24 January 2023

Canberra's newest magistrate says he 'wouldn’t want to live anywhere else'

| Albert McKnight
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Ian Temby will be the newest magistrate in the ACT Magistrates Court. Photo: Clayton Utz.

Ahead of officially taking up his new post in the ACT Magistrates Court, the high-achieving lawyer who will become Canberra’s newest magistrate has declared there is no city he’d rather be in.

“I have lived in Canberra and Sydney twice each, but I was born in Canberra and have lived here for the majority of my life,” Ian Temby said.

“It is a great city, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Except in winter, when I would quite happily live in Queensland!”

Mr Temby was named the new magistrate late last year and will start working on the bench on 30 January 2023.

When asked why he decided to take up the position, he said magistrates performed an important service for the community. He liked the idea of giving service in a way that utilises the skills he has developed throughout his career.

“It is also my very strong hope that, in performing that service, I will be able to do so effectively and efficiently and, therefore, that my service will be valuable,” he said.

“I also enjoy decision-making, particularly in a legal context. I enjoy the intellectual exercise and I am comfortable with the responsibility that comes with making decisions.

“This is obviously important in the role of a magistrate where decisions impact people’s lives so directly.”

Mr Temby has spent over 20 years as a litigation lawyer working across courts and tribunals in the Commonwealth, ACT, NSW and Victoria.

He has experience in administrative law, commercial law, property disputes, coronial inquiries, royal commissions as well as investigations.

He was also a member of the ACT Law Society Council in 2021-22 and was a partner at the law firm Clayton Utz.

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Mr Temby found it difficult to choose the proudest moments from his career as there are many he looks back on fondly.

These included the opportunity to argue before the High Court and some of the wins he has helped his clients achieve.

“Particularly for my pro bono clients for whom the outcome of a matter can have a meaningful impact on their lives,” he said.

Another of his proudest moments was being appointed a partner of a major law firm, saying building a practice was not an easy thing to do.

“I am, of course, grateful to the team that worked with me to achieve that goal and to my family for putting up with my dedication to my work,” he said.

“It is not something that can be achieved without that kind of support.”

Mr Temby said he liked the idea of practising law for as long as he could remember.

“I studied both commerce and law at university, and while I do like numbers, I found the law subjects more interesting,” he said.

“I particularly enjoy the construction and delivery of arguments and naturally found myself in a litigation practice from very early in my career.

“Running court hearings is one of the things I enjoy most about my current role, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to be in court more often in my role as a magistrate.”

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The Territory’s legal profession has already welcomed Mr Temby warmly into his role.

“On behalf of the ACT legal profession, we congratulate Ian Temby on his appointment as a magistrate of the ACT Magistrate’s Court,” ACT Law Society president Farzana Choudhury said.

Rebecca Christensen SC, Sean Richter and Dr Gregor Urbas have also been named as special magistrates for the Territory and began working in their roles earlier this month.

Special Magistrate Christensen has worked in the Office of the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions since 2016 and has experience in Queensland, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Special Magistrate Richter has more than 25 years’ experience in law, practising primarily in the criminal, civil, industrial and workers compensation jurisdictions.

An Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at the Australian National University, Special Magistrate Urbas is internationally recognised for his expertise in cybercrime, evidence law and intellectual property enforcement.

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