29 March 2012

After 14 years on the Bench, Adelaide based Family Court Judge, Justice Rod Burr AM, is retiring and a ceremonial sitting to make his retirement is taking place on Friday 30 March 2012.

A recipient of multiple awards including a United Nations Award for services to the International Year of the Family (1994) and membership of the Order of Australia, Justice Burr retires to spend more time pursuing his international interests.

Justice Burr, who served as President of the Law Society of South Australia in 1988 and was Chairman of the Law Council of Australia's Family Law Section for four years prior to his appointment to the Bench in April 1998, was the Court's national coordinating Magellan Judge which means he retires having overseen some of the most difficult and stressful cases which the Court had to deal with, namely those involving allegations of child sexual and serious physical abuse. 

Justice Burr adds, “It is an emotionally draining task, and I admit that I do not regret leaving this job to others.”

Justice Burr, at 65 years of age, could have served another five years on the Bench but in his own words, “whilst still fit and healthy there are so many other things yet to do.”

Justice Burr said that he is leaving the Court at a time when it faces many demanding challenges such as:

  • Significantly increased complexity in the handling of children's and large property disputes
  • finding satisfactory outcomes for children in the face of increasingly serious drug and other substance abuse issues by parents
  • Dealing with the increased appalling sexual (internet pornography being of major concern), physical and emotional abuse of children where they are used as "weapons" and where parenting alternatives are often scant 
  • Assisting the press and the public in a better understanding of the jurisdiction in the face of, at times, alarming ignorance of the work of the Court.

“On behalf of the Court, I sincerely wish Justice Burr all the very best in his early retirement. He has made a significant contribution to the Court,” Chief Justice Diana Bryant said.

“He will I am sure continue to make a contribution both domestically and internationally to children through the World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights Inc which he and Justice Fowler, also a Family Court judge, established.”


Media contact: Denise Healy, Media and Public Affairs Manager
telephone: 03 8600 4357 or 0409 743 695
email: denise.healy@familycourt.gov.au