High praise for new Supreme Court judges

Supreme Court judges are not allowed to fold washing.

So declared Rebecca Treston KC as she was sworn in at the Banco Court on Wednesday with fellow barrister Michael Copley KC.

The now Justice Treston said the rule was a “very well-kept secret except among Supreme Court judges”, and would come as a “great personal disappointment” to her family, but “I’m sure you understand the Chief Justice’s rules are simply the rules”.

Justice Treston, who was admitted as a solicitor in 1991 and a barrister in 1996, made history by becoming the first female president of the Bar Association of Queensland in 115 years when elected in 2018.

She has been a Kings’ Counsel since 2013. She was named the Leneen Forde AC Women Lawyers Association of Queensland Woman Lawyer of the Year in 2021, and has been a part-time member of the Queensland Law Reform Commission.

Justice Treston has been consistently recognised as one of the pre-eminent silks in succession and estates litigation in Australia.


Justice Copley was a Crown Prosecutor with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for almost 20 years. He became Senior Counsel in 2008 (designation changed to Queen’s Counsel in 2013), and since 2011, practised at the private Bar.

He practised largely in criminal law and appeared in numerous high-profile matters in the High Court of Australia, notably including The Queen v Baden-Clay in 2016.

He was also Counsel Assisting the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry. 

Chief Justice Bowskill – who said she wasn’t aware of the washing-folding rule but was keen to investigate – said both judges were most welcome additions to the court.

“Their legal acumen and personal qualities are such that the community can have every confidence in their ability to discharge the functions of this important role,” she said.

“His Honour is known to the judges of this court as a lawyer of high intellect, quick to identify and get to the real point in any case, precise, accurate and reliable, quietly confident and always courteous.


“Her Honour is highly regarded for her wealth of legal skill and experience, her diligence and pragmatism, as well as her demonstrated leadership.”

Brisbane Accredited Criminal Law Specialist Kristy
Bell, QLS President Rebecca Fogerty and QLS CEO
Matt Dunn at the swearing-in ceremony.

QLS President Rebecca Fogerty said the appointments came as no surprise to the profession.

“Your attributes of independence of mind, intellectual courage and love of truth bear out the very best qualities of our judges,” she said.

Rebecca said there was much celebration among criminal lawyers at Justice Copley’s elevation, who she said described him as “hard working, black letter, somewhat wicked in your sense of humour, astute, a master of the law, and a little theatrical”.

She said Queensland solicitors had also been “fulsome in their celebration” of Justice Treston’s appointment, who she said treasured her pragmatism and humility, and called her “a champion of women”.


She said as a mother of four, Justice Treston had set an important example in “navigating the elusive balance between children on one hand, and a nourishing intellectual life on the other”.

Both judges paid tribute to their fathers for influencing their choice to enter the law, as well as their broader family networks.

Justice Treston and Justice Copley fill the roles of Justice Susan Brown, who has been appointed to the Court of Appeal division, and Justice Peter Applegarth, who will retire in September.

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