Published: 04 April, 2022

Media Release: Five new judicial appointments to Division 2 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA) is pleased to welcome the following five judicial appointments to Division 2 of the Courts, announced today by the Attorney-General for Australia, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash. All judges will commence on Wednesday, 6 April 2022.

Ms Gillian Eldershaw, Sydney
Ms Natasha Laing, Sydney
Mr Paul Glass, Melbourne
Ms Alison Burt, Melbourne
Ms Amanda Mansini, Melbourne

These appointments follow the announcement  on 1 April of four new judges appointed to Division 1 of the Courts. They include; Dr Jacoba Brasch QC, Judge Alister McNab, Judge Alice Carter and Judge Bruce Smith.

The Chief Justice of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Div 1) and Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Div 2), the Hon Will Alstergren said that these appointments provide the Courts with judicial officers that are exceptionally well skilled to deal with the high-volume and extremely complex cases that come before the Courts, in both the family law and general federal law jurisdictions.

“With the elevation of three Division 2 judges to Division 1, I am very pleased to welcome these new appointments to the Melbourne and Sydney registries. They are all very well qualified and respected legal practitioners and are a timely addition to the bench. Not only will the extra judicial resources help with family law matters, the Court’s (Div 2) general federal law workload will be greatly assisted by the new appointments.

“These appointments, together with the announcement last week that the Courts are to receive $63.8 million of additional resources, will enhance the ability of the Courts to reduce delays and respond to family violence and other risks to vulnerable parties and children. Critically, it will also aid the Courts in improving safety outcomes for children and litigants involved in family law disputes, together with enhancing the Courts’ support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.”

The Courts are also pleased that the national legal aid commissions have received funding that will allow them to assist the Courts with these important initiatives, and support the most vulnerable litigants in the family law system.

Biographical details:

Ms Gillian Eldershaw, Sydney
Ms Eldershaw is appointed to the Sydney Registry. Prior to her appointment, Ms Eldershaw practised as a barrister at Waratah Chambers where her principal areas of practice are family law and employment-related disciplinary matters. Ms Eldershaw was admitted to the New South Wales Bar in May 2009, having practiced as a solicitor at Allens Arthur Robinson as a commercial lawyer from 2005. She read with Duncan Miller SC and Ben Katekar SC before developing an interest in family law and moving to specialist chambers in 2010. Ms Eldershaw graduated from the University of Sydney with First Class Honours in Law. For several years prior to her appointment, Ms Eldershaw had been rated in Doyle’s Guide to the Legal Profession is rated as a leading Family Law Junior Counsel in NSW. Before coming to the law, Ms Eldershaw was a registered nurse working at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, in Acute Psychiatry and some general medical and surgical wards, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick in Children’s Intensive Care and Royal Hobart Hospital in Neonatal Intensive Care and General Paediatrics.

Ms Natasha Laing, Sydney
Ms Laing is appointed to the Sydney Registry. She was a member of the New South Wales Bar Association when she signed the Bar Roll in 2017. Prior to that, Ms Laing was a Senior Associate with Clayton Utz, the firm where she worked for over seven years. Ms Laing’s practice while at the Bar comprised administrative law, building and construction law, competition and consumer law, employment law, inquests and commissions of inquiry, family law and wills probate and succession law.  Ms Laing holds a Bachelor of Commerce-Marketing and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons 1) from Macquarie University.

Senior Judicial Registrar Paul Glass, Melbourne
Mr Paul Glass joined the Court last year as a Senior Judicial Registrar (SJR) in the Melbourne Registry.  Prior to his appointment, SJR Glass served as a Magistrate in the Family Court of Western Australia since 2018.  He previously practised as a barrister at the Victorian Bar, appearing extensively in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court for both private and legally-aided clients, including in complex parenting trials as counsel for the Independent Children’s Lawyer. He appeared for the Royal Children’s Hospital in Re Kelvin in 2017. SJR Glass was also a part-time member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal from 2016 until 2018. Before joining the Victorian Bar, he worked as a solicitor at Victoria Legal Aid and in private practice in Canberra. He has a Master of Applied Law in Family Law and an undergraduate degree in psychology. 

Ms Alison Burt, Melbourne 
Ms Burt is an experienced family law barrister who practiced exclusively in family law, particularly in cases with an international element and complex parenting disputes. In 2021 she was listed by Doyle's Guide as one of the leading family law junior Counsel in Australia. Ms Burt has twenty years’ experience as a solicitor in England, where she was admitted to practice in 1993. In 2010 she was appointed as a Deputy District Judge with a broad civil jurisdiction. She has studied law as an undergraduate at Queens’ College, Cambridge and holds a Master of Laws degree at Monash University. Ms Burt is also a nationally qualified mediator and was the Secretary of the Family Law Bar Association, as well as the Victorian Bar representative on the Family Law Executive Committee of the Law Council of Australia. She has presented papers at a number of national conferences and is regularly asked to speak about family law.

Ms Amanda Mansini, Melbourne
Ms Mansini is appointed to the Court in the Melbourne Registry. Prior to her appointment, Ms Mansini was the Deputy President of the Fair Work Commission where she was appointed in 2018. Admitted to practice in 2006, holding a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Business from Queensland University of Technology, Ms Mansini has previously worked as Director Workplace Relations and Legal Counsel at AMMA and was a Senior Associate and solicitor at Freehills. As a graduate solicitor in 2006 Ms Mansini was the Associate to then Senior Deputy President Richards and current Commissioner Spencer at the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.