‘Benchmarking’ a Supreme Court and Federal Court Judge in Australia

31 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2018 Last revised: 19 Dec 2018

See all articles by Francesca Bartlett

Francesca Bartlett

The University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law

Heather Douglas

The University of Queensland - TC Beirne School of Law

Date Written: September 5, 2018

Abstract

English abstract: In this article, we reflect upon the backgrounds and career trajectories of judicial officers currently presiding over the Federal Court and Supreme Courts, which are some of the highest courts, in Australia. We gathered information through publicly available websites in Australia providing official biographical information, and drew on academic efforts to fill in more details about the judiciary. While patchy, the picture today in the Australian judiciary is of a relatively similar educational and career background – for both male and female judges. Our analysis shows that judges are predominantly recruited from a long career at the private Bar. However, given continued professional barriers to women succeeding in the Australia legal profession which we describe, we argue that it is time to take seriously the stated goals of modern judicial appointment to widen the pool and consider merit that is not solely defined by a benchmark male career.

Spanish abstract: Planteamos una reflexión sobre los orígenes y las trayectorias de las autoridades judiciales que presiden el Tribunal Federal y los Tribunales Supremos, algunas de las instancias judiciales más altas de Australia. Recopilamos información publicada en webs australianas que proporcionan biografías oficiales, y completamos el retrato judicial mediante recursos académicos. Aunque borroso, el retrato actual del mundo judicial australiano muestra un origen educativo y profesional similar para jueces y juezas. Nuestro análisis muestra que jueces y juezas provienen generalmente de una larga carrera profesional en la abogacía. Sin embargo, debido a los constantes obstáculos –los cuales describimos– que deben enfrentar las mujeres para triunfar en la profesión jurídica, argumentamos que ha llegado el momento de abordar seriamente los objetivos establecidos de la designación judicial, para ampliar el grupo y tomar en consideración méritos que no están definidos únicamente por la trayectoria legal masculina.

Keywords: Judges, diversity, gender, barristers, solicitors, Jueces, juezas, diversidad, género, abogados, abogadas

Suggested Citation

Bartlett, Francesca and Douglas, Heather, ‘Benchmarking’ a Supreme Court and Federal Court Judge in Australia (September 5, 2018). Oñati Socio-Legal Series, vol. 8, n. 9 (2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3244593

Francesca Bartlett (Contact Author)

The University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law ( email )

The University of Queensland
St Lucia
4072 Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia

Heather Douglas

The University of Queensland - TC Beirne School of Law ( email )

The University of Queensland
St Lucia
4072 Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia

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