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Appointment of judges to the family court of Australia

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The Attorney-General, Mr Kep. Enderby, Q.C., today

announced the first judicial appointments to the Family Court

of Australia. .

The appointments of the Judges will take effect on

January 5, when the new Family Law Act comes into operation.

The Chief Judge of the Family Court will be Justice

Elizabeth Evatt, a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliat

ion and Arbitration Commission. The other Judges will be

Mr Austin Asche, Q.C., of Victoria; Judge John Marshall of

South Australia; Mr Kenneth Pawley of New South Wales;

and Mr John Ellis of the Australian Capital Territory.

Mr Enderby said a Judge of the Court in Tasmania

would be announced shortly.

He said the Judges had been chosen for the Family

Court because their training, experience and personality

qualified them to deal with family law matters.

Mr Enderby said that as Member for Canberra, he was

particularly pleased that Mr Ellis would be the first

A.C.T. legal practitioner to receive a judicial appointment.

The Family .Court of Australia will begin operating

in all States except Western Australia when the Family Law Act

comes into effect on January 5 next year.

The Family Court will differ considerably from

traditional courts of law. The principles which will guide

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the new court were spelt out by the Australian Parliament

in the recently passed Family Law Act.

Mr Enderby said work was well in hand, as a

consequence of advice being received from all State

Attorneys-General (other than from Western Australia) that '

they desired the Family Court of Australia to be set up in

their State. Much work has already been done in selecting

suitable premises, placing advertisements and selecting

suitable people for appointment as court staff.

Mr Enderby said it was heartening that the

Family Court should have as its first Chief Judge someone

as eminently qualified as Justice Elizabeth Evatt.

Justice Elizabeth Andreas Evatt, 41, attended the

Presbyterian Ladies College, Pymble, and was the first

woman to win the university medal on graduation at the

University of Sydney Law School.

After practising at the Bar in N e w . South Wales for

a short period, she was granted a scholarship to Harvard

University in the United States where she took her Master of

Laws degree.

Justice Evatt was admitted to the London Bar in 1958

where she practised as a barrister for some years. Later she

served with the English Law Commission where she specialized

in the reform of family law, particularly family property law.

She was appointed a Deputy President of the

Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in February

1973. In 1974 she was appointed by the Australian Government

to head the Royal Commission on Human Relationships. She was

acting as part-time Chairman of the Commission until March of

this year. Since then she has been full time Chairman.


The program of hearings, research and other .

activities planned by the Royal Commission will continue

unchanged. During the next few months, however, a great

deal of her time will be given to the problems of setting

up the new Family Court. :

She is married with a son, Richard, aged 12, and a

daughter, Anne, aged 6.

Mr Keith John Austin Asche, 49, was educated at’

Melbourne Grammar School and graduated from the University

of Melbourne as a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Laws.

He was admitted to the Melbourne Bar in 1950 and .

to the Queensland Bar in 1951. He practised in Queensland ยท ; ,

until 1954, and then at the Victorian Bar. He has specialised

in Family Law. Mr Asche has lectured on Family Law at the'

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology since 1968 and on

social organisation at the School of Social Studies at the

University of Melbourne.

He was made a Queen's Counsel in 1972. He is

married and has two children.

, Judge John Marshall, 54, was educated at Rostrevor .

College, Adelaide and graduated from the University Of '

Adelaide as a Bachelor of Laws. '

During World War II he served as a Flight

Lieutenant Pilot with the RAAF for 5 years. He was admitted

to practice in South Australia in 1950 and served as a

solicitor in the Crown Law Department on South Australia

from 1951-1956, was Assistant Parliamentary Counsel in

South Australia in 1956-1957 and was appointed a Stipendary

Magistrate in 1958. He was appointed a Judge of the Local

and District Criminal Courts of South. Australia in 1971.

Judge Marshall was largely responsible for the

establishment of the Adelaide Family Court. He became >

senior Judge of that Court in November 1973, and he has


studied closely the operation of Family Courts and Juvenile

Courts in England, Canada and the United States.

Judge Marshall is married and has 4 children.

Mr Kenneth William Pawley, 58, attended the

Malvern School, Hunters Hill. He graduated from the

University of Sydney as a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor

of Laws.

:During the War, he served as a Captain in the

7th Division, A.I.F. He was admitted to the New South

Wales Bar in 1947. For the last ten years he has had an

extensive practice in the matrimonial causes jurisdiction.

He is married and has two daughters.

- Mr John Edward Ellis, 40, attended Scots College,

Sydney. He graduated from the University of Sydney as a

Bachelor ,of Laws. He was admitted to the New South Wales

Bar in 1958.

Mr Ellis specialised in family law work in Sydney

before coming to Canberra in 1967. He has had an extensive

practice in most jurisdictions in Canberra. He is a former

President of the Law Society of the Australian Capital


He is married with 3 sons.


August 28, 1975