Appointments to the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC today announced two appointments to the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC today announced two appointments to the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia.

“It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Ms Alexandra Harland and Ms Judy Small as Federal Magistrates,” said Mr Dreyfus.

The selection process was initiated under the previous Attorney-General Nicola Roxon. An advisory panel comprising the Chief Federal Magistrate, Mr John Pascoe AO CVO, former Family Court judge, the Hon Susan Morgan, and a senior Attorney- General’s Department officer, assessed the suitability of 82 candidates for these appointments.

“Ms Harland and Ms Small join the Federal Magistrates Court as it prepares to change its name to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia to more accurately reflect its modern role,” said Mr Dreyfus.

Ms Harland will take up her appointment to the Darwin registry and Ms Small to the Melbourne registry on 15 April 2013.

“The appointees bring diverse skills and experience to the Court,” said Mr Dreyfus.

“Coincidently both currently work for Legal Aid in their home states. I wish them well as they take on their new role as judicial officers of the Commonwealth.”

Short biographies for Ms Harland and Ms Small are attached.

Ms Alexandra Harland

Ms Harland holds a Bachelor of Arts and Laws (Hons II) from the University of Sydney and was first admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1997.

Ms Harland is an accredited Family Law Specialist and an Independent Children’s Lawyer. She has lectured in family law at the University of Sydney since 2008 and has published on a wide range of family law topics.

From 1995 to 1997, Ms Harland was the associate to Judge O’Meally of the Dust Diseases Tribunal of New South Wales in the Compensation Court of New South Wales.

Once admitted to the Bar, she worked at Dettmann & Dettmann solicitors before moving to Meyer Pigdon Family Lawyers in 2001 for a period of four years. Following this, Ms Harland performed the role of solicitor, Associate and Senior Associate at a number of law firms including Watts McCray Lawyers, Somerville & Co and York Family Law. She has worked at Legal Aid New South Wales since 2011. Ms Harland performed the role of Senior Duty Lawyer until March 2012 when she became the Solicitor Advocate.

She has a long standing commitment to the law demonstrated through her involvement in the Law Society of New South Wales, various bar associations and volunteer work, primarily with the Marrickville Legal Service Centre and the Inner City Legal Centre. Ms Harland became a member of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of New South Wales in 2000, the Senior Editor in the International Family Law Section of the Law Review Journal in 2010 and a member of the Editorial Board of the Family Law Review Journal in 2010.

Ms Judith Small

Ms Small holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) from the University of New South Wales, a Master of Arts (Psychology) from the University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne.

She practiced as a psychologist before concentrating on a career in the performing arts and the law. In 1998, Ms Small commenced as an articled clerk at Slater and Gordon, and was a part time volunteer for the Western Suburbs Legal Service. From 2000 to 2001, she was a solicitor at the Dandenong office of Victoria Legal Aid (VLA). From 2002 to 2004, Ms Small worked as an Associate at Slater and Gordon’s family law department.

From 2004 to 2009, she took on the role of managing the Family Law Service at Victoria Legal Aid’s Melbourne office, and in 2005 she became an accredited Family Law Specialist. Ms Small became the acting director of Family Youth and Children’s Law Services at VLA in late 2009, and was permanently appointed to the role of Director in March 2010. Although practising exclusively in the area of family law since her admission to practice, Ms Small has also developed experience in criminal law, judicial review proceedings and administrative law matters.

During her career, Ms Small has written and contributed to numerous law reform submissions, has frequently presented at formal professional legal education sessions and has delivered several conference papers.


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