Past Commissioners

Past Commissioners

Her Honour Judge Felicity Hampel

Judge Hampel was appointed a Judge of the County Court in February 2005. An Adjunct Professor of Law at Monash University, she was appointed Queens Counsel in 1996. She joined the Victorian Bar in 1981 and has made a distinguished career in public interest advocacy and legal education. She is currently Chair of the Management Committee of the Australian Advocacy Institute. Judge Hampel was a member of the Commission from October 2001 to July 2012.

Hugh de Kretser

Hugh de Kretser was formerly the Executive Officer of the Victorian Federation of Community Legal Centres and a Director of the Sentencing Advisory Council. He has previously held management and governance roles in community legal centres and commenced his career in corporate law. Mr de Kretser was a member of the Commission from September 2008 to July 2012.

Magistrate Mandy Chambers

Magistrate Chambers was appointed to the Magistrates' Court of Victoria in 2006. She is President of the Victorian Magistrates’ Association and serves on the court’s Sexual Assault Management Committee, Victims of Crime Tribunal Coordinating Committee and Family Violence and Family Law Portfolio Group. She has previously held a number of positions in the employment and industrial relations area. Magistrate Chambers was a member of the Commission from November 2008 to July 2012.

Justice Karin Emerton

Justice Emerton started her career as a solicitor at Blake Dawson Waldron and was a barrister for 14 years before being appointed Crown Counsel for the Victorian Government. She studied at the Universities of Sydney and New South Wales, and obtained her doctorate from the Sorbonne. Justice Emerton was a member of the Commission from July 2010 to July 2012.

Lynne Haultain

Lynne Haultain is currently the Chair of the Board for the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture as well as a General Manager, Strategic Communications for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. She has an Arts/Law degree and was a broadcaster for ABC Radio for over 15 years. Ms Haultain was a member of the Commission from July 2010 to July 2012.

Prof. Neil Rees

Professor Neil Rees served in the position of Chairperson of the Victorian Law Reform Commission from 1 June 2007 until 28 February 2012. During his time at the Commission, Professor Rees was responsible for reporting to the government on a wide range of references, including Guardianship & Administration, Sex Offenders Registration, Surveillance in Public Places, Abortion, Easements & Covenants and Protection Applications in the Children's Court.

His legal career includes periods in academia, legal practice and as a member of tribunals, including the Mental Health Review Board and the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal. Most recently he held positions at the University of Newcastle where he had served as Professor of Law since 1991 and as Foundation Dean from 1991 to 99. He was also involved in the establishment of three community legal centres.

Professor Rees has also been a part-time Commissioner of the New South Wales Law Reform Commission where he worked on references about anti-discrimination law and provision of disability services.

Associate Prof. Pamela O'Connor

Associate Professor Pamela O'Connor is one of Australia's leading property lawyers. She has taught, researched and published in property law at Monash University for 20 years. She is a contributor to a leading Australian text on property law, and has received grants from the Australian Research Council as part of a research team investigating the interaction between property law, sustainability and climate change. Professor O'Connor was a Commissioner from November 2009 until February 2011.

Prof. Sam Ricketson

Professor Ricketson is a leading academic on matters of copyright and intellectual property law with an extensive record of academic research positions at the University of Melbourne (1977–91); the Centre for Commercial Law Studies in London (1984–6) and the Sir Keith Aickin Professor of Commercial Law at Monash University (1991–2000). He began his current position as Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne in 2000. Proffessor Ricketson served as a Commissioner from October 2001 until June 2010.

Paris Aristotle AM

Paris Aristotle is the Director of the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture, a position he has held since the organisation's establishment in 1987. He has held several positions on government bodies in the settlement and human services fields. He currently holds positions on the Federal Government's Refugee Resettlement Advisory Council and the Immigration Detention Advisory Group and the Victorian Government's Ministerial Advisory Council on Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (MCCALD). He is a board member of both the Northern Health Service and Adult Multicultural Education Services. Mr Aristotle was a Commissioner from August 2002 until June 2010. 

