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​New judges appointed

Issued: Wednesday, 3 June 2015

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Supreme Court Judge Carolyn Simpson has been elevated to the bench of the Court of Appeal, while barrister Desmond Fagan SC will join the judiciary as a Supreme Court judge, NSW Attorney General Gabrielle Upton today announced.

“Justice Simpson’s elevation to the Court of Appeal is well deserved after an extraordinary 39 year legal career including 21 years as a judge,” Ms Upton said.

“She made history in 1999 as one of three judges who formed the first all-female bench to sit in an Australian court.”

Justice Simpson grew up in country NSW and worked as a teacher in Broken Hill, Kingsgrove and Kogarah before being admitted as a barrister in 1976. Thirteen years later she was made a Queen’s Counsel.

Since joining the judiciary in 1994, Justice Simpson has presided over a number of high profile cases including the sentencing of notorious gangland murderer Neddy Smith to life imprisonment in 1989.

In 2007, Justice Simpson set a precedent when she awarded nearly $1 million to a teenager who was bullied after she found his primary school had “grossly failed” in its duty of care.

Ms Upton also congratulated Mr Fagan SC on his appointment to the Supreme Court bench.

“Mr Fagan has had an impressive 33 year career as a barrister, including appearances in the High Court and all Federal, State and Territory Courts of Australia,” she said.

Mr Fagan became a barrister in 1982 and was appointed as Senior Counsel in 1997. He has practised across a wide range of law including criminal, commercial, equity and corporations, trade practises, personal injury, tax, aviation, insurance, property, building, engineering, technology, professional negligence and disciplinary.

Mr Fagan has also conducted appeals in the High Court, Full Federal Court, the Court of Appeal in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia and the Court of Criminal Appeal of NSW.

Justice Simpson will be sworn in at a private ceremony on 11 June.

Mr Fagan will be sworn in at a ceremony in the Supreme Court on 11 June.