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Issued Wednesday 8 March 2017
Attorney General Mark Speakman today announced the appointments of a new Chief Judge in Equity, a new judge of appeal and a new Supreme Court judge.
Justice Julie Ward has been appointed Chief Judge of the Equity Division of the Supreme Court, Justice Richard White has been elevated to the Court of Appeal and Sydney barrister Julia Lonergan SC will join the bench of the Supreme Court.
"Justice Ward's ascension to the head of the Equity Division is richly deserved, following a trail blazing legal career spanning more than three decades," Mr Speakman said.
In 2008, Justice Ward became the first female solicitor to be appointed directly to the bench of the Supreme Court. She was a partner for 20 years at one of Australia's leading law firms, and served as an associate to the first Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, the Honourable Sir Nigel Bowen, AC, KBE in the early 1980s.
Justice Ward will replace Justice Patricia Bergin, who has retired after 18 years as a Supreme Court judge, including eight years as Chief Judge in Equity.
"I congratulate Justice Bergin on an exceptional career in the law, thank her for her service and wish her well in retirement," Mr Speakman said.
Justice White, who was also an associate to Sir Nigel, will join the Court of Appeal after 13 years on the Supreme Court bench and 18 years at the bar, specialising in commercial law.
He represented South Sydney Rabbitohs in its litigation against News Limited, was a counsel assisting at the Royal Commission into the collapse of insurance giant HIH and was a partner at a major Australian law firm from 1982 to 1986.
Incoming Supreme Court judge Julia Lonergan SC has worked as a barrister for 20 years and was appointed as a Senior Counsel in 2012. In 2013, she appeared as senior counsel assisting a special commission of inquiry into child sexual abuse in the Hunter region.
Justices Ward and White will begin their new roles on 15 March, while Ms Lonergan will be sworn in as a Supreme Court judge on 21 March.