The Supreme Court of the Northern Territory will be the first in Australia to have a gender equal bench of justices.
The Supreme Court of the Northern Territory will be the first in Australia to have a gender equal bench of justices.

First supreme court in country with gender equal bench

THE Supreme Court of the Northern Territory will be the first in Australia to have a gender equal bench of Justices, thanks to the appointment of Solicitor-General Sonia Brownhill.

Ms Brownhill will replace the Honourable Justice Graham Hiley, who is retiring early next year, with her appointment coming in to effect from November 2.

Following the retirement of Justice Hiley, it will mean the Northern Territory Supreme Court will become the first in Australia to have a 50:50 split in gender representation on the bench.

Ms Brownhill has a lengthy background in law in the Northern Territory.

She joined the Solicitor for the Northern Territory in 1997 before moving to the Solicitor-General's Chambers in 2006 as Crown Counsel.

In 2016 Ms Brownhill was appointed as the Northern Territory's first female Solicitor-General, providing advice and representation on the most serious and complex matters being dealt with by Government.

She is also an expert in constitutional law and native title and represents the NT in high-level court proceedings, including in the High Court.

Solicitor General Sonia Brownhill speaking in court in 2017. Photo: Emma Murray
Solicitor General Sonia Brownhill speaking in court in 2017. Photo: Emma Murray

Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said Mr Brownhill is a trailblazer for women in the legal profession.

"For women in the legal profession here in the Territory, Ms Brownhill has been a trailblazer with a true passion for the law and the Northern Territory," she said.

"Becoming the first jurisdiction to reach a 50:50 split in gender representation in Supreme Court Justices is a reflection on Ms Brownhill's outstanding achievements as an individual and her outstanding career to date."

Expressions of interest will be called for Ms Brownhill's replacement as Solicitor-General.

Originally published as NT to be first Supreme Court in country with gender equal bench


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