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Appointment of Deputy Chief Judges of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia

Media Release

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Deputy Chief Justice Robert McClelland as Deputy Chief Judge (Family Law) of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA) and the appointment of Judge Patrizia Mercuri as Deputy Chief Judge (General and Fair Work) of the FCFCOA. Both Deputy Chief Justice McClelland and Judge Mercuri will commence on 17 September 2021.

Deputy Chief Justice McClelland has been appointed to the Sydney Registry. He was admitted as a Solicitor in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1982 and as a Barrister in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 2011. He was appointed Judge of the FCFCOA (Division 1) (formerly the Family Court of Australia) in 2015, and elevated to Deputy Chief Justice in 2018.

Judge Mercuri has been appointed to the Melbourne Registry. She was admitted as a Solicitor in the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1991. Since 2017, she has served as a Judge of the FCFCOA (Division 2) (formerly the Federal Circuit Court of Australia).

Deputy Chief Justice McClelland and Judge Mercuri will be the first to hold the new judicial offices of Deputy Chief Judge (Family Law) and Deputy Chief Judge (General and Fair Work) respectively of the FCFCOA (Division 2). These roles will support the Chief Judge, the Hon Justice William Alstergren, in ensuring that matters in each of these jurisdictions are managed efficiently and effectively.

On behalf of the Australian Government, I congratulate Deputy Chief Justice McClelland and Judge Mercuri on their appointments and thank them for their willingness to serve the people of Australia as Deputy Chief Judges of the FCFCOA.

To find out more about the work of the court visit the new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website

Deputy Chief Justice Robert McClelland

Deputy Chief Justice McClelland graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1979, and a Bachelor of Laws, in 1982 from the University of New South Wales and with a Master of Laws from the University of Sydney in 1999.

Before coming to the Bench, Deputy Chief Justice McClelland was Commonwealth Attorney-General from 2007 to 2011, a member of the House of Representatives from 1996 to 2013, Vice President of the Executive Council from 2010 to 2012, and Partner at Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers from 2012 to 2015.

Deputy Chief Justice McClelland has had a distinguished career in private practice and politics, promoting legislation for many family law improvements, including shared parenting reforms.

Judge Patrizia Mercuri

Judge Mercuri graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1988, a Bachelor of Laws in 1990, and a Master of Laws in 1998, from Monash University.

Judge Mercuri was Partner at Minter Ellison from 1998 to 2003 and was later Partner at Landers & Rogers Lawyers from 2003 to 2017. Judge Mercuri has extensive experience in industrial, discrimination and employment law.