Jennifer Coate

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The Honourable
Jennifer Coate
Royal Commissioner of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
Incumbent
Assumed office
11 January 2013
Serving with Bob Atkinson, Robert Fitzgerald, Helen Milroy, Andrew Murray, Peter McClellan
Nominated by Julia Gillard
Appointed by Quentin Bryce
(Governor-General)
Judge of the Family Court of Australia
Incumbent
Assumed office
31 January 2013
State Coroner of Victoria
In office
29 November 2007 – 30 January 2013
Nominated by Rob Hulls
Judge of the County Court of Victoria
In office
June 2000 – 28 November 2007
President of the Children's Court of Victoria
In office
June 2000 – 28 November 2007
Personal details
Alma mater Monash University
Occupation Judge
Profession Solicitor;; barrister; academic

Jennifer Coate is an Australian jurist. Coate is a Judge of the Family Court of Australia and one of the six Royal Commissioners appointed by the Australian government Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.[1]

Early life[edit]

Coate studied law at Monash University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1979, and a Bachelor of Laws in 1984. Coate worked part-time as a teacher while she studied law.

Career[edit]

Upon graduating, Coate worked as a solicitor and then a barrister. She also served as an academic, and contributed to a range of social policy groups and committees.

In 1992, Coate was appointed a magistrate.[2] By September 1996, she was Deputy Chief Magistrate of Victoria. In June 2000, she was made a judge of the County Court of Victoria, and was made the first female President of the Children's Court of Victoria.[2] One of the most significant reforms she oversaw as President of the Children's Court was the establishment of a Children's Koori Court, a specialist court designed to accommodate juvenile Indigenous offenders. In 2001, Coate was made part-time Commissioner of the Victorian Law Reform Commission.[3] Coate left the Children's Court in April 2006.

On 29 November 2007, she formally took up responsibilities as Coroner of Victoria, marking the first time a woman had taken on the role; and served in that role until her appointment to the Family Court.[2][4] Until 2006, she served as the first female President of the Children's Court of Victoria.

Additionally, Coate has been involved in a wide range of charitable and community organizations. She has served as Chair of the Health Services for Abused Victorian Children Advisory Group and Chair of the Anglicare Steering Committee for Group Conferencing Restorative Justice.[3]

On 11 January 2013, Judge Coate was named as one of the six Royal Commissioners appointed to investigate child sexual abuse by the Australian government Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Personal[edit]

Coate is reportedly highly respected in legal circles as an extremely bright, thoughtful lawyer, who occasionally acts unconventionally to demonstrate a point. In 1993, when Coate had only recently been appointed a magistrate, a controversy broke out in a Victorian court, when a female solicitor was criticized by a judge for coming to court in polka-dot stockings and a suit with a skirt that finished above the knee. The incident attracted widespread media attention and sparked extensive debate. In a silent protest against her colleague's comments, Coate spent the remainder of the week dressed in outlandishly coloured and patterned stockings, ensuring that she was seen widely and publicly in Melbourne's legal precinct.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Justice Jennifer Coate". Our work: The Commissioners. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d "'Thoughtful' judge to be state coroner". The Age. 27 November 2007. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Farewell to Frist President of the Children's Court" (PDF). Bar Association of Victoria. 
  4. ^ "New Victorian coroner a Monash graduate". Monash Memo. 12 December 2007. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010.