Law Faculty Alumni appointed to senior judicial positions in Australia

The Faculty is delighted to learn that two distinguished alumni have been appointed to senior judicial positions in Australia.

Her Excellency the Governor of NSW, the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, has appointed the current President of the NSW Court of Appeal, the Honourable Justice Andrew Bell, as the next Chief Justice of NSW. Attorney General Mark Speakman said Justice Bell’s renowned intellect and leadership make him a worthy successor to Chief Justice Tom Bathurst AC, who retires from the Supreme Court on 5 March.

Justice Bell has an illustrious academic record including two University Medals from Sydney University and a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. At Oxford he was awarded the Vinerian Scholarship for first place in the BCL and he continued on to complete his DPhil under Adrian Briggs.

Mr Speakman said "Before being appointed President of the Court of Appeal in 2019, Justice Bell’s career at the Bar spanned almost a quarter of a century. He took silk in 2006. His Honour began his legal career with two consecutive terms as a judge’s associate, including to then Chief Justice of Australia Sir Anthony Mason AC KBE QC. This early recognition of Justice Bell’s ability continued throughout his career.” He continued “Justice Bell was a regular advocate in the High Court, twice led his chambers Eleven Wentworth as chair and was a leader in the NSW Bar Association including as Senior VicePresident. His many scholarly articles and contributions to law texts are also highly regarded.” 

Justice Bell's successor in the position of President of the NSW Court of Appeal is the Honorable Justice Julie Ward who has the distinction of being the first female solicitor appointed directly to the Supreme Court of NSW 

Attorney General Mark Speakman said her appointment represents a deserved elevation for an outstanding lawyer. “Justice Ward has been a trailblazer for both women and the solicitor branch of the profession throughout her career,” Mr Speakman said. “Her Honour’s service to the law began with a term as Associate to the first Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Sir Nigel Bowen. Only six years after Justice Ward was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court in 1982, she became the then youngest female lawyer to become a partner of Mallesons Stephen Jaques, one of Australia’s most prominent law firms.”

Justice Ward’s prodigious legal talent was recognised at the University of Sydney where she won the University Medal in law. She went on to achieve First Class Honours in the BCL at Oxford. Her Honour became the first female solicitor to be appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court in 2008, where she sat in the Equity Division, before becoming a Judge of Appeal in 2012 and Chief Judge in Equity in 2017.