The Federal Circuit Court of Australia will conduct a ceremonial sitting to farewell one of the Court’s longest-serving judges, the Hon. John Coker in Townsville on Friday, 27 April 2018.

Judge Coker was one of the original judges appointed to the Federal Circuit Court (previously named the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia) in 2000 and has served over 17 years as the Court’s only judge based in the Townsville registry. His Honour’s commitment to the region will continue, now as a judge of the District Court of Queensland following his appointment on 8 March 2018.

His Honour has dedicated his career to serving the people of North Queensland, as a family law practitioner before joining the courts, originally as a Registrar of the Family Court of Australia, followed by his appointment to the bench.

Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the Hon. Will Alstergren said, “The Court is extraordinarily grateful for the service that Judge Coker has provided to the people of North Queensland. He has been a highly-regarded member of the bench with vast judicial experience and we wish him well in his role as a judge of the District Court of Queensland.”

Judge Steve Middleton, currently located in the Newcastle registry of the Federal Circuit Court, will transfer to Townsville and commence as the resident judge from 28 May 2018. Judge Middleton has been with the court since November 2015 and is looking forward to moving to Townsville where he has family.

To ensure that the Court is not impacted by the departure of Judge Coker and the transfer of Judge Middleton to Townsville, the Court is seeking the appointment of a judge to the Newcastle registry as soon as possible.

Chief Judge Alstergren said, “I am confident that a new judge will be appointed to Newcastle in the near future. Any reduction in judicial capacity places enormous pressure on the judges and may risk delays in people having their family law dispute dealt with by the Court.”

Media contact: Denise Healy, National Media and Public Affairs Manager
Telephone: 03 8600 4357 or 0409 743 695

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