Our members

The Judicial Commission has 10 members headed by the Chief Justice of NSW who is the President. The six official members are the heads of the State’s five courts as well as the President of the Court of Appeal. Of the four appointed members, the Governor of NSW appoints three people who, in the Attorney General’s opinion, have high standing in the community. The fourth is a legal practitioner appointed following consultations between the Attorney General and the Presidents of the Law Society of NSW and Bar Association of NSW.

Our president

The Honourable Andrew Bell, Chief Justice of NSW

President and official member — commenced 7 March 2022

Chief Justice Bell was admitted to the NSW Bar in 1995 and appointed Senior Counsel in NSW in 2006. He was the University Medalist at Sydney University in both Economic History and Law, was the Rhodes Scholar for NSW in 1990. In February 2019, he was appointed President of the NSW Court of Appeal.

Justice Bell has been a Senior Vice President of the NSW Bar Association and a past Chairman of a Professional Conduct Committee. He has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at Sydney University. He has been chair of Eleven Wentworth, one of Australia’s leading chambers in commercial and constitutional law. In 1990–1991, he was the Associate to Sir Anthony Mason AC KBE QC, the ninth Chief Justice of Australia.

 

As President, the Chief Justice is responsible for presiding at meetings and has a deliberative vote.


Our official members

The Honourable Justice Julie Ward, President, NSW Court of Appeal

Official member — commenced 7 March 2022

Justice Ward studied arts/law at the University of Sydney, graduating in law in 1982 with First Class Honours and the University Medal.  Her Honour was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court in 1982.

Following graduation, Justice Ward worked for a year as the associate to Sir Nigel Bowen, the first Chief Justice of the Federal Court.  Justice Ward worked for Stephen Jaques Stone James (now King & Wood Mallesons) for two years, then completed a BCL with first class honours at Oxford University, having won a post-graduate scholarship from Sydney University.

Justice Ward was made a partner of Mallesons in 1988.  At that time she was the youngest female partner to be appointed at that firm.  Her Honour was appointed to the Supreme Court of New South Wales in September 2008. She was the first female solicitor directly appointed to the Supreme Court bench.  She sat in the Equity Division of the Court, until her appointment to the Court of Appeal in November 2012.

She was appointed Chief Judge in Equity in March 2017 and President of the Court of Appeal in March 2022.

The Honourable Justice Brian Preston, Chief Judge, Land and Environment Court of NSW

Official member — commenced 14 November 2005

Justice Brian Preston was admitted to the Bar in 1987, appointed Senior Counsel in 1999 and Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court in 2005. He holds academic and editorial positions and has authored over 90 publications on environmental, administrative and criminal law. He has also been involved in a number of international environmental law consultancies and capacity-building programs for the judiciaries in Indonesia, Kenya, China, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand and Sri Lanka. He is a member of numerous legal professional committees and Chair of the Standing Committee on Environmental Law of the Law Association for Asia and the Pacific (LAWASIA)

The Honourable Justice Sarah Huggett, Chief Judge, District Court of NSW

Official member — commenced 29 April 2024

Justice Huggett was admitted as a solicitor in 1993 and thereafter spent almost two decades at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. In 1996 her Honour completed an exchange to the Crown Prosecution Service in the UK and was later appointed a trial advocate in Bathurst, where her Honour also set up the DPP office. Later, her Honour was the sole instructing solicitor in the trial of Australia’s worst serial killer.

Justice Huggett was called to the bar in 2001 and thereafter practiced as a Crown Prosecutor. In 2009 and 2010, her Honour taught at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles as an adjunct professor.

Justice Huggett was appointed to the District Court of NSW in 2012 and served in that role for 11 years. During that period, her Honour heard many complex and high-profile matters, including those involving sexual offences against both adults and children, manslaughter and serious drug crimes. Her Honour was also a judge of the Walama List, an alternative sentencing program aimed at diverting Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people from the criminal justice system.

Justice Huggett was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of NSW in 2023. Her Honour was then appointed Chief Judge of the District Court of NSW and President of the Dust Diseases Tribunal in April 2024.

Justice Huggett was the Chair of the Education Committee of the District Court of New South Wales, the Chair of the Child Sexual Offence Evidence Program Steering Committee, and a District Court representative on the Criminal Trial Bench Book Committee. Her Honour has also been a regular presenter at the National Judicial Orientation Program, at Diverse Women in Law events and at the Public Defenders’ Conference.

