Attorney-General pays tribute to retiring Chief Justice Catherine Holmes

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman today paid tribute to the outstanding contribution of retiring Chief Justice Catherine Holmes AC.

“Chief Justice Holmes has advised me that she will retire from the Bench from 19 March 2022,” Minister Fentiman said.

“Her Honour has made an outstanding contribution to justice in Queensland, including as a judge of the Trial Division of the Supreme Court and on the Court of Appeal as well as six years as Chief Justice” Minister Fentiman said.

“She is one of the foremost legal minds in the State, and she has proved a steadfast leader of the Queensland justice system during her tenure as Chief Justice.

“In this role she has displayed the intellect and tenacity refined during a unique career in the judiciary and the law.

“Her leadership of the court during the COVID-19 pandemic has been exemplary, and through her management the Chief Justice has ensured that Queenslanders have continued to have access to justice.

“The Supreme Court’s strong performance during the global pandemic is a true testament to the Chief Justice.

“Her Honour was appointed to the Bench of the Supreme Court in 2000, and she was appointed a Judge of the Queensland Court of Appeal in 2006.

“At her swearing in ceremony to the Court of Appeal in 2006, Her Honour was recognised for the meticulous attention and dedication she had brought to her judicial responsibilities.

“Her Honour conducted the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry following the devastating 2020-11 flood season, and she was counsel assisting the Forde Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse in 1998-99.”

Minister Fentiman said Her Honour had brought to the bench extensive experience in the law, including as a Commonwealth Crown Prosecutor and a barrister in private practice, notably in criminal and administrative law.

“Chief Justice Holmes was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1982, and as a barrister in 1984,” Minister Fentiman said.

“She worked as a Commonwealth Crown Prosecutor from 1984 to 1986, before establishing a private practice as a barrister.

“Chief Justice Holmes was appointed Senior Counsel in 1999.

“Her Honour served as a part-time member of the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal from 1994-2000 and deputy president of the Queensland Community Corrections Board in 1997.”

Minister Fentiman said that Chief Justice Holmes had also been an inspiration to generations of women lawyers in Queensland.

“Her Honour was a founding member of the Women’s Legal Service, and she was part of a generation who helped establish the position of women in the legal profession, as a prosecutor, as a barrister in private practice and as a judicial officer.”

“Over four decades of service to the justice system, Chief Justice Holmes has helped to build the strong representation of women we see today on the Bench in Queensland and across the legal profession.”

In January 2020, her Honour was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for “eminent service to the judiciary, notably to criminal, administrative and mental health law, and to the community of Queensland”.

“On behalf of the Queensland Government and the community, I express my gratitude to Chief Justice Holmes and my best wishes for the future,” Ms Fentiman said.

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