Two indigenous lawyers are among six appointments Attorney General John Quigley has made to the Magistrates Court of Western Australia which will strengthen the judiciary’s presence in the regions.
The regional appointments, effective August 3, 2020, will fill vacancies caused by recent resignations and two new positions created so magistrates can deal with all criminal matters across the State.
Justices of the Peace are no longer hearing criminal matters in WA, in line with a recommendation by the State Coroner.
As well as the appointments of indigenous lawyers Gavin MacLean and Andrew Matthews, five of the six appointees have worked with the Aboriginal Legal Service, in line with the Attorney General’s efforts to improve representation of indigenous people and cultural competence in the Magistrates Court.
The addition of two more women in Joanne Andretich and Genevieve Cleary continues the Attorney General’s quest to improve the representation of women in judicial roles.
Two of the new magistrates will take up positions in South Hedland and Bunbury with the others yet to be decided.
As stated by Attorney General John Quigley:
“After an extensive recruitment process I am very pleased to have six magistrates of such quality and with such breadth of experience to preside in the Magistrates Court.
“All appointees have worked variously at Legal Aid WA, the Aboriginal Legal Service, as a prosecutor or have operated their own practice as a barrister and solicitor.
“They are all experienced in dealing with a range of people, often with complex personal circumstances.
“In particular, all the appointees have a solid understanding of the complex issue of family and domestic violence and a demonstrated level of Aboriginal cultural competency, both of which are vital for appointment to the position of magistrate, particularly in regional areas.
“I am particularly pleased that two of the appointees are indigenous lawyers.
“Mr Matthews identifies as a descendant of the Yindjibarndi people from the Pilbara region of Western Australia and has worked with the Noongar community in Perth for most of his legal career.
“Mr MacLean is an Aboriginal man and has specialised in representing traditional owner groups in native title matters.
“The appointees will take up their appointments in various regional locations in Western Australia and I wish them well for the challenge ahead.”
Attorney General’s office – 6552 6800
Indigenous recognises and refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples