8 July 2010

The Family Court of Australia is very pleased to welcome the appointment of four new Judges who will be officially sworn-in over the coming days.

Late last month the Commonwealth Attorney-General, The Honourable Robert McClelland made the announcement that Judge Ann Ainslie-Wallace, Ms Margaret Cleary, Mr William Johnston and Mr Ian Loughnan would be appointed as judges of the Family Court of Australia.

Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, The Honourable Diana Bryant said, “I am extremely pleased that these appointments have been made and I sincerely welcome them all to the Court.”

“With several judicial retirements that have occurred recently and with further expected in the coming months, these appointments will be critical in ensuring the that Court can continue to provide an outstanding service to the community members who need assistance in resolving difficult family law disputes.”

Details of the welcome ceremonies of the new appointments are as follows:

Ms Margaret Ann Cleary, Newcastle Registry - 8 July 2010
*Her Honour Judge Ann Margaret Ainslie-Wallace, Sydney Registry - 9 July 2010
Judicial Registrar William Philip Johnston, Parramatta Registry - 12 July 2010
Judicial Registrar Ian James Loughnan, Parramatta Registry - 12 July 2010 (with precedence next after the Hon William Johnston whose appointment takes effect on the same day).

*Ainslie-Wallace J will also be assigned to the Appeal Division of the Family Court of Australia.

Short biographies are below.

Judge Ann Ainslie-Wallace
Judge Ainslie-Wallace holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New South Wales and was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1978. Judge Ainslie-Wallace was appointed an acting judge of the District Court of New South Wales in 1996 and has been a judge of that Court since 1997. She is currently a Deputy Chair of the New South Wales Medical Tribunal. Judge Ainslie-Wallace’s interest in family law stems from her practice as a barrister, in which her principal area of practice was family and children’s law.

Ms Margaret Cleary
Ms Cleary holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney and was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1981. Ms Cleary worked as a Legal Clerk with the Corporate Affairs Commission of New South Wales between 1978 and 1981, and as a solicitor with John Allanson & Associates between 1982 and 1986. She was admitted to the Bar in 1986 and has specialised in serious children’s family law cases. Her work has also included property cases and appellate work.

Mr William Johnston
Judicial Registrar Johnston holds a Bachelor of Laws from the Australian National University. After being admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1972 he worked as a practising solicitor in regional New South Wales. Mr Johnston subsequently worked as an officer of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department in Canberra between 1973 and 1980. He joined the Family Court in 1980 as a Deputy Registrar, becoming the Court’s Principal Registrar in 1986. In 1989 Mr Johnston returned to legal practice as a specialist family law solicitor. He has served in his current position of Judicial Registrar since 1990.

Mr Ian Loughnan
Judicial Registrar Loughnan holds a Diploma in Law with the NSW Barristers Admission Board and was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1981. Early in his career, Mr Loughnan held various clerical and administrative positions with the Family Law Division of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and with the Family Court. From 1982 until 1984 he was Deputy District Registrar of the Federal Court of Australia; Deputy Registrar in Bankruptcy, and Deputy Registrar of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Mr Loughnan was Deputy Registrar and Principal Registrar of the Family Court from 1984 until 1995. He was appointed to his current position of Judicial Registrar of the Family Court in 1995.