New Judge in Residence: The Hon Elizabeth Curtain

The Honourable Elizabeth Curtain has recently joined Melbourne Law School as its newest Judge in Residence.

Elizabeth Curtain

The Hon Elizabeth Curtain served as an esteemed judge on the County Court of Victoria and the Supreme Court of Victoria. She graduated with an LLB from Melbourne Law School in 1975, and after serving in the Court for 21 years, is delighted to return to the Law School.

“I was very emotional about returning to Melbourne Law School. I never thought I would be returning as a Judge,” Curtain says.

The Judge in Residence initiative at Melbourne Law School gives law students the opportunity to engage with some of Australia’s most influential judicial leaders, and obtain insights into the working of the courts and the role of Australian judges.

During her residence, The Hon Elizabeth Curtain hopes to interact with as many students as possible and provide them with a relatable insight into the law and being a judge.

“I have an open door policy. Students are welcome to come speak with me at any time. I’m here to chat if anyone wants to speak to me about the law, or career prospects.”

The retired judge has fond memories of her time as a Melbourne Law School student. She graduated in 1975, which was also International Women’s Year. To mark International Women’s Year, the Law School selected her to be the first female graduand to deliver the valedictory speech. Her honour recalls this moment as one of her personal highlights.

“I was very proud of that”, Curtain says.

As well as serving the Court, The Hon Elizabeth Curtain has sat on many committees and served the community in a variety of roles. These included Chairman of the Adult Parole Board, Alternative Chairman of the Youth Parole Board and the Youth Residential Board, and the Deputy Chairman of the Victorian Racing Appeals Tribunal. Her honour was also a member of the Victorian Criminal Trials, Charge Book Committee, and Governing Council Member of the Judicial Conference of Australia.

Outside of the law she was also Director of the Jesuit Social Services Limited, which conducts a range of diverse community social service programs providing assistance to those in need. She also was a founding member of the Essendon Football Club Women’s Network.

The Hon Elizabeth Curtain retired from the bench on 8 May 2014.

By Roselina Press