AIJA News - November 2021

In this issue:

Meet our new President - the Hon Justice Jenny Blokland

At the AGM of 23 October 2021, the Hon Justice Jenny Blokland was elected as the AIJA’s President. Justice Blokland brings a wealth of experience to her term as President, having sat on the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory since 2010, before which she was Chief Magistrate of the Northern Territory since 2006, and a Magistrate of the same court since 2002. Within the AIJA, Justice Blokland has been a Council member, a member of the AIJA’s Research Committee, was Convenor of the Indigenous Justice Committee, and has spoken at numerous AIJA conferences.  

The AIJA will also benefit from Justice Blokland’s broader experience. Prior to joining the judiciary, she worked with the Northern Australian Aboriginal Legal Service, the Commonwealth Legal Aid Service, the Northern Territory Director of Public Prosecutions, was a barrister at James Muirhead Chambers, Director of Policy at the Northern Territory Department of Justice, and lecturer and Dean at the Northern Territory University Faculty of Law.  

Farewell to the Hon Justice Steven Rares

The AGM of 23 October 2021 also saw the conclusion of Justice Rares’ term as President of the AIJA. As President, Justice Rares has led the AIJA on a program of renewal, overseeing the move from Melbourne to Sydney, the appointment of a new Executive Director, and the organisation’s response to the pandemic. However, Justice Rares’ contributions to the AIJA extend well beyond his presidential term. Rather, Justice Rares has helped guide the AIJA since its beginnings in the early 1980swhen he served as Honourary Assistant Secretary. 

More recently, he has served on the Education Committee, Restructuring Committee, and was Convenor of our Membership and Communications Committee. Over all these years, Justice Rares guidance and leadership has seen the AIJA flourish, and the new President, Justice Blokland expressed thanks to him on behalf of the AIJA Council and the membership 

AIJA Council 2022

The following Council Members retired at the AGM of 23 October 2021: 

  • The Hon Justice Peter Applegarth AM, Supreme Court of Queensland 
  • Ms Suzan Cox OAM QC  
  • The Hon Justice Grant Riethmuller, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1)  

The following Council Members were newly elected or appointed to the Council: 

  • The Hon Justice David Boddice, Supreme Court of Queensland  
  • The Hon Deputy Chief Justice Ambeng Kandakasi CBE, National and Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea 
  • Ms Annmarie Lumsden BA LLB, Legal Aid NSW 
  • Dr Brenda McGivern, State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia 
  • Her Honour Chief Judge Elizabeth Morris, Local Court of the Northern Territory  
  • Her Honour Judge Sandra Taglieri SC, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) 
  • The Hon Justice Helen Wood, Supreme Court of Tasmania 


New Research Support Application Process

The AIJA has launched a new research application process, which streamlines the process for applying for financial and in-kind support for research projects. This new process sees the creation of two application pathways:  a 'General Fund’ which will process applications in a manner similar to the previous seed funding process, and a ‘Targeted Fund’ which will call for applications for projects in areas of interest to the AIJA. 

The new process can be found on the website, and more information can be found in the Guide to applying for AIJA research support and our standard application form. 

If you have any questions about the new process, or are interested in submitting an application for support, please contact the AIJA via  

KordaMentha and Australian Bar Association Concurrent Evidence Practices Survey

Thank you to those members who completed the joint ABA-KordaMentha Concurrent Evidence Practices Survey. We have been advised that the results are in the final stage of analysis and the report will be released shortlyThe project team also expects to host a panel discussion in late November 2021, the details of which will be provided once known. 

Update on Ongoing AIJA Research

Access to Justice in interpreted proceedings: the role of Judicial Officers

Despite the impacts of recent lockdowns, fieldwork on this important study continues, with focus on proceedings involving the interpretation of ‘new and emerging’ and Indigenous languages.  

In Western Australia, there has been significant work in studying proceedings with interpretation of Indigenous languages, including the Kukatja, Martu, and Ngaanyatjarra languages. In Queensland, interpreters for Torres Strait Creole, Wik Mungkan, Spanish, Farsi, Malayam, Samoan, and Kirundi have also been studied. In Tasmania, proceedings have included interpreters for Dinka, Farsi, Nepali, and Singhalese. Fieldwork in NSW has concluded, but excitingly, the project was able to expand in scope to study interpreted proceedings in Persian and Thai, increasing the usefulness of its findings. 

