CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Most judges sitting on Australia’s highest court will be women for the first time in the institution's 121-year history, the attorney-general said on Thursday.
Justice Jayne Jagot will fill a High Court vacancy on its seven-judge bench when Justice Patrick Keane retires Oct. 17, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said.
Jagot has been a Federal Court judge since 2008.
Dreyfus said Jagot’s gender did not figure in his decision to choose her after consultations with leading judges and lawyers.
“This was an appointment of the best possible person to the High Court," Dreyfus told reporters. “Justice Jagot is an eminent jurist and brings tremendous experience and was nominated by very, very many people."
Jargot will be the 56th judge and only the seventh woman to serve on the High Court since it was created in 1901. The four women to sit on the bench from next month will include Chief Justice Susan Kiefel.
Keane leaves the bench after nine years — and less than two weeks before he reaches the court’s compulsory retirement age on his 70th birthday.