New Judge fails to fly under the radar

Her Honour Judge Katarina Prskalo KC was reluctantly the centre of attention in the Banco Court this morning. Photos: Geoff McLeod

Her Honour Judge Katarina Prskalo KC does not enjoy being the centre of attention but today she could not avoid the spotlight at her Welcoming Ceremony at the Banco Court, Brisbane.

The new District Court of Queensland Judge was acknowledged and welcomed by the judiciary this morning in front of a courtroom of family, friends and former Legal Aid Queensland colleagues, including LAQ CEO Nicky Davies, and former Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll.

Bar Association of Queensland Council member Nicholas Ferrett KC noted that Her Honour’s former colleagues had told him she was “an extremely humble person, that you think the work and clients should come first, that you hate being the centre of attention”.

“So I imagine this morning must be excruciating,” he said to the former Legal Aid Public Defender.

“The problem though is that everyone to whom I’ve spoken only has nice things to say about you. There have only been glowing tributes so I imagine this morning is only going to get worse before it gets better.

“Your former colleagues tell me you’ve always had time for them, even though you’ve been incredibly busy yourself.


“That they could always sit and discuss difficult points with you and get your advice, and that often would be followed up later by further research and further advice for which your Honour had made extra time.”

Judge Prskalo was warmly welcomed.

Queensland Law Society President Rebecca Fogerty said Judge Prskalo had “developed a reputation as a smart, hard-working and practical trial lawyer”.

“But Your Honour’s long experience at Legal Aid Queensland, and specialised work in the Mental Health Court, putting you in contact with the poorest, the most disadvantaged, the most marginalised people in our community, is valuable and vital experience that will infuse your judging process with awareness and integrity,” Rebecca said. 

“Your Honour’s successful period of time as an Acting Judge has meant that your work as not just been exclusively defined to the practise of criminal law, although I do understand that it continues to be your first and greatest love in the law.

“Success in law is as much about choice as it is chance.  Your Honour’s consistent choices have meant that you have dedicated your entire career to access to justice, and advancement of the rule of law in this state. Your experience makes you ideally suited to this new role as a judge of this Honourable Court.”

Her Honour thanked the attendees and speakers saying her attempt to “fly under the radar had ended in miserable failure”.


But “for a short moment”, she took the opportunity to pay tribute to some recent past Public Defenders, retired District Court judges, and acting Public Defenders as mentors and colleagues including Chief Judge Brian Devereaux SC.

The Banco Court ceremony was livestreamed.

“These leaders were fearless,” she said. “Some of them would sometimes say things to me to the effect of ‘Kat that’s not a good argument, focus yourself’.

“And so I learnt to focus and I learnt from the best. I am proud of the Chambers and Legal Aid Queensland. I also thank the District Court Judges. When I was last here, I spent time cornering a good number of them and taxing them with questions.

“And I only let them go when I had a moment of clarity.”

Chief Judge Devereaux said Her Honour had been sitting in the Southport Court since being sworn in after Easter, increasing the regionally-based judges in Cairns, Ipswich and Southport. Of 43 judges making up the court, 16 are now based outside of Brisbane.

“Her Honour’s appointment to the court is very welcome,” he said. “It is, in a sense, a welcome back because Her Honour served as an Acting Judge in 2022 and demonstrated the intellectual rigour and suitability to hear and determine all matters that come before this court.


“The judges of the court welcome and celebrate Judge Prskalo’s commitment to continue her long career of service to the Queensland community with us on the court.”

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