12 December 2005

What: Ceremonial Sitting for the retirement of the Hon Justice Rowlands
Where: Full Court Room, Level 7, Family Court of Australia Sydney Registry, 97 Goulburn St
When: December 12, at 4:30 sharp. Media should arrive 10-15 minutes early to take their seats.

Attendance note: the ceremony typically lasts 30 minutes to 1 hour. Media will not be allowed to enter once the ceremony starts. Media will have a specific location from where they can photograph and film, but they will not be allowed to move around or exit during the ceremony. This is necessary as part of the ceremony protocol. Photo opportunities will also be available after the ceremony.

The Honourable Justice Alwynne Rowlands AO RFD will retire today after a long and distinguished legal career.

The Family Court's Chief Justice, Diana Bryant, will preside over today's traditional ceremonial sitting to farewell Justice Rowlands.

Speakers will include the: Commonwealth Attorney-General, The Honourable Philip Ruddock MP; Chairman of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, Mr Ian Kennedy AM; President of the NSW Bar Association, Mr Michael Slattery QC; and President of the Law Society of NSW, Mr John McIntyre.

Justice Rowlands was first admitted to the Bar in 1963 and appointed a Queens Counsel in 1982.  He was appointed a Judge of the County Court of Victoria in 1983 and was the Foundation President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Victoria from 1984 to1987.

Since his appointment as a judge of the Family Court of Australia in 1988, Justice Rowlands has included several other distinguished positions in his Judge's brief, including: Presidential Member of the Federal Administrative Appeals Tribunal since 1988; Judge Administrator of the Family Court since 1989; Judge Advocate-General of the Australian Defence Force (1992-1996); and Judge Marshal of the Royal Australian Navy (1987-1992).

He is also a Rear Admiral RANR (Retired) and has been a Councillor of the Royal Humane Society of NSW since 2003.

Justice Rowlands was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1994.

Security note: Entry to the Family Court of Australia requires people and their belongings to be screened. Items which are not allowed to be brought in to the courts include sharp items. Media will need to identify themselves as such as cameras are not usually allowed either.

Reporting restrictions: Filming, photography and interviews are restricted by section 121 of the Family Law Act 1975. People who are involved in family law cases – litigants, lawyers, witnesses and the like – must not be identified or be identifiable.