13 July 2009

Local Barrister, Mr Stewart Austin, was officially sworn-in as the newest Judge of the Family Court of Australia this morning, Monday 13 July 2009, at the Supreme Court Building in Newcastle.

Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, the Honourable Diana Bryant, swore in Justice Austin and presided at the ceremonial sitting of the Court to officially welcome him.

Other officials in attendance included; Mr Stephen Gageler SC, Solicitor General, Representing the Commonwealth Attorney-General; Mr Mark Sullivan, Family Law Section representing the Law Council of Australia; Ms Anna Katzmann, President, NSW Bar Association and representing the Australian Bar Association; and Mr Joe Catanzariti, President, Law Society of NSW.

The appointment of Justice Austin is to replace Justice Mullane who retired from the Family Court in September last year following 22 years of service with the Court.

“I am delighted with the new appointment to Newcastle and enthusiastically welcome Mr Austin to the Court,” Chief Justice Bryant said.

“I know it will be especially pleasing to the Newcastle community to have an appointment such as Mr Austin who is well known in the Newcastle community and is enormously respected by the region’s legal fraternity.”

Justice Austin will join Justice Ryan as one of two Family Court judges serving the Newcastle and the surrounding community.

Mr Austin holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Jurisprudence from the University of New South Wales and was admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW in 1984 and the High Court of Australia in 1988. Mr Austin was admitted as a barrister in 1997. Prior to this he was an Arbitrator for the Local Court of NSW (1995-2003) and a partner at Burgess Austin Solicitors (1989-1997).

Mr Austin has engaged in continuous work as a litigation lawyer for 24 years in both civil and criminal litigation. In civil proceedings he has acted for both plaintiff and defendant in litigation involving family law, industrial law, employment law, equity, building cases, commercial and common law causes. In criminal law Mr Austin has acted for both prosecution and defence in jury trials, sentence hearings and appeals before the Supreme, District and Local Courts.