Mr James Lawton has been appointed as a Magistrate of the ACT Magistrates Court, Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay announced today.
Mr Lawton will be appointed to the Court following the retirement of long-term Magistrate Karen Fryar.
“Mr Lawton has had significant practice in the ACT Magistrates Court, the NSW Local Court, the ACT Supreme Court and NSW District Court and has significant experience in both criminal and civil law,” Minister Ramsay said.
“He worked for the ACT Legal Aid Office Criminal Law Section before beginning a career as a Prosecutor in 2000.
“He was a Senior Advocate at the ACT Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions prior to joining the ACT Bar and has been a member of the ACT Bar since 2012.
“Mr Lawton has twice been an ACT Bar Association Council member and has chaired its Criminal Law Committee.
“I have full confidence that Mr Lawton will make a significant contribution to enhancing access to justice outcomes at the ACT Magistrates Court.
“Mr Lawton’s varied experiences ensures he has a genuine understanding of the challenges faced by those engaged in the judicial system,” Minister Ramsay said.
Attorney-General Ramsay also announced the appointment of Mr James Stewart as the first part-time Magistrate to the ACT Magistrates Court.
“Since being called to the bar in 2006, Mr Stewart has developed a successful criminal and civil practice in all levels of Australian state and Federal Courts,” Minister Ramsay said.
“Mr Stewart commenced his practice in the ACT in 2013, whilst also lecturing for the Australian National University.
“He has been a member of the ACT Bar Association Bar Council for the past two years and chairs its Continuing Professional Development Committee.
“I welcome both Mr Lawton and Mr Stewart to the ACT Magistrates Court and look forward to their contributions to the ACT community in their new roles.
“On behalf of the ACT Government, I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to Magistrate Karen Fryar for her 25 years of service in the ACT Magistrates Court. Magistrate Fryar has made a remarkable contribution towards making Canberra a safe and just community.
“I am certain Magistrate Fryar’s dedication and passion for supporting those involved in our justice system will not end with her retirement from the bench,” Minister Ramsay said.
These appointments now mean that the ACT Magistrates Court has a 50-50 split of both male and female representatives on the bench.