Kyabram Free Press

NEW JUDGE A FIRST FOR KY Former local to work in County Court


- By Genevieve Brammall

Kyabram might be a small town, but as the birthplace of notable Australian­s, it punches above its weight.

Adding to a long list of high achievers — from a Melbourne Cupwinning trainer and a Human Rights Commission­er to AFL footballer­s, Australian cricketers and published authors — the town can now lay claim to its first judge.

Former Kyabram local Anna Robertson, 50, was recently appointed by the Victorian Government as a Judge of the County Court of Victoria and was sworn in on June 28.

A celebrator­y ‘welcome event’ was held last fortnight with a Covidlimit­ed audience of 50 colleagues, family and friends in attendance, and hundreds more joining online. At this event Anna made particular mention of her upbringing in Kyabram.

“Having grown up in Kyabram, a small town in northern Victoria, the country, and its people, are a big part of who I am. It will be a privilege to be able to further the administra­tion of justice in regional areas throughout this state,” she said.

President of the Victorian Bar Chris Blanden QC, has noted that “even if COVID restrictio­ns had been lifted, there would have been insufficie­nt room for those who wished to celebrate this very popular appointmen­t, which also enjoyed a local, national and internatio­nal audience on Zoom”.

It is perhaps no surprise that Anna has achieved significan­t success in the law, given her strong legal bloodlines. Her father, James Lally, and grandfathe­r, Tom Tehan, were legal pioneers in the Goulburn Valley as directors of local law firm Morrison & Sawers collective­ly for over 50 years. Her uncle, Bill Lally, was a QC, and her aunt Associate Professor Maureen Tehan (who also grew up in Kyabram) is a Principal Fellow in the Law School at The University of Melbourne.

Educated initially at St Augustine’s Primary School, then later as a boarder at St Catherine’s girls’ school in Melbourne, Anna graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Science in 1994.

After first practicing as a lawyer at Coadys Barristers & Solicitors in Australia and as a paralegal at Norton Rose in London, Anna joined the Victorian Bar in 2001.

Her vast experience covers class actions, royal commission­s and inquiries, at trial and on appeal. She has expertise in coronial inquests (particular­ly medical and healthcare), insurance, consumer law and product liability. She has appeared frequently in profession­al disciplina­ry, licensing and regulation proceeding­s, in personal injury litigation, administra­tive / public law and in commercial law, contracts, equity, insolvency and consumer matters.

The eldest of six children of James and Ann Lally, she has been described by peers as an excellent and generous mentor both formally and informally to many junior barristers at the Bar.

Having acted most recently in the Hotel Quarantine Inquiry and Class Action, she will build on her considerab­le success at the Bar, now at the Bench.

As former Victorian Equal Opportunit­y and Human Rights Commission­er Kristen Hilton, who grew up around the corner in Kyabram, said in her message of congratula­tions: “Go the kids from Ky!”

■ Genevieve Brammall is Judge Robertson's sister and also holds a Law Degree.

She started her journalism career at the Free Press.

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