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About the Federal Court

Judges of the Court

The Federal Court of Australia Act provides that the Court consists of a Chief Justice and other judges as appointed. The Chief Justice is the senior judge of the Court and is responsible for managing the business of the Court.

Judges of the Court are appointed by the Governor-General by commission and may not be removed except by the Governor-General on an address from both Houses of Parliament in the same session.

All judges must retire at the age of 70.

Judges, other than the Chief Justice, may hold more than one judicial office. Most judges hold other commissions and appointments.

At 30 June 2019, there were 54 judges of the Court. They are listed below in order of seniority with details about any other commissions or appointments held on courts or tribunals. Of the 54 judges, there were three whose work as members of other courts or tribunals occupied all, or most, of their time.

Table 1.5: Judges of the Federal Court (as at 30 June 2019)

Judge

Location

Other Commissions/Appointments

Chief Justice The Hon
James Leslie Bain ALLSOP AO

Sydney

The Hon Susan Coralie KENNY

Melbourne

Administrative Appeals Tribunal
– Deputy President

The Hon Andrew Peter GREENWOOD

Brisbane

Administrative Appeals Tribunal
– Deputy President Copyright Tribunal – President Australian Competition Tribunal
– Part-time Deputy President

The Hon Steven David RARES

Sydney

Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory
– Additional Judge Supreme Court of Norfolk Island –
Judge

The Hon Berna Joan COLLIER

Brisbane

National and Supreme Courts of
Papua New Guinea – Judge Administrative Appeals Tribunal
– Deputy President Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory
– Additional Judge

The Hon Anthony James BESANKO

Adelaide

Supreme Court of Norfolk Island
– Chief Justice Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory
– Additional Judge

The Hon John Eric MIDDLETON

Melbourne

Australian Competition Tribunal
– Part-time President Administrative Appeals Tribunal
– Deputy President Australian Law Reform Commission
– Part-time Commissioner

The Hon John Alexander LOGAN RFD

Brisbane

Administrative Appeals Tribunal
– Deputy President Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal
– President National and Supreme Courts of
Papua New Guinea – Judge

The Hon Geoffrey Alan FLICK

Sydney

The Hon Neil Walter McKERRACHER

Perth

Administrative Appeals Tribunal
– Part-time Deputy President

The Hon John Edward REEVES

Brisbane

Supreme Court of the Northern Territory
– Additional Judge

The Hon Nye PERRAM

Sydney

Copyright Tribunal
– Deputy President Administrative Appeals Tribunal
– Deputy President

The Hon Jayne Margaret JAGOT

Sydney

Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory
– Additional Judge Administrative Appeals Tribunal
– Deputy President Copyright Tribunal
– Deputy President

The Hon Lindsay Graeme FOSTER

Sydney

Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory
– Additional Judge Australian Competition Tribunal
– Part-time Deputy President

The Hon John Victor NICHOLAS

Sydney

The Hon David Markey YATES

Sydney

Australian Competition Tribunal
– Part-time Deputy President

The Hon Mordecai BROMBERG

Melbourne

The Hon Anna Judith KATZMANN

Sydney

Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory
– Additional Judge

The Hon Alan ROBERTSON

Sydney

Administrative Appeals Tribunal
– Deputy President Australian Competition Tribunal
– Part-time Deputy President

The Hon Bernard Michael MURPHY

Melbourne

The Hon Iain James Kerr ROSS AO

Melbourne

Fair Work Australia
– President Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory
– Additional Judge

The Hon John Edward GRIFFITHS

Sydney

The Hon Duncan James Colquhoun KERR Chev LH

Hobart

The Hon Kathleen FARRELL

Sydney

Australian Competition Tribunal
– Part-time Deputy President

The Hon Jennifer DAVIES

Melbourne

Administrative Appeals Tribunal
– Deputy President Australian Competition Tribunal
– Deputy President

The Hon Debra Sue MORTIMER

Melbourne

The Hon Darryl Cameron RANGIAH

Brisbane

Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory
– Additional Judge

The Hon Richard Conway WHITE

Adelaide

Administrative Appeals Tribunal
– Deputy President

The Hon Michael Andrew WIGNEY

Sydney

Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory
– Additional Judge Supreme Court of Norfolk Island
– Judge

