Louise Taylor becomes ACT’s newest magistrate and first Aboriginal judicial officer

Ian Bushnell 10 August 2018

New Magistrate Louise Taylor is the ACT’s first Aboriginal judicial officer. Photo: Supplied.

The Deputy CEO of Legal Aid ACT, Louise Taylor, will move to the bench next month with the announcement that she will become the ACT’s newest Magistrate, and its first Aboriginal judicial officer.

Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said the career lawyer would commence her time on the bench on 10 September 2018, and would be the eighth permanent Magistrate sitting on the Magistrates Court.

Ms Taylor has over 15 years of experience as a lawyer in the ACT, including specialist experience as a prosecutor in criminal law. She has worked in the offices of both the Commonwealth and ACT Director of Public Prosecutions, and has involved oversight of the ACT’s Family Violence Intervention Program.

As the Deputy CEO of Legal Aid ACT since 2014, Ms Taylor has had direct management of the Legal Aid Commission’s litigation practice, specifically in the areas of family and criminal law.

Ms Taylor spent a significant period as Chair of the Women’s Legal Centre ACT and is currently a member of the Law Council of Australia’s Indigenous Legal Issues Committee, as well as an Associate of the UNSW Indigenous Law Centre.

A Kamilaroi woman, she was the 2009 recipient of the ACT International Women’s Day Award.

Mr Ramsay said Ms Taylor’s appointment would provide the ACT Magistrates Court with the resources it needed to meet increasing demand.

“With her wide-ranging experience in criminal prosecution and defence, particularly in the ACT context, as well as her contribution to the ACT community in volunteer roles, I am confident that Ms Taylor will make a significant contribution to enhancing access to justice outcomes at the ACT Magistrates Court,” Mr Ramsay said.

“Along with her legal experience, Ms Taylor has strong leadership skills, as demonstrated by her performance as Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Legal Aid ACT.

“Ms Taylor will also bring the lived experience of an Aboriginal woman to the Court.”

“I welcome Ms Taylor to the ACT Magistrates Court and look forward to her continued contribution to the ACT community in her new role.”

The ACT Law Society has also welcomed Ms Taylor’s appointment and believes she will bring a “wealth of experience to the role.”

Sarah Avery, President of the ACT Law Society said: “[Louise Taylor] is also a proud Kamilaroi woman committed to access to justice for women, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. She is well-known in the Canberra legal community as a professional and compassionate lawyer, and she will be a great asset to the Magistrates Court.”

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