The Honourable Justice Margaret A McMurdo AC

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President, Queensland Court of Appeal

Date of Birth

30 August 1954

Schooling

  • Brisbane Girls Grammar School, Gregory Terrace (1967-1971)

University Education

  • Bachelor of Laws, University of Queensland (1975)

Honours

  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Queensland (2012)
  • Honorary Doctorate, Queensland University of Technology (2009)
  • Companion of the Order of Australia (2007)
  • Agnes McWhinney Award, Queensland Law Society (2006)
  • Centenary Medal (2003)
  • Honorary Doctorate, Griffith University (2000)

Judicial Career

  • President, Queensland Court of Appeal (1998-)
  • Judge, Children's Court of Queensland (1993-1998)
  • Judge, District Court of Queensland (1991-1998)

Pre-judicial Career

  • Part-time Member, Criminal Justice Commission's Misconduct Tribunal (1990-1991)
  • President, Women Lawyers' Association of Queensland (1980-1981)
  • Member, Queensland Law Society Law Reform Family Welfare Legislation Committee (1979-1982)
  • Assistant Public Defender, Public Defender's Office (1978-1989)
  • Member, Queensland Law Society Criminal Law Committee (1978-1986)
  • Member, Serious Offenders' Review Panel (1978-1983)
  • Member, Department of Children's Services Serious Offenders Review Panel (1978-1983)
  • Member, Women Lawyers' Association of Queensland Committee (1978-1982)
  • Barrister, Public Defender's Office (1976-1978)
  • Admitted as a Barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland (1976)
  • Associate to the Honourable Justice Demack, Senior Judge of the Family Court of Australia (1975-1976)
  • Clerk to His Honour Judge Demack, District Court of Queensland (1975)

Extra Judicial Positions

  • Member, American Law Institute (2012-)
  • Founding Fellow, Australian Academy of Law (2007-)
  • Member, Griffith University Council (2003-)
  • Patron, Southside Education Centre (2001-2009)
  • Member, International Association of Women Judges (1999-)
  • Member, Judicial Conference of Australia (1998-)
  • Chair, District Court Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee (1997-1998)
  • Member, District Court Strategic Planning and Budget Committee (1996-1998)
  • Elected Trustee, Brisbane Girls Grammar School (1994-1998)
  • Member, Criminal Procedure Division, Litigation Reform Commission (1992-1994)
  • Member, Australian Institute of Judicial Administration (1992-)
  • Member, QUT Faculty of Law Advisory Committee (1991-2011)

Biographical Notes

Margaret Anne McMurdo was born on 30 August 1954 in Brisbane, Queensland, to Joseph Harold Hoare, solicitor, and his wife Regina Rose (née Warry). She attended New Farm State School, Brisbane Girls Grammar School (1967-71) and the University of Queensland, graduating Bachelor of Laws (1975). She served as associate to Demack DCJ, in the District Court and then in the Family Court of Australia (1975-76). On 23 January 1976, she married Philip Donald McMurdo, who later became the 97th judge of the court. They had one daughter, Helen, and three sons – James, Lachlan and Alexander.

On 16 December 1976, McMurdo was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland. She worked in the Public Defender’s Office (1976-89), holding the office of assistant public defender (1978–89). McMurdo then practised at the private bar in Brisbane (1989-91), holding a commission to prosecute. She was a part-time member of the Criminal Justice Commission Misconduct Tribunal (1990–91). McMurdo was a founding committee member (1978–82) and then president (1980–81) of the Women Lawyers Association and a founding member of the Department of Children’s Services Serious Offenders Review Panel (1978–83). McMurdo was appointed a judge of the District Court of Queensland on 29 January 1991, being the first woman to be appointed to the court. She also served as a judge of the Children’s Court of Queensland from 1993.

On 30 July 1998, McMurdo was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland and the second president of the Court of Appeal. She was the first woman appointed as the presiding judge of an appellate court in Australia. McMurdo was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2007 and awarded the Centenary Medal in 2003. She was awarded the Queensland Law Society’s Agnes McWhinney Award in 2006. She was awarded the degree of Doctor of the University by Griffith University (2000) and by the Queensland University of Technology (2009). McMurdo was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws of the University of Queensland (2012). She has also served as a trustee of Brisbane Girls Grammar School (1994–98) and a member of the council of Griffith University (from 2003).

McMurdo was featured in 'A Woman's Place: 100 years of Queensland Women Lawyers', published by the Supreme Court Library Queensland in 2005.

Judicial Papers

View Papers by The Honourable Justice Margaret A McMurdo AC