Australia Jacqueline Gleeson, daughter of Australia's former chief justice, sworn in as 55th High Court judge
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She knits, once included an emoji in a legal judgement, and was in the mosh pit of Nirvana's only Australian concert.
Justice Jacqueline Gleeson is not your usual High Court appointee.
Today, she became the sixth woman to be appointed to the court's bench.
Her appointment is particularly remarkable as her father, Murray Gleeson, was the court's chief justice between 1998 and 2008.
Speaking at her swearing-in ceremony, Justice Gleeson noted she was now in a position to review her father's decisions — but added that her mother's decisions remained unreviewable.
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Appointment likely the 'first instance' in any common-law country
The father-daughter succession is not only a first in Australia, but likely a first further afield, too.
"If you look across other common-law countries, you do certainly find children of judges being appointed but they are typically men," Professor George Williams, of the University of NSW, said.
"This is the first instance I'm aware of of a daughter of a chief justice being appointed to the nation's highest court in any common-law country.
"In her case, I think we can hope she'll bring a breadth of experience that isn't always on the High Court."
Justice Gleeson's briefs as a barrister included the Canberra bushfires litigation and counsel for the New South Wales government in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
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Leah Marrone, from Australian Women Lawyers, said the new justice would be a valuable addition to the bench.
"She's got an extensive history with [the Australian Government Solicitor] and other organisations," she said.
"A broad depth of knowledge of administrative law and public law, which is really important."
Gleeson 'both approachable and formidable'
Justice Gleeson comes to the court after a diverse career, which has included time at the bar, as a government solicitor and as counsel for the Australian Broadcasting Authority.
Her friend, barrister Jane Needham SC, said she also brought much experience from life.
"She was a single mum for a while," Ms Needham said.
"[She's forged] her own career at the bar.
"She's got a reputation for being very thorough and she writes a good judgement.
"I think she's got that down-to-earth attitude that makes her both approachable and formidable."
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While the impact of her father is clear, Justice Gleeson has always credited her mother with her success.
"My well-being and development was my mother's job and she can justly take credit for any success of mine," she said at her swearing-in ceremony when she joined the Federal Court in 2014.
Benches largely remain the seat of men
No one suggests Justice Gleeson is anything but an excellent choice, but some — like the University of Canberra's Professor Kim Rubenstein — question whether those choosing our top judges should look further afield.
"Of course, those people who are on the bench are extremely qualified to be there," she said.
"But the reality is that there are lots of other people who are also qualified to be there who may not have had the same networks of association and support frameworks to be seen so clearly by those who are appointing at the moment."
Professor Williams has also suggested that, rather than look only at a pool of lawyers and judges, academics and politicians with appropriate skills could also be considered — as happens in other countries.
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He said Australia had done this before, noting the example of Whitlam government attorney-general Lionel Murphy.
Ms Marrone also said the gender balance on the bench could not be taken for granted.
Justice Gleeson is the sixth woman to be appointed to the High Court, which now has three female justices and four men.
Ms Marrone said only 36 per cent of Commonwealth judges were women.
"If we look at Federal Court appointments, particularly in the Melbourne registry, there's been no women appointed — the last nine appointments have been men," she said.
Justice Gleeson replaced Justice Virginia Bell, who retired last month at the age of 70.
She will take her seat on the bench when the March hearings begin tomorrow.
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