Research in the media

An AIJA supported project was recently profiled in The Conversation. Led by the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALs), this project introduces Aboriginal Community Justice Reports in Victorian County and Koori Courts, using a participatory action research model to assess the impact of these reports in criminal sentencing practices and outcomes. 

Professor Ludmilla Stern, the lead investigator of the AIJA-supported ARC project, Access to justice in interpreted proceedings: the role of Judicial Officers, was recently featured in In Touch (Winter, 2021, pp.14-16). In Touch is the magazine of the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators, and Professor Stern’s article was based on an interview conducted with interpreters as part of this project. The article outlines the experience of obtaining preparation materials and working with portable interpreting equipment. 


The Law Council of Australia launched The Lawyer Project Report late last week. This Report highlights the value of the legal profession and the differences it makes each day to its clients and to the broader community.  

The Law Council is now undertaking a campaign to increase public awareness of the role of the legal profession, in particular the beneficial contribution of the profession to the community through supporting trade and commerce, promoting certainty and the rule of law, and empowering individuals and civil society. 

The full report is available here and the key findings are available here. 


The AIJA would like to acknowledge AIJA Council member Suzan Cox OAM QC who recently retired as Director of the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission and as a member of the AIJA’s Council. Suzan has provided over 30 years of service to the legal profession, with her work in the Northern Territory particularly notable. To commemorate the end of her time with the AIJA, we asked Suzan to reflect on her career. 

Suzan shared the story below – a fascinating history which stretches across Sydney, New York, Papua New Guinea, and the Northern Territory, and features the likes of Rudy Giuliani alongside AIJA Council Members Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika (Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea) and AIJA President Justice Jenny Blokland (Supreme Court of the Northern Territory) and Magistrate Jelena Popovic.   

“After Pat O'Shane moved my admission to practice in 1979, I left Sydney to go to Port Moresby where I applied for and obtained a position at the Office of the Public Solicitor. I was taught well and found myself on criminal circuit with the Supreme Court. The male solicitors in my office somehow got the circuits to the pretty places: Wewak and Madang, where you could snorkel and surf. I was sent to the Southern HighIands, Simbu and Enga where there was a lot of tribal fighting, many murder trials and I was usually escorted by police to and from court.  

It was at this time that I met the current Chief Justice of PNG and former fellow AIJA Council member, Gibbs Salika, (as he then was) who was a Crown Prosecutor and often my opposing counsel. We became friends. Practising criminal law was a fabulous experience in PNG.  

After three years I went to study in New York at NYU where I completed my LLM in criminal law. I was lucky to study under Professor Norval Morris ("The Future of Imprisonment") and to also work for a white-collar criminal law firm. Our cases there involved insider trading and the District Attorney at the time was a difficult prosecutor, Rudolf Guliani.   

In New York I was recruited to work at the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service in Alice Springs as a senior criminal lawyer and I travelled almost directly from NYC to take up the position.  After Alice and with support from Jelena Popovic (then a Melbourne solicitor, later Magistrate) I read at the Melbourne Bar. In 1990 I took leave from the Bar and returned to the NT to work for the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid service.  

On arrival in Darwin I met Jenny Blokland (as she then was) and stayed with her in her beautiful tropical house in the wet season. I blame Jenny for persuading me to leave the Melbourne Bar and come to live in Darwin. I am very grateful to her.  

I next took up a position at the newly established NT Legal Aid Commission and managed the criminal practice for many years before being appointed as Queens Counsel in 2004. I had also been appointed as Director of NT Legal Aid. In 2019 I was awarded an OAM for services to the law. I continued to practice in the criminal jurisdiction and had my last day both in court and as Director on 3 September last. I have greatly enjoyed my time on the AIJA and am delighted that Jenny will be the next President." 

We are immensely grateful for Suzan’s contribution to the AIJA, and wish her all the best in her retirement.  



Thank you to those members who have already renewed their membership for 2021-2022. This promises to be an exciting year for the AIJA, with the release of several research reports, multiple webinars, and the hopeful return of in-person conferences. With the launch of our new organisational strategy, we look forward to the support of our members as we continue to grow, and contribute to excellence in judicial administration across Australia and New Zealand. 

If you have not yet renewed for 2021-2022 you can do so online via our website here. Alternatively, if you wish to reactivate your membership or you are having issues with the website, please do not hesitate to contact us at so we can assist you. 

