Chief Justice Alstegren will be the fifth Chief Justice of the Family Court, taking over from retiring Chief Justice John Pascoe AC CVO, according to a statement from Commonwealth Attorney-General Christian Porter.
Justice Alstegren is currently Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court and will take on the additional responsibility of the Family Court of Australia from 10 December 2018, as the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia head towards a proposed merger.
He has been appointed alongside Justice Robert McClelland, who will take up the position of Deputy Chief Justice on the same date, filling the position vacated by Chief Justice Alstergren.
Speaking on his appointment, Chief Justice Alstegren said “to be the next Chief Justice of the Family Court is a great honour and privilege.
“When I commence the role on 10 December, I follow a list of highly esteemed leaders that have taken the path before me,” he noted.
“With the judges of the court I will foster an inclusive and positive culture that embraces change and innovation as we assist those who come before our court resolve their disputes,” he continued.
He is “delighted to be serving with many fine judges in both courts who I hold in the highest respect and I have full faith in their integrity, diligence and professionalism”.
“Many people in the Australian community have called for significant change to the family law system. It is imperative that the court continues to ensure that separating families can navigate their way through an efficient system that is child-focused and encourages early resolution of disputes.”
His deputy, Justice McClelland has said he looks forward to “working with Justice Alstergren and judges of the courts to assist separating families resolve disputes in circumstances that can often be trying and difficult for the parties and their children.”
The Victorian Bar has also welcomed the Honourable Justice Alstergren’s appointment, as he was a practising member of the association for more than 25 years.
President of the Victorian Bar, Dr Matt Collins QC said “Chief Judge Alstergren brings strong skills to his new role as the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia.”
“As Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court, he has already implemented case management initiatives to increase the efficiency of the court with which the Victorian Bar has been proactively engaged,” he highlighted.
“He has demonstrated the capacity to bring and deliver a strategic vision to a large and diverse organisation.”
“His leadership and drive will be of great benefit to the court.”
The Victorian Bar’s statement also acknowledged “the long and distinguished service of the retiring Chief Justice John Pascoe AC CVO and his significant contribution to the law, the judiciary and the Australian community.”