute resolution services.