The Hon. Justice Iain Ross AO

Justice Ross became involved in law reform in 1992 as a consultant to the Australian Law Reform Commission's Collective Investments Review. He was a part-time commissioner of the NSW Law Reform Commission from 1998 to 2001, and joined the Victorian Law Reform Commission in August 2003. He served on the Australian Industrial Relations Commission for 12 years, and served as Vice-President before moving on to a partner position at Corrs Chambers Westgarth. He became a judge of the County Court of Victoria in October 2007 and a justice of the Supreme Court in November 2009. Justice Ross worked with the Commission from August 2003 until March 2010.

The Hon. Justice David Harper AM

Justice Harper was appointed a Queen's Counsel in Victoria in 1986 and in New South Wales in 1989 after a distinguished career at the Victorian Bar which began in 1970. He was appointed to the Supreme Court in March 1992. He was Chair, International Humanitarian Law Advisory Committee of the Red Cross (Victorian branch). He has had a long and active involvement with the Victorian Bar (1980–91) and was the Chairman in 1990–91. Justice Harper served as a part-time Commissioner of the Victorian Law Reform Commission from 1991 until its abolition by the Liberal Government in 1992. Justice Harper was a Commissioner from October 2001 until September 2008.

Her Honour Judge Jennifer Coate

Judge Coate was appointed State Coroner in November 2007 following 18 months on the bench of the County Court of Victoria. She was first appointed to the County Court in June 2000, had served as the President of the Children's Court since 2002 and before that post had been a magistrate since 1992 and Deputy Chief Magistrate from 1996. Before her appointment as a magistrate, Judge Coate was involved in a combination of work as a barrister, solicitor and academic and in a range of social policy groups and committees. Judge Coate was a Commissioner from October 2001 until April 2008. 

Associate Prof. Peter Cashman

Dr Cashman was the full-time Commissioner in charge of the civil justice project, which commenced on 4 September 2006 and reported back to government on 4 March 2008. Dr Cashman is a former president of the Australian Plaintiff Lawyers' Association, a founder of the national legal firm Maurice Blackburn Cashman, and founding director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. He was joint Commissioner in charge of the Australian Law Reform Commission's inquiry into class actions in 1986–1987 and has lectured in civil litigation at the University of Sydney. Associate Professor Cashman was a Commissioner from September 2006 until December 2007.

The Hon. Justice Tim Smith

Justice Smith was appointed as a Commissioner to review the Uniform Evidence Act with the Australian and NSW Law Reform Commissions and advise the Victorian Government on implementing the Act. He delivered the joint Uniform Evidence Law Final Report and Implementing the Uniform Evidence Act Report on 8 February 2006, which found the Uniform Act was working well but needed a few changes.

Justice Smith was made a judge of the County Court in 1988 and then in 1990 of the Supreme Court. He was the commissioner in charge of an Australian Law Reform Commission evidence review in the 1980s, which resulted in the enactment of the Uniform Evidence Act. He has been involved in the continuing education of lawyers and judges since he began lecturing articled clerks in evidence laws in the 1970s. Justice Smith was a Commissioner from December 2004 until June 2006.

Ms Judith Peirce

Ms Peirce was appointed as full time Commissioner to review the Crimes (Family Violence) Act 1987. She delivered 153 recommendations in the Review of Family Violence Laws Report on 1 March 2006, including a request for a new family violence Act, police holding powers for perpetrators, training for all justice staff who come into contact with family violence victims, and safer courts.

Before working at the Commission, Ms Peirce was Vice President of the Law Institute of Victoria in 2003, Manager of the Brimbank Community Centre from 1996–2003 and has 30 years experience in family law, community and legal aid work. Ms Peirce was a Commissioner from August 2003 until May 2006.


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