Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Vale Justice Michelle May of the Family Court of Australia

Tonight I attend a function recognising the service of Justice Michelle May, who is retiring after many years of service from the Family Court of Australia.

I had the privilege many years ago of briefing her when she was junior counsel; and then after she was appointed as Queen’s Counsel; and then appearing before her when she sat in the Family Court; and then appearing before her when she sat as an appeal judge in the Family Court.

Her colleagues on the bench quickly discovered what those of us in private practice had already discovered, a lawyer of the top order who:

·         had grace, courtesy and humility as standout qualities;

·         had a great sense of judgment,  justice and fairness;

·         had a great sense of care about those with whom she dealt, particularly downtrodden parents and their children;

·         was concerned about the insidious impact of domestic violence; and

·         was extremely hardworking and competent.

I will miss Justice May terribly.  I consider that she is one of the best judges and lawyers I have ever come across.  The Family Court will be poorer because she has left.  I hope that in her return to civilian life that she has time to assist with family law, whether it be by way of mediations or arbitration or assisting in various charitable ways.   Her judgment, sense of decency and humanity, skill and grace are the equal of any.

She will be sorely missed.

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