13 February 2008

After more than 21 years on the bench of the Family Court of Australia, including the Appeal division on which he has served since 1993, the Honourable Justice Joseph Kay retires on 15 February 2008.

A ceremonial sitting of the Court will be held on Friday 15 February at the Commonwealth Law Courts building in Melbourne to farewell Justice Kay. 

The Honourable Diana Bryant, Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, acknowledging his contribution to the Court, said that he had served the Family Court with quiet distinction. 

“Justice Kay has an incisive grasp of family law and a fierce intellect tempered by a keen sense of humour.

“He has specialised in family law since his early years as a barrister when the Matrimonial Causes Act 1959 was still the relevant legislation.

“Justice Kay was one of the first barristers to fully come to grips with the Family Law Act in 1975 which revolutionised the way in which relationships were assessed and dissolved.

“He was a foundation member of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia and he brought to the Bench a wealth of experience and knowledge.

“Justice Kay contributed to the development of law, in many areas, but particularly in two areas.

“When the child support scheme was first introduced, Justice Kay quickly became and expert and many of the child support decisions at first instance and on appeal involve him.

“The same applied to the decision of the Court following the introduction of the Hague Convention on the Abduction of children.

“Justice Kay has provided the Court with very strong leadership as the Hague Abduction Convention liaison judge for Australia and has an enviable reputation with all the international jurisdictions and the members of the permanent bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

“Although the Court will lose a valuable member of the Bench, on behalf of everyone at the Family Court, I wish Justice Kay a long, happy and fulfilling retirement,” the Honourable Diana Bryant said.