John Pascoe

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His Honour
John Pascoe
4th Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia
Assumed office
13 October 2017
2nd Chief Federal Magistrate / Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia
In office
14 July 2004 – 12 October 2017
Preceded by Diana Bryant
Succeeded by William Alstergren
Personal details
Born 1949 (age 68–69)
Far West, New South Wales[1]
Nationality Australian
Spouse(s) Jane Pascoe[1]
Children Rod, Camilla and Cameron[1]
Alma mater Australian National University
Occupation Judge; former company director
Known for Chief Judge, Federal Circuit Court of Australia, CEO and Chairman of George Weston Foods

John Henry Pascoe AC, CVO (born circa 1949 in Far West, New South Wales[1]) is Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and Deputy Chancellor of the University of New South Wales.

Background and career[edit]

Pascoe was raised in Broken Hill and Menindee, the only child of a grazier and a mother with interests in the mining industry.[1] He studied Asian languages and philosophy at the Australian National University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1969 and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) in 1971.[1][2]

Prior to his appointment to the bench, Pascoe was the Chairman and CEO of George Weston Foods, Chairman of Centrelink, Deputy Chairman of Aristocrat Leisure Limited and managing director of the Insurance and Risk Management Division of Phillips Fox. He has also held positions on several other corporate boards, such as Qantas. Pascoe was a member of the board of directors (1998-2006) of the International Award Foundation (which operates the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award and National Chair (1995-2004 of the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award - Australia) and in 2016 he was awarded a Gold Distinguished Service Medal.[3] Previously he has held positions on the boards of the Cancer Council of New South Wales, the Sydney Opera House Trust, and the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children.

Pascoe's appointment as Chief Judge has been widely applauded[citation needed] as a result of the significant management skills that he has brought to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, which continues to be the most rapidly expanding court in Australia. The Federal Circuit Court is the largest federal court in Australia.[citation needed] In December 2015, Pascoe was appointed as the Australian delegate to The Hague working group considering an international surrogacy convention.[4]


John was appointed (1995 - 2004) as National Chair of the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award - Australia and as an International Trustee of the Award from 1998-2006. [2]


In 2002 Pascoe was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to business and commerce, to children's health, particularly the needs and rights of patients and their families, to the Children's Hospital at Westmead, and to youth training, nationally and internationally, through the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme.[5] Pascoe was appointed Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in the 2010 New Year Honours for his services to the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award[6] and in January 2016 was appointed an Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the law and to the judiciary, through support for improved access to the justice system for Indigenous peoples, to legal administration and higher education, and as an advocate for the prevention of international trafficking of children.[1][7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g McCrossin, Julie (March 2015). "Babies Without Borders" (PDF). Law Society of NSW Journal. Law Society of New South Wales: 40–43. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  2. ^ "ANU Law alumni recognised in Australia Day awards". News, Conferences & Events: ANU College of Law. Australian National University. 27 January 2016. Archived from the original on 7 February 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Page, Stephen (5 December 2015). "Chief Judge Pascoe appointed to The Hague surrogacy working group". Australian Surrogacy and Adoption Blog. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  5. ^ "PASCOE, John Henry: Officer of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Australian Government. 26 January 2002. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  6. ^ "No. 59282". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2009. p. 3. 
  7. ^ "Companion (AC) of the Order of Australia in the General Division" (pdf). Official Secretary to the Governor-General of Australia. 26 January 2016. p. 10. Retrieved 26 January 2016. 


Legal offices
Preceded by
Diana Bryant
Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia
Preceded by
Diana Bryant
Chief Federal Magistrate
Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Succeeded by
William Alstergren