Canberra defence lawyer Louise Taylor has been announced as the ACT's first Aboriginal judicial officer.
Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay on Friday announced Ms Taylor, a Kamilaroi woman, had been appointed as the eighth permanent magistrate sitting on the ACT Magistrates Court.
She will start in the job next month.
Ms Taylor has practiced law in the ACT for more than 15 years, where she has worked in the offices of both the Commonwealth and ACT Directors of Public Prosecutions.
She is currently the deputy chief executive of Legal Aid ACT.
Ms Taylor has been the chair of the Women’s Legal Centre ACT, was involved in the oversight of the ACT's Family Violence Intervention Program, is a member of the Law Council of Australia’s Indigenous Legal Issues Committee, and is an associate of the UNSW Indigenous Law Centre.
Mr Ramsay said Ms Taylor's appointment reflected the ACT Government's commitment to provide the court with the resources needed to meet increasing demand.
"With her wide-ranging experience in criminal prosecution and defence, particularly in the ACT context, as well as her contribution to the ACT community in volunteer roles, I am confident that Ms Taylor will make a significant contribution to enhancing access to justice outcomes at the ACT Magistrates Court," he said.
"Ms Taylor will also bring the lived experience of an Aboriginal woman to the Court.
"Along with her legal experience, Ms Taylor has strong leadership skills, as demonstrated by her performance as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Legal Aid ACT."
The news of Ms Taylor's appointment to the bench was welcomed by Canberra's legal fraternity.
ACT Law Society president Sarah Avery said Ms Taylor would bring a wealth of experience to the role.
"She is well-known in the Canberra legal community as a professional and compassionate lawyer, and she will be a great asset to the Magistrates Court," Ms Avery said.
"She is also a proud Kamilaroi woman committed to access to justice for women, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
"The Law Society, on behalf of the ACT legal profession, welcomes the appointment of Magistrate Taylor."
ACT Bar Association president Ken Archer said described Ms Taylor as an "outstanding appointment", who would bring "a diversity of experience to the position as well as a sophisticated appreciation of the role of a Magistrate in our justice system".
“Louise has, in her professional life, worked tirelessly to improve access to justice for a range of disadvantaged groups in the ACT,” Mr Archer said.
"Louise’s indigenous heritage makes her appointment even more significant. Her compassion, intelligence and down to earth manner makes her ideally suited for the role.
“Louise is a dynamic presence in the ACT legal community and her appointment to the court is welcomed by the ACT Bar Association."