Today the Commonwealth Attorney-General, the Hon Christian Porter MP announced the appointment of Judge Christine Mead and Judge Norah Hartnett to the Family Court of Australia and the appointment of the Hon Justice Peter Tree to the Appeal Division of the Family Court of Australia.
These appointments elevate Judge Mead and Judge Hartnett from their current positions as judges of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and Justice Tree, an existing Family Court judge, elevated to the Appeal Division of the Family Court of Australia.
Judge Mead will be located in the Adelaide registry and Judge Hartnett in the Melbourne registry of the Family Court of Australia, both commencing next Monday, 25 March 2019.
Also announced today are the appointments of Mr Guy Andrew and Ms Penelope Kari to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Mr Andrew will be assigned to the Townsville registry and Ms Kari to the Adelaide registry, both commencing next Monday, 25 March 2019.
Justice Tree will continue to hear trials in the Cairns registry as well as serve on the Appeal Division.
Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the Hon Will Alstergren welcomes the announcement of additional judicial resources.
“The Family Court and Federal Circuit Court are experiencing significant change amongst its judiciary.
“With retirement from the bench comes rejuvenation by newly appointed judges – bringing a sense of enthusiasm, energy and direction,” Chief Justice Alstergren said.
The announcement today by the Commonwealth Attorney-General is incredibly important and gratefully received by the courts.
Over the past 12 months Chief Justice Alstergren has worked tirelessly to ensure that retiring judges are replaced quickly and for additional judicial resources. In that time, there have been seven appointments to the Family Court and 10 appointments to the Federal Circuit Court. This brings the total number of judges across both courts to 105 (37 in the Family Court and 68 in the Federal Circuit Court), which is an overall net increase of 12 per cent in judicial resourcing across both courts.
“Timely appointments of new judges are vital. Judicial resources are imperative, especially during a period of change, as is the review and harmonisation of rules, forms and case management approaches.
“Despite the best efforts and integrity of individual judges of this court and the endeavours of the profession, there are unacceptable delays in family law cases being heard and determined. Together, we can do better, there is much to achieve and I look forward to working alongside our new judges in that endeavour.
“Today’s appointments bring immense family law experience to the Courts. Judge Mead and Judge Hartnett have been Federal Circuit Court judges for almost 20 years – the value of their direct experience in the courtroom will be immeasurable to the Family Court. Judge Andrew and Judge Kari are also highly respected barristers with vast family law experience,” Chief Justice Alstergren added.