Celebrating the Achievements of Women in the Law

Celebrating Western Australian women in the law

Each March, the Women Lawyers of Western Australia celebrate the achievements of women in the law at their Annual Honours Dinner. The event honours women who have recently been appointed to the bench, and to other significant leadership positions in the legal profession. It is also the night when the winners of the prestigious Woman Lawyer of the Year Awards are announced, as well as the winner of the Aboriginal Women’s Legal Education Trust Scholarship.

This year’s Honours Dinner was the largest celebration to date with 350 attendees celebrating women’s achievements in the law at Crown Towers. The list of honourees was also longer than any seen previously, celebrating the appointment of no less than ten women to the bench and a further seven women to significant leadership positions in the law. The event also honoured the achievements of two women retiring from the bench, the Honourable Diana Bryant and Judge Schoombee.

Jennifer Kiss, General Counsel at the Public Transport Authority, awarded Senior Woman Lawyer of the Year 2018

Jennifer Kiss, General Counsel at the Public Transport Authority, awarded Senior Woman Lawyer of the Year 2018

It has been inspiring to watch this celebration go from strength to strength over the past eight years that LawCPD has sponsored the event. The number of women honoured for their appointments to the bench or to leadership roles has increased each year; a fitting reminder that women are continuing to progress towards more equal representation in the upper echelons of the profession. The numbers speak for themselves – in 2007 only 19% of Commonwealth and Supreme Court Justices and Judges were women; by 2017 this had increased to 30%.[1]

Haley Allan from the Legal Aid Commission of Western Australia (West Kimberley Office was awarded Woman Lawyer of the Year 2018

Haley Allan from the Legal Aid Commission of Western Australia was awarded Woman Lawyer of the Year 2018

Although there is more work to be done to achieve equality in the judiciary and other parts of the profession, this progress is very encouraging, as is the support provided by groups like the Women Lawyers of Western Australia who actively advocate for and celebrate the advancement of women in the profession.

Below is a full list of the award winners and honourees from the 2018 Women Lawyers of Western Australia Honours Dinner. Keep an eye on our social media channels for further details on each of the inspiring award winners over the coming weeks.

Award Winners

  • Woman Lawyer of the Year – Haley Allan from the Legal Aid Commission of Western Australia (West Kimberley Office).
  • Senior Woman Lawyer of the Year – Jennifer Kiss, General Counsel at the Public Transport Authority.
  • Junior Woman Lawyer of the Year – jointly awarded to Krista Dunstan, Principal Policy Officer at the Commissioner for Children and Young People and Katy Welch, Solicitor and Registered Migration Agent at The Humanitarian Group.
  • Aboriginal Women’s Legal Education Trust Scholarship – Michelle Russo, Edith Cowan University

Michelle Russo received the Aboriginal Women’s legal Education Trust Scholarship

Michelle Russo received the Aboriginal Women’s legal Education Trust Scholarship

Judicial Appointments

  1. The Honourable Katrina Banks-Smith (Federal Court of Australia);
  2. The Honourable Justice Gail Archer (Supreme Court of Western Australia);
  3. Acting Justice Jennifer Smith (Supreme Court of Western Australia);
  4. The Honourable Gail Sutherland (Family Court of Western Australia);
  5. Judge Belinda Londsdale (District Court of Western Australia);
  6. Judge Kate Glancy (District Court of Western Australia);
  7. Judge Fiona Vernon (District Court of Western Australia);
  8. Judge Wendy Gillan (District Court of Western Australia);
  9. Judge Amanda Burrows SC (District Court of Western Australia); and
  10. Magistrate Belinda Coleman (Magistrates Court of Western Australia).

Leadership Appointments

  1. Hon. Jane Crisford SC – Appointed Chair of Legal Aid Commission of WA
  2. Amanda Forrester SC – Appointed as Director of Public Prosecutions
  3. Carmel Barbagallo SC – Appointed as Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions
  4. Acting Magistrate Robyn Cohen – Appointed as Acting Magistrate of the Family Court of WA
  5. Acting Magistrate Leonie Forrest – Appointed as an Acting Magistrate and as Deputy Principal Registrar of the Family Court of WA
  6. Magistrate Annette Andrews – Appointed as Acting Principal Registrar of the Family Court of WA
  7. Registrar Jocelyn Connick – Appointed as Registrar of the Family Court of WA

LawCPD is a proud supported of Women Lawyers of Western Australia.

LawCPD is a proud supported of Women Lawyers of Western Australia. To learn more about the organisation, visit their website www.wlwa.asn.au

Photo credit: Mac1Photography

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Report 4125.0 – Gender Indicators, Australia, September 2017, Democracy, Governance & Citizenship (accessed 20 April 2018)

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