The Hon Justice Sally Brown AM

As Chief Magistrate, Sally Brown was the first woman to head a Victorian Court and subsequently appointed a Judge of the Family Court of Australia.

Honour Roll

Her particular concerns are juvenile justice issues, reform of the law relating to sexual assault and domestic violence and judicial education. Born in Melbourne in 1950, Sally Brown was school captain of Mac Robertson Girls' High School and went on to the University of Melbourne to study law and arts. After completing her articles, she worked as a solicitor, lectured in law, started her own legal practice and became a barrister.

In 1985 she was appointed a Magistrate in Victoria, then Deputy Chief Magistrate in 1987 before becoming Chief Magistrate in 1990. Justice Brown was appointed a Judge of the Family Court of Australia in 1993. In 2001 she was made the Administrative Judge of the Family Court for Victoria and Tasmania.

Throughout her career, Justice Brown has been committed to reforming the law relating to family violence and is Chair of the Victorian Family Violence Protocols Committee. She has been responsible for a number of significant judicial education initiatives within the Family Court, including the Gender and Judicial Awareness Conference in 1994, the Equality and Justice Conference in 1995, the Violence Conference in 1996, two Aboriginal Awareness Conferences and the development and delivery of the first three national judicial orientation programs conducted by the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration (AIJA).

Justice Brown is a member of a number of Boards and Committees including the Board of Management of the Australian Drug Foundation, Patron of the Queen Victoria Women's Centre Shilling Fund and she is on the Advisory Board of the Graduate Diploma in Dispute Resolution and Judicial Administration at the University of Melbourne. Justice Brown has been invited to present at several international conferences and in recognition of her services, the AIJA has made her an Honorary Life Member.

Justice Brown has made a significant contribution to the practice of law and is held in high esteem by her peers. She has worked to break down the barriers to equal participation in the law and to work towards a more open and inclusive system of justice and has been at the forefront of judicial education on social issues, particularly those relating to gender.