Two of James Cook University's law graduates have officially joined the judiciary as a judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and magistrate at Toowoomba Magistrates Court, respectively.
JCU law grads Terry Betts and Viviana Keegan have been appointed to high legal office. Mr Betts has been named as a judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, while Ms Keegan takes to a magistrate role at Toowoomba Magistrates Court.
Mr Betts took up his position in the Newcastle Registry on 30 May, while Ms Keegan will take up her position in Toowoomba today, before returning to Townsville Magistrates Court next year.
In a statement to Lawyers Weekly, JCU noted that Mr Betts is the first of its law graduates to be appointed to the federal judiciary and the second graduate to be appointed as a judge after JCU alumnus Gregory Lynham, who was appointed as a judge of the District Court of Queensland last year.
Mr Betts graduated from JCU with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) in 1993 and was admitted as a practitioner of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1995. He joined the Queensland Bar in 2001 and the Newcastle Bar in 2015, and is a specialist in family law, the statement from JCU noted.
Meanwhile, Ms Keegan's new role makes her the the second JCU graduate to nab a magistrate position — after Cathy McLennan.
Ms Keegan has been a barrister for 18 years, has worked as a Crown Prosecutor and also at the private bar where she practiced in civil litigation, criminal law and family law. She has experience in appellate work, is a nationally accredited mediator and has volunteered her services at pro bono legal service LawRight, a statement from JCU said.
“It’s a testimony to the strength of our graduates that they have been chosen to serve the community in such important ways," JCU Vice Chancellor Sandra Harding said.
"I look forward to seeing many more JCU graduates appearing in these types of leadership positions.”
Professor Elizabeth Spencer, head of law in the college of business, law and governance at JCU, offered a similar sentiment, noting that the school was delighted to see some of its alumni join the judiciary.
“We are very proud that several graduates of JCU Law currently serve as leaders in the community through their distinguished positions in the judiciary,” she said.