Court warmly welcomes appointment to bench of Melbourne family law barrister, Patrick O’Shannessy SC

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia is extremely pleased that the Commonwealth Attorney-General, the Hon Christian Porter, has today announced the appointment of Mr Patrick O’Shannessy SC to the Court.

Judge O’Shannessy is a highly regarded and immensely experienced barrister with over 30 years of experience working in family law.

His honour will be sworn in by Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the Hon Will Alstergren in the Melbourne registry of the Court on Friday 18 September 2020. An official welcome ceremony will take place shortly after the Victorian restrictions have been lifted.

Chief Judge Alstergren said the appointment of such a highly specialised family law barrister is appropriate recognition of the level and complexity of family law work performed by the Federal Circuit Court of Australia which currently determines approximately 88 per cent of all family law cases and approximately 92 per cent of all parenting cases nationally (excluding Western Australia).

“Judge O’Shannessy brings over 30 years of experience and skill as a barrister and SC in this important area of the law. He was a highly successful and well sought after barrister at the Victoria Bar. As a junior and an SC he appeared in some of the longest and most complex family law cases in Victoria and is highly respected by his peers and throughout the wider legal profession.

“He has been a mentor to many juniors. Judge O’Shannessy is also a highly respected mediator and the Court is delighted at his appointment,” Chief Judge Alstergren said.

Judge O’Shannessy said, “I am very pleased and honoured to be appointed to the Court. I look forward to getting on with the job.”

Biographical information:

Mr O’Shannessy was admitted as a barrister and solicitor (1984). He was accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria as a Family Law Specialist in 1989. In 1986 he worked with specialist criminal and family law firm, Campbell Grace & Co which became Grace & Macgregor (the firm of David Grace QC, one of Victoria’s three solicitors to be made senior counsel). Here, he undertook criminal and family law appearance work which included women’s refuge referral work and criminal jury trials. He signed the roll of the Victorian Bar in 1991 and was appointed Senior Counsel in 2019. Mr O’Shannessy has worked in De Facto and Family Law in the State and Federal Courts since admission and has conducted hundreds of mediations.

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