Solicitor-General Sonia Brownhill has been appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory. Ms Brownhill will replace the Honourable Justice Graham Hiley who is retiring early next year, and her appointment will take effect from 2 November 2020.
Her appointment means that following the retirement of the Justice Hiley the Northern Territory Supreme Court will become the first in Australia to have a 50:50 split in gender representation on the bench.
Ms Brownhill has a lengthy background in law in the Northern Territory. She joined the Solicitor for the Northern Territory in 1997, before moving to the Solicitor-General’s Chambers in 2006 as Crown Counsel.
Ms Brownhill then practised as a private barrister between 2011 and 2016, and was appointed Senior Counsel in 2015.
In 2016 Ms Brownhill was appointed as the Northern Territory’s first female Solicitor-General, providing advice and representation on the most serious and complex matters being dealt with by Government.
She is also an expert in constitutional law and native title and represents the NT in high-level court proceedings, including in the High Court.
Expressions of interest will be called for Ms Brownhill’s replacement as Solicitor-General.
As noted by Attorney-General, Natasha Fyles:
“Ms Brownhill is Northern Territory-educated, well-known and highly respected in the NT legal community.
“For women in the legal profession here in the Territory, Ms Brownhill has been a trailblazer with a true passion for the law and the Northern Territory.
“Becoming the first jurisdiction to reach a 50:50 split in gender representation in Supreme Court Justices is a reflection on Ms Brownhill’s outstanding achievements as an individual and her outstanding career to date.
“Justice Hiley has been exceptional in his role to which he was appointed in 2013 and I wish him all the best in his retirement.”