Statement from the Attorney-General regarding Court of Appeal

Published Thursday, 19 May, 2022 at 02:38 PM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

The Honourable Justice Walter Sofronoff will be retiring from his position as President of the Court of Appeal and as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland at the end of this week following a career in the legal profession spanning decades.

Justice Sofronoff has had an exceptional legal career including his work at the Bar, and finally as the head of Queensland’s highest court.

Graduating from the University of Queensland in 1976, Justice Sofronoff was admitted as a barrister in 1977 and began practising a year later. His Honour took silk in 1988 and practised principally in commercial, property and family law matters.

Justice Sofronoff served as president of the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Tribunal from 2001 until 2005 before his appointment as Solicitor-General which he held for almost a decade.

In 2015, His Honour was also the Commissioner of the Grantham Floods Commission of Inquiry and he led a detailed review of Queensland’s parole system in 2016.

His Honour has appeared in the Supreme Court, Family Court, Federal Court and High Court of Australia, has been vice-president and president of the Bar Association of Queensland, and was a member of Queensland Incorporated Council of Law Reporting from 1999 to 2004.

Working as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Queensland in 1999, His Honour became a member of the University of Queensland Law School Advisory Board in 2014.

A brilliant legal mind and a person of exceptional character and integrity, Justice Sofronoff has demonstrated his dedication to maintaining a strong and independent judiciary in our State.

I would like to thank His Honour for his service to the people of Queensland, through his outstanding contribution to our Courts and in his former role as Solicitor-General.

Highly distinguished judge, Justice Debra Mullins AO, will replace Justice Sofronoff as the new president of the Queensland Court of Appeal.

Justice Mullins has been regularly awarded and lauded for her outstanding work over a long period of time and richly deserves her appointment as president of the court of appeal.

Justice Mullins has been a Supreme Court judge for 20 years before being appointed to the Court of Appeal in January 2020.

Her Honour was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the law and to the judiciary, to professional development and legal education, and to women in 2019.

Justice Mullins was made a Life Member of the National Judicial College of Australia in 2018 for her exceptional service, is an Honorary Fellow of St John’s College at the University of Queensland, and a Doctor of the Griffith University, where she has been an adjunct professor of the Law School in three separate stints spanning 15 years.  

Her Honour will also be joined by Justice Jean Dalton and Justice Peter Flanagan who have been elevated to the Court of Appeal.

Justice Dalton was a barrister for 20 years before being appointed to the Supreme Court in 2011. She was on the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal for seven years, including two years as President. She was on the Mental Health Court for six years with three years as President and ran the Commercial List in the Supreme Court for two years.

Earlier in Her Honour’s career she provided pro bono support to one of the first claims for stolen wages on behalf of a First Nations woman which eventually led the State Government to offer ex-gratia compensation to workers.

Justice Flanagan too has enormous experience, having been admitted as a barrister in 1982, before being appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2002, and a Supreme Court judge in 2014.

His Honour was the counsel assisting at three different commissions of inquiry and has been the President of the Mental Health Court for the past three years.

Justice Mullins will start her role as President of the Court of Appeal on 21 May 2022. Justice Dalton will begin in the Court of Appeal on 21 May 2022 and Justice Flanagan will replace Justice Hugh Fraser following his retirement on 16 July 2022.



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