A respected silk has this month joined the bench of the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Melinda Richards SC, Victorian Crown Counsel and a Senior Fellow at Melbourne University Law School, was named a new Supreme Court judge last week.
Ms Richards’ appointment filled the vacancy created by Justice Jack Forrest, who retired in March.
Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula thanked Justice Forrest for his service on the Supreme Court bench for more than a decade.
“I’d like to thank Justice Jack Forrest for his decade of service to the Supreme Court and the Victorian community, and particularly his service during the complex court proceedings arising from the Black Saturday bushfires,” Mr Pakula said.
Ms Richards has participated in several high-profile independent inquiries, including as senior counsel assisting the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry in 2014.
She joined the Victorian Bar in 1996 and was appointed senior counsel in 2013.
The AG noted that Ms Richards brought to the bench experience which would serve the state of Victoria well.
“Ms Richards has many years of legal experience, both as Crown Counsel for Victoria and as a barrister in several major public inquiries, and I know she will make a significant contribution as a judge of the Supreme Court,” Mr Pakula said.
The newest Supreme Court Judge had held the position of Victorian Crown Counsel since 2015, advising the government on a range of matters and also representing the state. She assisted the government by participating in two major reviews, including the review of the Charter of Human Rights in 2015 and the Access to Justice Review in 2016.
Prior to taking up that role, Ms Richards practised as a private barrister specialising in equal opportunity and human rights, industrial and employment law, inquiries, public law and personal injuries matters.
She is also a Senior Fellow at Melbourne University Law School, where she teaches the Melbourne Law Masters subject Royal Commissions and Public Inquiries.