17 February 2016

It is with great sadness that the Federal Circuit Court of Australia advises one of its Melbourne-based judges passed away on 17 February 2016.

Judge Dominica Whelan was appointed to the Court in 2010 after having served as a Commissioner of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission and Fair Work Australia for approximately 15 years.

Her Honour was held in the highest regard by her fellow judges, colleagues (past and present) and lawyers across a wide jurisdiction. Judge Whelan had a life-long passion for the law and a compassionate way in which she conducted her role as a judicial officer.

Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, John Pascoe AC said, “This is a very sad day indeed for the Court. Judge Whelan courageously battled her illness for the past year or so and was determined to overcome it and return to her role which she loved dearly. Unfortunately for everyone, that was not to be.

We are devastated to say good-bye to a well-respected judge and friend. Our condolences go to her husband, Tony, her children and extended family.”

Judge Whelan’s fellow judges will remember Her Honour for her vibrant, friendly personality who embraced life, and for her intellect which she willingly shared during her many roles in academia and continuing education. Her Honour’s diverse legal experience was the perfect background to then be applied in her role as a Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. While she had significant experience in industrial relations, Judge Whelan was an excellent judicial officer who readily sat on cases across the Court’s broad jurisdiction, both general federal law and family law. Her Honour also made a significant contribution to the development and implementation of the Court’s Reconciliation Action Plan which aims to improve access to justice for indigenous Australians.

A role held by Her Honour early in her career was as the Associate to the Hon Elizabeth Evatt, the first Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia. Her Honour was previously a Commissioner of Comcare and worked for the Australian Council of Trade Unions undertaking industrial representation, negotiation and advocacy across a range of industries. She was also an Industrial Research Officer with the Australian Public Service Association, a solicitor with the Fitzroy Legal Service and a Tutor in Family Law and Constitutional Law at Monash University.

Denise Healy, National Manager - Media & Public Affairs
Federal Circuit Court of Australia
Ph: 03 86004357 or 0409743695
Email: denise.healy@federalcircuitcourt.gov.au

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