Profile of Council Member - Her Honour Judge Dina Yehia SC

AIJA members may be interested to read a recent interview with AIJA Council Member, Her Honour Judge Dina Yehia SC in the NSW Law Society Journal. In this interview with the Judge Yehia discussed the importance of cultural diversity in the law, her own formative experiences, and the work of Diverse Women in Law. The article is available here.    


AIJA Indigenous Youth Justice Conference 

The AIJA is pleased to announce that the Indigenous Youth Justice Conference will be held in Sydney over the weekend of 4-5 June 2022. This conference provides an opportunity to discuss issues critical to improving outcomes for Indigenous youth, as well as being an exciting opportunity to meet face-to-face for the first time since 2019. 

More information will be released shortly, but if you have any ideas or comments, please email our Executive Director, Alison MacDonald at 

Joint Event: Enduring Courts in Changing Times 

The Australian Academy of Law (AAL), the Australian Law Journal (ALJ), and the AIJA are planning a 2-3 day joint event in August 2023. The event will be held across both Tasmania and New South Wales, in celebration of legal bicentenaries in both states.  

In addition to the AIJA’s President, the working committee for this conference consists of Chief Justice Alan Blow AO (Supreme Court of Tasmania), Justice Stephen Estcourt AM (Supreme Court of Tasmania), Justice François Kunc (Supreme Court of New South Wales), Justice Geoff Lindsay (Supreme Court of New South Wales), and Professor David Barker (University of Technology Sydney). The working committee invites comments and suggestions, which can be directed to  

RE-EMERGE 2022: The Australian Bar after COVID-19: Energised, Innovative, Enduring

Melbourne 28–30 April 2022 

In the first gathering of the Australian Bar in more than 2 years, RE-EMERGE 2022 is an opportunity to come together, reflect on having endured a momentous period, and participate in important discussions about what we must do to re-emerge energised, innovative and stronger than before. For more information and to register, see  

AIJA Court Librarians Conference – postponed

Due to the uncertainty created by the latest wave of COVID-19 and travel restrictions, the 2021 AIJA Court Librarians Conference has been postponed. The AIJA looks forward to rescheduling the event, the aim being the first quarter of 2022.  


New Publication: Unrepresented accused in the Magistrates' Court of Victoria

The AIJA was very pleased to announce the publication of a major report, Unrepresented accused in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, written by Dr Natalia Antolak-Saper (Monash University), Professor Jonathan Clough (Monash University), and Professor Bronwyn Naylor (RMIT University).  

In recent years, an increased level of academic interest in unrepresented proceedings has been driven by a perception that an increasing number of people are appearing without representation. However, much of this work focuses on self-represented litigants in civil proceedings, with minimal attention given to criminal matters. This report fills this gap by studying the experience of unrepresented accused in summary matters through a case study of their interactions with the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria.  

Through a combination of quantitative data analysis, qualitative interviews and literature research, the authors provide a detailed insight into appearances by unrepresented accused in the busiest court in Victoria, the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. This process included the observation of hearings in 757 criminal matters and interviews with 11% of the magistrates in Victoria.  

We commend the report to our members and encourage you to read it. To access the report, please click here. 

A formal online launch of the publication is in the planning for early 2022, which will provide an opportunity for AIJA members and the public to hear from the researchers, discuss the report, and engage with its findings in more detail. 

Journal of Judicial Administration 

The Journal of Judicial Administration (ISSN: 1036-7918) is published by Thomson Reuters in association with the AIJA. The articles featured in the Journal are written by leading judges, academics, practitioners and other legal specialists and experts. The Journal is edited by Greg Reinhard AM, former Executive Director of the AIJA. 

The Journal features informed discourse on areas such as:
• the efficient and effective operation of Courts, Tribunals and quasi-judicial forums;
• the impact of new technology on judicial administration;
• the structure, organisation, financing and management of the Courts and the Court system;
• the appointment, tenure, independence and accountability of judicial officers; and
• education programs to enhance the work performance of justice system personnel. 

The Journal is available by subscription through Thomson Reuters. For more information about ordering the Journal, please email or call (within Australia) 1300 304 195. More information about the journal can be found on its website by clicking here. The Journal may also be accessed through an existing Westlaw subscription. 

The Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration (AIJA) is an approved Research Institute for the purposes of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth). In addition to supporting our work, a donation to the Research Fund will facilitate research by the AIJA relating to judicial and court administration. Donations of $2 or more are tax-deductible for Australian tax payers: ABN: 13 063 150 739. Your support will be gratefully received and acknowledged.

Donations can be made on the AIJA website at

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In this issue: