Wednesday, 11 October 2017

New heads of Family Court and Federal Circuit Court appointed

It is with some sadness to me that Chief Justice Diana Bryant of the Family Court of Australia has retired. Her Honour after being appointed as a Senior Counsel, was appointed as the first head of the then Federal Magistrates Court, before being appointed as Chief Justice of the Family Court- a role that she has undertaken with great skill. Her workload has been extraordinary- and her view of the world has nevertheless been focussed on children, and those unfortunate enough to be before her court- the ordinary mums and dads who end up in court.

Yesterday her replacement was announced:

The Australian Bar Association (ABA) welcomes the announcement today of the appointment of the new Chief Justice of the Family Court and the new Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court and a Justice of the Family Court.
The new Chief Justice of the Family Court is to be the Honourable John Pascoe AC CVO, who is the current Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court.
The new Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court and a Justice of the Family Court is to be Mr Will Alstergren QC.
The ABA is particularly delighted with the appointment of Mr Alstergren QC, who has served for many years on the Council of the ABA and has been its President during this year.
Mr Alstergren will bring a wealth of experience and formidable leadership skills to a major national court the jurisdiction of which extends to numerous fields of vital interest to all Australians, particularly family and immigration law.
The ABA takes the opportunity to express its sincere gratitude to Mr Alstergen QC for his outstanding leadership and service to the law and to the Australian Bar.

Chief Judge Pascoe has been an outstanding leader of the Federal Circuit Court. I have no doubt he will be a most able Chief Justice. His Honour has spoken at length about protecting children, including tackling child trafficking. His Honour has for the last two years been Australia's representative at The Hague working group on a proposed Hague convention on private international law concerning children, including international surrogacy arrangements.

I wish his Honour and Mr Alstergren  good luck in their onerous tasks ahead!