His Honour Judge Peter Johnstone, Chief Magistrate, Local Court of NSW

Official member — commenced 6 September 2021

Judge Johnstone was appointed Chief Magistrate and commenced in that role on 6 September 2021. He was formerly President of the Children’s Court of NSW, appointed to that role in 2012.

Judge Johnstone was admitted to legal practice in 1973. He was a partner at Dawson Waldron law firm, appointed an Acting District Court judge in 1997 then a full-time judge of the District Court in 2006.

Ms Nichola Constant, Chief Commissioner, Industrial Relations Commission of NSW

Official member — commenced 2 March 2020

Ms Nichola Constant is the Chief Commissioner of the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW, appointed to that position on 2 March 2020. She was formerly Acting Chief Commissioner since 22 February 2019.

Chief Commissioner Constant was admitted as a solicitor in NSW in 2000. She was appointed as Commissioner of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission in July 2018 and was appointed as Chief Commissioner on 2 March 2020.  Prior to her appointment to the Industrial Relations Commission, Chief Commissioner Constant was the Assistant Crown Solicitor/Director for Employment Law at the Crown Solicitor’s Office.  Over her career, she has held a number of roles in private sector law firms and banking, and was a member of the NSW Workers Compensation and Work Health and Safety Council.  Chief Commissioner Constant holds degrees from the University of Sydney and the University of New England.


Our appointed members

Professor Judith Cashmore AO, BA (Hons) Dip Ed, M Ed, PhD

Appointed member — appointed 1 December 2004; reappointed 19 August 2009 for 3 years; reappointed 7 November 2012 for 3 years; reappointed 9 December 2015 for 3 years; reappointed 9 December 2018 for 3 years; reappointed 15 December 2021 for 3 years

Professor Judith Cashmore is currently Professor of Socio-legal Research and Policy, Faculty of Law, University of Sydney and Adjunct Professor at Southern Cross University (Division of Arts). Professor Cashmore has chaired or served on numerous non-government and State and Commonwealth government committees concerning child sexual assault, child protection, child deaths, children’s rights and family law. As a research academic, she has a keen interest in the application of research to policy and practice, particularly in relation to legal and administrative decision-making and children’s involvement in legal proceedings. In 2010, Professor Cashmore became an Officer of the Order of Australia.

Mr David Giddy BA LLB

Appointed member — appointed 7 November 2012; reappointed 9 December 2015 for 3 years; reappointed 9 December 2018 for 3 years; reappointed 4 March 2022 for 3 years.

Mr David Giddy was admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW in 1978 and practised as a solicitor in general practice until 1990. Since 1990 he has practised exclusively in criminal law and is an accredited specialist in criminal law. In 1996, he became a member of the Criminal Law Committee of the Law Society of NSW. He has represented the Law Society on many panels, committees and commissions. In July 2009, he was awarded the Inaugural Law Society President’s Medal in recognition of his significant personal and professional contributions to the betterment of law and justice as a solicitor in NSW.

Mr Yair Miller OAM, BA

Appointed member — appointed 28 October 2015 for 3 years; reappointed 28 October 2018 for 3 years; reappointed 15 December 2021 for 3 years

Mr Yair Miller has worked at board and senior management level for over 15 years in the corporate, not-for-profit and government sectors. He has served as a Community Member of the NSW State Parole Authority and President of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. He also sits on the Board of Governors for numerous international organisations including the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and the International School of Jewish Leadership. Yair has a BA in Social Sciences and International Studies, with a Major in Middle Eastern Politics, from the University of Technology Sydney and an Advanced Diploma in Public Safety (Emergency Management) from the Australian Emergency Management Institute, a division of the Australian Federal Attorney General’s Department.

Associate Professor Dr Elizabeth Kate Marles

Appointed member — appointed 16 August 2023

Dr Elizabeth Marles is a General Practitioner and Director of the Hornsby General Practice Unit and is an Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at Macquarie University. She has extensive clinical experience in Aboriginal Health, having worked for 15 years at the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern, and more recently helped establish the Bungee Bidgel Aboriginal health clinic at Hornsby. In addition to her clinical work, Associate Professor Marles has a strong interest in general practice education and in health policy, and is a past President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. She is currently the Clinical Director for Primary Care at the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Healthcare, and holds government appointments as a member of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, the Medicare Review Advisory Committee, and recently completed six years on the Cancer Australia Advisory Council. Associate Professor Marles is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a current Director of Therapeutic Guidelines Ltd.