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Appointments to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2)

Media Release

I am pleased to announce that Ms Julie Kearney, Ms Caroline Jenkins, Ms Samantha Murdoch, Ms Vivien Carty, Mr John McGinn, and Ms Sophie Given have been appointed as judges of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA) (Division 2) (formerly the Federal Circuit Court of Australia) and will commence on 15 October 2021. 

Ms Kearney has been appointed to the Newcastle Registry. She was admitted as a Solicitor in the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1995, as a Solicitor in the High Court of Australia in 1996, and as a Solicitor in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 2004. Ms Kearney was called to the New South Wales Bar in 2015. She is an accredited Mediator and Arbitrator by the National Mediator Accreditation System and the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators respectively. 

Ms Jenkins has been appointed to the Adelaide Registry. She was admitted as a Solicitor and a Barrister in the Supreme Court of Victoria in 2003. Ms Jenkins was a duty lawyer at the Eastern Domestic Violence Outreach Service and the Victoria Legal Aid. She is an accredited Mediator and Arbitrator by the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators.

Ms Murdoch has been appointed to the Parramatta Registry. She was admitted as a Solicitor in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1996. Ms Murdoch was accredited by the Law Society of NSW as a Family Law Specialist in 2001 and as an Arbitrator by the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators in 2016. She is currently a Senior Registrar at the FCFCOA.

Ms Carty has been appointed to the Newcastle Registry. She was admitted as a Solicitor, Attorney and Proctor in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1983 and as a Solicitor and Barrister in the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1984. Ms Carty was called to the New South Wales Bar in 2011. She began her career as a solicitor at Victoria Legal Aid.

Mr McGinn has been appointed to the Adelaide Registry. He was admitted as a Solicitor and a Barrister in the Supreme Court of South Australia in 1984. He is a Barrister at Hugh Burton Chambers, a member of the South Australian Bar Association and a member of the Family Law Section of Law Council Australia.

Ms Given has been appointed to the Sydney Registry. She was admitted as a Solicitor in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 2001 and as a Barrister in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 2004. She is currently a Partner at HWL Ebsworth Lawyers.

On behalf of the Australian Government, I congratulate Ms Kearney, Ms Jenkins, Ms Murdoch, Ms Murdoch, Ms Carty, Mr McGinn, and Ms Given on their appointments and thank them for their willingness to serve the people of Australia as Judges of the FCFCOA (Division 2).

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

Ms Julie Kearney

Ms Kearney graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) in 1996 from James Cook University of North Queensland.

Ms Kearney was a Registrar of the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia from 2004 to 2010. Since 2015, Ms Kearney has been a Senior Legal Member of the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Guardianship Division. Ms Kearney has extensive experience in family law. She is an accredited family dispute resolution practitioner, has authored Australian Family Law publications for Lexis Nexis and has been the Lexis Nexis Editor for Family Law Reports since 2014.

Ms Caroline Kenkins

Ms Jenkins graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) in 2002 from La Trobe University.

Ms Jenkins completed her Articles of Clerkship at Testart Robinson (now Robinson Gill) where she mainly practised in the areas of family law and injury law. Prior to her admission, Ms Jenkins was a police officer with the Victoria Police from 1998 to 1999. Ms Jenkins has worked as a duty lawyer at the Eastern Domestic Violence Outreach Service at the Ringwood Magistrates' Court and the Victoria Legal Aid in the Criminal Division. She is a Member of the Law Council of Australia, Family Law Council and Family Law Bar Association.

Ms Samantha Murdoch

Ms Murdoch graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws in 1995 from Macquarie University.

Ms Murdoch was the sole practitioner at Murdoch's Family Law from 2002 to 2004 and has been a Registrar in both the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia. She was a Sessional Registrar in the Federal Magistrates Court from 2004 to 2012, before progressing to a Registrar in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court from 2012 to 2020. She became a Senior Registrar in 2020. Ms Murdoch has extensive experience as a specialist family lawyer. 

Ms Vivien Carty

Ms Carty graduated with a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts in 1982 from the University of New South Wales.

Ms Carty began her career as a solicitor at Victoria Legal Aid in 1984 and was subsequently promoted to Deputy Solicitor in-Charge in 1986. Prior to being called to the Bar, she practised as a solicitor and associate at a range of firms and was a Partner at Filewood Carty Lawyers from 2003 to 2007. From 2005 to 2011, Ms Carty was accredited as a Specialist Family Lawyer by the Law Society of New South Wales.

Mr John McGinn

Mr McGinn graduated with a Bachelor of Economics and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) in 1983 from the University of Adelaide.

Mr McGinn began his career as a solicitor at Nyland Haines & Co and was a Partner at Foreman Mead McGinn from 2000 to 2002. Mr McGinn has practised exclusively in the area of family law, appearing in all Courts exercising jurisdiction under the Family Law Act. He specialises in family law practice, procedure and financial matters. 

Ms Sophie Given

Ms Given graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 2000 from the University of Technology Sydney.

Ms Given began her career as a solicitor at PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal in 2004 and has been a Partner at HWL Ebsworth Lawyers since 2016. In 2013, she acted as Principal Solicitor in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Ms Given specialises in public and administrative law, primarily in Commonwealth Jurisdictions and Commissions of Inquiry.