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Louise Taylor to be appointed resident judge of ACT Supreme Court

Louise Taylor to be appointed resident judge of ACT Supreme Court

The ACT will appoint Australia's first female Indigenous Supreme Court judge with the historic elevation of magistrate Louise Taylor.

Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury will confirm the move on Wednesday, increasing the number of resident ACT Supreme Court judges to six.

Ms Taylor has been an ACT magistrate for the past five years, having previously practised law on both sides of the bar table.
She has worked in the offices of the ACT and Commonwealth directors of public prosecutions, as well as being the deputy chief executive officer of Legal Aid ACT.

Her high-profile clients as a practitioner included David Eastman, who served 19 years behind bars over the assassination of Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner Colin Winchester before his conviction was quashed.

Mr Rattenbury said Ms Taylor, a long-time Canberra resident, would bring to the Supreme Court "a wealth of knowledge and expertise, having represented the most vulnerable members of our community in complex matters".

"Having served on the ACT Magistrates Court since 2018, magistrate Taylor has spent the past five years exhibiting her proficiency in both civil and criminal law matters, displaying a commitment to fairness, impartiality, and open-mindedness," he said.

"Her background as deputy chief executive officer of ACT Legal Aid, together with her roles with the ACT and Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, further accentuate her exceptional expertise and knowledge of the legal system.

"As a proud Kamilaroi woman, her appointment also marks a significant and important milestone.

"It is the first time in the Supreme Court's history that an Aboriginal woman will hold such a prestigious position in the ACT."

Chief Justice Lucy McCallum welcomed Ms Taylor's impending elevation to a bench that is, with the exception of Justice David Mossop, entirely female.

"I have no doubt that Louise's dedication to upholding the rule of law, combined with her invaluable experience, will contribute to the continued delivery of justice in our community," Chief Justice McCallum said.

"It is pleasing to welcome her to the Supreme Court as a long-time Canberran and as the first Aboriginal resident judge in this jurisdiction.

"The ACT Supreme Court is committed to fostering an inclusive and representative judiciary that reflects the diversity of the community it serves, so we look forward very much to serving alongside magistrate Taylor."

Ms Taylor's elevation will be formally announced later on Wednesday morning.

When she was sworn as a magistrate in 2018, Ms Taylor said she was humbled by suggestions she would be a trailblazer for Aboriginal members of the legal profession.

She said there was a belief that "you can't be what you can't see", and that it was important for Aboriginal people and others to see Indigenous leaders.
"My Aboriginality, to steal a phrase, is not everything, but it's not nothing," Ms Taylor said at the time.

Australia's first male Indigenous Supreme Court judge, Justice Lincoln Crowley, was only appointed last year in Queensland.

Foden, B. (2023, July 26). Act to appoint Australia’s first female Indigenous Supreme Court judge. The Canberra Times.