Federal Court welcomes Justice Downes

The Federal Court welcomed Justice Kylie Downes QC at a ceremonial sitting of the full court in Brisbane on Thursday 31 March.

The sitting was presided over by Chief Justice James Allsop AO and included nine other judges of the court along with Justice Downes and guests the Honourable Jeffrey Spender QC, the Honourable John Dowsett AM QC and the Honourable John Reeves. They were joined by other senior members of the judiciary, members of the Bar, Justice Downes’ friends and family, and guests.

Her Honour was welcomed by the Chief Justice, as well as Australian Government Solicitor Brisbane Director and Senior Executive Lawyer Jane Lye (representing the Attorney-General) and Queensland Bar Association President Tom Sullivan QC (representing the Australian Bar Association).

Queensland Law Society Immediate Past President Elizabeth Shearer, above, welcomed Justice Downes on behalf of the Society and the Law Council of Australia.

Ms Shearer highlighted Justice Downes’ courtroom skills and her strong educative role in coaching and mentoring junior colleagues and others.

“The generous, educative role you played within the legal profession was typified more broadly by the two decades during which you contributed to the legendary Back to Basics column for Queensland Law Society’s publication, Proctor, on whose editorial committee your Honour also served,” she said.


Ms Shearer also noted her Honour’s strong sense of humanity and courtesy.

“You cared deeply about your clients, well understanding the risks and costs involved in litigation,” she said. “You moved things along efficiently to minimise costs. Chambers colleagues recall things were moved along so swiftly that there was not anything left on your desk at the end of a day.

“Solicitors appreciated your engaged approach to collaboration, especially your inclusion of every member of a team. You were as happy to discuss a matter with a law clerk just out of law school as you were a partner. Solicitors inevitably felt confidence that their clients were in good, and careful, hands.”

Thursday’s ceremony was held in court 1 of the Harry Gibbs Commonwealth Law Courts Building.

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