District Court appointments include first Aboriginal judge

  • Magistrate David MacLean and Charlotte Wallace, a Senior Member of the State Administrative Tribunal, appointed as judges of the District Court  
  • Attorney General John Quigley has announced the appointment of two senior judicial officers, one of whom is believed to be the first Aboriginal judge in the history of Western Australia and one of only a handful in the whole of Australia.

    Magistrate David MacLean and Ms Charlotte Wallace have been appointed as judges of the District Court.

    The appointments will fill vacancies left by the resignations of His Honour Judge Stephen Scott and His Honour Judge Patrick O’Neal.

    As stated by Attorney General John Quigley:

    “Magistrate MacLean is an Aboriginal man whose kinship links are in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, and Mulga Downs Station in particular.

    “It is believed he is the first Aboriginal judge appointed in Western Australian history. 

    “I am aware that there have been appointments of Aboriginal people to the magistracy in the past, but this is the first that I am aware of to either the District Court or Supreme Court in Western Australia.

    “Indeed, I hope it will be the first of many.

    “Magistrate MacLean was admitted to practice in Western Australia in 1991.

    “He has considerable experience in civil and criminal litigation as well as working for the Aboriginal Legal Service.

    “He was also part of an ATSIC delegation, which travelled to Geneva to speak with members of the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

    “Ms Wallace was admitted to practice in New South Wales in October 1998 and Western Australia in July 2001.

    “She is an experienced facilitator and mediator and was appointed as a full time legal member of the State Administrative Tribunal in 2001.

    “Ms Wallace currently heads the Human Rights and Building Disputes jurisdictions and she will bring a great deal of valuable experience to the District Court.

    “Magistrate MacLean and Ms Wallace will take up their new positions on January 14, 2020.”

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