Leading Tasmanian lawyer appointed Chief Magistrate

02 November 2016 By Melissa Coade

Tasmania is celebrating the announcement of a new Chief Magistrate, marking the first time a woman has assumed the role.

Catherine Rheinberger has been appointed from the ranks of Tasmania’s magistrates to the position of Chief Magistrate of the state. She commenced her duties as Chief Magistrate last week.

The Governor of Tasmania, Professor Kate Warner AM, officiated the appointment ceremony in what has been described as an “historic occasion”.

A statement released by the Tasmanian Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin congratulated Ms Rheinberger on her new role.


“In what is an historic appointment, Chief Magistrate Rheinberger will be Tasmania’s first female Chief Magistrate. I congratulate her on this appointment and wish her all the best in the position,” Ms Goodwin said.

Ms Rheinberger has served on the bench in the Magistrates Court of Tasmania for over six years. In that time she has occupied positions as a magistrate for the Youth Justice Court and a Court Mandated Drug Diversion.

With 25 years’ experience in law, Ms Rheinberger held the elected position of Tasmanian Bar Association president from 2005 to 2008. She previously worked as senior crown counsel with the Tasmanian Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).

The president of the Law Society of Tasmania, Rohan Foon, also extended his “warm congratulations” to Ms Rheinberger. He noted the high regard that the Chief Magistrate enjoyed among the state’s legal fraternity during her time with the ODPP.

“As a magistrate based in the south, she is very highly regarded as a fine and fair magistrate. I have no doubt that she will bring those qualities to the role as Chief Magistrate,” Mr Foon said.

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Ms Goodwin thanked Michael Daly, Deputy Chief Magistrate, who acted in an interim capacity until the official replacement for Justice Michael Brett was made.

Chief Magistrate Rheinberger replaced Justice Brett, following his appointment to the Tasmanian Supreme Court bench in July.  

Leading Tasmanian lawyer appointed Chief Magistrate
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