Until 27 November 2020 Tasmania had the benefit of two Federal Circuit Court Judges hearing Family Law Cases. One sitting in Hobart and the other based in Launceston and undertaking circuits to the North West of the State.

On 27 November 2020 Hobart’s resident Federal Circuit Court judge retired.

The Federal Government had been aware since mid-2020 the Hobart resident Federal Circuit Court would retire in November. Law Society of Tasmania President Trevor McKenna said “unfortunately, despite this, there has been no announcement of a much-needed replacement for the Hobart registry of the Federal Circuit Court”.

The lack of a replacement Judge means the State is left with one hard working specialist Judge doing the work of two Judges tackling difficult issues including family violence, child abuse and mental health.

“It is a concern not only to the legal profession but to the many Tasmanian families coming before the Court that there has been no announcement”.

Mr McKenna said “the failure to appoint a replacement Judge in Hobart will lead to delays not only in Hobart but across the entire state”. He observed matters were being adjourned because of insufficient judicial resources.

“There is a single Judge working tirelessly to assist families in resolving their complex disputes. That Judge so with impeccable decision making and in a timely and efficient manner, but it is unreasonable and unacceptable to expect a single Judge should have undertake the work of two Judges”.

The Law Society of Tasmania urges the Commonwealth Attorney General to announce a replacement Judge noting there are many talented family law lawyers and barristers worthy of being appointed to the Court.


For more information or requests for media interviews with Mr McKenna phone 0414 721 696.

11 February 2021