Solicitor-General Sonia Brownhill has been appointed as a justice of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, giving the court a 50:50 gender split.
Ms Brownhill will replace the Honourable Justice Graham Hiley, who is retiring early next year. Her appointment will be effective from 2 November 2020.
With her appointment, the NT Supreme Court will become the first in Australia to have a 50:50 split in gender representation on the bench.
According to NT Attorney-General Natasha Fyles, Ms Brownhill is a “well known and highly respected” professional in the territory’s legal community.
“For women in the legal profession here in the territory, Ms Brownhill has been a trailblazer with a true passion for the law and the Northern Territory,” she said.
“Becoming the first jurisdiction to reach a 50:50 split in gender representation in Supreme Court justices is a reflection on Ms Brownhill’s outstanding achievements as an individual and her outstanding career to date.”
“Justice Hiley has been exceptional in his role to which he was appointed in 2013 and I wish him all the best in his retirement.”
Ms Brownhill joined the Solicitor for the Northern Territory in 1997 before moving to the Solicitor-General’s Chambers in 2006 as Crown counsel. She then practised as a private barrister between 2011 and 2016, and was appointed senior counsel in 2015.
In 2016 Ms Brownhill was appointed as the NT’s first female Solicitor-General, and is considered an expert in constitutional law and native title and represents the NT in high-level court proceedings, including in the High Court.