The Courier-Mail

Balanced approach to legal top job

- MATTHEW KILLORAN MICHAEL MADIGAN

A METICULOUS mind, quiet nature and willingnes­s to challenge authority have taken the newly appointed Chief Justice Catherine Holmes to the highest legal office in the state.

One rough patch in her career was the Commission of Inquiry into the Queensland Floods, which faced criticism when it was re- opened just before its findings were published when new evidence surfaced in the media.

She made a name for herself as a criminal lawyer, both in defence and as a Crown prosecutor, and notably was part of backpacker killer Ivan Milat’s defence team.

At the Forde Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse she earned a reputation for working closely with the victims and social workers, while taking a balanced approach to institutio­nal organisati­ons under scrutiny.

Former Attorney-General Matt Foley, who appointed Justice Holmes to the bench in 2000, yesterday said she was an exceptiona­l jurist.

On her appointmen­t to the Court of Appeal in 2006, then chief justice Paul de Jersey described her as having “meticulous attention and dedication”.

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