Queensland Law Society president Christine Smyth has praised the Victorian Government for their forward thinking in the appointment of the first solicitor to the role of Chief Justice, Justice Ann Ferguson.
“On behalf of 12,000 Queensland solicitors, I commend Justice Ferguson on this impressive and deserved appointment and praise the Victorian Government for their foresight in this decision,” she said.
“Solicitors have a unique mix of technical, people and managerial skillsets and they are the integral nexus between the government, our courts and the communities in which they serve.
“It is heartening that those special skillsets are recognised as making a valuable contribution to the administration of justice.”
Justice Ferguson currently serves as a Victorian Court of Appeal Judge, and prior to that had worked as a commercial litigator and partner at Allens.
When she takes over from Chief Justice Marilyn Warren in October, she will become the 12th Chief Justice for Victoria and only one of three female state Chief Justices in the nation.
“The solicitors’ branch of the profession provides extensive diversity, not just in technical skills but also in gender, culture and experience,” Ms Smyth said.
“These qualities are found in those who serve our communities anywhere from your local law firm to judicial positions.”
Ms Smyth commented at the recent swearing-in ceremony of Queensland solicitor Peta Stilgoe OAM to the Land Court of Queensland that both arms of the profession stood as equals in the administration of justice.
“Queensland would do well to align both appointments to our courts and the traditions of the courtroom with the current status of the law which has been in place since 1938, which sees solicitors and barristers with equal rights to appearance in our courts,” she said.
Ms Smyth proudly acknowledged that in Queensland, Justice Ann Lyons, another former solicitor was appointed as Senior Judge Administrator recently, which is a senior judicial position in the state.
“Our justice system is a key piece of social infrastructure in our communities, and it is pleasing to see those that work on the ground directly with clients in their local areas elevated to these crucial positions,” she said.
“I look forward to continuing to work with the Queensland Government on further meritorious appointments to our judiciary from the ranks of solicitors in Queensland.”