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Welcome Judge Jane Patrick

News

Cite as: (2008) 82(7) LIJ, p. 39

Judge Jane Patrick was welcomed to the County Court at a ceremony on 2 May. Among the speakers was LIV president Tony Burke. This is an edited version of his speech.

I appear on behalf of the LIV and the solicitors of this state to congratulate your Honour on your appointment to this Court.

Your articles with Bruce Burdon-Smith of Burdon-Smith & Associates were more varied and interesting than [previous speaker Bar chair Peter] Riordan has suggested – at least according to the account in your curriculum vitae.

You were, and I quote: “responsible for conduct of litigation and files in family, property, commercial and criminal law”.

Mark Pedley at the Melbourne office of the Commonwealth DPP remembers you well – as does everyone you’ve worked with.

In his many years in that office, Mr Pedley doesn’t recall anyone newly-admitted being promoted from legal officer to senior legal officer as quickly as you were.

You’d been admitted in July, joined the DPP’s office in November and were promoted within seven months. You were, and I quote again: “outstanding”.

You left the Commonwealth DPP to become senior legal officer with the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission.

You were also, for a time, in the broken English that government bodies now employ, and I quote: “acting manager, legal and policy”.

You went from there to the Bar.

You are descended, on your mother’s side, from a long and strong line of lawyers.

Your mother, Jeanette Patrick, practised as the principal of RT Breen & Co, Solicitors in Brighton – the firm established by her father Robert Tweeddale Breen. Your grandmother, Marie, was a managing law clerk.

Your brother, Robert, now runs the |family firm.

You are also descended from a line of strong women.

Your mother was not only a solicitor but on the Brighton Council until her election as only the fifth woman elected to the Victorian Parliament.

She was a member of the Legislative Assembly for nine years (from 1976 to 1985) and was Secretary of the Parliamentary Liberal Party. She was a driving force in the party for passage of the Equal Opportunity Act.

Your grandmother, Marie Breen, was not only a managing law clerk but a federal Liberal senator for Victoria for six years (from 1962 until her retirement in 1968). She was made first an Officer, then a Dame Commander, of the British Empire for her work as state president of the National Council of Women (Victoria) and for her extraordinary social welfare work in the community.

Your Honour’s good works in social welfare include some 11 years on the Council of Women’s Health Victoria (1997 to 2007).

You must have had interesting times with these strong-minded Liberal Parliamentarians when, in the 80s, you stood for pre-selection in Doncaster for the ALP.

It was to the great gain of the law that you didn’t win that one.

Your marriage to Robert Evans created a real-life “Brady Bunch” with your three daughters and his three sons – all then in various stages of schooling.

Your daughters have all done well. Nareeda is with IBM, Marion is a nurse working in IVF – and has made you a grandmother with her son Ewan, and Georgina is working in Perth on a PhD in English literature.

While at the Equal Opportunity Commission, you were a key member of the LIV working group that developed model policies and procedures for law firms to deal with sexual harassment.

As a magistrate, you have contributed on many fronts. For years, you served on the professional development committee and worked tirelessly in judicial education.

You managed the transition during the development of the impressive new Moorabbin Justice Centre – engaging in meetings with the community the Justice Centre now serves.

You brought the Centre to its opening in November last year and began work there as regional coordinating magistrate.

You had earlier taken a country posting as the magistrate in Bendigo, and lived in a weatherboard cottage on the banks of the Lodden – getting back to the family in town only on weekends.

The Bendigo “local beak” planted lots of native trees. Your property has a chook house, but you didn’t put that to use.

One eccentricity that was a source of amusement and delight to your neighbours was that you bathed in a cast iron bath in one of the paddocks.

On behalf of the LIV and the solicitors of this state, I wish your Honour long and satisfying service as a judge of this Court.

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