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Welcome to Judge Jane Campton

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Cite as: (2002) 76(11) LIJ, p.30

Recently appointed County Court Judge Jane Campton was welcomed to the County Court at a ceremony on 25 October 2002. Among the speakers was Law Institute immediate past president John Corcoran. An edited version of his speech follows.

On behalf of the Law Institute, and representing the solicitors of this state, I have much pleasure in welcoming your Honour to this Court.

Your Honour’s recent return to Melbourne, after two years in London with your husband Peter and family, signifies a reconnection with Melbourne after two disruptions – the first as we have heard in 1981 when your Honour was granted an interneeship with the High Commission for Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland.

The second was, of course, when you accompanied Peter when he was transferred to London in his capacity as a Shell Oil company executive.

During your travels, you have ridden on donkeys, camels and horses and even explored the Roman ruins of Tunisia.

Your Honour matriculated from St Catherine’s school. One affectionate story told by your sister Prue, who is here today and is a solicitor with Allens Arthur Robinson, involves your passion for horses as a young girl. You wanted a horse more than anything in the whole world, to the extent of even keeping a bridle in the bedroom.

It sounds like a scene from the film, National Velvet, but you never got the horse.

Despite that disappointment, you have never been accused of lacking determination. In fact, your star sign is that of a Capricorn who, according to the Institute’s resident expert on judicial horoscopes, symbolises a person who is “determined to climb and sets your goals high”.

It also symbolises the tenacity of the mountain goat – “determined and stubborn at times and very persistent in getting to the top of the mountain against all odds”.

We will leave it to those that know you best to reflect on whether this star sign reflects accurately on your Honour.

As the oldest of five sisters, you are described as “the rock” for your siblings. You have always been there for them in times of difficulty.

As we have heard, your grandfather Harry Campton and your father John Campton QC, who is here today, were both barristers. Your father was a judicial member and chairman of the Liquor Control Commission for about 12 years before being appointed to this Court where he served a further 12 years.

You completed a Bachelor of Law course at the University of Melbourne in 1975. And, as we know, received the Supreme Court prize in contract and introduction to legal method.

You were an articled clerk at Allen & Smith and were admitted to practice on 1 March 1977, signing the Bar roll in September that year.

In the period 1984–1985, you worked as a duty solicitor with the Legal Aid Commission. As a duty solicitor it was commonplace to represent up to nine clients a day. The vast majority of cases were criminal and ranged from representing clients in bail applications to serious assaults and multiple burglaries.

It is fair to say that the experience you gained at the Legal Aid Commission was extremely valuable in assisting the development of legal skills with a range of clients from a diversity of backgrounds.

At the Bar, you developed a busy practice in professional negligence, unfair dismissals and equal opportunity cases. You were much in demand because of meticulous preparation of difficult cases and a solid grasp of complicated areas of law.

Your Honour has had a long association with the Litigation Section of the Institute’s Professional Standards Department and is much admired for possessing a proven capacity to deal with difficult clients in the tribunal process.

You appeared in most Victorian courts and tribunals, including the Coroner’s Court, Industrial Relations Commission and Equal Opportunity Commission.

Your Honour also had extensive experience acting for the State Electricity Commission, Powercor, hospitals, the Health Commission, the Victorian Motor Cycling Association and the Public Transport Corporation.

There were also a number of cases involving sexual harassment and unfair dismissal. Your Honour has even dealt with dismissals from supermarkets and funeral parlours.

Your Honour is known for a great love and knowledge of the law and you have a strong interest in Aboriginal art that originates from your sister, Penny, who is an artist herself.

Your Honour’s other interests away from a busy family life – with your daughters, Sophie and Nicola – include skiing, tennis and attending wine clubs.

Above all, your Honour brings to the Bench considerable experience, wisdom and skill. Once again, on behalf the Law Institute, I sincerely wish you a long, happy and fulfilling term as a judge of this Court.

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