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Welcome for Her Honour Judge Lisa Hannan Chief Magistrate

Welcome for Her Honour Judge Lisa Hannan Chief Magistrate

By LIV Media

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May it please the court.

I appear on behalf of the Law Institute of Victoria and the solicitors of this state to welcome Your Honour Lisa Hannan as Chief Magistrate of this court.

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we gather and pay our respects to their Elders, past and present, and to any Elders with us today.

For many thousands of years, people of the Kulin Nation assembled councils to address issues on sites called “law grounds”.

The first judicial hearings under British law were held near here by a Police Magistrate in a bush house fashioned from wattle tree boughs.

Its successor, the Court of Petty Sessions, sat in marginally upgraded premises – a bark hut of turf and sod.  

The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria that Your Honour now heads, represents the foundation and commands the bulk of the structural pyramid of our justice system.

About 95% of criminal cases start in its more than 50 locations while over 90% of the state’s cases are sentenced there.

It is the ideal jurisdiction – now with 50% of its magistrates women - for Your Honour to continue a fourth decade of service to the law and the community.

Chief Judge Peter Kidd of the County Court – where Your Honour served these past 13 years – says you bring an enormous wealth of experience to this role.

Articles in 1986 at Galbally & O’Brien and then as solicitor/advocate taught Your Honour about people and how much the criminal law is about them.

You have invariably thrived on work and challenges, each engagement balanced against family life and wellbeing.

Very soon after becoming mothers, now magistrate Suzie Cameron and Your Honour rocked at the Rolling Stones’ Voodoo Lounge concert at the MCG.

Moss was never gathered juggling professional careers, in motherhood or marriage.   

Your innate inclination to professionally evolve and contribute materialised in 1998 when appointed a magistrate.

It was a position you loved.

You once reflected how the role encapsulated the many reasons why people enter the criminal justice system, and that it also presented raw perspectives and created involvements in administrative roles.

Appointed in 2006 a judge of the County Court, Your Honour continued the practical application of the criminal law and its intellectual tasks.

It also reinforced your fair, firm and impartial reputation.

An eyewitness to those 13 years was Darrell Schulze, a former New Yorker who was your only tipstaff.

He and other loyal staff shared Your Honour’s enormous capacity for work.

You embraced former Chief Judge Michael Rozenes’ reform processes that transformed the court – and covered its Conference Room walls with yellow snowflakes of post-it notes as ideas and plans formulated.

The projects included iManage, E-lodgement and the modernisation of case management to address delay, create efficiency and make practitioners’ lives easier.

If anyone doubted the seriousness of the daily business at hand from 9am in Court 2.9, Darrell’s opening proclamation about everyone having business there being commanded to give their attendance once ended with “… and all will be saved”.

The relief to some lawyers was palpable.

Darrell once also deliciously misspoke in adjourning the court to “God help the Queen”.

When Your Honour stood down last year as inaugural Head of the Criminal Division and Judge in Charge of the General List, many grateful “subjects” expressed their gratitude in a surprise farewell.

Entering court in expectation of adjourning a matter, you found assembled the Solicitor for Public Prosecutions, now Judge John Cain of this court, and representatives of the LIV, Criminal Bar Association, Commonwealth DPP and VLA and many others.

LIV Criminal Law Executive Committee member Mel Walker spoke of Your Honour’s many qualities … your leadership, inspiration and remarkable ability to distil and progress daily matters.

In what will be indistinguishable as Chief Magistrate, Ms Walker listed your attributes as courtesy, tact, punctuality, legal knowledge, humility, respect, fairness and common sense.     

She and fellow committee member Marita Altman – who regards you as a courageous and dedicated leader – particularly admire Your Honour’s support and mentoring of young female lawyers.

This has been evidenced in active involvement in professional development initiatives for young lawyers through the LIV and as founding patron of Women in Crime.

Now in its fifth year, its logo is “connect, educate and support”.

Samantha Seoud (Sood), chair of its committee, acknowledges Your Honour’s genuine care for the development and wellbeing of all practitioners, particularly junior ones.

Now in its fifth year, Your Honour remains a sounding board and inspiration for its members.

When you were appointed we said that you would provide visionary leadership to meet future challenges, and are known for your exacting standards and attention to detail.

The Attorney General in the announcement of your appointment noted that you are a highly experienced, respected and capable Judge who will perform the role of Chief Magistrate with distinction.

This remark has been repeated to me on a number of occasions by colleagues who regularly stand up in this court to represent their clients. Your Honour’s appointment has truly been welcomed by the profession.

The LIV stands with Your Honour and wishes you well in your stewardship of this most important of courts.

May it may please the court.


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