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And it only took 121 years!

For the first time the High Court of Australia will have a majority female bench, and it only took 121 years!

On 29 September 2022, the Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus KC announced the appointment of Justice Jayne Jagot to the High Court of Australia. Justice Jagot is the 56th Justice of the High Court and the seventh woman appointed to the Court.  Justice Jagot joins the Honourable Chief Justice Susan Kiefel and Justices Michelle Gordon and Jacqueline Gleeson to achieve this historic milestone.

Interestingly, the number of female law graduates has outnumbered their male counterparts for quite some time. While the representation of women in the legal profession has been increasing, the number of females in the profession’s higher ranks – including judges – has not kept up, and as at 30 June 2020 women made up 38.8% of all judges in Australia.

The gender shift in the constitution of our nation’s highest court is an exciting development for law in Australia and for the Australian people because, as observed by the President of the International Association of Women Judges, the Honourable Judge Vanessa Ruiz, “better decisions result when not all deciders look and think alike”.

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