I would firstly like to congratulate Katie Edwards and Evan Hughes on their recent Magisterial appointments.  Both will be assets to the Magistrates Court.  They each are a further demonstration that practice in the regional areas of the State is no barrier to such an appointment.  The Magistrate’s position to which Mr Hughes has been appointed will sit in both the Launceston and Devonport Courts and is a new position which will be of great benefit in relieving the pressure on the northern and north-western courts.  The Attorney-General, the Honorable Elise Archer, is to be commended for creation of this additional magisterial position.

I would also like to congratulate Robert Benjamin SC and Kate Cuthbertson SC on their recent appointments as Senior Counsel.  Both appointments are well and truly deserved.

As I have expressed in recent media interviews, I welcome the recent appointment of Professor Gino Dal Pont as Interim Dean of the UTAS Law School.  Professor Dal Pont has an outstanding academic record and is renowned nationally and internationally for his prolific research and publications on a range of legal areas, particularly his numerous textbooks.  These are relied upon as key texts in law schools throughout the country.  While Professor Dal Pont and the academic staff at the Law School have a challenging task ahead of them to rebuild the Law School following the significant loss of talented academics in recent years, I have every confidence that Professor Dal Pont is capable of achieving that goal so long as he is afforded the requisite support, autonomy and resources by the University.  In this respect, I am also pleased to report that there have been some very encouraging signs from leaders within the University’s administration that there is recognition of the importance of a strong collaborative relationship between the Law School and the Legal Profession, which has been enjoyed historically for over 125 years.

I would also like to acknowledge and congratulate Shelley Harwood on reaching the milestone of 25 years working for the Law Society.  Shelley is a bedrock of the Law Society and is responsible for delivering a large number of the Law Society’s activities and publications, including the weekly update (to name just one).  The team that works in the Law Society’s office is a small and dynamic one and has a truly impressive output for its size (particularly when compared to their interstate counterparts – as anyone who is or has been on the Law Society Council would attest).  Shelley is an integral part of that team and her work over the past 25 years and her corporate knowledge is invaluable.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce Speak Up! Stay ChatTY as the President’s nominated charity for this year.  Speak Up! Stay ChatTY works to promote positive mental health and prevent suicide by reducing stigma and encouraging people to seek help when they are struggling with their mental health.  I would encourage everyone to have a look at the links below to find out more about the important work of Speak Up! Stay ChatTY and how you can support it.  You will also hear more about this in the coming months.


Simon Gates