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Vic Bar pays tribute to vision of state’s top judge

The Victorian Bar Association has expressed thanks for the judicial service of Chief Justice Marilyn Warren AC, following news of her pending retirement from the bench.

Chief Justice Marilyn Warren AC (pictured), has announced she will retire from the Victorian Supreme Court bench on 1 October 2017. She is the longest serving Chief Justice in any Commonwealth, state or territory jurisdiction, having clocked 13 years as Chief Justice and more than 18 years as a supreme court judge.

Following news of Chief Justice Warren’s planned retirement last week, the Victorian Bar Association (VBA) issued a statement lauding the distinction of her tenure.  

VBA president Jennifer Batrouney QC noted the Chief Justice’s various contributions to the community of the Victorian Bar. Chief Justice Warren has been a patron of both the VBA Student Engagement Committee and the Women Barristers’ Association.

“Her honour has been an indefatigable supporter, role model and champion for diversity at the bar and in the profession more broadly,” Ms Batrouney said.

Yesterday, 3 April, marked 42 years since the judicial officer was admitted to practise in Victoria.   

After admission, Chief Justice Warren spent a decade working in the Victorian public service, including as senior policy advisor to the attorney general and as assistant chief parliamentary counsel.

A statement from the bar association characterised the career of the nation’s first female Chief Justice as one of “extraordinary achievement”.

“She practised at the Victorian Bar for more than 13 years and achieved the distinction of appointment as Queen’s Counsel – practising as silk for just short of a year before being appointed a judge of the Supreme Court – on which her honour has served with distinction and led with vision,” the VBA said.

The VBA highlighted reforms to the framework for criminal appeals which were spearheaded by Chief Justice Warren, including efforts to enhance the divisional structure and committees of the court, as examples of her effective leadership. She was responsible for establishing Victoria’s commercial court and efforts to refurbish the court’s historic main building.

“Chief Justice Warren’s term as Chief Justice has been one of extraordinary achievement. Of particular significance - because it goes to the fundamental principle of judicial independence - was the establishment of court services Victoria 2014,” the VBA said.

Chief Justice Warren presided over the introduction of a structure of judicial administration in Victoria that, for the first time in the 175-year history of the court, was independent of executive government.”

Ms Batrouney added that the VBA looked forwarded to a formal opportunity in future to thank Chief Justice Warren for her “outstanding leadership and service”.


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