Hearsay ... the Journal of the Bar Association of Queensland
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Swearing-in of Ms Jean Dalton S.C. Print E-mail

themis_green_intro.jpgThe speech given by The Honourable Paul de Jersey AC at the swearing-in ceremony of Ms Jean Dalton S.C. is reproduced below. The ceremony was held on 25 February 2011 in the Banco Court.

 

In welcoming all present this morning, I acknowledge with pleasure the presence of the Honourable the Attorney-General, Justice Kiefel of the High Court of Australia, her Honour the Chief Judge, Judges of the District Court, Federal Court and Family Court, Magistrates, Tribunal members and retired Judges.

I especially welcome our recently appointed Attorney-General to this, his first ceremony in the Banco Court. That the office of Attorney-General is now held by the Deputy Premier signals, I suggest, an appropriate level of respect on the part of the Executive Government for the position of the State's first law officer. I look forward very much to a productive working relationship with you, Mr Attorney, and knowing you as I do, I am confident that will ensue.

It is fitting that I also this morning express my gratitude to the former Attorney-General, the Honourable Cameron Dick, for his progressive support of the courts, and for his courteous and cordial relationship with me.

Some Judges of the Supreme Court cannot be here. They would all wish to be associated with my following remarks. Justice Douglas and Justice Alan Wilson especially asked me to mention that they are out of Brisbane so cannot attend.

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Justice Dalton to the Supreme Court, in this the court’s sesquicentenary year. Her Honour is the 108th appointee to the court in its 150 year history. Justice Dalton’s appointment marks an increase in the complement of Supreme Court Judges from 25 Judges to 26 Judges. That reflects the recognition that Justice Alan Wilson’s substantial commitment as President of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal in real terms prevents his also sitting as a Judge of the Supreme Court. I am grateful for the Attorney-General’s recognition that the court needs another judge to restore the capacity upon which we depended prior to the appointment of Justice Wilson, and I am grateful that the appointment has been made in a timely way.

Justice Dalton is very well qualified for this appointment. She brings a broadly based legal experience to the court. I am particularly reassured that her Honour brings additional commercial experience to the court. I have frequently expressed the view that commercial acumen should distinguish appointees to this, the State’s highest court. That is not to gainsay the importance of capacity to master the criminal law and the common law. But commercial experience must also be a given, certainly at this point in the history and life of the court. It relates to the State’s economy. Investment in the State is facilitated by the reassurance that if legal problems arise, the Supreme Court will, as necessary, resolve them expertly and expeditiously. This court’s commercial list is highly regarded, here and nationally. We must maintain its quality. I am accordingly pleased to note that Justice Dalton brings substantial relevant experience to the court, including in the commercial arena.

Justice Dalton graduated in law and arts from the University of Queensland in 1986 with a University Medal. In 1989, she began a highly distinguished career at the Bar, with particular application to medical negligence and commercial, land, mining and corporate law. Consistently with her successful practice, she was appointed as Senior Counsel in 2004.

Her Honour’s professional career has been augmented by her substantial involvement with various Tribunals. She has served over a number of years as a member and, since 2005, as President of the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal. She has also served as a Deputy Chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Tribunal, and as a member of the Land Court. Finally, she was a member of the Bar Council and the Legal Practitioners Board.

Justice Dalton’s community spirit is epitomised by her pro bono involvement with one of the earliest claims for stolen wages on behalf of an indigenous woman, Lesley Williams, which eventually led the Queensland government’s offering ex gratia compensation to workers. She has a continued association with the Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House.

We warmly welcome her Honour to this important new responsibility.


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