The Hon Melissa Anne PERRY

Sydney

Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory
– Additional Judge Defence Force Discipline Tribunal Administrative Appeals Tribunal
– Deputy President

The Hon Jacqueline Sarah GLEESON

Sydney

The Hon Jonathan Barry Rashleigh BEACH

Melbourne

The Hon Brigitte Sandra MARKOVIC

Sydney

The Hon Mark Kranz MOSHINSKY

Melbourne

The Hon Robert James BROMWICH

Sydney

Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory
– Additional Judge

The Hon Natalie CHARLESWORTH

Adelaide

Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory
– Additional Judge

The Hon Stephen Carey George BURLEY

Sydney

The Hon David John O’CALLAGHAN

Melbourne

The Hon Michael Bryan Joshua LEE

Sydney

The Hon Roger Marc DERRINGTON

Brisbane

The Hon David Graham THOMAS

Brisbane

Administrative Appeals Tribunal
– President

The Hon Sarah Catherine DERRINGTON

Brisbane

Australian Law Reform Commission
– President

The Hon Simon Harry Peter STEWARD

Melbourne

Administrative Appeals Tribunal
– Part-time Deputy President

The Hon Katrina Frances BANKS-SMITH

Perth

The Hon Craig Grierson COLVIN

Perth

Administrative Appeals Tribunal
– Part-time Deputy President

The Hon Thomas Michael THAWLEY

Sydney

Administrative Appeals Tribunal
– Part-time Deputy President

The Hon Michael Francis WHEELAHAN

Melbourne

The Hon Paul Elias ANASTASSIOU

Melbourne

The Hon Angus Morkel STEWART

Sydney

The Hon Michael Hugh O’BRYAN

Melbourne

The Hon Darren John JACKSON

Perth

The Hon John Leslie SNADEN

Melbourne

The Hon Stewart Maxwell ANDERSON

Melbourne

The Hon Wendy Jane ABRAHAM

Sydney

The Chief Justice was absent on the following dates during the year. Acting Chief Justice arrangements during these periods were as follows:

  • 26 June to 24 July 2018 – The Honourable Justice Greenwood.
  • 21 September to 1 October 2018 – The Honourable Justice Greenwood.
  • 18 April to 23 April 2019 – The Honourable Justice Greenwood.
  • 16 June to 19 June 2019 – The Honourable Justice Kenny.
  • 25 June to 30 June 2019 – The Honourable Justice Rares (note that this appointment extended to 15 July 2019).

Most of the judges of the Court devote some time to other courts and tribunals on which they hold commissions or appointments. Judges of the Court also spend a lot of time on activities related to legal education and the justice system. More information about these activities is set out in Part 3: The work of the Court in 2018–19 and Appendix 8: Judges' activities.

Appointments and retirements during 2018-19

During the year, eight judges were appointed to the Court:

  • The Honourable Michael Francis Wheelahan was appointed on 3 October 2018.
  • The Honourable Paul Elias Anastassiou was appointed on 1 February 2019
  • The Honourable Angus Morkel Stewart was appointed on 25 February 2019.
  • The Honourable Michael Hugh O’Bryan was appointed on 26 February 2019.
  • The Honourable Darren John Jackson was appointed on 20 March 2019.
  • The Honourable John Leslie Snaden was appointed on 29 April 2019.
  • The Honourable Stewart Maxwell Anderson was appointed on 6 May 2019.
  • The Honourable Wendy Jane Abraham was appointed on 7 May 2019.

During the year, three judges retired or resigned from the Court:

  • The Honourable Justice Richard Ross Sinclair Tracey retired upon reaching the compulsory retirement age for federal judges on 17 August 2018.
  • The Honourable Justice Anthony Max North retired upon reaching the compulsory retirement age for federal judges on 11 September 2018.
  • The Honourable Justice Michael Laurence Barker resigned his commission with effect from 11 February 2019.

Other appointments during the year are as follows:

  • Justice McKerracher was appointed as a part-time Deputy President to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on 20 July 2018.
  • Justice Perry was appointed as a part-time Deputy President to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on 20 July 2018.
  • Justice Steward was appointed as a part-time Deputy President to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on 20 July 2018.
  • Justice Colvin was appointed as a part-time Deputy President to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on 20 July 2018.
  • Justice Thawley was appointed as a part-time Deputy President to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on 20 July 2018.
  • Justice Farrell was appointed as a part-time Deputy President of the Australian Competition Tribunal on 21 August 2018.
  • Justice Logan was appointed President of the Defence Force Discipline Appeals Tribunal on 27 September 2018.
  • Justice Perry was appointed a member of the Defence Force Discipline Tribunal on 27 September 2018.
  • Justice Rares was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island on 11 December 2018.
  • Justice Greenwood was re-appointed as the President of the Copyright Tribunal on 24 March 2019.

Federal Court Registries

Chief Executive Officer and Principal Registrar

Mr Warwick Soden OAM is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Principal Registrar of the Court.

The CEO and Principal Registrar is appointed by the Governor-General on the nomination of the Chief Justice and has the same powers as the Head of a statutory agency of the Australian Public Service in respect of the officers and staff of the Court employed under the Public Service Act 1999 (s 18ZE of the Federal Court of Australia Act).

Principal and District Registries

The Principal Registry of the Court, located in Sydney, is responsible for the overall administrative policies and functions of the Court’s registries and provides support to the judges’ committees.

The National Operations Registrar, located in Melbourne, is responsible for the implementation of the National Court Framework and its ongoing functions.

There is a District Registry of the Court in each capital city. The District Registries provide operational support to the judges in each state and territory, as well as registry services to legal practitioners and members of the public. The registries receive court and related documents, assist with the arrangement of court sittings and facilitate the enforcement of orders made by the Court.

  • The Queensland District Registry provides registry services to the Copyright Tribunal, the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal and the High Court of Australia.
  • The Victorian District Registry is the Principal Registry for the Australian Competition Tribunal and provides registry services to the Copyright Tribunal and the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal.
  • The Tasmanian District Registry provides registry services for the Australian Competition Tribunal, the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal and the Copyright Tribunal.
  • The New South Wales District Registry provides registry services to the Copyright Tribunal, the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal and the Australian Competition Tribunal.
  • The South Australian District Registry provides registry services for the High Court of Australia, Australian Competition Tribunal, the Copyright Tribunal of Australia and the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal.
  • The Western Australian District Registry provides registry services for the High Court of Australia the Copyright Tribunal, the Australian Competition Tribunal and the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal.
  • The registries of the Court are also registries for the Federal Circuit Court in relation to non-family law matters.

From 1 July 2019, the registry services functions of the Federal Court, Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court will be amalgamated into a new program under Outcome 4 known as the Commonwealth Courts Registry Services. This will provide the courts with the opportunity to shape the delivery of administrative services across all federal courts in a more innovative and efficient manner.

More information is outlined in Part 4: Management of the Court

Officers of the Court

Officers of the Court are appointed by the CEO and Principal Registrar under s 18N of the Federal Court of Australia Act and are:

  • a District Registrar for each District Registry
  • Registrars and Deputy District Registrars as necessary
  • a Sheriff and Deputy Sheriffs as necessary, and
  • Marshals under the Admiralty Act 1988 as necessary.

The registrars must take an oath or make an affirmation of office before undertaking their duties (s 18Y of the Federal Court of Australia Act). Registrars perform statutory functions assigned to them by the Federal Court of Australia Act, Federal Court Rules 2011, Federal Court (Bankruptcy) Rules 2016, Federal Court (Corporations) Rules 2000, Federal Court (Criminal Proceedings) Rules 2016, and the Admiralty Act and Admiralty Rules 1988. These include issuing process, taxing costs and settling appeal indexes. They also exercise various powers delegated by judges under the Federal Court of Australia Act, Bankruptcy Act 1966, Corporations Act 2001 and Native Title Act 1993. A number of staff in each registry also perform functions and exercise delegated powers under the Federal Circuit Court of Australia Act 1999. More information can be found in Appendix 4: Registrars of the Court, 30 June 2019.

Staff of the Court

The officers and staff of the Court (other than the Registrar and some Deputy Sheriffs and Marshals) are appointed or employed under the Public Service Act 1999.

At 30 June 2019, the Federal Court entity engaged 1098 employees under the Public Service Act. This figure includes 775 ongoing and 323 non-ongoing employees. More details on court staff can be found in Part 4: Management of the Court and Appendix 9: Staffing profile: Federal Court of Australia.